Ottawa  – This evening, Mayor Jim Watson presented the Key to the City to Mr. Michel Picard at a ceremony at City Hall.

Mr. Picard has served the Ottawa-Gatineau community throughout 41 years of his distinguished 45-year career in communications, television and radio broadcasting, as a celebrated voice of the Francophone news scene and a committed supporter of many local charities and organizations.

In 1976, Mr. Picard joined Radio-Canada’s Ottawa bureau and hosted a wide variety of programs, which included “Place 1250,” “les Matineux,” “Tournée d’Amerique,” and “le Midi trente.” In 1997, he took over the anchor desk for the popular local newscast, “Le Téléjournal Ottawa-Gatineau,” where he remained until 2013.

In addition to his anchoring role, he took part in covering many federal, provincial and municipal elections, as well as many Canada Day and Remembrance Day ceremonies. He also lent his broadcasting talents to Radio-Canada’s coverage of the Montreal, Los Angeles, and Seoul Olympic Games. Mr. Picard has also taught communications and journalism at Saint Paul University and La Cité in Ottawa. Mr. Picard continues his radio broadcasting career as a host with 94.5 Unique FM.

Mr. Picard is a devoted volunteer who has helped to support many community initiatives and charities – including the Caisse populaire Rideau-Vision d’Ottawa , Fédération des caisses populaires de l’Ontario, the Franco-ontarien Festival, Winterlude, Bruyère Continuing Care, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), telethons in support of people with cerebral palsy, the Ottawa Heart Institute, the United Way, the University of Ottawa, the Patro d’Ottawa, and the Mouvement d’implication francophone d’Orléans (MIFO).


“Michel Picard has been the voice of a generation in Ottawa’s Francophone news. Over the past 41 years, he has garnered the admiration and respect of Ottawa residents, not only for his work as a trusted broadcaster, but for his dedication to supporting local charities. The City is proud to honour him as an esteemed member of our community.”
Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

“I am deeply moved to receive this Key to the City. I am very honoured and thankful that Mayor Jim Watson and the City Council have chosen me. All I have done is my job as an engaged citizen. I shall always be a proud ambassador of our national capital.”
Mr. Michel Picard

Quick Facts:

Michel Picard

  • Mr. Michel Picard grew up in Montreal, where he graduated from the Université du Québec à Montréal in dramatic arts and broadcasting.
  • Mr. Picard began his broadcasting career in 1972, with various reporting assignments with Radio-Canada in both Vancouver and Saskatoon.  In 1976, he was assigned to the Radio-Canada’s Ottawa bureau, where he would remain until his retirement in 2013. Mr. Picard continues his radio broadcasting career as a host with 94.5 Unique FM.
  • Mr. Picard has shared his knowledge and experience with up-and-coming journalists as a part-time professor at St. Paul’s University, La Cité collégiale and the Desjardins Cooperative Institute.
  • Mr. Picard co-chaired the 2001-2002 Cité collégiale fundraising campaign.
  • Mr. Picard served as board member of a local credit union, the Caisse populaire Rideau-Vision d’Ottawa for more than 25 years, and currently serves on the Board of Governors of the University of Ottawa. He also led the Ottawa chapter of the Fédération des caisses populaires de l’Ontario for 10 years.
  • Mr. Picard has been the recipient of many community awards, such as the Ottawa United Way Community Builder Award, a recognition award from Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la capital (RGA), and the Prescott and Russell ACFO Ordre de la Francophonie.
  • Mr. Picard has also received the Prix Communications et Société, Prix René-Lecavalier-Molson, the Reel Awards prize, the Médaille Gérard-Lesage from the Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO), and the National Order of Merit from the French Republic. 

The Key to the City

  • The Key to the City is Ottawa’s most prestigious award.
  • An ornamental key is presented to esteemed residents, visitors and others whom the City of Ottawa wishes to honour. This practice has a symbolic meaning evoking medieval walled cities, the gates of which would be guarded during the day and locked at night. The key symbolizes the freedom of the recipient to enter and leave the city at will as a trusted friend of city residents.
  • Since 1935, 82 individuals and organizations have received the Key to the City of Ottawa. Some former  recipients include:
  • Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II)
  • Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands
  • Author Margaret Atwood
  • Photographers Yousuf and Malak Karsh
  • The Community Foundation of Ottawa
  • Actress Sandra Oh
  • Ottawa Senators former Captain Daniel Alfredsson
  • The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
  • Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek