Light Rail Update

Light Rail constructionBy: Mayor Jim Watson

While the snow melts and days get longer, another busy construction season is set to begin. While we can expect some delays, crews will be hard at work improving how quickly and comfortably residents move around our city.

Luckily, crews working on the Confederation Line Light Rail have been hard at work throughout the winter. The Confederation Line project continues on-time and on-budget and I am excited to update you on several significant milestones.

  • Phase 1 – will be up and running in 2018
  • 2016 will see the final section of tunnel running between Rideau and Parliament stations excavated.
  • Excavation of the Lyon Station was recently completed, while Parliament is over 90% complete and Rideau soon to reach 80%.
  • More than 3.5 kilometres of track have been installed to date.
  • All 13 LRT stations will be under construction before the end of 2016.
  • Testing on some of the world-class Alstom CITADIS Spirit LRT vehicles will begin within the next year.

As many of you know, this is just the first phase of the system we will be constructing over the next decade. The next chapter of light rail is just around the corner: Stage 2 of LRT.

When Stage 2 is complete in 2023, residents will be able to catch a train as far west as Bayshore and Algonquin College, as far east as Place d’Orleans, and as far south as Riverside South. This will bring close to 70 percent of the city’s population within five kilometres of rail. This will fundamentally transform the way our city moves and grows.

Bringing light rail to Ottawa will be the single largest infrastructure project since Colonel By built the Rideau Canal. With a project of this size and scope, some disruptions are unavoidable for commuters.

To ensure the fewest disruptions to your commute as possible, I encourage you to access construction and traffic management information by:

  • Visiting the City of Ottawa’s interactive traffic map at
  • Calling 3-1-1
  • Following the City of Ottawa’s Traffic Twitter feed @Ottawa_Traffic
  • Signing up to receive regular e-mail updates at

For those who make use of Ottawa’s extensive multi-use pathway network, all efforts will be made to ensure access is maintained during construction, where safety permits. Detours will be provided where necessary.

Thank you for your patience as the O-Train Confederation Line continues to grow into reality. The way our city moves and grows will benefit our economy, our environment, and our families for generations to come.

Mayor Jim Watson’s monthly column

Monthly Column – Ottawa 2017

By Mayor Jim Watson

In 2017, Canada will celebrate 150 years as a nation.

We are working hard to prepare Ottawa to welcome the country as host of these celebrations. I still remember the excitement of Expo ’67 during Canada’s centennial year. Canada rallied together to create a year of memories and experiences that crossed generations, and we plan to do it once again during Canada’s sesquicentennial.

That is why Ottawa Tourism along with the City of Ottawa and community partners created the Ottawa 2017 Bureau. As the spotlight descends upon the capital, Ottawa 2017 is working hard to position Ottawa as THE place for all Canadians to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation.

This is an exciting opportunity to not only commemorate the progress we’ve made as a nation, but it is a chance to look to the future. The energy, excitement and investments generated by Ottawa’s 2017 celebrations will serve as a catalyst for long-term tourism growth.

In fact, tourism is Ottawa’s third largest economic sector, after the public service and high tech industry. Our aim in 2017 is to generate a significant boost in tourism, which presents a tremendous opportunity for local businesses to grow, hire, and we have made significant progress so far.

I recently had the pleasure to announce that The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has selected Ottawa as the host city for the 2017 JUNO Awards. Ottawa has hosted the JUNO awards before and while this event was a great success, we want to do something even greater in 2017. Our vision is to fill the city with music across venues of all sizes, ending with the Awards Gala at the Canadian Tire Centre.

As diverse as Canadians are, we plan to host an equally diverse selection of large signature events. Joining the JUNO awards in 2017, Ottawa is set to host the Canadian Video Game Awards, Canadian Track and Field Championships, The Canadian Olympic Curling Trials – Roar of the Rings and many more to be announced.  Along with Ottawa 2017, the City of Ottawa is working hard to attract the CFL’s Grey Cup and an NHL Winter Classic.

I am particularly excited at the prospect of a Winter Classic as December 19th, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the first NHL game ever played, between the Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators. I believe it would be a fitting tribute to commemorate Canada’s favourite past-time through hosting an outdoor Winter Classic between these two historic franchises.

In addition to preparing a year of memorable celebrations, the city is undergoing unprecedented growth and infrastructure renewal to ensure we are ready to welcome the nation. At the centre of this is the Confederation Line Light Rail project which will be truly transformative. 2017 is also expected to mark the opening of the Ottawa Innovation Centre and the opening of a new Ottawa Art Gallery and revitalized Arts Court.

Ottawa 2017 will be a once-in-a-lifetime celebration and I encourage you to get involved. If you would like to plan your own community even, volunteer or simply learn more, visit


207 Juno Awards announcement

Mayor Watson, along with MPP’s Yasir Naqvi, Bob Chiarelli, Ottawa 2017 Bureau, Director Guy Laflamme and representatives from The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, celebrate Ottawa being named host to the2017 JUNO Awards.

Mayor’s Monthly Column

Reforming the National Capital Commission

By Mayor Jim Watson

I have long been an advocate for reform at the National Capital Commission (NCC) and since being elected Mayor in 2010 it has only become more apparent to me that this is an organization that needs to change or else risk hindering the progress of our great city.

As a first step toward reform Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin of Gatineau and I recently wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to ask that the Mayors of Ottawa and Gatineau be given the ability to each name a directly elected representative to the NCC board of directors, to be nominated by our respective City Councils.

The key reason for this letter is that the majority of the NCC’s current board members are neither from the National Capital Region nor chosen by its residents and that should not be the case. I understand wanting to bring pan-national representation to the board but those who know Ottawa best are those who live here not those who fly in for board meetings. It would be a common sense reform towards accountability to make the majority of the NCC board members National Capital residents.

More broadly, I believe that the NCC needs to refocus its mandate. Over the past three years as Mayor, my council colleagues and I have worked well with the NCC but often we are discussing the minutia of city projects such as what types of plants will be planted at our Light Rapid Transit (LRT) stations. These are issues that our city staff members are more than capable to handle on their own while the NCC should be focused on the large-scale issues of national significance for which they are mandated.

Refocusing the NCC’s mandate could understandably take some time but I believe that the board of directors of the NCC can be made more accountable and representative of Ottawa’s interests immediately should the Prime Minister act on the recommendation of our joint letter to him.

The taxpayers of Ottawa and Gatineau deserve to be represented at the NCC because the organization’s decisions have direct financial implications for them. It is time for their voices to be heard not only at the city council table but also at the NCC board room table and I believe that this would be a welcome first step towards reforming an organization that has lost its way.

Help me convince the Federal Government to bring greater accountability to the NCC by emailing me your comments at

Réformer la Commission de la capitale nationale

Par le maire Jim Watson

Je prône depuis longtemps une réforme de la Commission de la capitale nationale (CCN). Or, depuis que j’ai été élu maire, en 2010, il est devenu encore plus évident pour moi que cet organisme doit changer, sinon il risque de faire obstacle au progrès de notre magnifique ville.

Le maire de Gatineau, Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin, et moi avons fait un premier pas en vue de cette réforme en écrivant au premier ministre Stephen Harper pour demander que les maires d’Ottawa et de Gatineau aient chacun la possibilité de désigner un représentant élu, nommé par nos conseils municipaux respectifs, au conseil d’administration de la CCN.

La principale raison qui motive cette lettre est que la plupart des membres actuels du conseil d’administration de la CCN ne proviennent pas de la région de la capitale nationale et ne sont pas choisis par ses résidents, alors que cela ne devrait pas être le cas. Je comprends que l’on veuille assurer une représentation de toutes les régions du pays au conseil d’administration de la CCN, mais les personnes qui connaissent le mieux Ottawa sont celles qui vivent ici et non pas celles qui viennent dans la région en avion pour assister aux réunions du conseil d’administration. La réforme que je propose serait une réforme raisonnable destinée à accroître le degré de responsabilité de la CCN en faisant en sorte que la majorité des membres de son conseil d’administration soient des résidents de la capitale nationale.

De manière plus générale, j’estime que la CCN doit recadrer son mandat. Au cours des trois dernières années, mes collègues du Conseil municipal et moi avons bien travaillé avec la CCN, mais nos discussions portent souvent sur les détails de projets municipaux, comme le type de plantes qui seront installées autour des stations du train léger. Ce sont là des questions que le personnel de la Ville est amplement capable de régler lui-même, alors que la CCN devrait se concentrer sur les questions d’envergure nationale, conformément à son mandat.

Le recadrage du mandat de la CCN pourrait prendre un certain temps, ce qui est compréhensible. Je crois cependant que le conseil d’administration de la CCN aurait immédiatement un plus grand degré de responsabilité et représenterait mieux les intérêts d’Ottawa si le premier ministre donnait suite à la recommandation formulée dans notre lettre conjointe.

Les contribuables d’Ottawa et de Gatineau méritent d’être représentés à la CCN, parce que les décisions de cet organisme ont des répercussions financières directes sur eux. Il est temps que leur voix soit entendue non seulement au Conseil municipal, mais aussi au conseil d’administration de la CCN. Or, j’estime qu’il s’agirait d’une première étape positive en vue de la réforme d’un organisme qui s’est égaré.

Aidez-moi à convaincre le gouvernement fédéral d’accroître le degré de responsabilité de la CCN en m’envoyant vos commentaires, à l’adresse