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.