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Ottawa Tourism sees large business events bookings up 220% in Canada’s 150th year

Ottawa Tourism has seen a sharp increase in large-scale business events (with over 500 delegates) choosing the Canadian capital for their congresses in 2017, the year in which Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary of confederation. In January this year, 45 large-scale events had booked Ottawa for 2017 so far, an increase of over 220% in the last two years*.

The increase in Ottawa’s popularity for meetings follows significant investment in the destination and, in particular, the development of the city’s purpose-built convention centre, Shaw Centre, which is celebrating its sixth year in 2017. Over the last few years, billions of dollars have been invested in infrastructure and facilities in the city, including a $863m renovation of Parliament Hill’s West Block, extensions to Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) and a major investment of $725m in redeveloping Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International airport.

Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism, comments: “We have been steadily building on our strong reputation for hosting outstanding large-scale international congresses in Ottawa and we are excited about this continued growth. Ottawa is firmly on the map when it comes to large events, whether association or corporate, and we have had the privilege of working with some amazing events over the last few years who have enjoyed extremely productive and popular events in our city.

“As we are now in Canada’s 150th year of confederation, the development is only getting bigger and better, with a celebratory year ahead that will benefit our meetings offer significantly in terms of a rich programme of events and investment in facilities. We know that 2017 is a great year for events in Ottawa, and the numbers are already reinforcing that premise.”

Nina Kressler, President and CEO of Shaw Centre, adds: “Shaw Centre has played a pivotal role in accommodating many of the large-scale events that have been attracted to our great city. Since we opened in 2011, our business events portfolio has grown tremendously and we are proud to be a part of such an amazing destination at this historic and exciting time.

The investment in our city and facilities continues, which will be of significant benefit to the many business events that choose Ottawa.”

In 2016, 31 large-scale business events were held in Ottawa, with corporate events representing approximately 15% of the total. International events continue to show the biggest increase year on year. Association events held in Ottawa in 2016 include One Young World, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the World University Service Canada International Forum.

In 2017, Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary of confederation with a vast array of events, celebrations and investment planned across the country. In Ottawa, a rich programme of activities is under way throughout the year, including Ignite 150, a series of 17 epic stunts and gatherings throughout the capital including: a yoga session on a barge floating down a local waterway accompanied by a live orchestra; a movie on a downtown terrace rooftop; and Canada’s Table, an outdoor dining experience featuring all-Canadian dishes served by the country’s top chefs to 1,000 guests, with Parliament Hill’s Sound and Light Show as a backdrop.

The 150th anniversary celebrations also include a series of legacy projects for Ottawa, such as: the new Global Centre for Pluralism; a brand new Canada Science and Technology Museum which is set to open in November 2017; a new, permanent Arctic Gallery for the Canadian Museum of Nature; and the new Canadian History Hall at the Canadian Museum of History.

*The calculation of 220% increase is based on the number of large-scale events booked for 2017, ie 45, compared with the total number of events held throughout the whole of 2015, ie 14.

About Ottawa Tourism

A non-profit organization, Ottawa Tourism provides destination development and marketing in cooperation with members and partners to attract visitors, tours and conventions to Ottawa and Canada’s capital region. It offers the complete capital experience, tells the story of Canada, and gets people talking. As the capital of a G7 country, and a high-technology and educational hub, Ottawa offers a deep pool of experts from which meeting planners can draw for their events. Its compact, walkable downtown and easily accessible, award-winning airport means smooth transportation of delegates. Ottawa particularly excels in the number and variety of its off-site venues; from national museums highlighting subjects like nature, aviation, art and history to venues that embrace the landscape of all four distinct seasons. This region of 1.3 million people—where over a third of the population speaks both English and French—punches above its weight in terms of memorable experiences, with robust local live music, culinary and craft beer scenes that complement the national focus of the capital.

About Shaw Centre

The spectacular new Shaw Centre (formerly Ottawa Convention Centre) staged its grand opening April 13 2011, welcoming the world to a stunning new landmark and exceptional new meeting place in the heart of the Capital. Overlooking the Rideau Canal – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Parliament Hill and downtown Ottawa, the Centre features a sweeping glass façade encasing four floors of state-of-the-art meeting space, including the Canada Hall, which can accommodate up to 6,000 delegates. The 200,000 square foot Centre takes Ottawa to a whole new level in the meetings and conventions industry, enabling the Capital to host large, city-wide events and multiple simultaneous functions. Delegates can step outside and be just steps away from recreational paths and the ByWard Market shopping and restaurant district—not to mention 6,000 downtown hotel rooms, all within easy walking distance. The facility is directly linked to the 180-store CF Rideau Centre, the 495-room Westin Ottawa, and offers ample indoor parking. The Shaw Centre sets new standards for environmental design and sustainable practices, serving delegates and guests with advanced technology.