Ottawa Tourism reports that as of January, 45 large-scale events (500+ delegates) had booked their 2017 congresses in the city, which is the epicenter of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
The number represents a 220 percent increase over large-scale events booked in 2015.
The growth 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. 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 program 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 percent 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 15oth anniversary of confederation with a vast array of events, celebrations and investment planned across the country. In Ottawa, a rich program 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.