CAPITAL Magazine Spring 2024

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WELCOME TO THE 20 TH EDITION of CAPITAL—a multi-channel platform designed to share the story of Ottawa. The contents of this magazine and the linked digital campaign highlights our city’s unique strengths and opportunities, our thriving local businesses, as well as our ambitious and passionate local leaders.

We aim to bring together every evolving aspect of our community into one economic growth agenda, to galvanize our business and community leaders, as well as our regional residents toward one common goal— quality of life for all. And we are particularly dedicated to ensuring young leaders are involved to shape our future city.

As the nation’s capital we have a role and responsibility to demonstrate exceptional leadership, radical collaboration, and respectful discourse.

As the local board of trade in Canada’s capital we advocate for priorities that cultivate a thriving business community and drive inclusive and sustainable city building.

It is to that end that the Ottawa Board of Trade creates partnerships and spaces for aligning our multiple priorities and advancing a whole of community approach to realizing our region’s full potential. You will see some of the outcomes inside this CAPITAL magazine including the dynamic conversations at our city building summit, the important lens of our young leaders, and the significance of arts and culture in our community and economy.

In addition, we have released new platforms, plans, and reports to further stimulate thought leadership and ensure we are all singing from the same song sheet including:

• A Living Capital: Downtown Ottawa Action Agenda

• Welch LLP Business Growth Survey

• Ottawa Business Matters

Ottawa business leaders have a long history of addressing the most pressing matters of the day and pursuing opportunities for our region to advance, thrive, and grow. Today, the National Capital Region is facing the transformation of our city core, complex challenges related to democracy, inclusivity, and climate change, and a range of opportunities requiring alignment, focus, and optimization of resources. Business leaders, community trailblazers, elected officials and entrepreneurs, executives and employees are all called upon to do their part. And create a strong foundation for the future of our city and our next generation. Together, we will.

Yours in prosperity, Sueling

Sueling Ching | President & CEO

Ottawa Board of Trade

CAPITAL is both a print and digital publication of the Ottawa Board of Trade and is co-published twice a year in partnership with TAAG. Visit

CAPITAL is designed to tell the story of Ottawa, our nation’s capital city with a thriving business community and culture scene. It highlights our opportunities and strengths, our future focused plans and the businesses and leaders that are working together to make it happen. CAPITAL inspires the local community to become ambassadors and promote what we have to offer. And it is a great way to attract people to our city – to live, work, play, learn, visit and invest.


Sueling Ching, President & CEO

150 Elgin Street, 10th Floor Ottawa, ON K2P 1L4 613-236-3631


Andrew Abraham, CEO & Founder

7th Floor, 251 Bank Street Ottawa, Ontario K2P 5M3 613-234-8468


Editorial Directors Sueling Ching, OBOT Melanie Williams, TAAG

Managing Editor Danielle Valois

Creative Director Leslie Miles

Writers Jeff Buckstein Jennifer Campbell Erika Cuccaro Peter Simpson


We are seeking local businesses and organizations to be sponsors – to use this platform to support our local economic ecosystem, build their brand, promote their business, highlight their team, and demonstrate their commitment to our amazing city. You can do this through traditional advertising or sponsored content. To explore options and see our Media Kit, please contact Stephan Pigeon: or at 819-209-3344

CAPITAL is grateful for some funding contributed by the Canada Periodical Fund, Special Measures for Journalism, Department of Canadian Heritage.


YOU CAN FEEL THE ENERGY in the Ottawa air. Things are changing. Uncertainty remains constant. Challenges abound. And new opportunities are everywhere you turn. Collectively, we are embracing ambiguity, learning along the way, making bold and thoughtful moves, and working in deep collaboration.

Why? Because we are facing a once-in-ageneration opportunity for all the people of Ottawa to come together, learn from the

past, leverage our assets and build up Ottawa as an exciting, inclusive, and sustainable capital city.

We are transforming Ottawa—one commitment, one conversation, one gesture, one initiative, one new idea, one relationship and one major investment at a time. Young leaders are emerging as city builders. Business and community leaders are aligning on our top priorities—innovative investments, economic growth, employee wellness and community wealth building.

More importantly our changing times renews opportunities to address climate change and ensure equity for all.

Our strong federal presence continues to serve us well with exciting investments in the parliamentary precinct and the visionary plans of the National Capital Commission, both including a focus on the city core. The right sizing of the federal government footprint in the national capital area presents new opportunities for the Ottawa and Gatineau downtowns to be more

diverse, resilient and vibrant than ever. It is imperative we continue to work closely together to ensure the execution of priorities at every level of government is aligned. There is a unique opportunity before us— for the private and public sectors to optimize our collective resources to realize the full potential of the entire national capital area. Together, we can build a strong foundation for the future.

Our city offers an impressive geography of vivid rural landscapes and dense business

We invite all creatives, entrepreneurs, innovators and out of the box thinkers to consider our city core for their next big idea.

and residential districts. It stitches together natural and engineered waterways, where residents can walk along adjacent paths, boat, canoe, and kayak. We benefit from national monuments, historic buildings, arts and cultural venues and museums. But Ottawa is not viable without a dynamic, safe, and thriving downtown, where so many of these central assets reside.

Therefore, key among our priorities is the need to transform our downtown, the cultural and economic hub of our region. That is why the Ottawa Board of Trade in collaboration with the Canadian Urban Institute, created a community action plan. Along with our partners across the city, including the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Tourism, Invest Ottawa, BOMA Ottawa, and the National Capital Commission, we have unveiled “A Living Capital: Downtown Ottawa Action Agenda.” We are calling for bold leadership, a whole of community approach and a deep understanding that the success of the city core is critical to the success of the whole city.

The agenda embraces the vision of a holistic live-work-play environment. One that creates a culturally rich, inclusive, and accessible downtown for all. One that boosts our local economy. And one that attracts artists, investors, innovators, leaders, talent, and young people. Our action agenda targets four big moves to realize that vision. We propose adding 40,000 new residents and creating 50,000 new jobs by 2034, which will convert the city centre into a bustling hub of activity, creativity, and innovation. It also

aims to enhance the public realms of Sparks Street and the ByWard Market and establish a new Business Incubation District and Arts/ Culture Corridor.

To create a downtown that is desirable, resilient, robust, and inclusive, the plan advances five immediate actions that the city should promote. These include prioritizing housing; investing in the future through financial mechanisms for ongoing downtown ventures; addressing homelessness, addiction, and mental health; improving regional mobility through enhanced transit options; and positioning downtown nationally and internationally through marketing efforts.

Downtown Ottawa is the heartbeat of our whole region. What happens downtown has a direct and immediate impact on every business, every resident, and every visitor. We encourage all residents in our region to be hometown tourists inviting family and friends to explore downtown. We call on all business and community leaders to leverage your international networks and our growing number of direct flights to bring more people to our region. We support all private and public sector employers to make a downtown presence attractive to your workforce. We invite all creatives, entrepreneurs, innovators and out of the box thinkers to consider our city core for your next big idea. This is an all-hands-on deck opportunity. Now is the time.

Sueling Ching, President and CEO, Ottawa Board of Trade





Capital Integral Charitable Foundation—was established by Ottawa-based entrepreneur Dan Fried in 2018. From the very beginning, our goal was to help vulnerable children within the community.

In early 2024, after a meeting with Andrew Abraham and his executive team at TAAG Corporation, and learning about their vision for “Prosperity”, the alignment amongst the organizations was a natural fit. By March, we partnered with TAAG and rebranded as Capital Prosperity Foundation. The foundation’s Board agreed that the new name better reflects our commitment to improve the lives of children and families in the National Capital Region. Capital Prosperity Foundation has now also become the charitable giving arm of TAAG.

In this next phase, Capital Prosperity Foundation will continue to draw guidance from our deeply committed Board, as well as Ottawaarea business leaders.

Supporting the School Breakfast Program for Children in Ottawa

For the first few years, we directed fundraising efforts toward the Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE) School Breakfast program. Over the course of three years, through the generous support of our donors, we provided $225,000 in funding for ONFE’s School Breakfast program. This funding proved critical in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the price of ingredients skyrocketed. With the continuing pressure on the cost of running breakfast programs, our Board approved supporting the program for an additional three years.

Helping Vulnerable Children When They Need it Most

As our impact expanded, we reached out to the Ottawa Police Services (OPS) to discuss how to help more vulnerable children. This led to the launch of a pilot project to test drive two programs. Gift Card Program

Provides $100 gift cards to vulnerable families so they can buy food, clothing and essential household items.

Make a House a Home

Enables OPS officers to provide funding for basic furniture and appliances to vulnerable families with demonstrated need.

In 2023 alone, this initiative touched the lives of 110 families, including 172 children.

And we’re only just getting started. Capital Prosperity Foundation is backed by an incredible community of partners and sponsors whose support and donations make it possible to run vital programs that provide household essentials to children in need.

By joining our community, you become a key part of our mission. Together, we’re building a community that empowers children to reach their full potential and provides tangible support to caregivers who are struggling to make ends meet.

Support children today so they thrive tomorrow

Your donation will go toward our Gift Card Program, Make a House a Home program, and other community initiatives that provide essential resources to children in need— when they need it.

Visit to make your secure donation and receive a charitable tax receipt.

Charity number: 782185698RR0001

The art of (re)building

Rebuilding Ottawa after the pandemic will require diligence, but the major infrastructure projects underway can help.

a city

MAJOR METROPOLITAN AREAS ARE IMPORTANT to a country’s GDP and essential to the character of a country. They are also cultural and economic hubs. Ottawa may have different challenges in rebuilding its downtown core after the exodus of federal public service in this post-pandemic era, but many of its challenges are shared with major metropolitan centres across Canada. Both of these things became clear at the Ottawa Board of Trade’s City Building Summit 2024, when leaders from Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Halifax came together for the Why Downtown portion of the event.

Mary Rowe, president and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute, who led the first session showed a photo of an apple and reminded summitgoers that “an apple rots from the core,” and that’s why we need to care about downtowns.

“You tend a city the way you tend a garden,” Rowe said, adding that downtowns attract people not just for work, but also experiences. So as the work aspect erodes, the experience factor has to ramp up. To that end, Rowe made the point that while Ottawa does have the challenge of being a government town, it also has a huge number of assets because it’s the nation’s capital.

Other cities weigh in

Jane Talbot, president and CEO of Downtown Van, said she expects Ottawa is facing social, affordability, and mental health and addiction issues.

The other thing her organization spends an inordinate amount of time on is permit work—to help businesses do business.

“I think the will is there in every conversation we have but it does seem to be challenging to reduce those barriers to doing business,” Talbot said. Calgary, too, has social inequity issues, but it is at a great moment in time in terms of the investments it’s making downtown.

“Downtown Calgary isn’t a place, it’s the place,” said Mark Garner, executive director of the Downtown Calgary Association, adding that he thinks Calgary is leading North America on residential conversion, and will soon be leading Canada for arts and culture investments. “We’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions.”

Glenn Castanheira, executive director of Montréal centre-ville, noted that Montreal had to rebuild after the referendum in the 1990s. He also listed the city’s assets, the first being that downtown Montreal is one of the country’s, and indeed the continent’s, densest cultural districts.

“Fifty percent of all cultural tickets sold in the province of Quebec are sold in this district, which is one kilometre square,” Castanheira said. “We're not just a central business district, we are also Canada's largest university cluster with 300,000 students in our downtown. And we also have Canada's fastest growing demographic when it comes to downtown.”

For his part, Paul Mackinnon, CEO of Downtown Halifax Business Commission, said Halifax chugs along and isn’t suffering, but would benefit from a downtown revitalization strategy. He acknowledged that, like Ottawa, Halifax is large geographically and therefore includes many rural residents. But as Rowe said, we should all be in this together.

“We’re all in the same ecosystem; we’re all interdependent,” Rowe cautioned.

The panelists all weighed in on the mental health issue cities are facing, and Talbot said cities need all three levels of government to work together and to provide funding. “It’s urgent and it has to happen,” she said.

The Parliamentary precinct and federal lands

The Summit afforded an opportunity for an update on what’s happening with the Parliament Hill Rehabilitation. Jennifer Garrett, acting assistant deputy minister at Public Services and Procurement Canada, said the key part of the $3 billion at the moment is the restoration of the Centre Block and the construction of a 3.5-storey structure under the front lawn, which will include a Parliamentary welcome centre, public exhibit space, theatres, and the first-ever public café.

Mark Quinlan, assistant deputy minister of real property services at Public Services and Procurement Canada, told the group he’s responsible for three million square metres or 50% of the federal

“My job is to take six million square metres of office space down to three million square metres,” he said, adding that this is possible mostly due to hybrid work, but also because current office space allocation has never accounted for people being on vacation or away on work trips.

government office space in Ottawa. In Budget 2024, the federal government said it would “right-size” the federal footprint and reduce office space by 50% over the next 10 years.

“My job is to take six million square metres of office space down to three million square metres,” he said, adding that this is possible mostly due to hybrid work, but also because current office space allocation has never accounted for people being on vacation or away on work trips.

“Now we’re planning for three days in the office for 100% of employees,” Quinlan says, adding that the office space the federal government will keep will have higher occupancy and that these efforts will save $1 billion in federal spending and have a positive impact on the environment.

Stéphan Déry, president and CEO of the Canada Lands Company, noted that Quinlan’s project of reducing the office space the federal government occupies, will free up a lot of buildings for housing or mixed-use property.

Canada Lands Company is at arms-length from the federal government, which is its sole shareholder.

“CLC can take part in reviving downtown Ottawa and all the downtowns in fact,” he says. “We have 27 properties across the country, 23 major projects across the country and attractions such as the Montreal Science Centre and the CN Tower in Toronto.”

Déry discussed some current projects, including one on Carling Avenue, where 600 affordable housing units will be built in 2024.

Energy objectives

As Ottawa goes about its city-building efforts, there are energy considerations that must be factored in.

“As we are making these decisions around infrastructure, physical assets and filling the need for housing, how do we integrate environmental and energy objectives into the plan?” asks Sueling Ching, president and CEO of the Ottawa Board of Trade. “We can’t do these things in silos.”

Those considerations were covered by Michael Cleland, executive in residence with the University of Ottawa’s positive energy program.

A confluence of major projects

The city of Ottawa is rich in major infrastructure projects that are taking place right now. The Summit offered snapshots of five of them. Those didn’t include Lansdowne 2.0, which is currently being envisioned by the National Capital Commission and its partners.

Sueling Ching, President & CEO, Ottawa Board of Trade
Dr. Mike Moffatt, Senior Director of Policy and Innovation at the University of Ottawa's Smart Prosperity Institute

NCC’s core area plan

Alain Miguelez, vice-president and chief planner for the National Capital Commission, spoke about the NCC’s plans for a redevelopment along the Ottawa river, near where the canal locks connect to it. He talked about a mini-Lebreton Flats on the Gatineau side with potential for bars, restaurants, and housing. A similar development could happen on Lady Grey Drive in Ottawa.

“It’s a street that is between Sussex Drive and the water,” Miguelez said, adding that the NCC considers it a way to extend the ByWard Market towards the water.

As it goes about developing these areas, he said the NCC is keeping in mind such things as beauty, sustainability, vibrancy, animation, tourism and the local economy.

Light rail rollout

Michael Morgan, director of the rail construction project for the City of Ottawa, updated summit-goers on the LRT extension, which he said was a 15-year, $7 billion project. He promised there will be trains running to Trim Road in Orleans by the end of this year. He talked about a number of stations, including the west-end tunnel being built along Kichi Zībī Mīkan parkway to Richmond Road, and about how the city is growing in tandem with the LRT.

“It’s absolutely unlocking the city,” Morgan said, adding that it’ll connect all the universities, all of the shopping centres and the downtown core to the rural areas.

YOW rebounding post-pandemic

Ottawa airport president and CEO Mark Laroche had much to report, including that the airport hit its target of four million passengers in 2023, and had net earnings of $10.8 million, which will help it repay some of its $100-million pandemic debt. It continues to aim for net-zero emissions by 2040, and is considering a solar farm project to help electrify the terminal as part of that goal.

Laroche mentioned Air France’s direct flight to Paris will start operating daily in June, that there’s a terminal-attached Alt Hotel being built, and the LRT station is set to open this summer. He also mentioned the 150,000 square foot Porter hangar that was completed last year.

A new Civic

As the new Civic Hospital is under construction, CEO Cameron Love says his team is very focused on how to reshape health care for the community for the next 20 to 70 years. The first phase of the

As the new Civic Hospital is under construction, CEO Cameron Love says his team is very focused on how to reshape health care for the community for the next 20 to 70 years.

building is about 2.5 million square feet and it will reach 4.5 million square feet by the time it’s finished. It will start with 641 private rooms with their own washrooms, and will include two research and innovation buildings. The parking garage construction is already under way. Next will be the central utility plant, then the main hospital building, both of which will start in the next 15 months. After that, it’ll be the R&D buildings followed by the Heart Institute. The first phases should be completed over the next six to seven years.

A downtown arena?

“A downtown event centre is about city building,” said Ottawa Senators president and CEO Cyril Leeder. “It's about doing the right thing, taking the right steps at the right time to revitalize our downtown.”

He said it’s the number one file on the management team’s desk and is looking at an 800,000 square foot centre. Comparable projects have cost $1.2 billion and required approximately 7,000 fulltime workers. Asked where the arena might be, Leeder said the only location the Senators are currently considering is LeBreton Flats.

(From right to left): Jennifer Garrett, Acting Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Science and Parliamentary Infrastructure, Public Services and Procurement Canada; Mark Quinlan, Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Services and Procurement Canada; Stéphan Déry, President & CEO, Canada Lands Company; Mary Rowe, President & CEO, Canadian Urban Institute (panel moderator)
Registration at City Building Summit 2024
Attendees at City Building Summit 2024


WHAT DEFINES AN INSPIRING CAPITAL? Is it the grandeur of its architecture, the beauty of its landscapes, the allure of its public spaces or something else entirely? These were the questions that weighed heavily on the minds of the federal government in the late 19th century, as Ottawa was emerging as a city brimming with potential, yet woefully deficient in vital infrastructure, sanitation and public amenities.

Over a century of capital stewardship

In response to this predicament, the Ottawa Improvement Commission (OIC) was founded in 1899, marking the creation of the first federal agency committed to the planning and beautification of the Capital. Charged with the ambitious mission to transform Ottawa into a modern, attractive city that would be a testament to Canada’s rich cultural, historical and natural heritage, the OIC laid the groundwork for a transformative journey.

As the decades passed, the OIC’s mantle was passed to the Federal District Commission (FDC) in 1927, an entity equipped with greater resources and a broader mandate. This evolution continued until 1959, when the National Capital Commission (NCC) was established, inheriting and championing the same mission: to build a capital that would be the pride of all Canadians.

Since its inception 125 years ago, the NCC ensures stewardship of 11 percent of the land within Ottawa-Gatineau. Its vast portfolio includes over 1,600 properties, encompassing everything from historic landmarks to natural marvels, and stately official residences to poignant monuments. These sites collectively draw over 10 million visitors annually, each seeking to experience the best the National Capital Region has to offer.

Transformative projects

In this milestone year, the NCC is building on that proud legacy and embarking on a series of transformative projects designed to enhance and enrich the beauty and connectivity of the National Capital Region.

At the core of the NCC’s ambitious plans lies LeBreton Flats, a jewel in the Capital’s crown poised to become a symbol of national and civic pride. In the heart of Gatineau, the rehabilitation of the lands along Brewery Creek will breathe new life into Montcalm Street.

The NCC’s revitalization efforts also reach the water’s edge, where the Capital’s waterways are being reimagined with inviting cafes and bistros, creating a picturesque waterfront ambiance.

Kìwekì Point, slated to open later this year, is set to emerge as a vibrant, contemporary park, offering breathtaking views of the Capital skyline.

The Capital Pathway Network, with its 220 kilometres of trails, is being expanded to encourage year-round active transportation and well-being, with programs like NCC Weekend Bikedays that promote car-free enjoyment of the Capital’s scenic parkways.

Shaping the future

For 125 years, the NCC’s story has been one of continuity and evolution, shaped by the endeavours of visionary leaders past and present. But the NCC transcends mere historical significance; it thrives today due to the collective efforts of its staff and experts. Through their tireless work, they breathe life into NCC’s initiatives, ensuring the National Capital Region remains an enduring source of pride and inspiration for generations to come.

Colonel By Drive and the Rideau Canal, circa 1969
Sunday Bikedays on the Ottawa River Parkway, 1996

THIS WINTER, OTTAWA WILL HOST the prestigious International Ice Hockey Federation’s (IIHF) World Juniors Championship, promising to draw tens of thousands of athletes, fans, and media from around the globe. This high-profile event offers a unique opportunity for local businesses, Business Improvement Associations (BIAs) and corporations to showcase Ottawa's hospitality, creativity, and community spirit, as well as to engage, activate, and participate in the opportunities that accompany it.

Beyond showcasing Ottawa through the broadcasts and coverage of the World Juniors, the economic impact of this event will be substantial, with increased spending in hotels, restaurants, retail, and other local services, benefiting a wide range of businesses. Previous World Juniors host cities have seen millions of dollars injected into their economies, and Ottawa has all it takes to achieve similar success. Every private sector business in this city can be part of the spirit that ensures the benefits are widespread, reinforcing Ottawa’s reputation as a premier destination.

Opportunities for BIAs, businesses, and corporations

The involvement of BIAs and local businesses is crucial in creating an engaging and welcoming atmosphere for visitors and residents alike. There are many great ways to get involved:

• Participate in city-wide pageantry efforts, creating a festive and unified look that celebrates the event. Window displays, street banners, sandwich boards, digital marketing and themed decorations can all make businesses stand out contribute to the excitement and enhance the visitor experience. If you’ve been somewhere that embraced an event and where signage to welcome attendees was pervasive, you’ll know how impressive that can be.

• Offer special promotions, discounts, and events tied to the World Juniors. From themed menu items, live music and programming to special retail offers, these promotions can attract both visitors and residents, driving foot traffic and sales. Timebound special events, such as a New Year’s Eve watch party, can also be a good way to take advantage of opportunities presented to the community.

• Organize community events such as fan zones, public viewings, and meet-and-greet sessions with athletes. The international nature of the World Juniors is also an opportunity to gather specific communities to watch their home team play,. These activities not only engage visitors but also bring together residents, fostering a sense of community pride and involvement.

• Make the most of the hosting opportunity as fans and athletes will be all over town for almost two weeks, looking for things to do in between games. If your business is public-facing, making efforts to stay open during that period (December 26 to January 5) is where we can make the most economic benefit out of the tournament. Keep the game schedule printed and on-hand for conversation starters, and ensure you have enough product, food and beverage, and staff to support the additional clientele.


Preparing for success

The World Juniors is a landmark event for Ottawa, and to maximize this opportunity, corporate Ottawa and BIAs should start planning now. Engaging with Ottawa Tourism will provide valuable insights and resources. Informational sessions, enrolling staff in the Shine On Academy, and marketing toolkits can all help in preparation, ensuring that businesses are ready to make the most of the World Juniors.

By embracing the event and participating in the city-wide celebrations, our community will make it an amazing visitor experience, further cementing our reputation as a premier destination for sports tourism. Let’s come together and showcase the best of what Ottawa has to offer to the world.

For more information on how to get involved, contact


Mark Laroche navigated the pandemic at YOW while also completing several important initiatives. Now he plans to “try” retirement.

WHEN MARK LAROCHE MOVES ON FROM HIS JOB as president and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority, he’ll leave with a sense of accomplishment, and excitement about the groundwork he’s laid for projects that are on the cusp of materializing. He can also be proud of weathering the stormy skies caused by the pandemic, but he prefers to look to the future.

One of Laroche’s proudest accomplishments that will pay dividends for years to come is the establishment of Ottawa as an airline hub thanks to a maintenance hangar he worked with Porter to establish. That project will see approximately 160 mechanics hired—high-paying jobs that don’t currently exist in Ottawa. Including the airline’s crew base and other positions, 400 new jobs are anticipated in Ottawa.

“Taxiway R had to be constructed in record time in order for the hangar to be built,” Laroche says, adding that the project was finished on budget. “We got all of that done just as we were starting to come out of the pandemic. The relationship with Porter was extremely important. Porter is the only airline that’s invested in a hub configuration at our airport. It provides hope for more direct destinations. It’ll be the gift that keeps on giving for decades.”

“I’m also really excited about the LRT [light-rail transit] coming,” says Laroche. “This is a generational thing. We had to seize the opportunity when the City was planning LRT2 without including a link to our terminal. It's important for the airport, the community and it's a great marketing feature for Ottawa Tourism for events and conventions to have the airport connected by rail to the downtown core. There’s immense opportunity there and I was not going to give up easily until the airport link was part of LRT2.”

Laroche says he is optimistic that OC Transpo will soon announce a date when passengers can take the LRT to the airport. The airport terminal station is complete, and trials between the station and the Trillium Line have been ongoing for several weeks.

Speaking of direct destinations, Laroche was applauded at the Ottawa Board of Trade’s City Building Summit 2024 because he secured Ottawa’s first post-pandemic flight to Europe—an Air France flight to Paris. The non-stop flight launched in 2023 and became daily in June 2024.

“It’s been a tremendous success,” Laroche says, adding that he’s hoping to secure another flight to Europe within the next 24 months.

Porter Airlines meanwhile, has announced plans to fly daily to St. John’s, NL, which means it now offers 15 non-stop destinations from Ottawa with more coming. Between them, Air Canada and United Airlines offer 12 non-stop destinations from YOW. WestJet has four non-stop destinations. Flair Airlines and Canadian North also contribute to Laroche’s goal of making Ottawa a hub in Canada’s aviation network.

Laroche and his team have also been busy on the restaurant and retail front. Big Rig Kitchen and Brewery, local Italian sandwich shop La Bottega and Ottawa’s own Bridgehead Coffee were brought into the fold last summer. Soon, a Zak’s Diner will replace Darcy McGee’s at the south end of the terminal.

“We challenged the master concessionaire to include local flavours in their proposals,” Laroche said. “SSP Canada did just that by securing brands that remind passengers of a wonderful visit to the National Capital Region or a taste of home.”

The terminal-connected Alt Hotel has also broken ground. When it’s complete, the $55-million hotel will have 180 rooms, a full-service restaurant and meeting rooms.

“I’m also really excited about the LRT [light-rail transit] coming,” says Laroche. “This is a generational thing. We had to seize the opportunity when the City was planning LRT2 without including a link to our terminal. It's important for the airport, the community and it's a great marketing feature for Ottawa Tourism for events and conventions to have the airport connected by rail to the downtown core.”

When it comes to sustainability, the airport hopes to achieve netzero emissions for operations by 2040. Currently, it’s exploring the viability of a solar farm project on its 500 acres of land with an experienced third party and Hydro Ottawa.

“This land is mostly unsuitable for many other types of development because of noise from low-flying aircraft and height restrictions,” Laroche says, adding that it’s not serviced by water and sewer and it has minimal shading. The project is still in the early exploration stages, but first estimates suggest it could have a total capacity of 100 MW using the latest technology with about 200,000 solar panels—the equivalent needed to provide sustainable electricity to 13,000 households annually.

YOW is forecasting rapid growth thanks to more connecting passengers and continued local population growth, underscoring the need for airport expansion. Construction planning has already begun, and the community can look forward to more innovation and improvements in the facility to meet growing demand and evolving passenger needs.

Finally, Laroche lauds his team.

“Everyone is keen to jump into all these projects, which is great,” he says. “They come to work with a lot of enthusiasm and that’s why I’ve had so much fun over the last 11 years and can say it’s been the best job ever.”

J.L. Richards: Partners in Project Delivery from Conception to Completion

J.L. RICHARDS & ASSOCIATES LIMITED’S (JLR) story began in 1955 with three young entrepreneurs in some rented space on MacLaren Street in downtown Ottawa. Since then, JLR has grown into a fully integrated employee-owned firm of engineers, architects, and planners, with over 450 employees working in eight offices across Ontario. Providing an extensive range of technical services in focused market areas, JLR has helped numerous local clients with their project challenges, including the Ottawa International Airport, the Canadian Tire Centre, and various projects for the City of Ottawa and surrounding municipalities.

JLR prides itself on our approach to multidisciplinary design delivery offering our clients in-house access to all engineering design disciplines in addition to significant architecture and planning resources. We provide our clients with an integrated project from conception to completion.

Seeing opportunities rather than setbacks

As the world stopped in March 2020, so did JLR’s plans to construct a five-storey 50,000 ft2 office in Ottawa. After two years of planning and one week away from breaking ground, instead of excitement, disappointment was felt throughout the firm. However, like many businesses, we adapted to and embraced many changes, seeing the crisis as an opportunity rather than a setback. The pause of our new build allowed us to revisit what our future work might look like. JLR’s Board of Directors made the bold decision to cancel the new build, sell our 60+ year-old home on Lady Ellen Place (the site of the new build) in favour of 40,000 ft2 of leased space on Preston Street. Operating as architect, engineer, and the client tenant, the JLR team worked together to create a custom-built space, supporting how employees wanted to work. Bringing our staff back to a hybrid work week (60% office/40% home) in conjunction with an activity-based work (no assigned workspace) environment resulted in less required floorspace than originally intended, while presenting our staff with a modern workspace as well as desired flexibility.

What sets JLR apart?

We work as a broadly based employee-owned company that focuses on employing exceptional people. JLR's ownership structure is unique in structure and inclusivity, and we are proud to be a 100% employee-owned Canadian firm. All our employees can benefit from the opportunity to invest in the firm. This ownership program results in over 70% of the entire staff currently owning shares in the company, producing a community which empowers employees to actively contribute to the entrepreneurial culture and overall success of the company. This unique defining element of JLR means employees are invested in the success and operational practices of the company and in the delivery of quality work for our clients. Our structure, client-centric approach, and ownership focus contributes to project success, and is a primary reason that more than 80% of our business is from repeat clients.

Our employee-ownership structure also helps explain the long average tenure of our employees and serves as a significant contributing factor in attracting new talent. Our staff continuity ranges from new interns to people who have spent their whole careers with us—our current longest tenured staff has been with JLR for 48 years. Staff continuity significantly streamlines interdisciplinary communication and coordination, enabling stable, long-term support for our clients. Our Associates have an average tenure of 17 years, reflecting our emphasis on maintaining our significant resource of experienced professionals.

Over the last few years, we have increased our focus on staff engagement in addition to technical excellence, reinforced the values and culture of employee ownership, and maintained our focus on long-term sustainable growth and profitability. Examples of staff engagement initiatives include Individual Training Plans to complement annual reviews; a formal Career Mentorship Program; an ongoing Leadership Development Series; improved and expanded project management tools and training; and grassroots committees working on topics ranging from diversity, equity and inclusion to sustainability to the development of our Reconciliation Action Plan.

JLR is dedicated to ensuring sustainability and being a responsible corporate steward. The establishment of the Environmental Sustainability Committee plays a crucial role in setting goals, monitoring and communicating progress, and providing policy recommendations. These changes include a transition to hybrid work models, increased remote work practices, alternative modes of business travel, widespread adoption of virtual meetings, reduced vehicle transport emissions, and a consolidation in the number of leased office buildings and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) and electricity consumptions. JLR has reduced our absolute GHG emissions by 28% since 2018 with a corporate goal to achieve a 46% reduction by 2030.

Live, work, and thrive in the communities we build

From our humble beginnings in Ottawa almost seven decades ago, we have embodied the attitude that we live, work, and thrive in the communities we build. As a result, JLR has been honoured to win numerous awards from various organizations, including recent recognition:

• Platinum Club status member with Canada’s Best Managed Companies program (ongoing).

• Manotick Watermain Link, Phase 1 and North Island Watermain Link project presented by the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Ontario (2023).

• Graham Creek Storm Infrastructure Renewal in the Environmental Sustainability category and Casselman Wastewater System Upgrade in the Small Municipalities category presented by the Ontario Public Works Association (2024).

• Keystone Award for job creation in the Ottawa Centre/South region (2024).

Looking ahead, JLR leadership is focused on investment in our company and people to enable continued project success with current and new clients, positively impacting the communities in which we live and work. We remain committed to providing positive career opportunities for our employee owners, while solving our clients toughest project challenges.

For more information contact:

The Making of a Music City

Ottawa aims to be a destination for live music and local champions are working hard to make it happen.

AGREAT CITY IS BUILT OF MANY THINGS, and key among those things is the culture seen on its gallery walls and city stages.

“I don't know how many pillars there are in a vibrant city, but I can tell you that live music, the arts, is definitely a pillar,” says Kevin Ford, the CEO of Ottawabased Calian Group, and a leader of a notable rescue of storied music venue Rainbow Bistro. “It's such a key pillar of the vibrant city, and I want to make sure that it doesn't get overlooked. It's great to see the City of Ottawa live music strategy, the support, like everyone's catching on to this. We're just catching the wave here now and we have to sustain it.”

The push to make Ottawa a “music city” continues to gain momentum. While the city has always had its champions of live music, the current effort can be traced to 2013 and the city’s new action plan for arts, heritage and culture, which led to the creation of an Ottawa Music Industry Working Group.

Music industry professionals got together and decided “we need some representation at the city level, or at least a non-profit organization, to work on behalf of the music industry, to start implementing music city strategies,” says Melanie Brulée, director of the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition (with the suitably stage-worthy acronym OMIC). OMIC emerged in 2016 and continues today as part of “a group of partners working towards a common goal.”

The city’s first official music strategy was released in 2018. Later came complementary initiatives such as the Capital Music Awards, and OMIC’s City Sounds Live concert series in conjunction with various BIAs. In 2022, the coalition secured a “groundbreaking” annual sponsorship with Kinaxis.

That same year, now-mayor Mayor Sutcliffe’s election campaign included a vow to make Ottawa “a music city.”

“To build a world-class city, we… need to build a city that excites people and offers diverse cultural experiences. Making Ottawa a music city is one way we can achieve that vision,” Sutcliffe vowed.

This campaign pledge came not long after Ford and other Ottawa business leaders labelled themselves the “Rainbow Bistro Business Amplifiers” and raised $50,000 to save the ByWard Market music venue, which had announced that it would close in a few days.

“I think what the owners just needed to know [was] that somebody cared about the Rainbow, and somebody cared about it being a vibrant community music venue,” says Ford, who’s an avid guitar player and recently played for a charity event held at the Rainbow. (Ford’s son, Cody Lee Ford, is a professional guitar player in the Swedish rock band Soen, which is currently touring North America and Europe.)

Ford speaks passionately about the importance of the Rainbow and other venues as foundational to Ottawa musicians, such as Junowinners Talk, Angelique Francis, and many others.

What is a

”Music City”?

“It's a destination where people know they can access high quality musical entertainment, where there's an ecosystem being built to help sustain and attract and retain that talent, whether it’s on stage or behind the scenes.”

“It is live music, it is recorded music, it is exporting music, it is importing music. It's the live music venues, it's the small festivals, it's the music on the street, it's Bluesfest. [It’s people] going out to a ton of shows per year, and buying merch. It takes the merch suppliers, it takes the vinyl pressing plants…the photographers and videographers and the makeup artists and the producers and engineers.”

“It’s really a matter of helping organize and amplify what's happening… to help build up that ecosystem so we get more labels and ticketing companies and managers and booking agents and publicists coming to start their businesses or expand their businesses in Ottawa to feed that ecosystem. We're pushing more music education, and not just guitar lessons for kids, but also music industry education, so we're building another generation.”

Melanie Brulée, Director of Ottawa Music Industry Coaltion (OMIC)

Attendees at The Next Stage event, hosted at the Rainbow Bistro

“As corporations, as business owners and employers in the city, we have a responsibility as community leaders,” Ford says. “Imagine if you don't have those institutions where we can grow our local artists, where we can actually go out and enjoy live music as a city, and for our staff and all the people that we employ.”

The critical role that music and other arts and culture must play in Ottawa’s growth—and especially the revitalization of post-COVID downtown core—is documented fact.

“There are studies around how access to arts and culture are more likely to make you a good neighbour, civic minded, more likely to vote, more likely to pick up your neighbour's garbage can, you know what I mean? More likely to be a better human being? We have that evidence in spades.”

“Many plans point to the importance of arts and culture and entertainment to the future of Ottawa,” says Erin Benjamin, a former touring musician and now president and CEO of the Ottawa-based Canadian Live Music Association.

“There are studies around how access to arts and culture are more likely to make you a good neighbour, civic minded, more likely to vote, more likely to pick up your neighbour's garbage can, you know what I mean? More likely to be a better human being? We have that evidence in spades.”

As a former musician, when I see businesses and others supporting live music/arts and culture, I immediately recognize someone who understands that we are all connected, and we are stronger and more viable together, someone who knows that for our community to truly thrive and meet its potential—economically, culturally and socially—we need everyone to contribute,” says Benjamin, who recently held a networking event with the Ottawa Board of Trade and business leaders interested in supporting live music. “True city building engages, values and integrates artists’ voices. Liveable cities recognize, acknowledge and respond to unique opportunities and challenges artists have, in order to ensure they can contribute meaningfully to place.”

The concept of “place” is key, says Mary Rowe, president and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute.

“There are lots of businesses that totally understand the role of culture and art and celebration and expression as being part of the vibrancy of urban life. If you're engaged in place-based business, if you're actually attached to people that come into your premises, if you're in the retail sector, for instance, you understand the role of culture and entertainment and different kinds of things, because it's what brings people together. It's what generates the kind of opportunity to actually have wealth created, because people are coming together.”

Rowe, who recently participated in the Ottawa Board of Trade’s City Building Summit, can be more blunt.

“A city without art is not an interesting city,” she says. “In fact, it's probably a dead city that's not going to survive. If you put a lot of people together—in general, it's commercial activity that attracts people to a city—then there will be art, because you can't really bring people together and not see art manifest.”

Ottawa has an enviable collection of federally funded visual art institutions, such as the National Gallery and the museums of history, war, science and nature. The Ottawa Art Gallery, in its

On stage at the Rainbow Room

“There are a lot of knowledge workers here in high stress jobs, that want to have a way to enjoy themselves at night. There’s a need, and there's a lot of talent in Ottawa already, so we want to make sure they're staying in Ottawa, that they have a reason to stay.”

glitzy, functional and relatively new space, is also a jewel in the city’s arts crown. Giving a concerted push to musical arts expands the municipality’s cultural attractiveness.

More and more Ontario cities are recognizing and acting upon this musical impetus, Brulée says, including Toronto, Hamilton, Mississauga, Kitchener-Waterloo, Kingston, London and Northern Ontario. Ottawa has an advantage with OMIC structured as an independent non-profit that can accept funding from the city and other levels of government and from private and corporate sponsors, and thereby grow beyond any city dictate. The growing sponsorship from Kinaxis, the Ottawa-based supply chain management company, is a strong example of OMIC working with a corporate partner. All such support helps the coalition grow programs such as seed grant funding for music video productions, stage crew mentorships and concerts in conjunction with BIAs and other initiatives.

Other builders of a music city are plentiful, from the bigger festivals such as Bluesfest, Jazzfest and Music and Beyond, to smaller players such as Cranium and Debaser.

“There are a lot of knowledge workers here in high stress jobs, that want to have a way to enjoy themselves at night. There’s a need, and there's a lot of talent in Ottawa already, so we want to make sure they're staying in Ottawa, that they have a reason to stay,” says Brulée, who spent 15 years as a recording and touring musician before she stepped in to lead OMIC two years ago.

“We're building on audience development where residents and workers can be proud of the city they live in and feel like they have camaraderie and almost an ownership of the talent in the city, because then you're an ambassador for your own town.”

There’ll be more changes in coming months, including the City of Ottawa’s new “nightlife commissioner” position to work with the industry and develop more evening entertainment, and potentially a choice new performance venue built by the National Capital Commission in the former Chapters space at the corner of Sussex and Rideau.

“This is an inflection point for Ottawa and it's a moment of great opportunity,” Rowe says. “With people comes economic opportunity

and culture and art has to be woven into that, and you already have great assets to build on. You're in an enviable position, and I'm looking forward to what's next.”

Brulée concludes, “At the end of the day, we're just needing to rebrand the city, and there's a ton of people doing that work right now. If it wasn't for all of them, we wouldn't be on a path to being amazing city.”

Melanie Brulée, Director of the Ottawa Music Industry Coaltion (OMIC) Erin Benjamin, President and CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association
Kevin Ford, CEO Calian Group

Ottawa's Live Music Scene Where live lives!

Our live music scene is supported by an eclectic ecosystem of people and places!

The Ottawa Music Industry Coalition (OMIC) has a current membership that includes artists, bands, producers, managers, venues, festivals, sound technicians, venues, promoters, entrepreneurs and other industry professionals.

The goal of OMIC (pronounced 'Oh! Mike!') is to make Ottawa and the surrounding region a great place to work in music— on stage, behind the scenes, or in the studio—and live as a music fan.

Visit for more information

BEECHWOOD CEMETERY: A Revered Landmark Interwoven with Ottawa's Rich Tapestry

NESTLED WITHIN THE HEART of Ottawa lies Beechwood Cemetery, a hallowed ground where the past and present converge. Established in 1873, Beechwood stands as a testament to the city's history, reflecting its enduring connections to the community, business sector, and the guardians of law and order.

As Ottawa's foremost final resting place, Beechwood Cemetery embodies the essence of the city's identity. Its serene landscapes offer solace to families, providing a tranquil sanctuary for remembrance and reflection. Over the last century and a half, Beechwood has become an integral part of Ottawa's cultural fabric, fostering a sense of continuity and belonging within the community.

Beyond its role as a burial ground, Beechwood Cemetery serves as a symbol of Ottawa's thriving business community. Many of the city's prominent figures and entrepreneurs rest here, their legacies interred amidst the sprawling grounds. Their contributions to commerce and industry echo through the corridors of Beechwood, underscoring the cemetery's vital connection to Ottawa's economic vitality.

Moreover, Beechwood Cemetery shares deep-rooted ties with the guardians of national security. As the final resting place for members of the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP, CSIS, Ottawa Police Service and Diplomatic Corps, Beechwood stands as a tribute to their unwavering dedication and sacrifice. Here, amidst the solemn rows of graves, their service is honoured and commemorated regularly, serving as a poignant reminder of their invaluable contributions to safeguarding the nation.

Beechwood Cemetery serves as a full-service funeral home, attending to the diverse needs of Ottawa's expanding city and its varied cultural and religious communities. Providing a spectrum of services customized to individual preferences and traditions, Beechwood ensures that every family can honour their loved ones according to their beliefs and customs.

In addition to its solemn role, Beechwood Cemetery is a vibrant hub of public engagement, hosting a series of historical and cultural events free to the public. From guided tours exploring the cemetery's rich heritage to educational seminars shedding light on Ottawa's past, Beechwood offers a wealth of opportunities for visitors to immerse themselves in the city's history and culture.

In essence, Beechwood Cemetery is more than just a burial ground; it is a living testament to Ottawa's storied past and vibrant present. Its enduring links to the community, business sector, and pillars of security stand as a testament to its profound significance in the tapestry of the nation's capital. As Beechwood continues to evolve, it remains a cherished landmark, preserving the memories and legacies of those who have shaped Ottawa's history.

At the Rosebowl Steak & Seafood, we invite you to embark on a culinary journey where the finest cuts of steak meet the freshest seafood, all perfectly complemented by our expertly crafted cocktails. Nestled in the heart of Little Italy, our restaurant is a sanctuary for food enthusiasts who crave an exceptional dining experience.

We are more than just a restaurant; we are a destination for unforgettable dining experiences. Join us at the Rosebowl Steak & Seafood, where every meal is a celebration of taste, and every visit is a memorable occasion.

228 Preston Street, Ottawa (613) 729-4000 @rosebowlsteakandseafood


Pre-Cast, Ready to Install Concrete Solutions

IN 2022, AFTER 25 YEARS OF SUCCESS as a residential and commercial contractor for about 2,000 construction homes annually, Gerry Daalder seized a golden opportunity to both expand his business and engage in large scale innovation when he purchased Kustom Pre-Cast Koncrete Ltd.

Upon purchasing the company, Daalder says he addressed the question, “What can we do in the concrete world to help solve my clients’ issues on job sites?” In the process, he adds, “we started to look at different concrete products in an effort to determine ‘what can we do to change the industry?’”

In addition to his regular contracting work Daalder has, over the past couple of years, spent considerable time and expense modernizing the Kanata-based company. The 58-year old entrepreneur has purchased new equipment, and has patents pending for a new type of concrete that will have myriad applications and benefits.

Upon purchasing the company, Daalder says he addressed the question, “What can we do in the concrete world to help solve my clients’ issues on job sites?” In the process, he adds, “we started to look at different concrete products in an effort to determine ‘what can we do to change the industry?’”

The result has been the engineering of a different concrete with at least 80 per cent less CO2 than regular concrete, thus reducing the company’s carbon footprint by a similar amount, which provides a much stronger, better quality concrete product. Building with 80 percent less carbon also means that instead of having to buy carbon offsets, clients will be able to sell their carbon or be closer to carbon neutral.

“I think the biggest benefit is carbon reduction. There’s nothing else that’s available in the market compared to what we’re doing for concrete in reducing carbon,” Daalder stresses.

“I also think that would be of extreme interest for all levels of government,” he adds. Another significant advantage is that “with our higher strength, better quality concrete, we should be able to eliminate at least 20 percent of the material that goes into a building.” Moreover, unlike regular concrete, which salt will eat away at it, salt does not affect this product, Daalder says.

Kustom Precast, which now has 11 employees, has developed ready-forinstall products for both residential and commercial applications, such as porch slabs for homes, and entry stair and stairs for stair wells “with a pleasing high-end anti-slip surface. We’re also working on a modular system that’s almost finalized where we can simply panelize housing where we bring walls that are made out of high strength concrete,” says Daalder.

Those walls come fully insulated, ready for wiring and drywall. When used in multiunits, such as low to mid-rise apartment buildings, it also offers a much higher fire resistance than regular concrete, is very sturdy to reduce noise levels, and is also much less susceptible to physical damage in situations where occupants are irresponsible.

Commercial applications include standardized replacement slabs for broken sidewalks.

“We are extremely excited about our market, which is huge, and letting the world know what we are doing,” Daalder says.


TTAWA IS A CITY of enormous potential. We are on the cusp of being able to get so much right, to capitalize on the talents of creators and the natural beauty of our city to become the place we aspire to be.

Downtown Ottawa has, for decades, struggled under a mindset of being for office workers, desolate after hours and weekends. One-off festivals crammed into Sparks Street cannot make a vibrant, 24/7, year-round place for people. Even pre-pandemic, federal government was moving towards hybrid work environments. The City needed to be ready for this transition but missed the boat, continuing to plan transit as if an endless supply of office workers would continue to arrive, five days a week, for their 8-4 workday.

Even if that had continued, the core of our city would have continued to be a place inhospitable to the needs of people because of its lack of housing, parks, and social spaces. The City’s lack of investment in urban places, like parks, public washrooms, libraries and community centres doesn’t incentivize people to live in urban areas.

Federal government initiatives to convert surplus offices to housing are too slow. Selling off public assets is mired in a bureaucratic “market value” policy approach that assumes disposal of government assets is the same if it’s a used desk or a 40-yearold office tower. We could choose to convert these buildings to non-market housing with dollar-a-year leases and give a leg-up to cooperative housing, starting conversions in months, not years.

Recent changes to Ottawa’s Development Charges bylaw will have a negative effect on conversions and new home construction in the core. An infill apartment building located on existing streets, making use of existing sewers and services, will be saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in fees (per home) that will be used to subsidize suburban expansion. These fees, supposedly in a “growth pays for growth” model are inequitable when it comes to infill housing as no new services, roads or transit is constructed.

In 2013 planning approval delays were seen as contributing to a negative economic impact for the province, adding $20,000 per home, per month of delay. This overall impact will have only increased since the 2018 updated cost estimates. A 50-unit apartment building that complies with all rules should be approved in months. Typical delays will add six months or more to planning approval, with a total economic impact of $6 million, of which at least $2 million is construction cost alone.

Provincial changes imposed through Bill 23 More Homes Built Faster Act 2022, and others, have wreaked havoc on municipalities. While too early to tell, these provincial acts appear to be having a negative effect on housing approvals if only because staff are buried in rapidly changing legislation while managing more files with an increasingly burdensome approvals process and encroaching NIMBYism on, seemingly, every file.

As a city, we struggle with affordable housing. We have talented people and organizations who put forward ideas and solutions that are ignored for timid, uninspired solutions. Offers to create affordable housing are ignored, mired in an inequitable hiring process.

Provincial building code changes will influence change if the building industry is ready: more extensive use of mass timber will allow taller, more sustainable buildings that are better quality, more affordable and faster to build. But we need a construction sector willing to take on these new challenges and a manufacturing industry geared up to meet demand, coupled with an experienced design profession. Our office, currently, has five mass-timber buildings in various stages of design, provided we can keep them viable in the face of rising municipal fees, continued planning delays and find construction and manufacturing partners to deliver.

We need to embrace the talent that exists in our city. We need to reduce bureaucratic delays, create a more permissive approach to planning and embrace a Yes In My Backyard mindset to create the city we aspire to be. We need to see the talent in our communities, hire local creators to embrace the challenges we face and bring solutions to the table. We need to embrace creativity and beauty to create the City we aspire to be.

The time for change is now.

Credit Architects DCA, Developer Ambassador Realty Inc. Six storey mass timber infill 45 unit rental apartment building in Old Ottawa South, currently in development
Credit Architects DCA; mural by Ininew and Anishnaabe artist, Peatr Thomas, and Haitian-Canadian graffiti artist, Jimmy Baptiste Creative adaptive reuse of an existing building to provide a last-mile hub for delivery services in Centretown

Meaningful youth involvement sparks innovation

Ottawa’s Youth Councillor program taps into the energy and creativity of young people to build a more vibrant city.

“IF YOU’RE TRYING TO ATTRACT 30-year-old workers, make your city a place for two-year-old children.”

So said Mike Moffatt, senior director of policy and innovation at the University of Ottawa’s Smart Prosperity Institute when he gave the keynote address at the 2024 Ottawa City Building Summit.

“That is the biggest driver of mobility in Canada right now,” Moffatt said. “Young professional couples are asking, ‘Where can I afford to raise my kids?’ If you have a great city to raise kids, you’re going to have a healthy economy.”

Moffatt’s comments came immediately after a panel called “Young Leaders Lens,” during which a panel of four Ottawa youth councillors—Ottawans who will be looking to raise children here in the future—presented their ideas. Moderator Adam Halawa, community developer and Ottawa Youth Council co-ordinator, had become a father to his second child that very morning.

“The two most common reasons to move from one province to another—the first is going to university or college and the second is graduating from university or college and getting their first job,” Moffatt says. “The bulk of people who leave Ontario—more than half of them—are between the ages of 19 and 32.”

“We want a city where youth are doing amazing things and helping inspire others to do the same,” Halawa said, adding that his panelists were keen to make the world a better place for children and youth.

The youth councillors’ comments on the kinds of things Ottawa could do to make the city more attractive to young people were therefore particularly à propos.

“We want a city where youth are doing amazing things and helping inspire others to do the same,” Halawa said, adding that his panelists were keen to make the world a better place for children and youth.

One project they would like Ottawa to adopt is the UNICEF-led Child Friendly Cities initiative, which aims to give children rights at the local level, using the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as its foundation. The initiative is also a network that brings together government, civil society organizations, the private sector, academia, the media, and children themselves in this goal of making childfriendly cities.

Asked what’s hampered efforts in Ottawa, Danica Xiao, an undergraduate student studying health sciences at McMaster University and a youth councillor for the past two years, said the process need to be more collaborative.

“Progress might have been slower in Ottawa as a reflection of the more individualistic mindset where a lot of different stakeholders like government bodies, different organizations and the private and public business community have worked individually towards achieving this goal, rather than adopting a more unified and collaborative approach between different stakeholders,” Xiao said.

“This initiative has been on Youth Ottawa’s radar for some time now, but it has become clear it needs to be a more city-wide initiative.”

Young Leader Lens Panel at City Building Summit 2024

Xiao said the criteria for becoming a child-friendly city include being a safe, accessible, equal and engaging city, and one that’s easily accessible and navigable for all children.

“This involves addressing issues such as safe pathways, accessible public transportation and infrastructure that accommodates the needs of all children and youth, including those with disabilities,” Xiao said. “Improving sidewalks, bike lanes, and public transit routes can enhance the mobility and independence of youth and children, allowing them to access essential services, recreational facilities, and educational opportunities.”

She added that parks, playgrounds, community centres, and recreational areas where young people can socialize are important, but a lack of good lighting, maintenance, and concerns about safety sometimes deter families from using them.

Further, she said affordable childcare and better mentoring options for older students are both needed, and she suggested establishing more youth councils and youth advisory boards to motivate and empower youth, not only with local government, but also with the businesses that were represented at the summit.

Kerbens Boisette, a graduate of Carleton and founder of Booztbrand Inc., a digital marketing company, told summit attendees about how working with young people allows businesses to tap into their creativity and energy while also ensuring proposed ideas are attractive to their demographic in terms of their aspirations and their needs.

“When we inspire youth as leaders, this really fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility,” Boisette said. “Furthermore, involving youth bridges the gap between generations. It’s really about creating a culture where people feel respected, valued and included in the decision-making process.”

Maria Paula Choque, who emigrated from Colombia two years ago and works at incubator13 after having completed studies in international business management, told the group that there are lots of opportunities in Ottawa outside of the obvious government ones.

“There’s a lot of ideas that that we have that we want to contribute to those projects, so please, let us get involved in a meaningful way,” Choque implored the business leaders who gathered for the summit. “It is not just to say, ‘Oh, yes, we consult with a group of youth,’ [rather, it’s] looking for diversity and representation, [and] understanding the unique needs of youth.”

Youth Ottawa has been operating for 26 years, providing youth across the city with resources, training, and support to build the skills, confidence, and strategies they need to succeed and help build a better community for themselves and their peers. Its programs reach more than 8,000 youth per year.

“There’s a lot of ideas that that we have that we want to contribute to those projects, so please, let us get involved in a meaningful way,” Choque implored the business leaders who gathered for the summit.

The Youth Councillor program offers its members one workshop and professional development session each month, explained Youth Ottawa executive director Jesse Card in an interview.

“Some of the topics have included professional speaking, community-building, active citizenship and networking,” Card said, adding that they move the sessions to different city-owned facilities each time, and often city councillors will attend as well. The goal is for each city councillor to have a youth councillor who can shadow them and learn about civic engagement first-hand from them.

Other like-minded youth-based organizations in the city include CHEO’s YouthNet, Ottawa Child and Youth Initiative, Rural Ottawa Youth and the Ottawa Police Youth Advisory Committee.

Ottawa Youth Panel Moderator: Adam Halawa
Ottawa Youth Councillor: Kerbens Boisette
Ottawa Youth Councillors (from right to left): Kerbens Boisette; Maria Paula Choque; Danica Xiao


The Youth Services Bureau (YSB) supports and empowers more than 3,000 youth and families every month right here in Ottawa. YSB runs two emergency youth shelters and four apartment buildings, offers a range of free mental health services, provides employment support, as well as programs for youth in conflict with the law.

YSB staff – more than 325 professionals working from 20 locations citywide – live the ethos of supporting youth no matter where they live, what they look like, or whom they love. With services ranging from housing for vulnerable youth, to a crisis line and mental health walk-in clinics, to employment and justice support, YSB’s work has a pivotal impact on our community.


The YSB Foundation is honoured to work with partners to help them achieve their community investment goals. Business and community engagement opportunities range from corporate grants, to event and program sponsorships, team volunteer opportunities, and in-kind support.

One event not to be missed is the YSB Foundation’s annual RISE & THRIVE Breakfast taking place October 17th at the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne. This bold, energetic event showcases YSB’s work with young people and their families and celebrates the community that invests in that work. Sponsorships and tables are available for this annual fall event.

“ YSB was the only place that I not only felt like I was welcome – I felt like I was understood and appreciated for the first time in my life.” - Amara, YSB Client and Tenant Committee Member

Every young person has their own story. While each path is different, they can lead to a bright future… with your help. Our community is experiencing an unprecedented increase in mental health crises among youth. Donations ensure YSB’s mental health services are available free of charge, and that young people do not have to endure long wait lists while they are suffering.

One of the major stressors for young people is having a safe and stable home. Each year, more than 1400 youth in Ottawa find themselves homeless, often due to family conflict, with upwards of 40% of those youth being part of the LGBTQ2S+ community. At YSB, they are welcomed into a supportive environment where housing, health, and a sense of community are top priorities.

YSB staff are deeply committed to the young people they serve. Nothing they do happens without the investment of partners, the collaboration with other local agencies, and the support of the community.


To explore ways to engage your workplace in supporting YSB’s work, connect with:

Patti Murphy, YSB Foundation | 613-729-0577 ext. 50262

Find us on LinkedIn:

ENRICHING LIVES AND LOCAL ECONOMIES: The Power of Community Investment

IN MY LINE OF WORK, PEOPLE OFTEN ASK ME how to create more wealth for themselves and their families.

While I regularly provide tried-and-true advice—such as budgeting strategies, maximizing tax deductions, and making smart investment choices—I always emphasize the importance of investing in your community and city for long-term returns, both financially and in terms of quality of life.

When you hear “invest in your community,” what comes to mind? Some might argue that their tax dollars are already supporting local initiatives. However, as someone who has lived in Ottawa for over 28 years, I can attest to the profound impact that active involvement in local events can have.

We are fortunate to live in a city with such a diverse array of events. Whether it's food-focused gatherings like the annual Rib Fest, cultural celebrations like the Latin American Festival, music festivals such as Bluesfest and JazzFest, physical activities like the Tamarack Race Weekend or educational events like the Canada-Wide Science Fair, there truly is something for everyone. These events not only enrich our community but also serve as significant economic drivers, creating opportunities for local businesses, residents and visitors to participate.

The City of Ottawa’s Tourism Office highlights that major events and festivals enhance the quality of life of both our residents and our visitors, which is a key factor in attracting and retaining businesses and talent. They explain that initiatives like place branding and new product development improve the visitor experience. Moreover, a vibrant tourism sector supports small and medium-sized businesses such as restaurants, retailers, and venue spaces, all of which contribute to a thriving Ottawa economy.

In addition to for-profit events, another pillar in my philosophy is giving back at a local level. I am honoured to be involved with multiple non-profit organizations in Ottawa, such as The Ottawa Cancer Foundation, The Heart Institute and the Bruyère Foundation. These organizations, among many others in Ottawa, provide essential services to those in need right here in our own community.

Each year, I host the “Let’s Take a Swing at Cancer” golf tournament with close friends and business leaders in Ottawa, contributing to our local support efforts. Last year, I participated in The Ottawa Cancer Foundation’s event, Fight for the Cure, where our collective efforts raised over one million dollars to fund vital programs and services for those affected by cancer in the Ottawa area. It is through participating in these organizations and fundraising initiatives that I realized just how giving the Ottawa community can be.

Investing in your community isn’t just about economic contributions—it’s about fostering belonging and mutual support. By participating in local events, festivals, and charitable initiatives, you enhance your own life and strengthen our city’s fabric. Your involvement helps create an environment where businesses flourish, residents enjoy a higher quality of life, and those in need receive support. So, as you consider ways to build wealth for yourself and your family, remember that the greatest returns often come from investing in the community around you.

“The City of Ottawa’s Tourism Office highlights that major events and festivals enhance the quality of life of both our residents and our visitors, which is a key factor in attracting and retaining businesses and talent.”
Duane Francis and his wife, Julie, at the Black Tie Bingo for the Bruyère Foundation


IMAGINE STEPPING OFF A PLANE at the Ottawa International Airport and into a glimpse of the future— the energy future.

Nestled amongst the bustling arrivals area, you’ll find the innovative Hydro Ottawa eco home. This isn't your average display—it's an interactive experience designed to educate and inspire both Ottawa residents and visitors on their journeys towards a more sustainable energy future.

Transforming how we power our lives

The eco home illustrates the energy transition in action and exemplifies Hydro Ottawa's leadership in the energy transition. It demonstrates how innovative solutions, such as electric vehicle chargers, solar panels with battery storage, and heat pumps can empower residents to embrace clean energy and reduce their carbon footprint.

• Solar and battery storage: explains how solar panels and battery systems can help homeowners generate and store their own clean energy, reducing reliance on the grid.

“Everyone has a role to play in the energy transition,” explains Shawn Carr, Manager, Customer Experience with Hydro Ottawa. “The eco home serves to demonstrate that the transition to a sustainable energy future is not only possible but also achievable through the adoption of innovative technologies, electrification, and a commitment to energy conservation."

Key themes and panels found in the home include:

• Renewable energy: highlights the importance of renewable energy sources like solar, hydroelectric, and biomass in meeting Ottawa's growing electricity needs.

• Electric vehicle charging: promotes EVs as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provides information on charging options.

• Heat pumps: highlights the benefits of heat pumps as an energyefficient and environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional heating and cooling systems.

• Energy conservation: provides practical tips for reducing energy consumption at home, such as using LED bulbs, unplugging devices, and switching to energy-efficient appliances.

Building a brighter tomorrow—together

The eco home is also an opportunity to learn more about how the utility is keeping Ottawa connected today and into the future and educating customers about the benefits of electrification and available technologies so they can meet customers where they are on their electrification journey.

The utility is committed to both adapting their infrastructure to withstand the impacts of climate change and mitigating their carbon footprint through investments in renewable energy and grid modernization.

"Hydro Ottawa is committed to providing our customers with safe, reliable, and responsible energy," says Guillaume Paradis, Chief Electricity Distribution Officer, Hydro Ottawa. "The modernization of the grid is essential to achieving this goal. By integrating renewable energy sources and supporting the growing demand for electrification, we are ensuring that our community has access to a clean and reliable energy supply for generations to come."

As part of that modernization, Hydro Ottawa is undertaking studies to assess the impact of electrification by 2050 and the resilience of the distribution system to climate change. They’re also exploring non-wire alternatives, like solar power and battery storage to meet future energy needs.

Visitors can learn more about these steps in these panels:

• Climate change and adaptation: emphasizes the impact of climate change on Ottawa's energy infrastructure and highlights Hydro Ottawa's efforts to adapt and build a more resilient grid.

• Smart energy future: explores the concept of a smart energy system that leverages modernized infrastructure and innovative solutions like microgrids and smart communities.

Empowering our community and its residents

The eco home transcends the typical museum exhibit. It's also a platform for education and engagement.

Visitors can charge their phones in the wireless charging station while they choose what to learn through several interactive touch screens or scan QR codes to access a wealth of information on Hydro

Ottawa's website—from details on government incentives for green technologies, to resources for businesses looking to reduce their carbon footprint, and tips for individuals wanting to make their homes more energy-efficient.

The impact of the eco home extends far beyond the walls of the exhibit itself. Hydro Ottawa and the Ottawa International Airport Authority are partnering to achieve a sustainable future which is why the location was selected for the home. The utility is helping the airport reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2040 through projects like LED lighting conversions and feasibility studies outlining different strategies and technologies to achieve its goals.

Businesses looking to reduce their environmental footprint can find inspiration in the showcased technologies. Imagine powering your office with renewable energy or installing EV charging stations for a more sustainable fleet.

For residents, the eco home offers a chance to explore practical steps they can take to green their homes. Interactive displays explain the benefits of smart home technology and even small changes that lead to big results, like switching to LED lighting.

A smart energy future within reach

The eco home isn't just about showcasing the future; it's about making that future attainable.

So, the next time you find yourself at the Ottawa International Airport, take a moment to explore the eco home. It might just be the inspiration you need to take flight towards a smart energy future.

If you’re not flying on your next trip but still want to check out the home content, visit or

Build a secure future with TAAG Law

Tailored legal services for Ottawa’s entrepreneurs

In Canada, the best way to create long-term prosperity and security for yourself and your family is to build your own business. For Andrej Litvinjenko, TAAG Law’s founder and Managing Director, this drive puts him in the same shoes as the firm’s clients who are business owners themselves.

Like any entrepreneur, Andrej wanted to bring something new to the market, something he styles as “entrepreneur law.” The individual is the only constant: they create and exit businesses, and acquire and sell assets. Instead of focusing on the entrepreneur at the centre, law firms are typically reactive to the client’s problems, when and if they learn about them. And that’s assuming they even practice in all the key legal areas.

Andrej has instead focused TAAG Law on serving the entrepreneur at the personal level. Every new client relationship begins with seeking to understand motivations, visions, strengths, and risk appetite. This enables Andrej and his team to bypass “boilerplate” approaches and instead deliver tailored advice and strategies that reinforce the client’s explicit objectives and align with their priorities.

The TAAG Law shop practices in all key areas an entrepreneur needs either on their personal or business side: corporate, commercial, intellectual property, wills & estate, employment, real estate, and dispute settlement. Whether launching a new brand, selling your business while minimizing taxes, or restructuring your personal holdings, TAAG Law delivers a nimble and comprehensive approach.

Responsive, practical and proactive legal advisors

Customer service is paramount for Andrej, who regards himself “as an entrepreneur first and a lawyer second”. He elaborates, “getting the right answer is meaningless if it takes days to acknowledge an email, weeks between updates, or the client being the one pushing the file forward.” Putting the client first starts with accessibility: every TAAG Law client enjoys 7-days a week access to their legal advisors. No gatekeeping assistants: calls are returned, emails are acknowledged.

When it comes to the actual legal advice, TAAG Law offers flat rate pricing for most key services, enabling deeper discussions and encouraging revisions to develop genuinely tailored products. Specifically, solutions that are practical and appropriate for the circumstances and that the client has been able to ask probing questions about until they feel fully informed about what is being done and why.

“If we do our job right,” Andrej notes, “you will not come back to us with that problem again, because you have been empowered to solve it yourself. Your business will grow, and you are going to bring us new problems—which makes our business grow.”

Integrated professional services save time and money

Although TAAG Law is its own firm, it operates within the broader framework of the TAAG Professional Services brand, which includes accounting , marketing & design, and family office for high-net-worth families. Andrej describes it as an “à la carte menu.” Clients may work with just TAAG Law or just accounting or any combination of TAAG services.

With all the key professional services and entrepreneur needs under one roof, TAAG clients are able to save time and money. For example, when Andrej needs to discuss a tax issue with a client’s accountant, it often means days if not weeks of delays. But when the client works with both TAAG Law and TAAG Accounting, the advice he needs is mere metres away. This enables TAAG Law to rapidly resolve complex risks and drive projects forward. As entrepreneurs know well, speed means momentum; momentum means growth.

Building a business to build a community

TAAG Law’s impact extends beyond individual businesses and radiates into the community. “By helping individuals grow their businesses, they can better invest in their families, friends and communities. They create jobs and support local initiatives. Ultimately, this creates an Ottawa that is more dynamic, selfsustaining, and primed for synergies that lead to even further social innovation and growth. Everyone knows SME businesses are the backbone of quality employment in Canada—there is no better way to support your community than ensuring your local businesses thrive,” says Andrej.

Capital gains changes: A smart time to consult your legal advisor

As the federal government announced significant changes to increase capital gains, especially for business owners, it is crucial for entrepreneurs to schedule time with their lawyers and accountants to ensure they are as prepared as possible. This may mean doing strategic rollovers of assets, especially shares, into proper structures including trusts. These changes, set to take effect on June 25, 2024, will have profound implications for Canadian business owners.

TAAG Law ensures clients are well-prepared to navigate these changes. For expert guidance on capital gains changes and comprehensive support for your business, please contact TAAG Law by calling 613-234-6006 or visit:

Andrej Litvinjenko, Managing Director and Lead Counsel, TAAG Law



DOWNTOWN is a top priority.

It’s essential that we breathe new life into our city’s core. Just a couple of months ago, on March 5th, City Council approved the Economic Development Strategy, with a key focus on downtown and the ByWard Market.

I also want to thank the Ottawa Board of Trade for their exceptional work on their Downtown Action Plan. I look forward to thoroughly reviewing the plan and collaborating with all levels of government to realize our shared vision.

Since my campaign and throughout my tenure as Mayor, my goal for the downtown core has always been clear: our downtown must exemplify the best of Ottawa. It should be a place where businesses thrive, residents feel safe, and visitors are eager to explore.

Our objective is to revitalize downtown areas to boost economic activity and enhance long-term growth and resilience.

We want to simultaneously enhance cultural vibrancy, tourism, placemaking,

Since my campaign and throughout my tenure as Mayor, my goal for the downtown core has always been clear: our downtown must exemplify the best of Ottawa. It should be a place where businesses thrive, residents feel safe, and visitors are eager to explore.

livability, and safety. A key part of this vision includes supporting Ottawa’s vibrant music industry and the incredibly talented artists and professionals who have made Ottawa a music hub.

I am excited about the future and the possibilities ahead as we work together to revitalize our downtown. We have the chance to create remarkable spaces for future generations. A thriving downtown is

crucial, not just for economic growth, but for the cultural and social structure of our community.

However, we know that we cannot do it alone. To address the challenges facing downtown, we must adopt a Team Ottawa approach and work collaboratively with all levels of government.

We have a unique opportunity to ensure that our downtown is not a place of vacant spaces and boarded-up buildings, rather a vibrant destination full of life and opportunities.

With collaboration and commitment, we can achieve this transformation. It’s the Team Ottawa approach. It’s the responsible approach. And it’s a vital approach.

Mark Sutcliffe, Mayor of Ottawa


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