Ottawa Business Journal Winter 2022

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WINTER 2022 Vol. 23, NO. 08







WEB EDITOR David Sali, 613-696-9481 CONTENT CREATOR & CAMPAIGN MANAGER Lisa Thibodeau, 613-696-9482


NEWS RELEASES Please e-mail to ADVERTISING SALES General inquiries, 613-696-9494


Wendy Baily, 613-696-9483 Eric Dupuis, 613-696-9485

04 Prospectus 06 Caroline Phillip’s Up Close: George Hanna 08 Mark Sutcliffe on what makes a mayor 10 Robert Hocking on direct-to-consumer 12 Ron Corbett hunts the city’s first shawarma 17 Bright side of business

Victoria Stewart, 613-696-9484 CREATIVE DIRECTOR Tanya Connolly-Holmes, 613-696-9487 DESIGN DEPARTMENT Celine Paquette, 613-696-9486

BEST OTTAWA BUSINESS AWARDS 21 No city honours its businesses better

Regan Van Dusen, 613-696-9580 FINANCE Cheryl Schunk, 613-696-9490 PRINTED BY Transcontinental Transmag 10807 Rue Mirabeau, Anjou, QC H1J 1T7 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR


30 Real estate look ahead 32 Kanata North: March Networks looks to expand 35 Techopia: Look to the funding 40 A marquee launch 43 Commercial real estate list 54 People on the move

We welcome opinions about any material published in the Ottawa Business Journal or issues of interest to local businesspeople. Only letters with the writer’s full name, address and telephone number will be considered for publication. Addresses and phone numbers will not be published, but they might be used to verify authenticity. Letters can be e-mailed to Ottawa Business Journal is published by


PRESIDENT Michael Curran

Doing business in Eastern Ontario’s ‘comfort zone’


ach weekday, Omid McDonald leaves his home in Ottawa’s west end, gets in his car and drives to work at the Dairy Distillery, a new business he and his partners opened in Almonte a couple of years ago. “I’m on the road about half an hour — and that’s amazing in itself,” McDonald says. “In rush hour, it could take the same amount of time just to get to downtown Ottawa.” As he comes off the highway into Almonte, he passes the town’s welcome

sign. “That alone puts me in a nice frame of mind,” he says. “The whole town, with its amazing restaurants and coffee shops and the laid-back people, puts me immediately in a comfort zone. I am there to work, but also to enjoy life. And it happens.” Apart from the town’s vibe, there are other advantages. “This place really welcomes new businesses,” McDonald says. “If we’d set up shop in Ottawa, the project, with all the [waits for] getting permits and permissions, would have been

delayed at least a year.” That business-friendly attitude seems to be boosting business activity in the town, even in a time of pandemic. “You feel momentum,” McDonald says. “Even [with] COVID, the downtown has had a better year than ever. There’s lots of residential and business construction. My 23 employees are very happy to be here.” McDonald is more than happy to help spread the good news about business and investment opportunities in Eastern Ontario.

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES EOBJ has spoken to people from six counties and seven cities in Eastern Ontario. We have concentrated on the region surrounding Ottawa, encompassing everything from Renfrew County on the west end to Prescott-Russell on the east, as well as the communities to the south that run along the St. Lawrence Seaway. The story everywhere seems to be the same. Communities and counties throughout the region are pulling together to let the world know Eastern Ontario, not always thought of as an economic powerhouse, has advantages that make it far more competitive with larger, more populated centres than most realize. Continued on next page



A guaranteed minimum of 10,000 copies are printed and distributed.


Eastern Ontario is far more competitive with surrounding business regions than most people would realize.


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Next-gen tech firms writing new chapter


In true Dickensian fashion, Andrew Waitman has a nice summation for 2021 as it pertains to the overall business climate. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” said the CEO of Assent Compliance. Think of a business community divided, just like the great work of literature. In one city, you have mainstreet businesses: restaurants, retail boutiques, hair salons, travel agencies, dry cleaners and the like. In the other city are homebuilders, realtors and, more pertinent to this column, technology companies. While one city suffers, the other booms. Even in the boom industries, there are questions. For years, many have wondered out loud about Ottawa’s next generation of technology companies. Yes, Shopify reins supreme. Yes, Kanata still has its swagger with global telecom R&D centres and local flagships such as Kinaxis and Calian Group. Besides these notable enterprises, who comes next? Well, that question was partially answered in 2021. In the latter half of the year – while some of us at OBJ were bemoaning a lack of



investment in next-gen local firms – came a venture capital bonanza reminiscent of the turn of the millennium. Here are some of the recent recipients (all funds in Canadian dollars): Fullscript at $300 million, GaN Systems at $190 million, Threekit at $45 million, Knak at $32 million, Fellow at $30 million, Rockport Networks at $62 million and Gadget at $11 million. These deals alone approach $700 million, and by no means is that list exhaustive. For example, left off that list is Rewind, which alone raised $100 million this year. In a recent Techopia Live podcast, co-founder Michael Potter had this to say about the company’s quick one-two punch when fundraising this year: “We essentially bootstrapped and raised very, very little capital up until that point,” said Potter. “There’s just a ton of demand out there. Obviously, we want to take advantage of the growth opportunity that we see in front of us.” For his part, Waitman believes the goal in Ottawa should be more companies that hit $100 million in annual revenues. “We really need to be looking for that level of resilience, where companies go beyond $25

millon and $50 million.” With hundreds of millions in investment pouring into the city in 2021, Waitman’s goal seems more achievable. Let’s not forget the pandemic. What will it mean? In the past, those companies might have been restrained by a limited pool of local tech talent. “We have been very headquartercentric,” as Waitman put it. With the onset of remote work, it will be fascinating to see how scale-ups recruit from St. John’s to Vancouver to cope with the ongoing labour shortage. If these next-gen companies stick to their knitting, the investments will flourish into the most stable and diversified technology sector the city has ever known.

@objpublisher Michael Curran

At OBJ, the new year brings a new nomination period for one of the most sought after awards in the city for young entrepreneurs and business leaders. The 2022 Forty Under 40 nomination period will open in the next few days. This year is a special one. It will mark the 25th group of recipients for the awards program. Together with our partner, the Ottawa Board of Trade, and longtime lead sponsor uOttawa Telfer EMBA, we welcome nominations from leaders who are under the age of 40 on June 30th and demonstrate remarkable business achievement, expertise and community involvement. Visit



Research conducted by

Abacus Data






Family is a priority to him. He and his wife, Malake, have three boys: Michael, 15; Joshua, 12; and Jacob, nine. He has weekly family dinners with his siblings at his parents’ home. “Every Sunday, mom still cooks for us.”


Hanna was honoured with a Forty Under 40 Award in 2014, followed by the Order of Ottawa in 2016.


He’s very proud of his Lebanese heritage. Volunteer roles include being chair of the Ottawa Lebanese Festival.


He follows his father’s advice to put his full effort into every part of the business, even if it’s just washing dishes. “Make sure you always do it to the best of your ability,” his father told him a long time ago.

When business life is a slice BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS





orget candy — George Hanna was like a kid in a pizza store growing up. He loved being at his father’s Gabriel Pizza so much that he would hide from his mom, behind stacks of pizza boxes, when it came time to go home. Malake would get so frustrated trying to find her eldest son that she’d often leave, letting him return with his dad at closing time on those busy Friday nights, when the entire family came out to lend a hand. “I did whatever I could to stay,” explained Hanna of a childhood that revolved around the family’s popular east-

end pizza place on St. Joseph Boulevard. Whether he was cleaning trays, chopping pepperoni or hand-delivering flyers, he was in his element. “I always knew that this is what I wanted to do,” said the 47-year-old president of Gabriel Pizza. “I didn’t think of doing anything else except owning my own Gabriel’s, to be honest with you. That was my dream, that was my plan.” It was Hanna’s hard-working immigrant father, Michael, who started Gabriel Pizza in 1977. He ran his small business with help from his parents and five younger brothers, whom he’d brought over from Lebanon with money he’d saved working in Canada’s hospitality industry.

Over the course of 20 years, the family expanded Gabriel Pizza in the east end, laying the groundwork for Hanna to create the successful franchise that it is today, serving two million-plus pizzas a year. Michael remains the CEO. There are 40 Gabriel Pizza locations in the region. Hanna is also behind Crust & Crate, an artisan fast-fired pizza pub. It has restaurants at Lansdowne, on Ogilvie Road and in the south-end suburb of Findlay Creek. He’s adding a fourth Crust & Crate next year, in Kanata Lakes. “I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished as a family, as a company. Of course, I can’t do it alone,” Hanna added, while singling out Cory Boast and Ray Skaff


He’d like to “at least double” his Gabriel Pizza and Crust & Crate presence within the next five years. He’s also interested in adding another restaurant brand under the company’s umbrella.

from his executive team. This past summer, Hanna received probably the best news of all. Gabriel Pizza was announced as the new official pizza sponsor for the Ottawa Senators. It was Steve Chestnut, senior director of corporate sponsorships at Senators Sports and Entertainment, who told Hanna during a Zoom meeting in August. Hanna remembers getting so excited that his leg started to shake involuntarily. Gabriel’s has also been the official pizza sponsor for OSEG’s Redblacks and 67’s since TD Place reopened in 2014. It would be misleading to think Hanna’s career has been nothing but

grand openings and corporate sports sponsorship deals. His ambitious vision to grow Gabriel Pizza has involved long hours, financial risks, tough decisions and periods of uncertainty and stress. Hanna was in his late 20s when he started a franchise agreement for Gabriel Pizza. By this time, he’d studied business at Algonquin College and was very involved with the family business, which now included the addition of sit-down restaurants and new locations beyond Orléans. As part of the franchising process, Hanna created a centralized call centre to handle phone orders. This move rocked the boat with some pizza store owners and customers. Moreover, there were initial startup challenges that caused the system to keep crashing.“Here I was, trying to do something, and it’s not working.” Hanna was under pressure to fix the problem. His father — who was worried about the toll on his son’s health — suggested he think about reverting back to the old way of doing things. In the end, Hanna managed to work the kinks out. “I’m very lucky that I have such great family support,” said Hanna, who considers his father his greatest role model. He

always carved out time for his wife and five kids, despite his long and irregular work hours. He’s also always been there for the community, said the son. Gabriel Pizza’s contributions include its feeding of thousands of front-line health workers at The Ottawa Hospital every year and its hosting of an annual New Year’s pizza party for the hungry and homeless clients at The Ottawa Mission. As well, they delivered meals to seniors during the worst of the pandemic lockdowns. “It’s an army of stores and people that make it happen.” Philanthropy is Gabriel Pizza’s way of expressing gratitude to customers for their support, Hanna explained. “You can’t go around and thank every single person but you can thank them by giving back to their community.” Michael, now 71, can still be found greeting customers and working in the kitchen at the original Gabriel’s on St. Joseph. “My dad came from Lebanon with zero. He laid the foundation,” the younger Hanna says. I was able to take over from there and help with this growth. Just to see him so proud and so happy is just the best thing.”

IT’S AGAINST THE LAW TO MAKE A PURCHASE WITH MORE THAN $5 WORTH OF NICKELS. The Mann Lawyers Business Law team keeps you informed about important legal requirements in business law in Ontario, even the weird ones. Mann Lawyers | Full Service Law Firm 613-722-1500

Meet Eastern Ontario’s 49 power people Eastern Ontario is full of entrepreneurs who are quietly growing companies of all sizes and powering the economy. Meet 49 of them. Read the digital issue at WINTER 2022

Keeping you informed, connected and inspired



Dear candidates: A strong economy benefits everyone BY MARK SUTCLIFFE



t’s not entirely surprising that the first three candidates to declare they are running for mayor of Ottawa in 2022 are all experienced politicians. Increasingly, politics has become a career path in which the drawbacks outweigh the incentives and the risks are greater than the rewards. So despite the frequent calls for a business candidate to join the race, there aren’t many good reasons for someone to give up an appealing job in the private sector and enter the minefield of electoral politics in the age of social media. But just because there might not be a candidate from the private sector doesn’t mean the needs of the business community can’t be prominent during the campaign and for the next term of city council. Jim Watson has spent most of his life in the public sector. But over the past decade, and in his previous stint as mayor in preamalgamation Ottawa, he’s been a good



friend of the business community. Watson has consulted regularly with business leaders, established Invest Ottawa and ensured that economic development was a much greater consideration in city policy, and worked closely with the tourism sector to bring major events to the city. And Watson did this without compromising in other important areas. There’s a false perception that political leaders must choose between the economy and other priorities; likewise, that policies that bolster the private sector are rewarding only the rich. We saw that contrivance play out regularly during the pandemic, with the trope that by allowing restaurants to reopen, the provincial government was choosing the economy over public health, as though there were no health consequences to job losses. A strong economy is good for everyone. It creates and sustains jobs and it generates tax revenue to pay for social programs and infrastructure. Likewise, a strong community is healthy for business. You can’t find good customers and good employees in a depressed environment. So let’s hope the next mayor sees economic growth and social justice as each contributing to the other,

rather than a zero-sum game in which we must choose between them. What kind of policies would be included in such a platform? A strategy to address the future of downtown Ottawa would be a start. What does the urban core look like in a post-COVID world in which more people work from home? What does it mean for


public transit, for city planning, for the businesses that are located downtown? How can we turn downtown Ottawa into a more livable neighbourhood, an appealing destination even if fewer people are required to be there for their jobs? How can a changing downtown become part of a solution for homelessness and more affordable housing? How can we make it safer, with much fewer accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists? Ottawa also has the potential to be a more diverse and inclusive city. How can we be a leader among communities that are implementing policies that recognize the dignity of every person, eliminate persistent systemic barriers, make everyone feel safe and welcomed, and build new models in everything from policing to social services? How can we make it easier for employers to hire new Canadians? A community that is fairer and more diverse benefits everyone. The next council should also place a significant priority on creating a greener Ottawa. Too often, we view environmental policy as a provincial, federal, or even global matter. But like most things, saving the planet starts with local behaviour. We need to do more than put a few solar panels on the roofs of government buildings. We need to make climate change central to all our decision-making, and provide incentives for developers to build much more energy-efficient buildings. The next mayor should see the business community as a valued partner in building a better Ottawa, and view economic, environmental, and social progress as equally vital to building a safer, fairer, and more inclusive community that is beneficial to all its citizens. This isn’t about left or right, but up instead of down.

The essential update for Ottawa business leaders DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX OBJ.CA/NEWSLETTER/SIGNUP


Why a growing supply of premium apartments is good news for Ottawa realtors As demand for properties in Ottawa continues to rise, a highend apartment development in Barrhaven is creating new business opportunities for local agents. Lépine Apartments’ Howard Grant – now open for residents – is one of the developer’s latest projects, designed for those seeking a resort-lifestyle in the city. Fully equipped with large, modern suites, premium finishings and on-site amenities such as an indoor salt water pool and fitness centre, at Howard Grant, real estate agents can introduce their longstanding clients to a whole new way of life. “The premium rental market is the perfect fit for homeowners looking to right-size to an apartment,” says company president Francis Lépine. “In this market, realtors should be helping their clients see what they stand to gain by selling their home in favour of a stylish new apartment unit.”

The bedrooms also offer beautiful views of the community and feature floorto-ceiling built-in wardrobes, maximizing the space available for tenants. Right-sizing in Barrhaven The Barrhaven community is also a major draw for residents. Howard Grant is located near the community’s main shopping hub and is minutes away from local schools, restaurants and transit stations. The development is also a short drive from Chapman Mills and local parks. With units now available at Howard Grant, agents across the city should speak to their long-standing clients about booking a viewing. “We’re seeing more and more people choose to make a

premium apartment their home,” says Lépine. “Realtors can play a pivotal role in helping their clients realize the opportunity they have for a new high-end lifestyle.” FIND A LÉPINE APARTMENT NEAR YOU Looking to transition to a premium apartment? Lépine Apartments has several locations across the Ottawa region, and beyond for you to explore. Schedule a viewing at one of their many locations today: • Howard Grant (Barrhaven) • Johanne’s Court (Carleton Place) • The Lépine Lodge (Renfrew) • Les Terrasses Francesca (Overbrook) • Saint Émilion (Kanata) • The Normand (Kanata)


New listing opportunities While homeowners stand to benefit from the lifestyle afforded by a new premium apartment, realtors also have the opportunity to secure a new listing. Having typically helped their clients through several previous moves, agents can advise their clients on how best to profit from the built-up equity in their homes. And with Howard Grant’s

sleek designs and spacious layouts, Lépine makes it easy for realtors to start that conversation. “People often have an outdated impression of apartment buildings, but Lépine is completely redefining the rental market,” says leasing agent Stacie Willson. “Homeowners are often struck by the amount of space they can still have when they right-size.” Each unit hosts large panoramic windows and an open-concept flow, making it easier for homeowners to visualize themselves moving to an apartment. The large eat-in kitchens provide plenty of storage and pantry space and include high quality appliances and materials such as granite countertops and wood cabinetry.



The direct-to-consumer model: the marriage of adversity and opportunity BY ROBERT HOCKING





, so the last 18 months of COVID has changed things. If you believe the data, we didn’t read more books or learn a new language, but we are fatter and drink more. And if you own a business, you may be struggling to find employees or to get them back into their cubicles. But the big proof of change isn’t just how we’re operating our businesses, but rather the way we’re going to go about shopping for our new wardrobes. Since the 2008 economic crisis analysts have been predicting the death of main street. Consumers won’t spend (not true). Retail is dying (also not true). What they’ve really been pointing at is the fact that the ‘store as mere point of purchase’ is being replaced by Amazon – and thank goodness – so what people experience if they’re going to get in their car, fight their way into a parking lot and then encounter out of stock items and/or disinterested retail staff,

had better be worth it. To get to the bottom of things, I interviewed Darrell Rigby, Bain & Company’s global head of retail strategy, who told me the problem with much of retail is that the executives who run these businesses ‘grew up’ when things weren’t broken, but now they are and they don’t know what to do about it. However, having pointed that out, it’s important to know that prior to COVID more than 85 per cent of all retail transactions still took place in a physical store. This gave traditional retailers a long, slow runway to not do much about it. But that’s before we spent a year and a half being forced to shop almost exclusively online. Consumers who were hesitant to shop online before are less so now. They’ve been willing to experiment and have discovered new brands and new ways to buy those brands. And this is where circumstance has met up with opportunity.

THE RISE OF THE DIRECT-TOCONSUMER MODEL You might think that this recent explosion of online shopping (at the peak of COVID, e-commerce saw 10 years of growth in

just 90 days) has led to the new ‘DTC’ model, but you’d be wrong — it has merely accelerated growth. Direct-to-consumer businesses originally started in response to the collusion between big retail and their equally big branded-product partners — think P&G and Unilever. Smaller, and in most cases more interesting, brands simply couldn’t gain access to the consumer through traditional retail, so they went around. The first, most prominent brand to challenge the established model was a company called Dollar Shave Club. Michael Dubin, who founded the company in 2011, challenged consumers with the idea that they were paying too much for their razors. For decades Gillette (part of P&G) owned 80 per cent of the market. Dubin launched his venture with a $4,500 viral video, and within three years he’d raised $100 million in investment. Three years after that he sold to Unilever for a billion dollars. When asked why they’d acquired the business, the CEO of Unilever said it was in no small part due to the fact that Dollar Shave Club had opened a new, direct channel to consumers. One year after Dollar Shave Club

launched, another discount razor brand by the name of Harry’s went to market. They’re now the No. 1-selling razor brand in North America and were also acquired, this time for $1.5 billion. Those two brands alone are enough to raise eyebrows, but here are a couple of others to consider: In 2012, Stitch Fix launched from an apartment. Despite being in the hypercompetitive fashion industry, their use of data science and algorithms enabled them to act as virtual style counsellors to their growing customer base (so much for live store staff) and today they are considered the ‘Tinder of clothing’. Five years after launching they went public and are valued at $1.6 billion. In 2010, Emily Weiss launched Glossier as a blog. By the point at which she was attracting millions of page views a month, she decided to launch her first four beauty products. The business relies entirely on social media to promote itself, and Forbes considers it ‘one of the most disruptive brands in beauty.’ The founder was originally turned down by 11 of 12 investors – she now turns over $100M in annual revenue, has three million customers and has products that have ‘waiting lists in the tens of thousands.’ Now, before you think this is only happening elsewhere know this: a new generation of hometown entrepreneurs is stepping out and taking no prisoners. Take, for instance, Celine Hajjar, who launched Nafsi - an exciting youthoriented fashion brand – as an online business in the UAE in 2020 before moving back home to Ottawa to run the business. Graduating with a major in health sciences and a minor in communications from

the University of Ottawa — Celine who had been sketching fashion items and upcycling pieces of clothing ‘for as long as I can remember — had the opportunity to finally work in the fashion industry. After two years of being exposed to fashion’s detrimental effects on both the environment and the people who make our clothes, she decided to do something about it. In 2017 she began the journey and three years later launched a brand that offers ‘timeless fashion that is sustainably sourced & ethically made.’ Another business to watch was launched by Hamzat Balogun, a Nigerian immigrant who moved to Ottawa in 2011 to study electrical engineering at Carleton University. As Hamzat explains it, his first passion was always timepieces, so after graduating he launched Sovrygn Watches, a company that allows him to design and manufacture watches to his own vision and specifications and that attracts customers in 15 countries exclusively through its online channel. And one more to note is Hanley’s Hot Chicken. The business was created through the pairing of Ian O’Meara and

Darren Morenstein after Ian’s catering business — a series of quick service restaurants located entirely in government office buildings - was forced to shut down. Virtually overnight the business dried up. So, capitalizing on a popular product they’d featured on their menu, and recognizing growing consumer interest in the ‘Nashville hot chicken’ flavour trend, they launched Hanley’s through the major food delivery services. But what makes the brand really interesting is that it was developed for other catering businesses to produce through what would otherwise be closed restaurant locations. Today you can find Hanley’s Hot Chicken from Montreal to Whitby via more than a dozen restaurant partners — all selling online. The most important thing these businesses teach us is that the business rulebook of developing a product and then hoping to find a retailer to carry it no longer applies. If you’ve got an idea and you can find a group of consumers interested in your product, the online world can lead you to them, sometimes with remarkable results. Seems that necessity truly is the mother of invention.

We provide the right space for your business to flourish. BTB proudly owns and manages office properties in Ottawa. Contact us for your commercial real estate needs.


“One of the most important things, in any aspect of our lives, is self awareness. Understanding what you’re good at, and who you are.” - EP.62: MICHAEL LANDSBERG, CANADIAN SPORTS JOURNALIST








Learn powerful lessons from entrepreneurs and other successful people.



It’s a shawarma thing OBJ.CA




here is a school of thought that claims most great events in human history were accidents. The events happened not by design but by happenstance or fortunate coincidence.

A great many business stories are like that. Fifteen years ago, some snowboarders partnered up to try and sell snowboards online, couldn’t find the right software program, had to design their own, and voila – Shopify. Shopify has always seemed the best local example of a “history is accident” business story. But maybe there’s a better one. A story that will answer a decades-old business question and also explain why the restaurant industry in Ottawa is different

from any other city in Canada. It’s a shawarma story.


t would be hard to overstate the popularity of the shawarma sandwich in Ottawa. For those who have never eaten one (a difficult thing to imagine), shawarma is a pita sandwich made with meat roasted on a vertical rotisserie (in Ottawa, the meat is normally beef or chicken), then garnished with an embarrassing amount of pickles, onions,

garlic sauce, hummus, and pickled turnips. The word derives from the Turkish word cevirme, which means turning (a reference to the rotisserie) and shawarmas are popular throughout the Middle East. In Egypt and Lebanon shawarmas are sold by countless street vendors and are considered both countries’ most popular fast food. It’s also the most popular fast food in Ottawa. While it’s hard to get definitive numbers on such things, according to the Yelp yellow pages there are 196 shawarma shops in Ottawa. That works out to more shawarma shops than all the McDonalds,

A&W, Burger King, Wendy’s and Harvey’s restaurants in the city. More shawarma shops than fast-food burger joints. Is there another city in North America that can claim such a thing? Ottawa also has more shawarma shops than sub shops, and three times more shawarma than pho. “It is insane, how popular shawarmas are in Ottawa,” says Sarah Chown, a spokesperson for the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association. “I’m not a fan myself, but everyone I know just loves them. They’re everywhere in Ottawa.” So - how did that happen? What made shawarmas so popular in the nation’s capital En Route magazine went so far as to call them “Ottawa’s quintessential food?” Not Beavertails. Not poutine. The shawarma. “Why are shawarmas so popular in Ottawa – gosh, that’s an old question,” says Chown. “It gets debated, but how can you ever answer?”

several times during the interview, with no hint of youthful, playing-in-the-band irony. He even seems to grow wistful when I tell him about En Route magazine, and that there are nearly 200 shawarma shops in Ottawa. “Two hundred,” he repeats a few times. “Man, I can remember when we didn’t have two customers.” So – a question for the man who started it all – why are shawarmas so popular in Ottawa? “Bunch of reasons,” he says with a laugh. “Everyone who ever worked in a shawarma shop wanted to open one, acting like bass players, that’s one reason.” “Acting like bass players?” “Yeah, you’ve never heard that joke? It’s just like Shawarma.”



The bar crowd saved us. The bars in downtown Ottawa, that’s where shawarma started. – Moustafa al Hajjar, co-founder of Marroush, Ottawa’s first shawarma shop in Ottawa.

bar crowd discovered shawarma.



his is the place in the narrative where history-is-accident kicks into high gear, for everything that happens next came as a surprise to al Hajjar, and by extension, the city of Ottawa. Not a single event was planned. Not a single event was unimportant. And so, just to be clear – the popularity of the shawarma sandwich in Ottawa has a lot to do with alcohol. “The musicians that played in the local bands, the bartenders and the waiters from the clubs downtown, it was like they all discovered Marroush on the same night,” remembers al Hajjar. “All of a sudden it’s 2 a.m. and we’re packed. People lined up on Elgin Street waiting to get inside. It’s crazy.”

It would stay crazy for the next 20 years. People lining up on Elgin Street waiting to get inside the shawarma shop. People given numbers as they waited. People selling their numbers. People dancing on tables when they got inside the restaurant. On weekend nights, Ottawa police would routinely direct traffic at the corner of Elgin and Gladstone simply to handle the overflow from Marroush. “The bar crowd saved us,” says al Hajjar. “The bars in downtown Ottawa, that’s where shawarma started.” Al Hajjar is 60 now, still in the shawarma game (he runs King Shawarma on Ogilvie Road), and he uses the word shawarma like it is a proper noun, like it is a word that should forever be capitalized. “Shawarma is a special thing,” he says


’m going to suggest by finding ground zero. The first shawarma shop in Ottawa. Figure out what happened after that. And we can do that. The first shawarma shop in Ottawa opened on Elgin Street, between Gladstone and Frank, in the spring of 1984. It was called Marroush, and it was co-founded by 24-year-old Moustafa al Hajjar, whose job before becoming a small business owner was dishwasher. News stories and documentaries have been done on Marroush, which closed its doors in 2012, but al Hajjar has rarely been interviewed. Many people think his name is Marroush. “That’s the name of a restaurant chain in Lebanon,” he explains, when I tracked him down. “I figured people from Lebanon would know the name and know what I was doing. Having the name Marroush was like having free advertising.” No one outside the Lebanese community, though, had heard the name or understood what he was doing. “People would come in and ask for a burger and I’d say ‘No, no, it’s shawarma,” and they’d say ‘No burger? You’re a restaurant, aren’t you?’” That lasted two years. Marroush was in trouble, the restaurant probably only weeks away from closing its doors when al Hajjar decided to extend the hours of operation to 3 a.m. every day. Later that same week the after-hours

or the record, here are the other reasons al Hajjar has for the popularity of the shawarma sandwich in Ottawa: The city has a large Lebanese community. The shawarma is value-formoney – “What would you rather have, a springroll or a shawarma? Come on.” It costs very little to open a shawarma shop. Opening a shawarma shop is also the rare opportunity to become royalty. “It’s always Shawarma King, Shawarma Prince, Shawarma Princess, Shawarma Palace. Have you noticed that?” he says. Yes, we’ve noticed that. And then there’s the bass player reason, the reason al Hajjar thinks may be most important. “You work in a shawarma shop, you’re carving the meat, pretty soon you think ‘I can do this.’ You leave and start your own shop. You can’t leave McDonald’s and start a McDonald’s, right?” Never thought of that. Where does the bass player fit in? “Shawarma is just like that joke about learning to play bass.” If you’ve never heard it, here’s the joke: Student starts taking lessons in the electric bass. First lesson the student learns some notes. Second lesson the student learns some scales. Student doesn’t show up for the third lesson. Doesn’t show up for the fourth lesson. Music teacher meets the student on the street one day and asks what’s happened. Student replies: “Sorry, I’ve been meaning to send you a note. I joined a band.” Same story. But in Ottawa, everyone bought turnip and opened a shawarma shop.


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Where Ottawans want to live L


arge numbers of area residents say they’d like to live in a new part of the city – or even beyond its borders – as the shift to remote work opens opportunities to move without fears of lengthening one’s commute to the office. While some predicted “work-from-anywhere” opportunities would lead urban dwellers to flee the city en masse in search of larger homes and more personal outdoor space, the results of the Welch LLP Ottawa Business Growth Survey indicate that a large-scale exodus is unlikely – but that area residents intend to be fairly mobile in the coming years. “The local real estate market continues to



be very active with new listings selling quickly and often well above listing prices,” says Jim McConnery, managing partner at Welch LLP. “There is some uncertainty as we move to 2022 and an expected higher interest rate environment – this should have an impact on demand and the price of residential dwellings.” One-third of respondents living in central Ottawa say they’d like to move outside their current community. The figure jumps to more than 50 per cent among suburban residents. Yet at the same time, central Ottawa holds the most appeal among those considering a new home, followed by communities on the city’s outskirts.


“The pandemic has allowed people to reconsider where they live and what’s important to them,” says Abacus Data CEO David Coletto. “When you take the commute away, it opens up a whole new suite of options.” The arrows on the adjacent map show where respondents who are currently living in Ottawa’s largest communities would like to live if they were to move in the next five years. For example, nine per cent of those respondents who currently live in central Ottawa say they would move to a community just outside the city while eight per cent say they would move to the suburbs inside the Greenbelt.

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hank you to our local business and community leaders for your ongoing contributions to our community. Thank you for the care, innovation, and resilience you have demonstrated during this challenging time. Your local board of trade has been advocating at every level of government to support our businesses and plan for a strong recovery. We know the private sector will drive the right growth for community, an economy that is inclusive and sustainable.

To that end, we have a simple ask. As an independent, non-partisan, non-profit, we are uniquely positioned to be the voice of business. We are driven by our members. So, if you are not a member, please join us. You will have a network of support, access to information and inspiration and a way to influence the decision making that directly impacts your business and community. If you are a member, please invite

one business in your network to be a member today. Invite them to have a say in the future of Ottawa. Send them this membership investment link. Stronger together for 2022!

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BRIGHT SIDE OF BUSINESS The Bright Side of Business is an editorial feature focused on sharing positive stories of business success. This column is presented by Star Motors, Ottawa’s original Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes Van dealer.

Ottawa catering company grew despite COVID-19, set to surpass its pre-pandemic earnings BY NICKIE SHOBEIRY



ithout a doubt, My Catering Group (MCG) is one of Ottawa’s favourite catering services, boasting clients like the Ottawa International Airport, the Museum of Nature, Ottawa Art Gallery, and even the Speaker of the House of Commons. Founded in 2014 by Derick Cotnam, the business caters everything from corporate events and high-end weddings, to smaller get-togethers, even offering an at-home delivery option. While Cotnam has spent much of his career in the food industry — he was just 14 years old when he first started working at a pizzeria — his journey to MCG had some twists and turns. In his early 20s, Cotnam became a sous-chef at a large restaurant in Ottawa. “It was kind of like a sink or swim scenario — I took that and ran with it,” he says. By 24, he had moved to Bermuda to work at a high-end resort. Despite the luxurious venue, staff were working 12 to 14 hours a day, six days a week. Seeing how hard it was to find a work-life balance, Cotnam decided to completely switch industries, moving to the financial sector. Within one and a half years, however, Cotnam found that he was “not at all passionate about selling life

company,” he says — but come 2014, leading MCG was Cotnam’s full-time job. Within a handful of years, MCG was landing catering contracts like a 1200-person party for HEXO, an 800-person event for the closing of parliament’s Center Block, and a Deloitte holiday party for 500 people. For HEXO, MCG provided a chickenand-ribs-style buffet barbecue, while at Deloitte, they offered a cheese charcuterie station, and “a raw bar where our chefs (were) shucking oysters, putting tuna crudo together in front of people,” Cotnam says.

insurance and investments,” he says.

A NEW CHAPTER Cotnam realized his true passion was for “cooking, hospitality and entertaining people,” he says. “I just wanted to figure out a way to be able to do it for myself and

with people that I really enjoy working with” — which is where MCG came in. By 2012, Cotnam had his business up and running. For two years, he worked various restaurant gigs part-time while running MCG. “For a very long time, I didn’t really take any income from the

Since COVID-19, parties with hundreds of people can feel like a distant daydream. Just before the pandemic hit, MCG had picked up a contract with the Ottawa International Airport to supply their grab-and-go-foods, creating on average $100,000 of revenue per month. It was those numbers that made MCG eligible for the government subsidies that kept them in operation for the first part of the pandemic. “Had we not had that job, the business might not be in existence,” Cotnam explains. To stay afloat, Cotnam and his team launched ‘MCG At Home’, a meal-delivery platform with a rotating four-course menu. Before the pandemic, Cotnam says his business was on-track to triple its 2019 revenue. As it currently stands, MCG’s forecasts already surpass what they were set to make in January 2020 — three months before COVID-19 hit. However, with the pandemic’s current third wave, Cotnam says he’s unsure what lies ahead. “I get pretty friggin anxious about what the future is going to be,” he says. “If everything turns around with the pandemic, there’s going to be lots of opportunities — we’re going to be operating at full capacity.”


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Navigating eldercare: Is long-term care or in-home care the best choice?


The healthcare system can be confusing – especially when it comes to continued care. Making the decision to apply for either long-term or in-home care for yourself or a loved one can involve quite a bit of planning, so it helps to be prepared so you don’t get stuck in an emergency situation, says Gaye Moffett, CEO of GEM Health Care Services. GEM provides homecare and home support services to eligible patients in the Ottawa area, and has helped several clients navigate through the continued care system. “We’re a family run business who connects clients with personal support workers, registered practical nurses and companion services from trusted caregivers,” she says. “With decades of experience our team has the knowledge to help people understand their needs and plan accordingly for the future.” Here are some tips from GEM to help you navigate the extended care system:



Find an advocate – or be one yourself If you’ve been told by a doctor that your loved one will soon require either long-term or homecare to meet their daily needs, it’s important to start doing your research immediately. The first decision to make is whether long-term care or homecare is the best decision for your situation – which isn’t always easy.

Ask your loved one for their opinion, as they might not want to leave the comfort of their home. If you’re planning yourself, make the decision now and choose a Power of Attorney for Health that will be able to advocate for you when the time comes. Also choose a PoA for Property to look after your finances. Your lawyer who makes your will can help with theses arrangements. “Make your wishes known,” says Moffett. “If you’re suddenly unable to speak for yourself, someone will have to speak for you.” In Ottawa, there are also a high number of federal government employees that have private nursing included in their benefit plan, so before embarking on a continued care journey, check to see if some of the services are covered by your employer. Do your homework Local applications to long-term care homes are controlled by Home and Community Care Support Services Champlain, which covers a vast geographical area including Cornwall, Pembroke and the area along the Ottawa River. Waiting lists for long-term care homes can take years and applicants can be asked to make a decision about an available bed within 24 hours of their notification, which means you need to be prepared, says Moffett. “Make phone calls, go on

tours and choose your top three “In doing that, our services homes,” she says. “It can make are also deemed HST exempt the decision process a lot easier.” and that saves the person an Although long-term care is additional 13 per cent,” she paid for by the government, adds. typically rent for the unit is not, Whether you’re looking with prices ranging from $1500 for wound care nurses, to $3000 a month. physiotherapists, PSWs, foot Public homecare is also paid care nurses or have questions for by the government, but that about extended care, the team too has its limitations. at GEM are ready to help. “The maximum you can get covered is 20 hours a week,” To find out more about GEM’s says Moffett. “Unfortunately, homecare services, visit wanting to stay at home with or care usually requires more than call 613-761-7474 at any time 20 hours a week.” to speak to a representative. GEM offers the ability to supplement government care with its services to meet the GEM Health Care Services Our Family for Yours number of hours needed by Services de Santé GEM Notre famille au service de la vôtre a patient, allowing clients to GEM Health Care Services Our Family for Yours Notre famille au service de la vôtre access care quicker. Services de Santé GEM ®





Regional Group wraps up a record-breaking year with a BOBs win award-winning company eQ Homes. This vertical integration is a powerful differentiator that allows the company to create value for clients through the entire life cycle of real estate investments. In 2020, Regional Group implemented a successful succession plan, transferring leadership from long-standing CEO Steve Gordon, to third generation family-member and son, Sender Gordon, who has taken the reins, gaining industry trust and respect. Although 2021 presented its challenges, maneuvering through the pandemic has played to Regional’s strengths. The company – known for not settling for status quo – successfully adapted its strategy in the search for new and innovative ways of capitalizing on technology and business opportunities. Despite the uncertainty of the past two years, Regional has experienced significant growth and continued to diversify its business mix — resulting in a year of record profits and earnings. The recent creation of a new Commercial & Multi-Family division has opened the doors for Regional to expand and flourish within the competitive market of office park and mixed-use apartment building development. Regional also developed two

Top: Milieu Modern Apartments, the first of two purpose-built rental buildings in Greystone Village, now actively leasing. Left: The Oliver – eQ Homes GOHBA award-winning Best Single-Family Home (2,000 – 3,000 sq.ft.)

purpose-built rental buildings in Greystone Village. Milieu Modern Apartments – the first of two properties – received occupancy in November 2021, providing a much-anticipated high-quality rental option for hundreds of Ottawa families. In addition, Regional’s subsidiary and award-winning builder eQ Homes, noted a record year with over 350 new home and condo sales, the completion of four phases in master-planned communities in the greater Ottawa area and added an extensive collection of 2021 industry awards to their portfolio. The company continues to be driven by a philosophy of integrity and embodies a culture that is creative, forward-thinking and innovative. Regional credits its success to its growing

team of industry experts and recognizes the value of investing in homegrown talent. “Our team has grown significantly over the last few years and I am so proud of the entire Regional team, and highlight team,” says Sender Gordon, president and CEO of Regional Group. “None of what we do can be accomplished without the support of a full team.” Regional is thrilled to celebrate the success of the past year and is elated to join previous years’ winners of the Best Ottawa Business Award. The team extends congratulations to all local businesses and recipients on their achievements with a big thank you to the Ottawa Business Journal and the Ottawa Board of Trade for this honour.


Receiving a 2021 Best Ottawa Business (BOB) Award is a tremendous achievement – and for the team at Regional Group is an additional reason to celebrate the success of the past year. Since 1958, Regional Group has helped shape real estate in Ottawa and throughout Canada’s National Capital Region. From its humble beginnings, the business has evolved into a real estate powerhouse that offers a host of services to clients and investors — with projects ranging from land and commercial development, investment assemblies and urban infill, to the creation and delivery of complete master-planned communities. Today, Regional is lauded as one of Ottawa’s most trusted and recognized developers. The company is made up of a real estate pipeline in the excess of $5.2 billion, with several projects in various stages of development in Ontario and Quebec, as well as a management portfolio of more than 2.9 million square feet of commercial space and 2,000 residential units. Regional has six divisions: Property & Asset Management, Investment & Leasing, Commercial Development, Land Development, Tax & Valuation Advisory and Production Home Building via affiliated and




How Bruyère cut costs and increased care with Algonquin’s Lean program



For decades the team at Bruyère has remained dedicated to providing high quality, efficient care to residents in the capital. Whether it’s rehabilitation, complex care or senior care, the team adheres to a set of stringent protocols to ensure the well-being of its patients. In trying to keep up with the steady demand for healthcare services and growing need for resources, the team at Bruyère engaged Algonquin College Corporate Training (ACCT) to take a closer look at the hospital’s organizational structure in hopes of spotting – and remedying – any inefficiencies. Bruyère embarked on a Lean project with ACCT – a program that helps teams minimize time and resource waste, with the goal of creating more efficient, aligned work processes. By undergoing Lean Green Belt training, staff were taught how to improve patient satisfaction and care outcomes while reducing costs. Mark Donais, a procurement coordinator at Bruyère, launched the Lean project in 2018 to gauge how the hospital’s linen distribution program could be improved. Protocol dictates that all linens must be changed whenever a patient is discharged or moves rooms, resulting in costly linen turnover and high energy consumption, says Donais. “We wanted to see if there were any gaps where we could stop using linen or using as

COULD YOUR TEAM BENEFIT FROM LEAN TRAINING? Algonquin College Corporate Training’s Lean programs can be delivered either as an element of a broader custom training solution or as a stand-alone program depending on your company’s needs.

Photo courtesy of Bruyère

much, without impacting patient care,” he says. “Without Lean training being made available to Bruyère, this project wouldn’t have happened.” Sparking significant change With the quality of care at the forefront, it became increasingly important for Bruyère to prevent losses, unite multiple departments under one goal and embrace an improved process of supply chain management. Through the support and guidance of Algonquin College’s licensed Lean professionals, Donais and his team were able to make substantial improvements to their system, surpassing the initial goal of the project. “The customized Lean program we developed is a great example of the value we bring to clients,” says Marilyn Currie,

senior learning consultant at ACCT. “We listen to their specific needs, identify an appropriate solution and deliver high-quality training that produces lasting results.” Through Lean training and implementation, Bruyère saw financial savings and reduced staff time spent on linen services. The team was also able to learn valuable skills that will help them spot inefficiencies in the future. “The project was so important because it impacted the productivity of several departments within the hospital,” says Donais. “It touched our warehouse team, who does the orders, our housekeeping, who remove all the linen from the patient rooms, as well as our porters and clinical teams. I even noticed a difference in my own time saved.”

ACCT offers various learning experiences: • Instructor-led sessions at your site or at Algonquin College’s professional learning centre at 700 Sussex • Virtual instructor-led classes • Independent, self-paced online learning (e-Learning) For more information, contact Algonquin College Corporate Training at 613-727-7729 or or visit

Since Bruyère first began working with Algonquin College Corporate Training in 2014, 100 hospital employees have completed Lean Green Belt training, arming them with project management skills, the ability to reduce bottlenecks, improve efficiency and implement rapid change. “Bruyère’s work with Algonquin is ongoing,” says Donais, adding that the hospital has started another Lean project with the college this year. “The relationship is excellent, so we keep bringing them back.”





took place during the Best Ottawa Business Awards, colloquially known as The BOBs. The awards program had a small invite-only reception on Nov. 19 followed by a live broadcast on Nov. 25. For more than 25 years, Taggart has been chairman of the Taggart Group of Companies, a major force in the construction and real estate industry in Ottawa, Kingston and Eastern Ontario. The enterprise group, which employs more than 600 people, consists of Taggart Construction, Doran Contractors, Taggart Realty Management, Tamarack Homes and its recent acquisition, Tartan Homes. Taggart is the eldest of seven kids born in 1942 to Harold and Muriel Taggart. He was soon joined by Martha and younger brothers Tom, Ian, Keith, Paul and Chris. Only Paul is no longer here, having passed away three years ago. Taggart remembers his mom, who lived to be nearly 90, as having a knack for “making you feel like you were the only person in the world”. His dad, who died in 1992 at age 75, had more of a “rough and

family members that work with you, you’re going to be in trouble before very long.” As with all families, there have been disagreements and personality clashes, acknowledged Taggart. “We work it out.” In 1974, at the relatively young age of 58, Harold sold his business, which originally specialized in sewer and road construction, to sons Jim and Ian, along with son-inlaw Dave Parkes, who married Martha. The men would lead the company in its expansion. Paul and Chris came on board once they completed their schooling. Tom, who became a partner at Gowlings, started working for the Taggart Group after he reached mandatory retirement age at his law firm. Similarly, Keith of Hurley’s, Hooters and Hard Rock Cafe fame, joined later on. The Taggart and Parkes clan is well known for its philanthropy. The family made an historic donation of $2 million, followed later by another $1 million, to the local YMCA-YWCA as part of a major capital campaign led by Jim and Keith. Earlier this year, Taggart’s niece, Michelle, vice-president of planning and development at Tamarack Homes, announced on behalf of the family’s foundation a $1.4 million donation to BGC Ottawa for its new clubhouse in the south end. Michelle also volunteers as a board member with the non-profit organization. Continued on next page


hen Jim Taggart was a kid, there was no yellow school bus waiting to greet him after class. He got picked up by a fuel truck. It would drive the 13-year-old boy to his father’s machine shop, where he would spend the rest of his day working until it was time for him and his dad to head home for dinner. “The driver of the fuel truck was a fellow by the name of Robbie,” recalled Taggart, 79, during an interview at the head office of the Taggart Group of Companies in Ottawa’s south end. It was always expected that Taggart, who worked during his summers as a mechanic in the shop, would one day get his engineering degree from Carleton University and join the small construction business started by his father in 1948. And that’s exactly what he did. “I never really thought about doing anything else,” said Taggart, who quite enjoyed working with engines, motors and pumps. “I had a mechanical interest and background, and that’s the career path I followed.” The second-generation entrepreneur was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ottawa Board of Trade and Ottawa Business Journal. The presentation

tough exterior” but, he added, was a softie on the inside. “Both my parents were quite family orientated,” said Taggart, who has fond childhood memories of skiing in the winter months and of spending time at their family cottage on Big Rideau Lake. “The cottage was my father’s pride and joy,” said Taggart while remembering how his dad would get him and his siblings out of bed by 8 a.m. for breakfast, followed by chores until lunchtime. “Then, we were off the hook and could do our own thing.” Taggart grew up in the Island Park Drive area. As the family expanded, so did his childhood home at 506 Mayfair Ave. It was one of several houses that Harold built in the area in the 1940s. Taggart credits his parents with teaching him and his siblings to always put family first, to take care of one another, and to keep the family close. “It’s been our guiding principle, established by my parents,” said Taggart, who believes his greatest contribution to the company has been helping everyone to get along. “Make sure that you don’t sweat the small stuff. If you start picking on the faults of your





Continued from previous page “Our business has always been primarily a family business,” said Taggart. “We never were driven, I don’t think, to squeeze the last nickel out of every deal we did. We thought it was more important to build a business that the family could all live on and that was able to give back to the community. “I think if you’ve had a good life made available to you, you should give back.” The family business was expanded early on so that each of the second-generation leaders ran their own company or division. They set it up as an equal partnership with the idea that, regardless of which division they were each running, they would all be working together toward a common goal and could share equally in the profits. With a family of seven siblings, plus their spouses, it didn’t take long until the Taggart and Parkes offspring began to outnumber every other business family in Ottawa. The third generation consists of 24 members, of which half work together at the Taggart Group. One of the reasons why the Taggart Group works well as a family business is due to the structure that’s been put in place for ownership and succession planning, said Taggart. Family members wanting to join a division as an owner or manager are required to first get a university education, followed by a minimum of five years’ work experience outside the family business. Once that family member has worked hard and demonstrated their ability to contribute to the business, there’s an assessment process conducted by the current owners to decide if and when that family member should be invited into the ownership group, said Taggart. In other words, rising to the top is about competency, not nepotism. The company also has in place various rules and guidelines to reduce potential for conflict. For example, there’s a mandatory retirement from ownership of the operating

CLOCKWISE: Taggart family photo from 2013; Taggart family on Jezebel circa 1958; Taggart jobsite 1949; founder Harold Taggart.

companies at age 65, at which point the partners start getting bought out by the other owners. Retired partners are invited to sit on the advisory board to the current ownership group to ensure smooth transition of the business and family values. Taggart has been serving as chairman of the Taggart Group since 1995 and retired from the day-to-day business in 2007 at the age of 65. He has no plans of stepping down as chairman or from the advisory board “until they kick me out, I guess”. Taggart expressed approval toward the direction that the company is heading. The group has twice been named in the Top 20 Contractors in Canada by On-Site Magazine. “It’s always hard to give up the reins and to think that anyone else can do it as well as you did but, certainly, the business has expanded and grown and has been very successful under the current leadership.” Two of Taggart’s three children are

in leadership positions. His son, Mike, is president of Taggart Construction and Doran Contractors while youngest daughter Julie, who’s also a board member with The Ottawa Hospital Foundation and Christie Lake Kids, is co-president of Taggart Realty Management. His eldest, Patti, an early childhood educator, runs her own retail store, Tag Along Toys. Taggart was married for 43 years to Judy, who passed away in the spring of 2009 from ovarian cancer. Not long after, Jane Panet also lost her husband, Ottawa judge Jean-Antoine de Lotbinière Panet. Taggart had known Jane from his Carleton University days and from years of socializing together as couples, particularly at Mont Ste. Marie ski resort. In June 2011, the pair got married. “I said, ‘I think I better grab that girl because I know her well enough that we can get along’,” Taggart quipped. Reflecting back on his career, Taggart

singled out the building of the Acres Road Pumping Station as the project he’s most proud of. “It was a difficult but rewarding job,” said Taggart while proving the old saying, ‘once an engineer, always an engineer’ to be true as he described in some detail how they were able to complete the project, despite challenging soil conditions. As for the future of the Taggart Group, it’s still too early to say whether there will be a fourth generation of leadership, he said. “We’ll see. I hope so. I hope so.”


The Taggart Group of Companies chairman Jim Taggart The Taggart Group of Companies CEO and CFO Pierre Bergeron Taggart Construction and Doran Contractors president Michael Taggart Taggart Realty Management copresidents Jeff Parkes and Julie Taggart Tamarack Homes and Tartan Homes co-presidents Chris Taggart and Scott Parkes

DEALS OF THE YEAR: RETAIL What did one of Ottawa’s most famous farms do during the pandemic? It got into the cider making business, of course. Like other tourism businesses, the pandemic crippled Saunders Farm for many months. Its well-known owner, Mark Saunders, closed a deal to purchase Spencerville-based micro-cidery Flying Canoe Hard Cider. Its cider is now sold at LCBO outlets and grocery stores. Saunders even opened a taproom at the farm. Aside from buying the farm from his parents, Saunders calls the deal to purchase Flying Canoe Hard Cider the biggest investment he has ever made.





its backups service to other platforms, protecting its clients from cyber-attacks and power outages. Rewind’s revenues have more than doubled year over year. How big is Rewind’s opportunity? In two separate fundraising rounds in 2021, Rewind raised almost $100 million Canadian in venture capital. Said its CEO: “We see Rewind as a pillar of the cloud backup and recovery space.”

DEALS OF THE YEAR: TECHNOLOGY The pandemic taught us that high-speed internet access is key to our modern economy. Continued on next page


Remote work is accelerating demand for cloud storage and software-as-a-service. Rewind is an Ottawa-based startup founded in 2015. Originally it specialized in backup and recovery of e-commerce data for Shopify merchants. Since then it has expanded



When the pandemic emptied downtown office towers, one company spotted an opportunity. Ottawa-based TCC Canada - already the city’s largest provider of co-working space - doubled down on the idea that many businesses would want flexible office arrangements. So when Shopify decided to dump its space at 150 Elgin St. - arguably the best designed office space in all of Ottawa TCC wasted no time in striking a sublease agreement. As businesses look to bring teams back together, TCC says 150 Elgin St. offers a premium employee experience without a long-term lease commitment. The deal is significant because it might signal a powerful new trend in commercial real estate.


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TECHNOLOGY DEAL OF THE YEAR: TELESAT Continued from previous page Here’s the challenge. In a massive country like Canada how do you deliver high-speed internet service to rural and remote areas? Enter Ottawa-based Telesat. Telesat is planning a network of 298 low Earth satellites, which operate 30x closer to our planet. Telesat’s Lightspeed network should start operating in 2024 and ultimately connect 40,000 Canadian households. The project will cost billions of dollars. In August, Telesat announced a $1.44-billion deal with the federal government. Said its CEO: “Telesat has just taken a major step forward in getting this ambitious project fully financed.” Telesat also planned and executed an IPO.





The pandemic had us locked up for a long, long time. It also put a hold on sporting events, live music concerts and art shows. But Bluesfest and RBC had a vision to jumpstart the local entertainment and tourism sector with an awe-inspiring show that invited attendees to literally step into famous paintings from Vincent van Gogh. Beyond Van Gogh The Immersive Experience presented by RBC was among the first major cultural events the public could attend in the pandemic. The exhibit was the hot ticket of the summer season. It’s estimated that 115,000 people attended this summer and 200 people were employed. Said RBC’s regional president: “The exhibit made people feel good at a time when we really needed it.”



LEE VALLEY Talk about good timing. Six months before the pandemic hit, Lee Valley completed a digital transformation that placed them two steps ahead with a fresh platform and digital skillset. They immediately launched Ship from Store, curbside pick-up, same-day shipping, and pioneered an industry-first mobile contactless shopping experience. Lee Valley credits its 18-month success to a forward-thinking and focused leadership team that prioritized safety and appreciation for its workforce without compromising the quality of its products. The company is involved in charitable support for sustainability and environmental conservation and donated toolkits to a vocational training centre in Africa.






BEST BUSINESSES: CALIAN Despite the pandemic, Calian’s revenue was up by 26 per cent and it welcomed more than a thousand new employees

last year, all while delivering through four different business lines. With products and solutions for private sector, government and defence customers in North American and global markets, the diverse and progressive Calian team credits its success to its ability to adapt. They quickly accommodated remote work and support for staff without sacrificing their impact on their consumers and clients. Calian prioritized supporting healthcare for military families and building relationships with Indigenous communities and businesses, developed products and services that have helped customers better serve the public, and increased efficiency in responding to the health needs of communities.

Pandemic be damned. The Regional Group is driven by longterm prosperity, resulting in 150 new employees and a 350 per cent increase in revenue. The Regional Group emphasizes a balance of tradition and modernity and a workplace fueled by opportunity and appreciation. The company is an active sponsor of Habitat for Humanity Greater Ottawa, and Tree Canada’s National Greening Program. The Regional Group’s workspace transitioned to remote work within only one day and their construction sites and offices are dedicated to a safe and confident workplace, maintaining support for new and existing employees.

BEST NEW BUSINESS: CONVERGENCE DESIGN SERVICES Offering full-service design engineering from industrial design, hardware/software, product management, mechanical and acoustics, Convergence fully supports its clients from design to production management. Despite the pandemic, it saw a 34 per cent increase in revenue in 2021 and sales surpassed $1 million. While COVID-19 shut down industry trade shows, Convergence focused marketing on localized connections, letting its skilled team articulate and solve client needs in various industries such as

robotics, rugged video systems and electric light utility vehicles.

BRANCH AV Branch AV stemmed from a group of former co-workers who banded together to create an inclusive, diverse, and broadminded organization – all with unique abilities, experiences, ideas, and opinions. They combine unparalleled audiovisual technology expertise and a rock-solid process with a people-first culture. Branch AV credits its success to a conviction that technology is there to serve people, not the other way around. When this new business did not qualify

for COVID-19 grants or loans, it adjusted to a remote workplace and helped customers to adapt to the pandemic with the help of technology. A commitment to investing in the right people, technologies and processes has allowed Branch AV to continue its remarkable growth.

We want to sincerely thank our talented team and customers who have contributed to our success. We are honoured to be a Best Ottawa Business award recipient for 2021.

TEHAMA Tehama’s claim to fame is providing a fast, easy and secure way to deploy a virtual workforce. Since the onset of COVID-19, Tehama has increased its customer base by more than 150 per cent, doubled its headcount, and increased monthly revenue by 170 per cent. In the face of the public health crisis, Tehama rose to the occasion to meet increased demand from its clients.



Fullscript’s success in HR is a result of its Well-Being Program, which addresses mental, physical, aspirational, and environmental wellness in the workplace. Continued on next page



Go deep and explore RBR careers by visiting

Over 1 million dollars was raised by Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend participants and local charities in 2021—an event record!


If your organization is looking to make a difference in the community, join the 2022 Charity Challenge! Visit for more information.


We are grateful to them and their generous donors. We wish to dedicate the Best Not-For-Profit Business Award to everyone who contributed to this success. Thank you from everyone at Run Ottawa.


diversity, providing space for their employees to share concerns. The company was co-founded by Shannon Ferguson, who dedicates her time to panels, podcasts and keynote speaking to promote gender equity in the workplace.







Continued from previous page With the goal of “helping people get better,” and prioritizing employees, Fullscript was able to ensure its workplace felt cared for and appreciated. Their dedication to workplace wellness has paid off with a 4.8 rating on Glassdoor, an Employee Development platform, and an open-minded, wellness-oriented work culture.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE: ROSS VIDEO Ross Video strives for unmatched customer service. Delivering a superior customer experience is a part of the company vision and mission statement. In customer surveys since April 2019, 90 per cent of customers reported they were satisfied and almost 6,000 customers gave Ross Video a positive performance review. The most recent survey places Ross Video as an industry leader in customer service. Ross Video embraces the idea that the post-sales experience is just as important as the pre-sales experience and the products that are sold.





The system of client referrals is a longstanding one in the legal world. By using data and digital marketing, Auger Hollingsworth took this to the next level. The law firm expanded not only its reach, but also its reputation. Auger Hollingsworth started offering unbranded, home and comfort-focused gifts from the firm and offset their overall

BEST PERFORMANCE IN DE&I: FANSAVES outlay for marketing and gifts with the added $1 million in revenue. Peer-to-peer recognition and referrals were also critical as Auger Hollingsworth established long-term cooperative, reciprocal relationships.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN SALES: NOIBU TECHNOLOGIES Noibu Technologies set a goal of expanding its target market to larger companies. Noibu is now sourcing leads with over 10 times the average traffic than the previous year. Its strategy paid off as it doubled the size and the results seen by its sales team over the last two quarters. As a result, some of the largest deals

Assent Compliance is committed to promoting strong corporate social responsibility values throughout its operations and supply chain, as per the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights. Assent experts monitor the CSR landscape to keep the world’s largest corporations informed about global best practices and disseminate free-to-access education throughout the entire supplier landscape. The company stocks its offices with sustainable supplies and actively partners with suppliers that respect environmental and ethical standards.


were closed in the last six months. And the best two quarters were this year, with 85 new clients in 2021.

Culture Check is a social impact business that provides support, education and best practices to address racial discrimination in the workplace. That includes free and confidential frontline support for victims of racial discrimination in the workplace. It collects data and stories and turns these into actionable insights. Finally, it provides these insights to corporate partners. Plus, the work that Culture Check does with companies helps to subsidize initiatives for racialized professionals. This enables the company to empower and educate both groups.



Diversity, equality and inclusion are key values at FanSaves. The company is led by women despite working in the male-dominated “sports tech sector.” The company is dedicated to gender equality, with equal pay and raises, an inclusive hiring process, and a virtual open-door policy to allow open communication with their employees. FanSaves prioritizes equality and

In the last year, Run Ottawa has raised more than $1 million for 51 charities, including United Way, CHEO, and the Ottawa Food Bank. Over the last 10 years, Run Ottawa’s Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend has raised more than $6 million for hundreds of charities, with the event creating both a platform for charities to spread awareness and an opportunity to raise funds. As the region’s top tourism event, the Race Weekend has generated hundreds





of millions of dollars in economic activity for Ottawa over its 45-year history, with the funds going directly to the charities involved.


KNBA TEAM OF THE YEAR: BLACKBERRY QNX The BlackBerry QNX engineering team delivers innovative products and engineering services to its customers, ensuring that mission-critical devices are marketed without compromising safety, security or reliability. The industry-firsts delivered by the team in 2021 are powering the future of systems for factory automation, autonomous vehicles, surgical robotics, and more. BlackBerry QNX credits its engineering team’s diverse skills, interests, backgrounds, and talents with contributing to the team’s strengths and winning attitude.





For post-secondary students in Ottawa looking for hands-on work experience in their fields, the Minto Group is ready to help.

RBR’s dedication and innovation has paid off with its industry-leading exports of oceanographic instruments, earning them

Dunia Payment offers a full-service banking experience built for Africa’s growing digital generation. It was founded by international students at the University of Ottawa. Their mobile wallet app DuniaPay lets users send and receive money, pay in stores with a simple QR code, save in-app and more all from their phones. The mobile-based approach allows Dunia to cover the African region from major cities to small villages and makes routine financial transactions accessible and affordable for everyone living in Africa. Dunia is seeing its monthly transaction volume increase, with 25,000 monthly active users.

FUNDMORE FundMore has created an automated underwriting system that uses machine learning to streamline loans, such as mortgages. Its customers range from

CANIMMUNIZE CANImmunize is an Ottawa-based technology company specializing in immunization software. It developed the CANImmunize app, a pan-Canadian digital immunization tracking system that helps Canadians keep track of their vaccinations with a mobile app and web portal. The team offers digital solutions such as CANImmunize Shield to businesses, health care organizations and governments for vaccinations and tracking for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and other immunization needs. CANImmunize Shield helps employers maintain a safe workplace by collecting employee vaccination records and tracking vaccination rates securely and privately to protect staff and customers. In the last 12 months, revenue has grown almost four-fold, while the team has gone from six to more than 40 employees.





In 2021, Ross Video broke through the 1,000-employee threshold, grew revenue in the fiscal year by just under 5 per cent, despite the pandemic, and acquired two U.S.-based companies. That brings its total number of acquisitions to 18. Ross also announced a $15-million expansion to its primary manufacturing plant. For Ross, innovation isn’t just about creating new technology, it also means doing more with existing technologies for the benefit of our customers.

The Minto Group works with all four post-secondary institutions in Ottawa to hire co-op students, providing reallife work experience and post-graduate opportunities. Students are hired from a variety of academic areas to fill positions as data analysts, service technicians, site coordinators, estimators and various construction roles. Many students report going back for multiple work terms. Others find work with the organization after graduation, thanks to the supportive and collaborative work environment.

the award for best performance in exports. The Kanata-based firm spent the pandemic designing and manufacturing their worldleading ocean instruments, products and tools for international clients. Early last year, RBR landed $2 million in federal funding to advance and accelerate its production of high-tech ocean sensors, placing RBR in the lead in both exports and their industry.

mortgage investment companies to banks. FundMore’s AI decision engine identifies risks and provides clear insights as to how an approval was recommended. Their AI document reader quickly analyzes physical documents and then validates data such as income and credit worthiness from third-party partners. The platform improves the lender and borrower experience, reduces risk, reduces funding times and application evaluation by more than 90 per cent. FundMore has grown its employee base by 60 per cent in the past quarter to 24 FTEs. And its executive team has 70+ years of experience in wealth management, credit lending and financial technology.



Thank you for the honour of being awarded the 2021 Best Ottawa Business Award The Regional Group is a ver�cally integrated real estate investment, development & management firm focused on crea�ng opportunity in the O�awa-Ga�neau region. We offer a broad array of services and industry-leading experts in Asset & Property Management, Commercial &

Multi-Family Development, Investment & Leasing, Land Development and Tax & Valuation Advisory.

Congratulations to all winners!





The Real Estate Leader in the Canadian Capital Region Proud to be designated as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for 3 Consecutive Years!


How building height limitations are contributing to Ottawa’s housing crisis

Toon Dreessen, president, Architects DCA

This decision virtually guarantees that if housing is built on these streets, it will be luxury, high-end units, unaffordable to the average family. 30 units instead of 50, the cost per unit goes up. • Core costs for things like sprinkler, fire alarm and HVAC systems; elevators; parking/ basement and servicing are effectively the same whether it’s 30 or 50 units. • Planning costs for site plan approval, as well as timelines for review and approval are the same regardless of whether it’s a four storey or six storey building. With the cost of services and planning now shared by fewer units, expect the cost of construction for those units to go up from at least $350/sq ft to more than $450/sq ft.

This decision virtually guarantees that if housing is built on these streets, it will be luxury, high-end units, unaffordable to the average family. It’s more likely that the lots will remain undeveloped or will be underbuilt – defeating our goals of moderate intensification – sending more people to outlying areas or concentrating development in highrises on major streets. The rationale for reducing this height limit has been to reduce friction between detached homes bordering these minor corridors and the potential for development on them. This argument doesn’t

hold water: development applications are subject to public input and there will be just as many complaints and delays for a four storey infill as there will for a six storey. What will result is more applications coming forward that challenge this height limit – demanding eight or 10 storeys – in part to help cover the cost of applications and years of delay through planning appeals. An argument used in favour of this decision is that four storey buildings will allow sustainable wood construction. While mass timber construction is possible, there isn’t enough repeatability of the floor plate to make a four storey building viable. That same rationale applies to concrete or steel construction. It’s unfortunate that leadership has opted to limit the moderate intensification we need on these streets. These minor corridors could create hundreds of homes and places for small businesses to thrive. They could provide sensitive, well designed, infill projects that show climate leadership. Toon Dreessen is president of Ottawabased Architects DCA and past-president of the Ontario Association of Architects. For a sample of Architects DCA’s projects, check out the firm’s portfolio at Follow @ArchitectsDCA on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.


In 2020 the city of Ottawa declared a housing emergency. Issues of housing affordability and availability underlie this declaration. At the same time, the city declared a climate crisis and enacted a new Official Plan with a goal of increasing housing density within the urban boundary. But there is a disconnect between these density goals and the Official Plan. The new Official Plan (OP) limited height on minor corridors to four stories instead of six in the downtown, inner urban, outer urban and suburban transects. In the inner urban area, for example, this includes Parkdale, Holland, Pinecrest, Gladstone, Kirkwood, Donald, Cummings and Churchill Avenues. Many of these are already home to midrise or taller buildings. By limiting development on these streets to four stories, the city has virtually guaranteed that they will be undeveloped – because it’s not profitable unless it’s expensive housing. For example, a 30mx30m (100ft x100ft) infill property that contains one level of below grade parking, ground floor shops and residential units above makes a good case study: • At six stories you can get 50 residential units in the building, but at four stories, it drops to 30 units. Costs are generally calculated by the return on the number of residential units. Spread over



‘Office space is not dead’ BY DAVID SALI





or all those who believe Ottawa’s office towers are destined to become nothing but hollowed-out shells as the city emerges from the pandemic, Mike Church has a pile of documents he’d like to show you. “Office space is not dead,” says Church, the managing director of commercial real estate firm Avison Young’s Ottawa operations. As proof, the veteran broker cites the growing stack of open files on his desk – now numbering close to two dozen – that include sale and lease agreements in various stages of completion. If commercial real estate is no longer in demand, Church says, the market has a funny way of showing it.

“I think people have finally woken up to the fact that life is going to go on and eventually we’re all going to get back to (the office) in some fashion,” he says. With the future of the office a hot topic everywhere as employers around the world grapple with what workspaces will look like post-pandemic, Church and other local industry observers say that while office space is here to stay, it will likely be configured very differently once people start returning to their cubicles. As an example, Church points to a client that initially planned to ditch a hefty portion of its office footprint before deciding to retain it all and redesign it to allow for greater physical distancing and other health and safety measures. “The use of office space is going to evolve over time,” explains Church, adding

that companies will likely invest more money in upgrading HVAC systems and installing technology such as virus-killing UV systems as they retool buildings for a post-pandemic world. “COVID has been an opportunity to reimagine everything.” Shawn Hamilton, vice-president of business development at Canderel Group’s Ottawa office, is equally bullish on the local office sector’s prospects. “There’s no reason for us to abandon the optimism that we had going into the pandemic,” he says. Companies were already moving toward a hybrid work model that saw workers split their time between home and the office before COVID hit, Hamilton says, and the health crisis simply shifted that process into high gear. The former commercial real estate broker says when cornerstone tenants such as the federal government downsized in the past, other clients such as Ottawa’s burgeoning tech startups picked up the slack. He believes history will repeat itself this time. “I think having some space freed up by the federal government is uncomfortable because it challenges our comfort zones, but I think it creates oxygen for the private sector and the urban technology sector to thrive,” Hamilton says. Indeed, the industry is keeping a close eye on the federal government’s plans for 37 million square feet of office space it owns and leases in the National Capital Region. While the region’s largest tenant has no secret about reducing the amount of space it plans to occupy in the coming years, Hamilton doesn’t think that will spell doom and gloom for local landlords. Many buildings in the feds’ own 19-million-square-foot portfolio are either nearing the end of their lifespans or are in dire need of costly overhauls, he notes, which could create new opportunities for other building owners as the feds seek new homes for workers. In addition, the government has suggested it might put aging, energyinefficient properties such as L’Esplanade Laurier on the block in the near future, providing potential new avenues for redevelopment in the downtown core. “I think there are real opportunities there,” Hamilton adds. “I think L’Esplanade Laurier is the tip of the iceberg.” As the feds push to hit a target of 75

per cent of their leased properties being carbon-neutral before the decade is out, landlords need to act now to ensure their buildings are eco-friendly, he says. At the same time, owners of buildings with a mix of government and privatesector tenants will have to weigh whether pricey retrofits are worth it if it means passing on those costs to occupants that might balk at paying higher rents. “That discussion hasn’t happened yet, and it’s a discussion that has to happen,” Hamilton says. The feds have also suggested that how government office space will be parcelled out could change dramatically as a hybrid work world becomes the norm. Stéphan Déry, the assistant deputy minister for real property services at Public Services and Procurement Canada, said earlier this year he envisions a future where workers are no longer required to commute from the suburbs to central offices in the core. Déry imagined a scenario in which the feds set up a “network” of satellite offices across the country, where civil servants can drop in and share space closer to their homes in the suburbs. Hamilton says the “hub-and-spoke” model “makes a lot of sense,” adding it meshes well with urban planners’ goals of creating more walkable “15-minute neighbourhoods.” “It allows people to have an option to work from home, closer to home or at the mothership, which I think spreads out development across the city,” he says. Ultimately, Church believes Ottawa’s office market will go through “a bit of a transition” as landlords and tenants adjust to a post-pandemic world. For example, he expects more and more owners of aging properties will consider converting them into residential complexes, the approach InterRent REIT is taking with the 50-year-old Trebla Building at 473 Albert St. But he’s not buying the prediction of Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke, who declared “office centricity is over” when he announced early in the pandemic that the e-commerce giant was moving to a virtualby-default work model. “I think at the end of the day we’re going to be leasing probably the same amount of office space,” Church says. “It’ll just get configured differently. This, ‘Oh, we’re going to lose 50 per cent of it’ – not a chance.”

LOCAL An Ottawabased solution to the menstrual industry’s woes BY SARAH MACFARLANE




itting in a bar just after her university graduation, Kat Plouffe joked to her friends that she wished her period products would be delivered to her door. “I need them every month!” As Plouffe began to develop an idea for a subscription-based period product supplier, she learned that she had no idea what made up a sanitary product. Most menstrual products in Canada are made from a blend of cotton and rayon, a synthetic fibre, and have a debilitating impact on the environment. Products like tampons and pads are not required to list ingredients on the packaging. That was the first spark. Six years later, Plouffe’s passion project has been realized as Only, a subscription-based organic period product supplier and the designer of Canada’s first reusable tampon applicator. Only is committed to sustainable manufacturing and environmentally conscious materials that put the health of women and the planet first. After launching a month ago, Only already has approximately 100 subscribers, with the tampon applicator as the most popular purchase. That leaves the company plenty of room to grow in Canada’s $500-million period-product industry. “We have a vision,” said Plouffe. “It doesn’t matter your socioeconomic status; you should have choice. We are working towards organic cotton and reusable products for everyone. “We’re quite comfortable disrupting things and challenging people to rethink what their period looks like.” Disposable menstrual products’ environmental impact has led activist groups to unsuccessfully pressure the Canadian government to include tampons in its ban on single-use plastics.


‘Bullish on 2022’: Buoyed by new ownership, March Networks eyes ambitious growth agenda BY DAVID SALI





oming off a record sales year in 2019, Peter Strom and his executive team at March Networks took a rather unconventional step in their quest to push the Kanata-based firm to even loftier heights: they decided to seek new owners. As counterintuitive as that move might seem, there was a method in March’s madness. Though demand for its videosurveillance software was rising and the company was making steady inroads into new customer verticals, Strom sensed there were storm clouds on the horizon. March – which sells its software to more than 600 financial institutions around the world as well as 2,000-plus retailers – was getting pushback from customers who were uneasy about a Chinese private equity firm’s growing stake in March’s New Jersey-based parent company, Infinova. With tensions between then-U.S. president Donald Trump’s administration and China rising, the Kanata firm found itself caught in the crossfire. “The perception in the industry was that March was now controlled by a Chinese entity,” explains Strom, noting that a number of influential clients hinted it might be time for the company to shop for new owners.

NEW CUSTOMER STREAMS March began courting potential suitors in February 2020, just as the COVID-19 crisis was dawning. Twenty months later, it announced in October it had reached an agreement with Taiwan-based manufacturer Delta Electronics to acquire March for US$114 million, a deal that

“We think with them, what we can go out and look at in terms of acquisitions is significantly larger than maybe it would have been under Infinova,” says Strom. Now at more than 300 employees around the world, including 190 in Ottawa, March boasts a customer roster that includes Walmart, U.S. quick-service food giant Dunkin’ Brands and four of Canada’s five biggest banks. The company, which was founded in 2000 to provide video surveillance, now uses big-data analytics technology to help customers extract deeper insights from those surveillance systems, such as monitoring in-store customer flow and detecting potential fraud. Last year, March unveiled new software that tracks traffic in and out of a designated area and sends alerts when the space exceeds COVID-related capacity limits. Today, the company’s facial-recognition software uses algorithms to determine shoppers’ genders and ages in a bid to help retailers get a better handle on who their customers are and when specific cohorts such as seniors do most of their buying. Meanwhile, the company has expanded into the burgeoning cannabis market, launching a solution to help pot producers track the growth and sale of their plants. The groundbreaking technology earned March a 2019 Best Ottawa Business Award, and the firm is now selling the platform to more than 100 cannabis producers.


We think with (Delta), what we can go out and look at in terms of acquisitions is significantly larger than maybe it would have been under Infinova. — Peter Strom, CEO of March Networks closed last week. While finding a buyer took longer than originally expected due to the pandemic, Strom believes it was worth the wait. The longtime CEO says Delta – a publicly traded company that makes a variety of electronic components from computer fans to electric vehicle chargers and has annual revenues of more than $10

billion – does business with a ready-made pipeline of potential March customers that includes some of the world’s largest banks and retailers. In addition, the Taiwanese firm follows an aggressive M&A playbook, offering March a path to growth through acquisitions that never materialized under its previous owners.

While Strom will now answer to new bosses, he says it will be business as usual for him and his Kanata-based executive group, who will remain in their current roles. Ottawa’s 2005 CEO of the Year says he still has plenty of work to do as March rebounds from a “significant slowdown” in 2020, when its revenues fell nearly 20 per cent from their pre-pandemic total of more than $100 million amid the pandemicfuelled global economic slump. March expects to recover about half of those lost sales in 2021, and Strom is already predicting a banner year ahead. Buoyed by Delta’s hefty financial backing and expansive global reach, his company is eyeing an aggressive campaign to grab more market share in the hospitality sector while building on its traditional bases in industries such as banking and retail. “We’re bullish on 2022,” Strom says.



A brand new ecosystem for Industry, Academic and Finance partners to co-exist and collaborate in the heart of Kanata North.




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Ottawa’s venture capital roundup BY DAVID SALI


ust a few months ago, the National Capital Region appeared to be languishing in a venture capital


($300 million)

($190 million)

This Kanata firm that makes high-speed semiconductors that help electric cars and consumer electronics run more efficiently has raised more than $250 million in VC funding since 2015. Fidelity Investments led its most recent round announced in November. Other contributors included

($62 million)

Quietly founded eight years ago, Rockport Networks emerged from stealth mode with a bang in December, announcing a US$48-million investment from Toronto’s Northern Private Capital. Rockport’s groundbreaking software eliminates the need for hard-wired switchers in high-speed communications networks. The result is less congestion in the flow of data between a source and its destination, meaning Rockport’s products promise to speed up network traffic and consume less energy while doing so. “We’re changing the game,” co-founder Doug Carwardine said recently when asked about Rockport’s market potential. “We’re on a good path.” For a company that’s all about moving data as fast as possible, Rockport took its time getting to where it is today. The firm’s beginnings can be traced back to 2013, when Carwardine and his team at his previous venture, Iceberg Networks, were brainstorming ways to


($45 million) Ottawa’s Ben Houston founded this 3D imaging venture in 2014 after quitting his career as a Hollywood special effects guru and putting his skills to work in the software business. Since then, Threekit has attracted more than $80 million in private equity from a high-profile list of investors that includes NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young. The company, which is headquartered in Chicago but does most of its R&D in the National Capital Region, recently raised US$35 million in a series-B round led by Leaders Fund, a VC firm based in Toronto and Atlanta. Threekit’s software creates ultrarealistic online 3D images of everything from couches to diamond rings, giving e-commerce customers a much clearer picture of what they’re about to buy. Continued on page 39


The Ottawa-based online health-care platform closed one of the largest venture capital rounds in the city’s history in

GaN Systems

Rockport Networks

solve bottlenecks that slowed down traffic in high-speed networks. Looking for inspiration, Carwardine turned to his friend Dan Oprea, a PhD in electrical engineering and former CTO of Tropic Networks, a local firm that was acquired by Alcatel-Lucent in 2007. “His suggestion was why don’t we just simply put the network into the server and get rid of the switch altogether,” Carwardine explained. “The rest is history.” Marc Sultzbaugh, who was officially appointed Rockport’s co-CEO earlier this month and will serve alongside Carwardine, told Techopia the rise of bigdata analytics and artificial intelligence is ramping up pressure on data centres to be faster and more efficient. He believes Rockport, which now has 170 employees, is perfectly positioned to tap into an industry that’s already worth $10 billion and is poised to grow exponentially in the years to come.


desert. The city known for producing dynamic tech startups such as Shopify and Assent Compliance that raised eye-popping private equity deals was nowhere to be found on the list of Canada’s top-10 centres for VC funding in the first half of 2021. Despite being home to a vibrant startup scene and an array of business incubators aimed at scaling the next generation of software giants, Ottawa was left in the dust in CPE Analytics’ Canadian Venture Capital Report by the likes of Saskatoon, Fredericton and Halifax – smaller cities with far less storied tech pedigrees. While CPE’s report might have prompted some hand-wringing at the time, the capital’s great venture capital drought of 2021 ended with a deluge of deals in the closing months of the year. In a funding flurry unlike anything Ottawa has seen in decades, private equity firms have invested more than half a billion dollars in local tech enterprises since the end of September. With deals now coming fast and furious, Techopia is taking time out to review the latest transactions in order of their value in Canadian dollars.

November to fuel its North American expansion push amid surging demand for natural wellness products. Led by U.S. firms HGGC and Snapdragon Capital Partners, Fullscript’s latest round eclipses major deals such as Assent Compliance’s $160-million raise three years ago and Shopify’s $100-million series-C round in 2013. It comes as Fullscript is riding a wave of growth that’s seen revenues skyrocket from $40 million three years ago to a projected $300 million in fiscal 2021. Health-care practitioners across Canada and the U.S. use Fullscript’s software to dispense products such as vitamin supplements as well as track inventory, automatically refill patients’ orders and create treatment plans. Co-founder and CEO Kyle Braatz says the company is addressing a growing market as the North American healthcare industry shifts its focus from curing illnesses to preventing them. “There’s so much opportunity,” Braatz recently told Techopia. “We believe very strongly that integrative medicine will simply be medicine in the future, and Fullscript is going to be the platform that powers that.”

Vitesco Technologies, a European manufacturer of power-train equipment, and BMW i Ventures, which led GaN Systems’ previous round valued at more than $40 million in 2018. GaN’s secret sauce is its semiconductor technology that uses gallium nitride rather than traditional silicon. The cutting-edge transistors are faster, lighter and bleed less energy in the form of heat than their silicon-based cousins – attributes which make them particularly attractive to an automotive industry that’s rapidly shifting production to electric vehicles. But the Kanata firm has more than just EVs on its radar. GaN sees big upside in the consumer electronics industry as manufacturers of everything from air conditioners to flat-screen TVs seek smaller and more energy-efficient power sources.

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How uOttawa’s Faculty of Engineering is fighting back against cyber threats outside networks,” explains Jacques Beauvais, uOttawa’s dean of the Faculty of Engineering. Participants will be able to hone their response readiness from state-of-the-art simulation and control rooms through a range of sophisticated, wargame-style scenarios. That includes red team vs. blue team attack-and-defend exercises, simulations of attacks on critical infrastructure or large companies and organizationwide simulations involving personnel across management, communications, as well as R&D and engineering. “You need to test the quality of your defense mechanisms – and the only way to do that is to attack them,” he says. “Systems, and people, need to show how they’re going to react.”

government people – it gives us enormous convening power to bring people together and really develop cybersecurity.” And if partner organizations also need help with innovation or prototyping, adds Beauvais, the university’s Richard L’Abbé Makerspace and Makerlab facilities are just steps away. Product of longstanding uOttawa-IBM partnership The Cyber Range builds upon the foundation of a decadeplus partnership thanks to a $21 million in-kind contribution over five years from IBM and $7 million from the university. The facility’s planning, design, and eventual content delivery has been and will be a collaborative effort between the university and teams from the IBM Security Command Center. Led by co-directors GuyVincent Jourdan, of the Faculty of Engineering, and Iosif Onut from the IBM Canada Centre for Advanced Studies (and also a uOttawa adjunct professor), Peyton says uOttawa’s Cyber Range will help promote a cybersecurity centre of excellence in Ottawa. “This will be a best-inCanada, one of the best in the world, state-of-the-art, fully instrumented command-andcontrol center where you can create whatever test environment you want,” he explains. “You can build up or take down networks, test different security aspects, allow people to do their best to break in, and do it in a safe place that’s walled off from the rest of the world.”


Cybersecurity threats – from malware, to phishing attacks, to ransomware and everything in between – have increased exponentially over the past few years, threatening intellectual property and data security across academia, industry, and government. That’s a big reason why uOttawa recently partnered with IBM on an immersive and interactive cybersecurity learning facility known as a Cyber Range – essentially, a walled-off computing environment that allows students and other users to simulate cyberattacks and cyber threat scenarios for training purposes. “It’s like a sterile environment where you can duplicate your organization’s full architecture without being connected to

Addressing Canada’s cybersecurity talent gap The Cyber Range within uOttawa’s Cyber Hub will provide significant training and interdisciplinary research capabilities for students, businesses and government organizations. It’s also a critical piece of infrastructure that will help address the country’s current cybersecurity talent gap, says Beauvais – from full-time students to professionals already in the workforce. The university has already begun integrating the Cyber Range’s training capabilities into upcoming undergraduate, graduate and micro-credential courses. “We understand the need for lifelong learning,” Beauvais explains, especially in a fastmoving discipline such as cybersecurity. The university already works with outside organizations and collaborators to provide customized training, he says, and the Cyber Range will only help strengthen academiaindustry partnerships. “That includes re-skilling or upskilling people already in industry that are looking for a particular specialization. We’re all about working with industry.” That it’s being built in Canada’s capital – home to numerous federal agencies and other organizations dedicated to cybersecurity – just makes the initiative that much more powerful. “You’ve got all the key players in Canada’s cybersecurity sector (in Ottawa),” adds Liam Peyton, vice-dean of graduate studies at the Faculty of Engineering. “To have that opportunity to bring in expertise to help train our undergrad or grad students, our industry partners, and other



Tech trends to watch in 2022


Ottawa recently returned to prominence in the Canadian venture capital scene, thanks in part to major funding rounds from Rewind, Fullscript and others. But along with an upswing in VC, what are some other technology trends to watch as we head into the new year – and what’s driving them? Tech momentum in the foreseeable future will largely be governed by two major themes, says Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall’s Conor J. Cronin: COVID-19 and climate change. That’s why the technology, private equity and mergers & acquisitions (M&A) expert says prospects are so bright for clean technology companies in Ottawa and the rest of the country.



Verticals to watch: Cleantech, DaaS, cybersecurity, and more Several factors have combined to make cleantech an obvious growth industry heading into 2022, Cronin says, including: • The Glasgow Climate Pact and proposed aid for developing countries • A climate change-focused Liberal government that appears committed to supporting innovations such as low-carbon concrete • Significant planned U.S. spending on green infrastructure Data-as-a-service (DaaS) and other secure collaboration tools for remote and hybrid workforces are similarly well-

positioned, he says, in light of the recent work-from-home revolution. That’s doubly true in a town like Ottawa, where the federal government’s long-term workplace plans are still very much unknown. And recent high-profile attacks on critical infrastructure such as pipelines, government agencies, and hospital systems mean cybersecurity should be top-of-mind for heads of organizations, big and small. Increased scrutiny around network infrastructure and security will likely mean increased budgets – including beefed-up training so employees can better recognize increasingly sophisticated (and sometimes shockingly unsophisticated) cyberattacks. Additional verticals to watch, says Cronin, are financial technology (fintech) and cannabis – especially considering recent U.S. banking reforms, which should make it easier for banks to work with cannabis companies. Mergers and acquisitions M&A activity will likely ramp up in early 2022, Cronin says, with local firms such as Calian openly musing about expanding its M&A efforts and other local companies adding M&A experience to their leadership teams. On the flip side, though, corporate debt in Canada is high. Companies who took on a substantial amount of additional debt because of the

pandemic or other reasons likely won’t be in a position to expand via acquisitions. Refinancing may be an option, but it’s an additional step to getting a potential deal done that may make investors and acquisition targets think twice. Many technology companies, however, have funds to spend – and conditions could be ripe as travel picks back up and executives are able to book more in-person meetings. VC and private equity The latter few months of 2021 were strong for VC investment in Ottawa, and Cronin doesn’t see that changing soon. “It could be big,” he says. “There’s loads of cash out there, interest rates are low, and the stock market is riding high. Investors may have no choice but to look to private equity for highgrowth investments.” Ottawa also has a notable crop of young former executives and founders who have now gone on to start

their second or third successful businesses, which can be an important consideration for technology investors evaluating potential targets. What can local companies do to take advantage? Cronin says local technology firms can capitalize on these trends in three main ways: Keep an eye on government spending priorities, get out there and attract investment, and hire the best people possible so you’re ready to scale quickly when it’s go-time. “Especially for a technology company, success is being in the right place at the right time,” he says. “You’ve got to be fairly flexible to give yourself the best chance of doing that.”

Continued from page 35 As online shopping has surged during the pandemic, so have Threekit’s revenues. The company’s sales have tripled in the past year, and its growing customer base includes furniture retailer Crate and Barrel, golf equipment giant TaylorMade and camera manufacturer Nikon. The firm has more than 150 employees, about 30 of whom work for its Ottawa-based product development hub.

The firm’s codeless campaign creation software has become the go-to technology for dozens of enterprise customers, including two of the world’s three largest pharmaceutical companies. Previously bootstrapped, Knak now has 42 employees, half of whom are based in Ottawa, and plans to more than double its headcount as demand for its products continues to grow.

Fellow Insights ($30 million)


($32 million) This Ottawa startup recently received US$25 million from New York-based venture capital firm Insight Partners – the same company that led Shopify’s $100-million series-C round in 2013. Knak’s drag-and-drop software system simplifies the process of creating mass email marketing campaigns, which is typically a costly, time-consuming endeavour that often requires weeks of rewriting code to make even minor changes.

This Ottawa startup’s meeting management software aims to make everything from one-on-ones to quarterly reviews more efficient by suggesting topics, crafting more focused agendas and offering feedback to help future gatherings run smoother. Last month, Fellow announced it raised a US$24-million series-A round led by San Francisco’s Craft Ventures. The firm co-founded by serial entrepreneur Aydin Mirzaee says it plans to use the new funding to double down on product development and boost its sales and customer support teams.

“We were already the leading player in this space, but we really saw an opportunity to just go out and become the category owner,” Mirzaee said in a recent interview. Fellow is closing in on 1,000 customers, which include Shopify and Chick-fil-A restaurants. Meanwhile, its revenues are on pace to quadruple this year compared with 2020, and its customer count has more than tripled. Now at 40 employees, the company expects that number to double over the next 12 months.


($8.5 million) Founded 18 months ago by former Shopify employees Harry Brundage and Mohammad Hashemi, Gadget aims to take the tedium out of app development by providing programmers with a software stack that includes features such as readymade search widgets and tools that allow apps to talk to each other. The 12-person startup recently closed an $8.5-million funding round led by U.S.

venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners. Other investors include Shopify head of data science and engineering Solmaz Shahalizadeh and the e-commerce giant’s director of product acceleration, Anna Lambert. Brundage said the investment is an encouraging sign as he and Hashemi strive to be at the forefront of a new generation of made-in-Ottawa firms led by what he calls the “Shopify mafia” – former employees of the tech darling who hatch a new generation of successful software enterprises in much the same way Nortel alumni spearheaded the capital’s hardware boom two decades ago. And like their old boss, Shopify cofounder and CEO Tobi Lütke, Gadget’s leaders aren’t afraid to dream big. “We saw the amazing journey that Tobi and Co. got to go on, and we want to do it again our own way,” Brundage says. “I’d love to be talking again 10 years from now about an IPO, but we have a lot of proving ourselves and a lot of hurdles to clear before that’s on anyone’s mind.”

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Welcoming Mercato Zacconi You know you’re in Little Italy when someone in the crowd starts randomly belting out O Sole Mio during the soft opening party for a brand new food hall on Preston Street. The guy was no Pavarotti but his singing — even if it got drowned out by a roomful of chatter — made for a nice moment inside Mercato Zacconi Fresh Foods, where hordes of double-vaccinated guests met for an evening of bubbly, wine and Venetian snack-style cicchetti. Until recently, the 5,000-square-foot store was part of a larger banquet room at Sala San Marco Event & Conference Centre. Owner Tony Zacconi came to the realization in 2020 that the neighbourhood needed access to groceries more than it needed a massive special events venue,






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especially as the COVID-19 pandemic saw public gatherings fall by the wayside. He embarked on a renovation project that turned a sizeable chunk of Sala San Marco into Mercato Zacconi Fresh Foods, an Italian market, bistro and social house. The new business officially opened in December. “I feel like a mom when she finally gives birth and is, like, ‘Ah, I’m glad it’s out’ and super happy at the same time,” Zacconi said during at interview at the store, right next to the giant wheel of imported Parmigiano Reggiano. The pandemic made things challenging in many ways, said Zacconi. First, there was the process of hiring staff. He’s still hiring, by the way. Then there were delays in the arrival of

materials and equipment as well as specialty products that he’d ordered from Italy. “I was working with some great suppliers and great people but they were like, ‘Tony, what do you want me to do? It’s on a boat somewhere.’” What’s been wonderful to see, he said, is the interest from the neighbourhood. “I’m very fortunate; the community has been behind us 150 per cent. There have been people walking by with their dogs and stuff like that. They stop in and say, ‘When are you going to open? When are you going to open? I can’t wait until you open.’” Zacconi, who’s also vice-chair of the board for the Preston Street BIA, said he’s pleased to finally offer a grocery store for people who live in the neighbourhood. “I’m ecstatic that we’re open and the concept has come to life,” he said. “I know we’re not exactly where I want to be in terms of our services and the variety of food that we have, and things like that.” His vision is about bringing people together and making the experience of buying and eating food more social and fun (hence the shopping carts that come

with wine-glass holders). The store features produce, specialty foods and wines, private-label products, imported Italian cheeses and meats, a wood-fired pizza oven, prepared meals, an eating area and café. The space retains the charm from its wedding venue days, with its crown moulding and chandeliers, along with a new marble tile wall. “We’ve been waiting for something like this for a long, long time,” said Preston Hardware president Mario Giannetti, who was seen in the lineup for fresh pizza and sandwiches. The takeout meals will come in handy for Little Italy residents such as Tony Lofaro. “It’s a godsend, especially for someone who doesn’t cook.” Joseph Saikaley described the new store as “aesthetically pleasing”. He sits on the board of the Ottawa chapter of CIBPA (Canadian Italian Business and Professional Association) with Zacconi, who’s board vice-president. “It’s almost like a touch of Beverly Hills meets a little bit of the Ottawa Valley,” said Saikaley, co-owner of the Omniscient Wellness Centre in the ByWard Market.

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Cushman & Wakefield Ottawa 400-55 Metcalfe St., Ottawa, ON K1P 6L5 613-236-7777 / 613-236-5958


Colliers International 930-340 Albert St., Ottawa, ON K1R 7Y6 613-567-8050 / 613-567-8035


CBRE 333 Preston St., 7th floor, Preston Square Tower 1 Ottawa, ON K1S 5N4 613-782-2266 / 613-782-2296



4 1 4 2 6 3 7

Name/Address/ Royal LePage Team Realty Name/Address/ Phone/Fax/Web 1723 Carling Ave. , Ottawa, ON K2A 1C8 Phone/Fax/Web 613-725-1171 / 613-725-3323 Cushman Cushman & & Wakefield Wakefield Ottawa Ottawa 400-55 400-55 Metcalfe Metcalfe St., St., Ottawa, Ottawa, ON ON K1P K1P 6L5 6L5 Coldwell Banker Sarazen Realty Brokerage 613-236-7777 / 613-236-5958 613-236-7777 / 613-236-5958 1090 Ambleside Dr., Ottawa, ON K2B 8G7 613-596-4133 / 613-596-5905 Colliers Colliers International International 930-340 930-340 Albert Albert St., St., Ottawa, Ottawa, ON ON K1R K1R 7Y6 7Y6 Century 21 Explorer Realty* 613-567-8050 613-567-8050 // 613-567-8035 613-567-8035 23-2525 Carling Ave., Ottawa, ON K2B 7Z2 613-253-4253 / 613-257-2593 CBRE CBRE 333 St., 333 Preston Preston St., 7th 7th floor, floor, Preston Preston Square Square Tower Tower 11 Avison Young Ottawa, K1S Ottawa, ON ON K1S 5N4 5N4 800-45 O’Connor St., Ottawa, ON K1P 1A4 613-782-2266 613-782-2266 /// 613-782-2296 613-782-2296 613-567-2680 613-567-2671


1 22



Nathan Smith executive vice-president and managing director

Full service: office, industrial and retail leasing; land, multi-family and investment sales; property tax consulting; appraisal; project management; lease administration; market research; advisory and consulting services.


1 48



Warren Wilkinson managing director

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1 23

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No. No. of of brokers brokers doing doing more more than than 50% 50% (in (in dollar value) of dollar value) of their their work in commercial 12 work in commercial real real estate estate

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11 22 22 3 N/A

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11 23 23 1 16

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17 17

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12 12 8

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11 11 6

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Leah Sarazen Leah John Sarazen Rogan broker of record broker broker of of record record

Century Explorer Century&21 21Millichap* Explorer Realty* Realty* Marcus 23-2525 Carling Ave., Ottawa, ON K2B 23-2525Bank Carling Ave., Ottawa, ON 2L6 K2B 7Z2 7Z2 301-275 St., Ottawa, ON K2P 613-253-4253 / 613-257-2593 613-253-4253 // 613-257-2593 613-364-2300 613-364-2310

10 10 7

0 0 82

5 5 2 0 0 7

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Avison Avison Young Young Coldwell Banker First Ottawa Realty 800-45 O’Connor St., Ottawa, ON 800-45 O’Connor St., Ottawa, ON K1P K1P 1A4 1A4 2 Hobin St., Ottawa, ON K2S 1C3 613-567-2680 613-567-2671 613-567-2680 /// 613-831-9626 613-567-2671 613-831-9628

9 9 6

250 250 150

1 51 16 16 20

4 4 10

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Ralph Shaw Ralph Shaw Aik Aliferis CEO broker CEO and and broker of of record record Sam Firestone Nick Pantieras senior managing directors Michael Church Michael Church Ross Webley managing director and managingand director and president broker of principal principal record

8 11 8 11 10 14 11 14

Capworth Capworth Commercial Commercial Realty Realty Brokerage Brokerage JLL 204-240 St., ON 204-240 Catherine Catherine St., Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K2P K2P 2G8 800-275 Slater St., Ottawa, ON K1P 5H9 2G8 613-601-1353 613-601-1353 / 613-288-0109 613-656-0145

8 8 6

N/A N/A 130

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Denis Denis Shank Shank Ransome DrCar president president and and managing managing vice-president and practice partner partner lead

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Royal LePage Realty Koble Real Estate & Brokerage Royal Commercial LePage Performance Performance Realty 165 Pretoria Ave., Ottawa, 1X1 4 Foothills Dr., Ottawa, ON ON K2HK1S 6K3 165 Pretoria Ave., Ottawa, ON K1S 1X1 613-238-2801 613-237-0123 613-238-2801 // 613-238-4583 613-238-4583

8 6 8

132 N/A 132

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6 61

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John Rogan Marc John Morin Rogan broker record Graeme broker of ofWebster record co-founders and partners

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Marcus Millichap* Coldwell Rhodes & Co.* Marcus & &Banker Millichap* 301-275 Bank Ottawa, ON K2P 2L6 102-100 Ave., Ottawa, K2P 301-275 Argyle Bank St., St., Ottawa, ONON K2P 2L61B6 613-364-2300 / 613-364-2310 613-236-9551 613-364-2300//613-236-2692 613-364-2310

7 5 7

82 N/A 82

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Aik Aliferis Sarah Kiraly Aik Aliferis Sam Firestone broker Sam Firestone Nick Pantieras Nick Pantieras senior senior managing managing directors directors

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Coldwell Banker First Solid Rock Realty Coldwell Banker First Ottawa Ottawa Realty Realty 2 Ottawa, ON K2S 1C3 5 CorvusSt., Crt., Ottawa, K2E 2 Hobin Hobin St., Ottawa, ONON K2S 1C37Z4 613-831-9628 / 613-831-9626 613-733-3434 613-831-9628 / 613-831-9626

6 5 6

150 5 150

5 51 20 6 20

10 6 10

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Ross Webley Gina Ross Cristello Webley president and broker of record president and broker broker of of record record

Tenant representation; representation; office, commercial, land Commercial leasing, industrial, institutional, appraisals, property Tenant office, industrial, industrial, commercial, land and investment sales; advisory and management, consulting, retail, multi-family, and retail retail leasing; leasing; investment sales; advisory residential, and consulting consulting services; business sales. apartments, market research. services; business sales.

11 16 16 11 16 14 19 14 19 16

JLL Cresa JLL Ottawa 800-275 1000-130 Slater St., St., Ottawa, Ottawa, ON ON K1P K1P 5H9 6E2 800-275 Slater Slater St., Ottawa, ON K1P 5H9 613-656-0145 613-688-7200 613-688-7201 613-656-0145 /// 613-288-0109 613-288-0109

6 4 6

130 55 130

11 8 6 8

2 3 2

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Ransome DrCar Martin Aass Ransome DrCar vice-president and managing principal and vice-president and practice practice lead broker of record lead

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Decathlon Commercial Koble Real Estate Koble Commercial Commercial Real Realty Estate & & Brokerage Brokerage 17 Saddlebrook St., Ottawa, ON K2G 4 Dr., ON 6K3 4 Foothills Foothills Dr., Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K2H K2H 6K3 5N7 613-725-7170 613-237-0123 613-237-0123

4 6 6


11 0 0


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Real Strategy Advisors Coldwell RhodesLtd. & Coldwell Banker Banker & Co.* Co.*ON K2C 0A9 200-1280 BaselineRhodes Rd., Ottawa, 102-100 102-100 Argyle Argyle Ave., Ave., Ottawa, Ottawa, ON ON K2P K2P 1B6 1B6 613-216-0130 613-236-9551 // 613-236-2692 613-236-2692 613-236-9551

4 5 5

0 N/A N/A

11 1 0 0 0

5 8 8

2017 1940 1940

Darren Fleming Sarah Sarah Kiraly Kiraly broker of record broker broker

Management consulting, workplace strategy, brokerage Commercial sales, leasing, representation, investment Commercial sales, leasing, tenant tenant representation, investment services, tenant representation, commercial property properties. properties. management.

4 8 4 8 6 10 7 11

Royal Team Royal LePage LePage Team Realty Realty Capworth Commercial Realty Brokerage 1723 Ave. ON 1C8 1723 Carling Carling Ave. ,, Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K2A K2A 1C8 2G8 204-240 Catherine St., Ottawa, ON K2P 613-725-1171 / 613-725-3323 613-725-1171 / 613-725-3323 613-601-1353 Coldwell Banker Banker Sarazen Sarazen Realty Realty Brokerage Brokerage Coldwell Royal LePage Performance Realty 1090 Ambleside Dr., Ottawa, ON K2B 8G7 1090Pretoria Ambleside Dr., Ottawa,ON ONK1S K2B 165 Ave., Ottawa, 1X18G7 613-596-4133 / 613-596-5905 613-596-4133 / 613-596-5905 613-238-2801 / 613-238-4583

Nathan Nathan Smith Smith executive executive vice-president vice-president Leah Sarazen and managing and managing director director broker of record

Full range of services including sales and acquisition, leasing, Services offered tenant representation, land assembly and development and Services offered consulting for all commercial and institutional asset types. Full Full service: service: office, office, industrial industrial and and retail retail leasing; leasing; land, land, multi-family multi-family and and investment investment sales; sales; property property tax tax consulting; consulting; appraisal; appraisal; project project Real estate sales and leasing, multi-residential, retail, industrial, management; lease administration; market research; management; lease administration; market research; advisory advisory office, institutional, land, market research and consulting and consulting services. and consulting services. services. Leasing Leasing (landlord (landlord and and tenant tenant representation), representation), investment investment sales, sales, real real estate estate management management services, services, valuation valuation and and advisory advisory Full service: Retailmanagement, and office leasing, land sales, commercial and services, project consulting. services, project management, consulting. industrial sales and leasing, agriculture, mortgage financing.

Warren Warren Wilkinson Wilkinson managing managing director director Ralph Shaw CEO and broker of record

Zinati Zinati Realty Realty Commercial Commercial Brokerage Brokerage 92 Centrepointe Dr., Nepean, ON K2G 6B1

3 3

3 3

11 0

4 4

2016 2016

John John Zinati Zinati broker of record

Full-service commercial: leasing, office/industrial/retail, multiFull-service commercial:office, leasing, office/industrial/retail, multiTenant representation; industrial, commercial, land residential and asset management, property residential and apartments, apartments, asset management, and retail leasing; investment sales; advisory andproperty consulting management, mortgage brokerage, investment sales, appraisal, management, mortgage services; business sales. brokerage, investment sales, appraisal, project project management, management, valuations. valuations.

Commercial leasing, real estate brokerage specializing in leasingproperty and Commercial Commercial leasing, industrial, industrial, institutional, institutional, appraisals, appraisals, property sales. management, consulting, management, consulting, retail, retail, multi-family, multi-family, residential, residential, apartments, market market research. research. apartments, Investment sales, industrial leasing, suburban office leasing, Tenant representation; project management; retail leasing, tenant mandate utilitylease audit services, Tenant representation; projectprogram, management; lease administration; national brokerage brokerage solutions; property management administration; national solutions; office/industrial office/industrial sales and leasing, lease auditing, market research, sales and leasing, lease auditing, market research, office, office, industrial industrial and and retail retail sales sales and and leasing leasing

Commercial real real estate estate advisory sales leasing office, retail, Commercial Specializes in green sales and andservices. leasing including including office, retail, industrial, hotels, apartment buildings, retirement buildings low-carbon workplaces well as accommodation industrial,and hotels, apartment buildings,ascannabis, cannabis, retirement homes, land and syndication. strategies for tenants. homes, land and syndication. Management Management consulting, consulting, workplace workplace strategy, strategy, brokerage brokerage services, services, tenant tenant representation, representation, commercial commercial property property management. management. Commercial Commercial real real estate estate brokerage brokerage specializing specializing in in leasing leasing and and sales.


16 19 16

Real estate sales leasing, multi-residential, retail, industrial, Real estate sales and and leasing, multi-residential, retail, industrial, Office, industrial, land and retail sales and and leasing, tenant office, institutional, land, research office, institutional, land, market market and consulting consulting representation, investment sales,research multi-residential, seniors services. services. housing, property management, consulting and advisory services. Full Retail and leasing, land and Full service: service:and Retail and office office leasing, land sales, sales, commercial commercial Brokerage advisory firmagriculture, serving institutional, public andand industrial and mortgage financing. industrial sales sales and leasing, leasing, agriculture, mortgage financing. multinational corporate investors, private owners, major space users, developers and lenders.


3 3 11 4 2016 JohnCristello Zinati Zinati Realty Commercial Brokerage 5 5 6 2004 Gina Solid Rock 5 5 1 6 2004 Gina Cristello Solid Rock Realty Realty 0 broker of record 92 Centrepointe Dr., Nepean, K2G 6B1 6 broker of 5 Corvus Corvus Crt., Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K2E K2EON 7Z4 6 broker of record record 5 Crt., ON 7Z4 613-853-4106 613-733-3434 613-733-3434 3 N/A 1 2 1994 Donald Hughes Facilities Commercial Realty 4 55 3 2009 Martin Cresa 011 broker Aass of record 210-720 Belfast Rd. 4 55 3 2009 Martin Aass Cresa Ottawa Ottawa 6 managing 1000-130 Slater St., Ottawa, K1G 0Z5 6 managing principal principal and and 1000-130ON Slater St., Ottawa, Ottawa, ON ON K1P K1P 6E2 6E2 broker of 613-688-7200 / 613-688-7201 613-723-8944 broker of record record 613-688-7200 // 613-723-5698 613-688-7201 4 N/A 2 2008 Philip Decathlon Commercial 3 N/A 11 2 2013 James McNeil JJMcNeil 4 2008 Philip Zunder Zunder DecathlonCommercial Commercial Realty Realty 0 president broker of 17 St., Ottawa, 0 managing principal and Ottawa, ON K0G 1J0 president and and broker of 17 Saddlebrook Saddlebrook St., Ottawa, ON ON K2G K2G 5N7 5N7 record 613-725-7170 broker of 613-668-7738 record record 613-725-7170 Real Advisors Ltd. 4 0 11 5 2017 Darren Fleming RealdidStrategy Strategy Advisors Ltd.survey in time for publication. This information 4 0 years. Note: Firms 2017 Fleming *These companies not respond to this Ottawa, year’s is from previous must offer 5 tenant representation toDarren appear on this list. 200-1280 0 broker 200-1280 Baseline Baseline Rd., Rd., Ottawa, ON ON K2C K2C 0A9 0A9 0 broker of of record record 613-216-0130 613-216-0130

Tenant Tenant representation, representation, office, office, industrial industrial and and retail retail leasing leasing and and sales, investment and multi-residential sales, consulting/client sales, investment and multi-residential sales, consulting/client Full-service commercial: leasing, office/industrial/retail, multiadvisory services, project management, appraisal, property advisory services, project management, appraisal, property residential and apartments, asset management, property management. management. mortgage brokerage, investment sales, appraisal, management, project management, valuations. Full of sales leasing, Full range range of services services including including sales and and acquisition, acquisition, leasing, Tenant representation, buyer representation, ownership leasing tenant representation, representation, land assembly and development development and tenant land assembly and and representation. consulting for all commercial and institutional asset types. consulting for all commercial and institutional asset types.



Xradar cements itself in the Ottawa market



Local developers, contractors and engineers can now gain a better “view” of their building projects thanks to the recent expansion by one of Canada’s leading concrete scanning providers into the nation’s capital. Xradar opened its Ottawa office in June 2021 following a heightened demand for ground penetrating radar services from companies in the national capital region. While Xradar always had a robust presence in Ontario (Toronto) – as well as in British Columbia and Quebec – the move to the Ottawa market was a natural next step, explains Jesse Hodgins, Xradar’s director of operations for eastern Ontario. “Ottawa is booming in terms of construction and there isn’t a service provider like us that can do what we do here,” says Hodgins. “It was an opportunity to come into the market and provide scanning customers in Ottawa with a premium service.” Xradar offers concrete scanning services, nondestructive testing, void & crack detection and corrosion mapping to anyone working with concrete or cement structures – servicing the construction, engineering

and archaeological sectors, to name a few. Xradar performs similarly to traditional ground penetrating radar (GPR), but has the scanning precision of an x-ray machine whilst being safer, more agile, and faster, says Hodgins. This makes it easier and more efficient to mark and identify embedded targets such as heating lines, rebar, and plastic conduits. The company’s trademarked technology provides more detailed accuracy than other ground penetrating radar methods, reducing scanning errors to less than one per cent. “Accuracy is guaranteed,” says Morgan Carman, vice-president of Xradar. “If someone is cutting, drilling or coring through concrete after Xradar has scanned for embedded elements, we guarantee that they won’t cut anything unforeseen.” Service – and innovation – makes all the difference Xradar also offers other technology and non-destructive testing methods that makes them the desired choice for concrete inspection within construction projects.

The company uses industryleading ultrasound technologies (ultrasonic tomography and ultrasound pulse velocity) for crack & void detection within concrete. Xradar has also created its own software to allow for the most accurate mapping of corrosion, delamination and voiding within concrete structures. All results can be provided within scaled maps and survey reports. For contractors and engineers, Xradar is a non-destructive inspection service that can save time, money and core drilling to the structure, says Carman. Xradar’s non-destructive scanning techniques are also instrumental when it comes to aging infrastructure and historic buildings – something Ottawa has an abundance of. The team provides intensive structural investigation for existing and older buildings that may have poor build drawings and records – or in some cases none at all. Technicians will cover all the necessary details needed for the structural investigation and can then create enhanced drawings or structural survey reports that meet permit requirements. “Every job Xradar does comes with a survey report that summarizes the work undertaken, making it easy for all customers to understand

MAKING WAVES IN OTTAWA Since arriving in the Ottawa area, Xradar has worked with many engineering firms – quickly becoming one of the go-to companies in the community. Have a project that you need help with? Visit or call the Ottawa office at 613-325-5260 for more information on how the Xradar team can assist you today.

and move to next stage of the project,” says Carman. “The whole process is very smooth.” Xradar’s extensive staff training program is consistent Canada-wide, which helps ensure the accuracy of the team’s approach from coast to coast. New hires are put through an on-site “Xradar university” for six to eight months before they are allowed to perform any GPR scanning or surveying on their own, guaranteeing that everyone on the team has adequate training. “Our service is really what sets us apart,” adds Hodgins. “If you want absolute accuracy, we’re the people to call.”

Doing business in Eastern Ontario’s ‘comfort zone’


delayed at least a year.” That business-friendly attitude seems to be boosting business activity in the town, even in a time of pandemic. “You feel momentum,” McDonald says. “Even [with] COVID, the downtown has had a better year than ever. There’s lots of residential and business construction. My 23 employees are very happy to be here.” McDonald is more than happy to help spread the good news about business and investment opportunities in Eastern Ontario.


sign. “That alone puts me in a nice frame of mind,” he says. “The whole town, with its amazing restaurants and coffee shops and the laid-back people, puts me immediately in a comfort zone. I am there to work, but also to enjoy life. And it happens.” Apart from the town’s vibe, there are other advantages. “This place really welcomes new businesses,” McDonald says. “If we’d set up shop in Ottawa, the project, with all the [waits for] getting permits and permissions, would have been

EOBJ has spoken to people from six counties and seven cities in Eastern Ontario. We have concentrated on the region surrounding Ottawa, encompassing everything from Renfrew County on the west end to Prescott-Russell on the east, as well as the communities to the south that run along the St. Lawrence Seaway. The story everywhere seems to be the same. Communities and counties throughout the region are pulling together to let the world know Eastern Ontario, not always thought of as an economic powerhouse, has advantages that make it far more competitive with larger, more populated centres than most realize. Continued on next page


ach weekday, Omid McDonald leaves his home in Ottawa’s west end, gets in his car and drives to work at the Dairy Distillery, a new business he and his partners opened in Almonte a couple of years ago. “I’m on the road about half an hour — and that’s amazing in itself,” McDonald says. “In rush hour, it could take the same amount of time just to get to downtown Ottawa.” As he comes off the highway into Almonte, he passes the town’s welcome






Continued from previous page No one tells that story with more fervour than Chris King, president of the Ontario East Economic Development Commission. “We’re all bullish on the business opportunities in this region,” he says. “I mean, we have so many advantages.” First is geographical location. Eastern Ontario is within easy reach of the three largest cities in Central Canada: Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Some 50 million potential customers, many on the U.S. side, live within 800 kilometres. Second, Eastern Ontario has amazing infrastructure to serve the needs of business. Multi-lane highways and access to rail, airports and deepwater seaports provide all forms of transportation. Third, there is a manufacturing sector and a skilled workforce in place that can support new businesses that come in. And those manufacturers already in place have developed supply-chain partners that can serve new arrivals. Fourth, there are several post-secondary institutions with campuses in communities across the region. These range from Queen’s University, satellite campuses of Algonquin College, St. Lawrence College, Royal Military College of Canada, among others. And finally, there’s the quality of life of the area. “You know, a lot of people are exiting the large cities to find the quiet life that typifies Eastern Ontario,” King says. “Some are small business entrepreneurs, many of them running small tech companies, who can work anywhere. And then there are the people whose job allows them to work remotely from the office

waiting for the right entrepreneurial hand to put them back in operation. If you need a bilingual workforce, Eastern Ontario is one of the best places in Canada to be. Hawkesbury, for example, where 67 per cent of the population speaks English and French, can easily find workers for any call centre that needs to deliver services in both languages. Bob Peters, manager of Cornwall Economic Development sums up the region’s advantages succinctly: “We are a full-service region without the headaches of more developed regions.” For Peters, the region’s best features are the low entry costs for business and the quality of life enjoyed by its residents. “Here, you can work hard and really succeed in business and still know you’re only five minutes away, at any moment, from your boat or the first tee.”


— they can live here happily, and go to their companies’ big city offices every two weeks, as needed.” What they find in Eastern Ontario is a relaxed rural way of life where one can quickly join the community in a meaningful way, enjoy boating on the many lakes and rivers, and, in many communities, enjoy cultural engagement through the community theatres, concert halls and food and beverage-tasting tours found in the region.

THE COST FACTOR Establishing a business in Eastern Ontario is particularly low cost, as shown in a study by the Boyd Company, which advises companies on site selection for manufacturing facilities. Boyd looked at 24 regions in the U.S. and Canada and found that Eastern Ontario was the least expensive of all. Operating costs for a 350,000-square-foot production facility employing 500 workers ranged from a high of $42.5 million in Silicon Valley down to a low of $27.5 million in Eastern Ontario.

That’s more than a third lower than the highest price. Accounting firm KPMG has found that business operating costs in Toronto are 12.3 per cent higher than in Eastern Ontario communities. Industrially zoned land in Eastern Ontario can be had for an average of $30,000 an acre, far lower than in larger urban centres. Office lease rates are a third lower than Canadian and U.S. averages. Production workers in the region are paid up to 20 per cent less than their counterparts in Toronto. Turnover and absenteeism rates are both low, indicating a workforce that is loyal and eager to work. And workers will find purchasing a house easier in Eastern Ontario than in most other regions. The average house costs roughly $300,000 — only a third of what one might pay in Toronto — though the work-from-anywhere movement is edging those prices up. Cornwall saw a 67 per cent increase in housing prices between January 2020 and January 2021. Looking for a factory? There are a number of vacant factories in the region

The provincial government has the back of any entrepreneur or businessperson looking to locate in Eastern Ontario. Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli told EOBJ that the government took note of how innovative businesses in the region were in the face of economic difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “They demonstrated the best of the Ontario spirit,” the minister said. “As we progress further along the path to a full economic recovery, our government will remain committed to the growth and development of this vital economic region.” In Brockville, Jim Cooper, president of Canarm, which manufactures fans, lighting and related environmental products, joins the chorus. “I am glad to be here, and my impression is that our employees feel exactly the same way,” he said. “I treasure the region’s proximity to Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto, and to two border crossings to the United States. But all of us treasure the way of life here. It’s a wonderful place to raise a family. Here, you can live quite well and quite cheaply. The [St. Lawrence] River is a wonderful place to spend your down time. “If any business is thinking of locating in this region, I can only give my highest recommendation to proceed.”

Work remotely, live happier Working remotely in the Ottawa Valley is the life changing opportunity that you’ve been looking for. Live and work in an inspirational environment with a limitless back yard at a very affordable cost of living. Moving, investing or starting a new business in Renfrew County? Find out more at

- Bryan Stott Manager, Early Resolution and Stakeholder Outreach

Moving to a small town while launching a tech start-up sounds like a contradiction, but for me, it makes a lot of sense. Rural life brings a lot of things into sharper focus. It’s very useful for picking out what’s important from the noise that you constantly experience in the city. Sometimes, having a little bit of separation allows you to see the bigger picture.

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- Emad Hanna President,

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Summerhill Resorts takes over Ottawa Valley properties BY SARAH MACFARLANE

It’s exciting to see we’re on the radar of investors out of Toronto. – ALASTAIR BAIRD, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, RENFREW COUNTY.


Toronto-based tourism company has invested in the whitewater rapids and rolling hills of the Ottawa Valley with the purchase of two of the most prominent tourist attractions in the area. Summerhill Resorts has resorts and attractions across Ontario and has added Logosland in Cobden to its list as well as a property formerly owned by Wilderness Tours. Logosland, located just off of Highway



17, is home to ziplines, restaurants, rafting, a water park, hiking trails, campsites, cottages and a golf course and is usually open from April until October for the summer season. It is an adventure-based tourist attraction that is central to the summertime traffic in the Valley, said Alastair Baird, the economic development manager for Renfrew County. “It’s exciting to see we’re on the radar of investors out of Toronto,” said Baird. “They see the opportunity for the future in recreation, cottages and tourism.” Summerhill has also taken over a 328

acre trailer and campground at 503 Rafting Road formerly owned and operated by Wilderness Tours. The existing sites, cottages, chalets and tourist commercial buildings will be used to reopen a campground park in the spring, with recreational vehicle sites connected to the existing hydro, water and wastewater systems. The original report presented to council emphasized re-establishing and revamping the existing campground, leaving the natural heritage of the site preserved as much as it was with previous use. The biggest appeals of these properties were the beautiful natural landscape and the proximity to Ottawa, said Summerhill Resorts president Bill McGill. “The fact that both met our criteria and they’re only 15 mins apart from each other made it more appealing,” said McGill Baird also said that the more longterm or overnight accommodations at Logosland, which vary from a modern motel to cottages and campsites, and the newly acquired campground are essential to tourism. “Tourism relies on things that attract visitors and if a visitor comes more than a day, they want a resort or campground, it’s essential to have a broad range of accommodations,” said Baird. “Daytime visitors are great but when tourists spend an overnight visit, the spending increases with additional meals and shopping opportunities, so overnight accommodations are very important.” In turn, Wilderness Tours will run their operations from the RiverRun site and through Ottawa City rafting, continuing their adventure-based attractions for locals and tourists alike. “We are building on what’s there, continuing the work that previous owners have done up until this point, and expanding upon what’s already been done,” said McGill. “Both properties became available around the same time was serendipitous and allowed us to make a bigger investment in the area than intended.”


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REGIONAL ROUNDUP ARNPRIOR — An Arnprior manufacturer that specializes in precision metal products for customers in the nuclear, aerospace and defence sectors has been sold to a Fortune 500 firm based in Los Angeles. Nu-Tech Precision Metals has been acquired by Reliance Steel & Aluminum, the publicly traded California company announced Monday. Terms were not disclosed. Originally founded in 1960, Nu-Tech was rebranded under its current name in 1985. According to a news release, the company posted net sales of $44 million last year. The firm says it operates Canada’s only commercial electron beam welding facility, which produces complex seamless pipes, tubes and rods made of materials such as titanium, zirconium and copper. Nu-Tech now becomes part of a steel industry giant in Reliance, which generated revenues of nearly $9 billion in 2020 and has close to 13,000 employees worldwide. The U.S. firm specializes in metal processing and has more than 125,000

customers. Since going public on theReliance CEO Jim Hoffman called Nu-Tech a “high-margin” business with a “respected and established position” in the nuclear and aerospace industries. He said the Nu-Tech acquisition will help Reliance diversify its customer and product bases as well as expand its geographic footprint. “Nu-Tech fits within Reliance’s methodology of acquiring immediately accretive companies with strong management teams, brand recognition and quality reputations,” Hoffman added in a statement. KINGSTON — Coca-Cola Canada has announced a $1.5-million investment into a new distribution facility in Kingston. Estimated at 10,000 square feet, the new space will offer a larger, more efficient design for “long-term growth” and will replace the current workspace on Railway Street. The building has broken ground on Innovation Drive and is set to be finished in May.

Coke Canada says the facility distributes more than 400 products to customers across the region, a process that is meant to be streamlined and modernized with the new building. There are more than 80 Coke Canada employees in Kingston. While the current facility will be larger and more modern, it is not expected to take on more employees or operations. VANKLEEK HILL — Beau’s Brewing Co. is turning to one of its rivals for help, as craft brewers across the province struggle to survive through a pandemic that saw bars and restaurants closed for prolonged stretches and consumers wary to visit them even when they reopened. Steam Whistle Brewing take over all of the Vankleek Hill brewer’s warehousing and delivery throughout Ontario and the two companies will create a “joined sales force” that will be able to see products from both breweries at the same time. Beau’s told the Ottawa Business Journal earlier this fall that its revenue dropped by 50 per cent through the pandemic - a loss of $15-million - throughout the pandemic. Its looked to forge partnerships as a

means of salvaging its sales, including a deal to be the exclusive beer on Porter Airline flights (a privilege once held by Steam Whistle). Steve Beauchesne, Beau’s CEO and cofounder, said the alliance would make both brewers more resilient and present them with opportunities to expand their businesses. “We refuse to be slowed by the pandemic-based hospitality industry impacts,” he said in a statement. “This new bold alliance between Steam Whistle and Beau’s gives us resiliency and capacity for growth.” KINGSTON —A Kingston software firm is hoping a scaleup guru from a Terry Matthews-backed investment firm can help it capitalize on growing demand for its education management platform. Elentra said Monday it’s hired Greg Vanclief as its new chief executive. Vanclief spent more than two decades as a senior executive at Ottawa-based Wesley Clover, where he served the past six years as the firm’s managing director of global investment after a 10-year stint as vicepresident of business development.

STUFF Made and Built In Eastern Ontario

Stuff Made and Built in Eastern Ontario explores the opportunities in the manufacturing and building industries in the region. Read the 2021-2022 digital edition at and find out what is manufactured and built in Eastern Ontario, who’s making it, and what kinds of careers are available. BROUGHT TO YOU BY





Don’t let the name Rewind fool you. Amanda Gordon has in fact joined a very forward-thinking company as the new vice-president of people for the Ottawa-based data protection software firm. She’s settling in very nicely, by the way, at Rewind, since starting her new job in late November. “There’s a great People Team at Rewind,” the experienced recruitment and HR professional said in an interview. “How they’re building the company, the culture, the philosophy on work and balance and all that kind of stuff, it’s a beautiful thing. I feel very fortunate.” Founded in 2015, Rewind is on a roll. It specializes in software that backs up and recovers customer data for Shopify merchants and users of other cloud-based software platforms. It stores data from customer accounts on encrypted servers, ensuring sensitive information is protected from events such as power outages or cyber-attacks. “I’m very excited to be with them because I’m really excited about the technology.” Gordon acknowledged that it was hard to leave her last job at executive search and consulting firm Boyden, where she was a partner in its technology practice. “I really loved the team at Boyden and I honestly can’t say enough about that group.” The placements that Boyden has made and the differences that those placements make in companies are “truly setting the bar on top, top top talent,” said Gordon, who’d often feel exhilarated at the end of her work day by what they were getting accomplished. Gordon said that, while she was definitely growing a business at Boyden, she “missed that owning it, end to end, and thinking each day about what could we do to be better, what could we do to really build this to that next level.” Gordon works with an executive



Amanda Gordon / Rewind leadership team at Rewind that includes CEO and co-founder Mike Potter and COO Sam Wehbe. “I’m at a stage in my career where it’s about working with great people and it’s about really trying to do great things,” she said of her focus on the employee experience. “If I’m going to invest time in Rewind it has to come from a place where I really believe we can do something awesome with it. How do I really make sure this is a career experience for people, where

they look back at this as a highlight for them. Because I’ve had that, I’ve had a couple of those really beautiful experiences in my career.” Gordon leads a 10-person team that’s in charge of such areas as recruitment, culture building, retention and engagement, and rewards and compensation. There’s also the growth side, which includes performance management, manager building, coaching and development of talent. “Because we are scaling so quickly

we really need to keep our eye on how to really support and grow our team, so that we’re not always hiring above them but developing the organization,” said Gordon. Rewind currently has about 130 employees and is looking to add more than 100 hires next year. Finding the right talent is one of the biggest challenges. While Rewind has won Employee Choice awards, it still faces pressure to differentiate itself from the competition, and prove what a gem of a workplace it truly is, said Gordon. “You have to be very strategic in how you do it. Everybody says they have an incredible culture and everybody says they’re an ‘employer of choice’. We need to work strategically on how to make sure that we get above that noise to say, ‘This is the real deal’.” Gordon is both a leader professionally and in the greater business community. Her involvement includes being a board member with the Kanata North Business Association and chair of its human resources committee and talent committee, a mentor and advisor with Invest Ottawa’s SheBoot program for women-led businesses. As well, she’s been doing advisory work with the University of Ottawa’s business and technology programs. “It comes from a place of passion, it truly does.” In 2015, the mother of three stepped away from her busy executive role with SkyWave after her husband passed away unexpectedly. It was Jim Roche who got her to join Stratford Managers Corporation, giving her “a soft spot to land” until she figured things out. She was inspired by how Roche leaned in, helped other companies and gave back, having already built a successful career for himself. “That really touched me, and I thought if I can help any other young female, any other young person who’s really considering tech as a career, that just started to really build within me,” she said of her advisory roles. “I would say it has definitely enriched what I do and has also made me a much stronger business leader.”

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE If the amazing cuisine, landmarks and art collections aren’t enough to draw you to Paris, here’s one more reason: Ottawa’s Guy Laflamme is living there now. The former head of Ottawa 2017 has been hired by Moment Factory, a Montréalbased multimedia entertainment studio specializing in the conception and production of immersive environments combining video, lighting, architecture, sound and special effects to create remarkable visitor experiences. As the new managing director, Laflamme is responsible for overseeing and defining the company’s strategies for Europe and the Middle East. Laflamme formerly worked as senior vice president for National Capital Commission and director general of capital experience for Canadian Heritage. He was executive director of Ottawa 2017, a $40-million, year-long calendar of extraordinary events to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. Remember the giant mechanical fire-breathing dragon? Laflamme said he’s looking forward to promoting Canadian culture across Europe and the Middle East and being a “humble Ottawa ambassador” across the Atlantic.

Julie Potvin is the new board president with Ottawa-based Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la Capitale nationale. Potvin works for Mercer Canada as a senior principal consultant. RGA brings together nearly 600 business people, entrepreneurs and managers who want to conduct business in French in Eastern Ontario and the Outaouais.

Barbara Stead-Coyle has joined the CHEO Foundation as its incoming president and CEO. She takes over in the new year from Kevin Keohane, who’s retiring after having spent 20 years with the foundation. Stead-Coyle was most recently CEO of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation and has 15 years’ experience in professional fundraising. She’s held top leadership roles at a variety of large health organizations, including Muscular Dystrophy Canada, Canadian Cancer Society, and the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation.

Experienced professional fundraiser Cynthia Little is the new campaign director for Ronald McDonald House, a non-profit organization located near CHEO to provide families of sick or injured kids with a temporary home away from home. She was most recently interim president and CEO of the Royal Ottawa Foundation, where she worked in fundraising for nearly nine years.

Public affairs industry veteran Elizabeth Roscoe has signed on to Rubicon as a senior vice-president. She previously spent 12 years leading national public affairs for Hill + Knowlton Strategies. Roscoe is also board chair of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation.

Ray Charron is the new vice-president of finance, development and construction at Gatineau-based real estate developer Brigil. He spent 10 years with Mattamy Homes, most recently as its vice-president of finance.

Chantale Cousineau-Mahoney, MBA, CPA, CGA, LLB, is a bilingual associate lawyer in our Business Law and Estates and Succession Law Groups. Chantale’s background in business and accounting is a unique and beneficial addition to her legal skill set. It allows her to work collaboratively with accountants and financial planners alike to meet her client’s legal and financial objectives. Before her law practice, Chantale had an extensive career in the federal public service as an Assistant Deputy Minister, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. She provides pro bono services, as needed, to promote seniors rights.

Danielle Bartlett, is an associate lawyer in our Civil Litigation and Personal Injury and Insurance Law Groups. Danielle is a compassionate and fierce advocate who navigates complex litigation and insurance claims. She practices all types of personal injury claims including motor vehicle accidents, product liability, wrongful death claims, slip and fall, dog bites, sexual assault, and historical abuse claims. She has appeared before Ontario tribunals, Small Claims Court, and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. She is a Member of the County of Carleton Law Association External Relations Committee.

Chelsea Packman, associate lawyer, Commercial Litigation and Family Law Groups. Chelsea completed her articles with LMR prior to being called to the bar in 2021. Chelsea provides advice in all areas of commercial litigation, including breach of contract, shareholder and partnership disputes. Chelsea also provides advice in custody, access, and support issues. Chelsea is a member of the Law Society of Ontario, the Canadian Bar Association, the County of Carleton Law Association, the Advocacy Club, and the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association. Chelsea is also a member of the Legal Aid Ontario Family Law panel and does accept certificates.

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1565 Carling Avenue, 4th floor Carling Executive Park Ottawa, Ontario K1Z 8R1 Phone: (613) 236- 9442


Caroline Topolovec has been hired as customer success manager at Noibu Technologies, an e-commerce SaaS startup that detects, prioritizes and resolves critical e-commerce errors to prevent lost revenue. Perks of her new job include having a view of the Redblacks’ home games at TD Place. Noibu’s headquarters are located at Lansdowne Park.

Chantale Cousineau-Mahoney, Danielle Bartlett and Chelsea Packman have joined LMR!


Professional fundraiser Tom Hewitt is working back in Ottawa again. He was recently appointed president of Bruyère Foundation. Hewitt spent the past nine years as chief development officer at his alma mater, Queen’s University in Kingston. He was initially recruited to help lead the largest fundraising initiative in the school’s history. Hewitt was also president for 10 years of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation.

Rosemary Thompson has joined the Business Council of Canada as vice-president of stakeholder relations. Thompson is a former senior executive with the National Gallery of Canada, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and the Ottawa-based National Arts Centre. The former journalist also worked in network television for more than 20 years, with both the CBC and CTV, becoming deputy bureau chief of the parliamentary bureau for CTV National News.

We are pleased to announce that we are growing!


W Eadvisors A R E are E Nknown G E L for & their V Ö Lunmatched K E R S . level of local neighbourhood At Engel & Völkers, our real estate

At Engel & Völkers, our real estate advisors are known for their unmatched level of local neighbourhood

knowledge paired with extensive global resources and personal connections, to provide an exclusive experience tailored At Engel & Völkers, our real estate advisors are known for their unmatched level of local neighbourhood knowledge paired with extensive global resources and personal connections, to provide an exclusive experience tailored

to each of ourofclient’s unique needs. WeWe dedicate expertise andpassion passion help you follow your dream, knowledge paired with extensive global resources and personal connections, to provide anyou exclusive experience tailored to each our client’s unique needs. dedicateour ourtime, time, expertise and to to help follow your dream, home.home. usus today aatime, personal realestate estate consultation. to each of our client’s uniqueContact needs. We dedicate our expertise and passion to help you follow your dream, home. Contact todayfor for personal real consultation. Contact us today for a personal real estate consultation.


Rothwell Heights



Rockcliffe Park

. Nancy O’Dea Rothwell Heights $2,725,000 Rothwell Heights . Nancy O’Dea $2,725,000 . Nancy O’Dea $2,725,000

. Sarah Hunter Rockcliffe Park $2,990,000 Rockcliffe Park . $2,990,000 Sarah . $2,990,000 SarahHunter Hunter

Centretown Triplex . Paula Moloney $2,349,900 Centretown Triplex Centretown Triplex $2,349,900 . Paula Moloney

Westboro . $837,000 Westboro John King Westboro $837,000 . John King

$2,349,900 . Paula Moloney

$837,000 . John King

Hintonburg Hintonburg John King Hintonburg

Sandy Hill Sandy Deb Cherry Sandy Hill Hill

Wellington West Deb CherryWest Wellington

Barrhaven $775,000 . Candice Chiu $785,000 Barrhaven . Candice Chiu Barrhaven $785,000

JohnKing King John

Wellington Deb Cherry West Deb Cherry

Cherry Deb Deb Cherry

Engel & Völkers Ottawa Central Phone 613-422-8688 Engel &+1 Völkers Ottawa Central 292 Somerset Street West . Ottawa . K2P 0J6 +1 613-422-8688 Engel &Phone Völkers Ottawa Central Learn more at 292 Somerset Street West . Ottawa . K2P 0J6

Phone +1 613-422-8688 Learn more at 292 Somerset Street West . Ottawa . K2P 0J6 ©2021 Engel & Völkers Ottawa Central, Brokerage. Each brokerage independently owned & operated. *To John King, Deb Cherry, & Sarah Hunter, Brokers. Nancy O’Dea, Paula Moloney, & Candice Chiu, Sales Representatives. Learn more at ©2021 Engel & Völkers Ottawa Central, Brokerage. Each brokerage independently owned & operated. *To John King, Deb Cherry, & Sarah Hunter, Brokers. Nancy O’Dea, Paula Moloney, & Candice Chiu, Sales Representatives. ©2021 Engel & Völkers Ottawa Central, Brokerage. Each brokerage independently owned & operated. *To John King, Deb Cherry, & Sarah Hunter, Brokers. Nancy O’Dea, Paula Moloney, & Candice Chiu, Sales Representatives.

$785,000 . Candice Chiu