Ottawa Business Journal Winter 2024

Page 1


Insider access. T S Insider insight. O MOPULAR P Insider only. Introducing a subscription for groups.

Gain access to subscriber-only content, get newsmagazine delivery and more. Give your group local business insights and reap the rewards.

OF 2023 WINTER 2024 Vol. 25, NO. 2






Introducing OBJ Insider for Groups There is no denying it, the media business is falling apart, especially on a local level. The last few months have been devastating to local radio and newspapers. Rogers closed a news-talk station. Metroland Media Group sought bankruptcy protection and ceased printing 70 newspapers in Ontario. Bell Media cut 1,300 employees across Canada. Le Droit is only printing on Saturdays. The city’s other dailies have substantially shrunk. “The bottom line is that with every journalist that is laid off, and every publication that shutters its doors, Canada’s democratic resiliency erodes a little bit more,” said Brent Jolly, president of the Canadian Association of Journalists. Layer on the ongoing dispute of Bill C-18 and you must conclude these are dark days for local journalism. I’m not writing this to elicit sympathy. Sympathy is not a business strategy. A business can only thrive when it has purpose, offers value and, quite often, fills a niche. To me, OBJ does exactly that. We recognize that the status quo is not an option. We are making the largest digital investments in our history. We have the largest newsroom in two decades. By every measure, our audience is growing on web, social, email, video and events.





One year ago, we introduced OBJ Insider, a subscription program for premium website content and delivery of printed publications, like OBJ’s quarterly newsmagazine and the ever-popular Book of Lists.

We realized that after 25 years of free content, some OBJ readers would not be happy. That’s understandable. I get it. Fortunately, hundreds of readers understood the value proposition and became OBJ Insiders. In doing so, they gained access to daily OBJ Insider website coverage, in-depth articles that go deeper than others and offer intrinsic value. Plus, they got several publications via mail, including the new Techopia-EY Insights magazine. At this one-year anniversary, we launch another offering. OBJ Insider for Groups, meaning groups of employees inside private corporations, non-profits and government departments. Under development for months, OBJ Insider for Groups has two distinct features. First, it provides a price discount of up to 20 per cent for organizations to sign up groups of people. Second, it’s selfadministered, allowing organizations to add or remove users on a monthly basis. OBJ Insider for Groups is extremely important because it allows us to accelerate the growth of our subscriber base.

To me, there is a business case to invest in OBJ Insider for Groups. If you join, don’t do it for sympathy. Do it for value. And know that your spend is also an investment in local journalism. P.S. This group subscription is not the end of OBJ’s evolution, not by a long shot. Standby for another big digital change early in 2024 that involves OBJ’s biggest ever data offering.

Michael Curran Publisher

DECIDE ON VALUE, NOT SYMPATHY Every day, I believe OBJ demonstrates its value by providing unique local business journalism that you won’t find anywhere else. There is an interesting value proposition for business journalism, if you compare it to something like political or sports news. Business journalism can build context for important business decisions and sometimes even become actionable business opportunities.

Scan now to access OBJ Insider for Groups.




OF 2023 WINTER 2024 Vol. 25, NO. 2






CANADA’S LEADING PROGRAM FOR DIRECTORS IS COMING TO OTTAWA. The ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program is the leading educational program for experienced board directors seeking to advance their contributions to Canada’s boardrooms and beyond. A joint initiative of ICD and Rotman, this comprehensive program offers both a national and local perspective, through leading business schools across Canada. With the goal of building competencies deemed necessary to be an effective director in today’s challenging world, the DEP provides insight from both an academic and real-world, director lens perspective. Course participants benefit from the rich experience of their peers in navigating their role within complex board dynamics. Completion of the DEP and success in the ICD led examination process, leads to the highly recognized ICD.D designation, within a one-year timeframe.


Interested experienced directors are encouraged to submit their application to the ICD, along with references, for consideration into the program.



APPLY ONLINE EDUCATION.ICD.CA/ODEP4 For a personal consultation call 416.593.3349 or email

Think beyond the boardroom.


April 22-24, 2024


June 17-19, 2024


September 23-25, 2024


October 28-30, 2024


FEBRUARY 7, 2024


Great River Media PO Box 91585, Ottawa, ON K1W 1KO TELEPHONE Phone: 613-696-9494 News Fax: No faxes, email PUBLISHER Michael Curran, 613-696-9491 PUBLISHER EASTERN ONTARIO BUSINESS JOURNAL Terry Tyo, 613-696-9581 EDITOR IN CHIEF Anne Howland, 613-696-9480 SENIOR WRITER David Sali, 613-696-9481 REPORTERS Sarah MacFarlane, 613-696-9492 Mia Jensen, 613-696-9501 CONTENT MARKETING MANAGER Lisa Thibodeau, 613-696-9482 CONTENT AND CAMPAIGN COORDINATOR Paula Clark, 613-696-9495 ADVERTISING SALES General inquiries, 613-696-9494 Wendy Baily, 613-696-9483 Cindy Cutts, 613-696-9580 Eric Dupuis, 613-696-9485 Victoria Stewart, 613-696-9484 CREATIVE DIRECTOR Tanya Connolly-Holmes, 613-696-9487 DESIGN DEPARTMENT Celine Paquette, 613-696-9486 Deborah Ekuma, 613-696-9493 FINANCE Cheryl Schunk, 613-696-9490 PRINTED BY Transcontinental Transmag 10807 Rue Mirabeau, Anjou, QC H1J 1T7





OF 2023 WINTER 2024 Vol. 25, NO. 2






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


All content of Ottawa Business Journal is copyright 2024. Great River Media Inc. and may not be reproduced in any form without permission of the publisher. Publisher’s Liability for error: The Publisher shall not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for other errors or omissions in connection with any advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue or the refund of monies paid for the advertisement.

54 OBJ.SOCIAL: Three great events 58 PEOPLE ON THE MOVE




47 EASTERN ONTARIO: All eyes on housing

PRESIDENT Michael Curran

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





CO-FOUNDER Mark Sutcliffe



Here’s lookin’ at you, 2024 (you look a lot like 2023)



Insert last year’s editor’s note here. Just kidding. Thought that was a typo, didn’t you? And yet, when I look back at what I wrote at this time last year, I’m not sure I could say any of it any better. In late 2022, I argued that the bridge between 2022 and 2023 seemed particularly tenuous, fraught with potential missteps but also shored up with much promise. Pretty lyrical, I have to say. And, for the most part, correct. It seemed to me at the time that there were so many unknowns in Ottawa’s future, not the least of which was the fate of our downtown core. Well, it seems we’re largely in the same spot now, facing another tenuous bridge. Although, I’m happy to report that a few things have advanced. Regarding the downtown, we’ve seen progress in office-to-residential conversions, with some notable downtown buildings earmarked for big changes. We’ve also gotten a glimpse at “revitalization” work being led by the Ottawa Board of Trade, although detailed recommendations have yet to be shared publicly. Side note: how great to have the Canadian Urban Institute in the mix. Perhaps best of all, we’ve seen a lot of debate and engagement on the issue from people from all walks of life. That seems like a good sign to me. On the downside, it’s anyone’s guess what’s happening with the federal buildings listed “for sale.” In fact, the whole issue of federal involvement in the downtown promises to be a hot topic for 2024.

Speaking of stories in progress, we might not know much more about a downtown hockey arena, but we do have a new owner of the Ottawa Senators. After all the Hollywood foofaraw of the bidding process, Michael Andlauer seems a sensible, strategic sort who is going to take his time to get to know Ottawa before making any sweeping decisions. His desire — and that of his team — to engage with the local business community seems like a great start. Our new mayor and council have worked steadily on a range of issues. There haven’t been any real howlers, but nor have there been any big wins. Of course, both are in the eye of the beholder. From the business community’s perspective, there seems to be healthy dialogue and involvement on many fronts, so that’s a plus. While we seem to have dodged the recession bullet, we are seeing Ottawa’s small businesses continue to struggle with high costs, labour shortages and changing customer patterns in this post-pandemic economy. On the upside, many restaurants and convention facilities are seeing an uptick in holiday activity, driven by people’s desire to party in person, while tourism operators appear to be climbing out of the COVID abyss. On the tech front, we continue to struggle with existential questions. How well does our ecosystem work? Are we losing our lustre? How do we “level up”? On that note, the departure from Ottawa of top Shopify execs Tobi Lütke and Harley Finkelstein certainly added to the discourse. In my view,

I think it’s fantastic what those two guys were able to accomplish here in our little town and we should wish them every success in the future, wherever they hang their hats. (Indeed, Shopify’s fortunes seem to be on the upswing.) The question now is, how do we grow more Shopifys and launch them into the world? It’s definitely been a mixed bag in 2023 and probably will be again in 2024. One thing we do know with fascinating and frightening clarity is what OBJ readers liked to read over the past 12 months. This issue of OBJ features our top 10 most-read stories of the year, brought to you by the power of analytics (while technology is not always kind to the media industry, there are some benefits). You may — or may not — be surprised by the results. So what comes next? That’s the perennial question and one that we’ll be watching closely as we march onward over another tenuous bridge and into the new year. I hope you’ll join us.

Anne Howland Editor in Chief

A T R A D I T I O N O F E XC E L L E N C E .










of 2023

hen people ask me to define news value, I get squirmy. That’s because it’s an art and a science, with a good dose of long-toothed experience and “feel it in your bones.” And sometimes, defying even the best “nose for news,” stories can surprise you on either the upside or the downside. Of course, today’s interconnected world can take a modestly successful story and amplify it a thousandfold, which can totally throw a monkey wrench into things. In the olden days, we crammed a variety of stories into a newspaper and hoped that some of them caught people’s fancies. These days, we can track in minute detail how each story is being received by readers. It allows us an intimate understanding of our audience and makes it a snap to compile a list like this. So here’s what you told us were your favourite stories of the year. After all, regardless of what an editor deems newsworthy, it’s the reader who is the ultimate decider.

‘I have not seen anything anywhere that looks like what’s going on in Ottawa’: Goldy Hyder This interview with Goldy Hyder, president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, which appeared in the 2023 Welch LLP Business Growth Survey report, was by far OBJ’s most-read story of 2023. In it, OBJ reporter Mia Jensen asked Hyder about the future of the federal presence in Ottawa. This was his reply: “This is an issue that has caused me great concern. As somebody who travels quite a bit, particularly to other capital cities, I have not seen anything anywhere that looks like what’s going on in Ottawa. The level of

return (to work) in many other countries is way higher than what we’re seeing here. “If we’re not careful, we’re creating an unhealthy divided society with that 60 per cent who have no choice but to go to work every morning. They’re the people who keep us safe, who take care of us when we’re not well, who keep our lights on. They’re relying on those of us who don’t have to go to work every day to be a part of their customer base. There’s going to be some resentment building over time.”

Quebec hobby store to occupy two-storey location in Rideau Centre, opening slated for October This story from April 2023 certainly appealed to readers’ imaginations. OBJ writer Sarah MacFarlane reported that Imaginaire, a Quebec-based collectibles and hobby store, had chosen Ottawa’s Rideau Centre as its first location outside its home province. The retailer planned to occupy 20,000 square feet bridging the third and fourth floors, next to Simons in the Rideau Centre, representing a $3-million investment. Owner Anthony Doyon said the nation’s capital could be a prime location for Imaginaire since it gives the retailer the ability to access markets in both Ottawa and Gatineau. The retailer opened its doors at the Rideau Centre on schedule in October 2023.

Ottawa’s first milkshake bar sets new standard for sweet in the city It was a sweet surprise when this story by OBJ writer Rob Thomas took off with readers in March 2023. Sushen Kakkar, the owner of For God Shakes, says one or two people have complained about his milkshake bar’s irreverent name, but most take it in the playful spirit he intends. The name was inspired by a healthy love of wordplay and Kakkar’s own habit of saying “for God’s sake” a little too often, he says. He certainly admits to uttering a nervous oath or two when his milkshake bar — Ottawa’s first, according to Kakkar — finally opened at 204 Dalhousie St. in the ByWard Market in the fall of 2022.

Rogers Media shuts down CityNews Ottawa, lays off newsroom staff There’s nothing like a bit of breaking news and OBJ’s senior writer David Sali got the jump on the report that Rogers Media was shutting down its CityNews Ottawa radio station effective immediately, the company confirmed in October. “We’ve made the difficult decision to close CityNews Ottawa (1310 AM) due to low audiences, declining revenue and restrictive regulatory policies for AM radio,” a spokesperson for Rogers Sports and Media said in an email. The closure marks the end of a centurylong run for the city’s oldest radio station, which was originally launched in 1922 under the call sign CKCO.

In 2023, some smart editor had the idea to team up with local food and drink writer Yvonne Langen to highlight all that is scrumptious in the city. This column from Langen was a particular hit with readers, featuring a curated list of midday dining destinations. All the restaurants are a stone’s throw from Parliament Hill and surrounding office towers. If the photos aren’t enough to get you salivating, Langen’s descriptions should do it.

Here are the Forty Under 40 recipients for 2023 A perennial favourite for OBJ readers is the annual list of who made the cut for the prestigious Forty Under 40 awards. This year, OBJ and the Ottawa Board of Trade along with several external advisers whittled down 160 nominations to 91 finalists and from there chose the top 40 based on business accomplishments, professional experience and community involvement.

You can’t beat OBJ’s commercial real estate writer David Sali as this story proves once again. In October, he reported that a 160-acre parcel of land steps away from the future Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in the city’s south end was for sale in a move expected to generate significant interest from major property development firms. Commercial real estate brokerage Avison Young, which is marketing the property, said it was the largest tract of developmentready land available in Ottawa. “It really is a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” Avison Young vice-president Gillian Burnside told OBJ.

Stella Luna owner steps aside to allow her son to build the business as a ‘collective space’ Sometimes there’s a story behind the story, as was the case here when OBJ writer Zenith Wolfe reported that there would be new owners of Ottawa’s Stella Luna Gelato Cafe. The gelato and coffee shop was opened by Tammy Giuliani on Bank Street near Sunnyside Avenue in 2011 as a family business. However, Stella

Luna became embroiled in controversy during the “Freedom Convoy” occupation, when Giuliani made an anonymous $250 donation through fundraising platform GiveSendGo. A data leak revealed her donation, which she later said she regretted, sparking threats of violence toward staff and causing her to temporarily close the store. In February, her son Zachary Giuliani took over as the second-generation owner alongside his fiancé, Christopher Berneck.

Let the good times roll: Golden Palace celebrates 63 years with half-price egg rolls Mix a little nostalgia with a hot deal and some darn good Chinese food and you get this fun story from OBJ intern Sophia Adams. In April, she asked Golden Palace owner Bill Kwong why his restaurant is still in business after more than 60 years and he said it’s simply because it’s been around so long — that, and maybe the egg rolls. “After more than 60 years in the business and the restaurant being run by the same family, a lot of the restaurant’s success can be found in its longevity,” says Kwong, the third-generation owner of the Golden Palace, which first opened its doors on Carling Avenue in 1960.


Good thing? Bad thing? Opinions were mixed when OBJ’s David Sali reported that, more than two years after Shopify removed

Savour the City: Ten of the best lunch spots in downtown Ottawa

Land with space for 10,000 housing units near future Hard Rock casino hits market


Shopify leaders Lütke, Finkelstein pull up stakes from capital

the word “Ottawa” from the placeline on its news releases, Shopify chief executive Tobi Lütke had stopped calling the city home as well. In September, the founder of the e-commerce software powerhouse posted a shot of the CN Tower on X, along with a message that seemed to confirm something many in the capital’s closeknit tech community had suspected for months: Lütke and his family had relocated to Canada’s largest city. Lütke’s move came on the heels of Shopify president Harley Finkelstein’s decision to uproot his family from their Rockcliffe Park home and return to Montreal, the city of his birth. Finkelstein told a Montreal magazine in July that the Quebec metropolis “still felt like home to me.”

FORECAST Mortgage rates are expected to fall at some point during 2024, resulting in increased demand for new housing. — Morguard, annual Canadian economic outlook and marketing fundamentals report

Morguard predicts retail spending, housing starts to pick up in 2024 BY DAVID SALI





orguard expects retail spending in Ottawa to “increase significantly” in 2024 as anticipated declines in inflation and mortgage rates give consumers more buying power. The Mississauga-based real estate firm is predicting that retail sales volumes in the National Capital Region will rise 4.6 per cent in 2024, compared with 0.6 per cent this year. Along with expecting inflation and interest rates to lose some of their sting over the next 12 months, Morguard also says continued job growth, a rising population and a steady increase in tourist traffic will keep cash registers humming in 2024. “In short, a retail spending pickup is forecast for the (Greater Ottawa Area) next year, a trend that is expected to unfold across much of the country in 2024,” the company said in its annual Canadian economic outlook and market fundamentals report. Meanwhile, housing starts in Ottawa

should remain above their historic average next year as builders continue to ramp up construction to meet growing demand, Morguard predicts. Citing data from the Conference Board of Canada, the report says developers are expected to start work on about 13,400 new housing units in 2024, up from 12,300 projected starts this year. “Mortgage rates are expected to fall at some point during 2024, resulting in increased demand for new housing,” the report says. The outlook isn’t as rosy for the office sector. Morguard says Ottawa’s office vacancy rate will likely keep rising in the short term as tenants continue their shift toward remote and hybrid work models and re-evaluate real estate spending amid a global economic slowdown. “The rising trend will be mitigated by the conversion of buildings to residential and minimal new supply additions,” the report adds. The office sector’s decline was reflected in a slowdown in overall office investment

activity in Ottawa, mirroring a national trend. Morgaurd said a total of $371.4 million worth of office properties was sold in Ottawa between January and the end of June, down from $475.4 million in the same period in 2022. The firm attributed the decline to fewer buildings being put on the market as well as the increased cost and limited availability of debt capital and an “uncertain leasing market.” “Some buyers chose to remain on the sidelines until yields were high enough to offset the increased acquisition risk,” the report said. The industrial sector also saw a steep drop in overall sales volumes in the first half of 2023 despite “stable and healthy” demand for a limited supply of inventory, Morguard noted. “Relatively few” properties were put up for sale in the first half of the year as values declined and the buyer pool contracted, the firm noted. Transaction volumes totalled just $194 million in the first six months of the

year, compared with $773.6 million from January to June of 2022. However, with space still at a premium, the near-term outlook for Ottawa’s industrial sector remains “stable and positive,” particularly in the small-bay market segment. In the retail sector, vacancy rates remain in the low single digits, Morguard said, due to a slowdown in new construction amid “stable and positive” leasing demand patterns. “With demand outstripping supply, rents edged higher,” the report said, while noting that the closures of Nordstrom and Bed Bath and Beyond added about 250,000 square feet of vacant space to the market and provided “a modicum of relief from the supply constraints of the past year.” But like the industrial sector, investment activity in the retail sector has slowed in 2023 even though space remains tight. A total of $67.9 million worth of retail properties changed hands in the first half of the year, down from $205.8 million in the same period in 2022. Morguard said rising interest rates and mounting economic uncertainty caused some investors to retreat to the sidelines, while some vendors “were initially unwilling to lower their pricing expectations.” Property values have since declined, Morguard said, but investment activity in the sector has “remained muted.”


Board of trade calls on feds to help fund downtown revitalization efforts BY DAVID SALI


When they changed their workforce strategy, it had a tremendous impact on the health and vitality of the downtown core. This city was built for the federal government. — Sueling Ching, president and CEO, Ottawa Board of Trade

can reimagine downtown and do some amazing things — but it will take time and we need support during that time from our federal partners.” The board of trade also wants the federal and provincial governments to provide more funding to help OC Transpo cover its operational and capital costs. Ching said the board of trade is having “ongoing conversations” with local MPs and Treasury Board officials on ways the feds can help fund programs such as officeto-residential conversions that will help make up for the loss of office workers.


in the National Capital Region as part of a long-term plan to “optimize” their real estate portfolio. Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe said such a move could have major repercussions for the city. “That’s going to have an enormous impact on our economy and on city tax revenues and on downtown businesses,” he said. “We need to know that there is going to be some support from the federal government for that transition. I’m still hopeful that it will turn out to be a great opportunity for the city — that we


prominent local business group is calling on the federal government to keep making payments in lieu of taxes on all of its current properties in the capital’s core for the next 10 years — even on buildings it eventually sells — to help fund efforts to revitalize Ottawa’s downtown. The Ottawa Board of Trade says a guaranteed revenue stream from the feds would help offset shortfalls in transit revenues since the pandemic and provide additional capital for programs aimed at enticing more people to live downtown, such as office-to-residential conversions. The recommendation is among five “immediate actions” the organization is urging from governments and community groups in a bid to rejuvenate an urban core that has hollowed out since the pandemic. Ottawa Board of Trade president and CEO Sueling Ching said federal government employees accounted for more than half of all downtown workers before COVID-19 triggered a massive move to hybrid work that has turned many government office towers into empty shells. “When they changed their workforce strategy, it had a tremendous impact on the health and vitality of the downtown core,” Ching said. “This city was built for the federal government. I’m not saying it has to go back to the way it was before, but we are saying there is a role and responsibility for them as an anchor employer to work with the city to transition us into the new version of our city core.” The federal government is exempt from paying property taxes to municipalities. Instead, it makes payments in lieu of taxes, which are based partly on property values. In 2022, those payments amounted to nearly $120 million for properties the federal government owns in the City of Ottawa. Earlier this year, the feds said they intend to divest 10 aging office properties

“We have to re-envision how to make downtown a vibrant community that’s mixed use, not monoculture as it has been,” she said. “Transitioning our downtown core from what it has always been is going to take time and support. We don’t want to be going down the path that we see other, particularly U.S., cities going down.” Her organization also wants the City of Ottawa to look at additional incentives for developers to turn obsolete office space into apartments or launch new housing projects downtown, including waiving development charges and providing tax breaks through measures such as a downtown Community Improvement Plan. The city is already taking some steps in that direction. Council approved a plan to temporarily cut fees that developers pay in lieu of parkland on downtown conversion projects. While Ching said that’s a good start, she’d like to see the city sweeten its incentives and eliminate the red tape that delays site plan approvals for conversions and other development projects. Sutcliffe said he’s willing to look at additional ways of spurring new development in the core. “We’re open to ideas, but we can’t eliminate fees and eliminate revenues without a full understanding of what all the implications are,” he said. The board of trade’s latest recommendations stem from its ongoing work with a prominent national thinktank, the Canadian Urban Institute, and organizations such as Ottawa Tourism, the National Capital Commission and Invest Ottawa to develop a strategy for rejuvenating the city’s core. The Canadian Urban Institute is now working on a report that will include a comprehensive action plan for rejuvenating Ottawa’s downtown. Ching said the report is expected to be completed early in 2024.


Armando Giannetti, director of operations, is a second-generation owner at Preston Hardware. PHOTO BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS

Armando Giannetti on how family-owned Preston Hardware has got it nailed BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS





or nearly 80 years, Preston Hardware has been the tool shed that has built Ottawa. Located in the heart of Little Italy, the 95,000-square-foot retail store is the go-to place for tradespeople and serious do-it-your-selfers looking for top-notch customer service and professional-grade tools and equipment. The business not only stands out, it stands the test of time. In an era when hardware stores are increasingly of the big-box variety,

Preston Hardware remains Canada’s largest independent hardware store, employing between 150 and 160 people. The Ottawa landmark first opened its doors in 1945 on the busy main street after which it’s named. This Dec. 1, half a century will have passed since two brothers, Mario and the late Sandro “Sam” Giannetti, together with their brother-inlaw, Mario Frangione, bought the store from its previous owners. The men, born in towns outside of the Italian capital of Rome, came to Canada as children and were raised on the residential street of

Primrose Avenue less than a kilometre from Preston Hardware. The young entrepreneurs invested themselves wholeheartedly in their new business, working 16-hour days. Meanwhile, their respective wives, all school teachers, played a foundational role by keeping the households running smoothly and by raising the children, of which there are 11 in total. Today, the vast majority of those kids — now grown up with families of their own — run Preston Hardware. There are nine owners from the second generation,

including Armando Giannetti, 47, director of operations. Instead of working strictly in the store, like his dad and uncles, the focus of the current ownership group, said Giannetti, is more on the business and on developing innovative approaches to keep Preston Hardware moving forward. That has meant expanding the store’s products and services into new markets, said Giannetti of the collection of Window Coverings by Preston Hardware, Irpinia Kitchens and XO Stone Surfaces, and plumbing showroom. About 70 per cent of Preston Hardware’s customers are tradespeople and contractors. Because the enterprise is family-owned and operated and not part of a larger corporation, it’s able to adapt in the face of rapid market changes, including subdued housing demand, he said. Preston Hardware has also distinguished itself as a hardware store that does its best to get its customers the items they need. “Our philosophy in the past was ‘stack it high and watch it fly,’” said Giannetti, recognizing that disruptions in supply chains during recent years have created challenges for Canadian retailers. “Today, it’s tougher to have that much stock all the time, but we continue to work with our vendors. We are thankful to have such amazing vendors to work with.” At the heart of Preston Hardware is a passion for family that translates into exceptional customer service, said Giannetti. “We’re relationship-driven, and that was taught to us by our parents.” Even the store’s layout was redesigned during its most recent expansion to create a more friendly environment, with clear sightlines and increased visibility to reduce that feeling of being lost in the aisles, he said. Being part of a tight-knit family business creates strong loyalty, Giannetti said of working closely with his siblings and cousins. “I think it’s amazing because they have my back and I have their back, unconditionally. Within the family dynamic, there’s a high trust level. “But, it can also be difficult and hard; I’m not going to lie,” he said of the need to establish core values and a shared vision for operations to run smoothly. “You have to listen to each other, you have to be fair with each other. It doesn’t take one person

to run this business. It takes all of us.” Neither Giannetti nor his three siblings were ever told to join the family business. “There was no expectation, no pressure,” said Giannetti, who worked at the hardware store on a part-time basis while playing sports and attending Sir Robert Borden High School in Nepean. “My parents would tell us, ‘You’re going to have your whole life to work.’ “I think they knew I wanted to eventually join the store, but they also knew what was coming down the pipes,” said Giannetti of the long hours and hard work required. His father, Mario, started working at Preston Hardware in high school and was manager by the time he and the others bought the store. “They told us to get an education. We all had to get an education.” And so he did. Giannetti went to Carleton University, earned a degree, and then immediately became a full-time employee at Preston Hardware. “All of us started, as we like to say, ‘in the basement’ sweeping floors and that sort of thing, and worked our way up. We were not put in managerial positions.” Giannetti still remembers an important business lesson taught to him by his bosses

in his early years. One day, he got up the nerve to ask his dad and uncles to replace his hourly wage with a salary, making arguments as to why he deserved it. “I told them, ‘I want to be paid a salary just like everyone else; I deserve to be paid a salary,’” said Giannetti. “They looked at me and said, ‘Are you sure? Are you sure you’re ready for it?’ They gave me the whole song and dance of, ‘Are you ready for a long-time commitment?” and all that stuff. I said ‘Yup.’ “I remember walking out of the office and thinking, ‘That was easy.’ I couldn’t believe it. Little did I know they were laughing behind the scenes. “Fast forward a month, two months, three months after that, and I noticed my pay was less than what I had earned before. They were trying to make me understand: just because you’re making a salary and just because you want to be a manager or owner of this place in the future, doesn’t mean you’re going to be making more money. I learned quickly that, as a manager, there is a lot of time and hours that are needed to get the job done. You are always on the clock “I wish I would have stayed hourly.”

ANY BUSINESS WORTH HAVING IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR. The Mann Lawyers Commercial Litigation team will support your business through any dispute – be it with velvet glove or iron fist. Mann Lawyers | Full Service Law Firm 613-722-1500

Capturing the moments that matter

Office space for lease 613-790-1716

245 Menten Place, Ottawa


613 454-0188


Sarah Bradley

The right space for your business to flourish.

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

Irving Rivers ‘corners the market’ for more than 70 years BY ZENITH WOLFE


hether selling moccasins to international tourists or meeting the prime minister, the family that runs Irving Rivers has seen it all. The store on the corner of ByWard Market Square and York Street — with its well-known slogan “We corner the market” — is named after its original owner Irving Rivers, who opened it to sell uniforms and clothing in 1950. He ran the store with the help of his family until he died in 1997 while on his way to work. His death came as a shock to the family. His daughter Ellen Rivers immediately took over the business and, instead of going to university, her son Michael Osterer decided to take on a full-time position at the store. “I felt comfortable doing it because it’s something that I knew,” Osterer recalls. “I was (also) never a huge fan of school. I just can’t sit still.” Since age eight, Osterer had worked with his grandfather on weekends and holidays. He remembers Irving taking him

Michael Osterer, grandson of Irving Rivers, now runs the shop. PHOTO BY ZENITH WOLFE.

out to lunch and treating him “like royalty” at the store. He’s been a full-time employee for 22 years and is now the store manager. “All my life skills I’ve learned from working in the Market; how to interact with people, calm situations down and de-

Be ready for anything with 4MATIC all-wheel drive. Experience it firsthand at Star Motors.


Ready for it.

escalate,” he says. His staff show a similar dedication to the job. Dan Ferran, who says he takes “care of all the problems” around the store, has worked there for more than 30 years. Ferran says running the store is an


Star Motors of Ottawa 400 West Hunt Club (613) 737-7827


adventure because staff never know which public figure might step through the door. Big names include Ghostbusters star Dan Aykroyd, ABC World News Tonight anchor Peter Jennings, and former Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien. “The governors general used to come all the time because they had the pool. We used to sell flip flops and, for some reason, every governor general would tell the next one, ‘Go get your flip flops at Irving Rivers,’” Ferran says. “We would know when they changed over because all of a sudden the guys in black come in and go all over the store. The last one I remember was (Michaëlle) Jean.” Osterer says he’s also come to know several of the unhoused people in the area through friendly conversations. The store used to appeal mostly to Ottawa locals, but as the Byward Market grew as a tourist destination over the past two decades, the business has started catering more to international visitors. The most popular items now include moccasins, wool cabin socks, and novelty socks. The variety of customers makes the job fun and interactive and helps him learn what products he should be stocking, Osterer says. “The Market always brings tourists down, no matter what. It’s just a beautiful place to see and the Parliament Buildings are so close,” Osterer says. “If they’re down in the Market, might as well capture them.” Osterer doesn’t know what the future holds. His children — ages seven, 10 and 11 — occasionally help him sweep the floors and price magnets, but he isn’t sure if they want to take over some day. Either way, Osterer knows he wants to run Irving Rivers for as long as he can. “That’s my goal: to keep it going,” he says. “If my kids want to come work here some day, that’s up to them.”

All-electric EQE SUV

Best-selling GLC SUV


Bushbalm and Level Six share some of their steps on the road to net-zero


hen Ottawa business owners were asked, “How has your company incorporated

sustainability and climate change into your business objectives?” as part of the 2023 Welch LLP Business Growth Survey, they shared some interesting insights. Twenty-four per cent of organizations hadn’t given it any thought, while 40 per cent admitted they’re just figuring out how it applies to their business. About one-third acknowledged that kickstarting their “going green” journey is important; 36 per cent said they’d identified the benefits and believe it’s critical to future success. So what’s an organization to do?

It helps to recognize that change won’t happen overnight. For many businesses, preparing for a net-zero future may involve reviewing their growth strategy, purpose and values. This is how Level Six, an Ottawa- based outdoors company, sees it. The organization is working to redesign and rethink how paddling gear is made and to extend the life cycle of its products. Becoming more ecologically sound is a core component of the brand. Stig Larsson, Level Six’s CEO, is pushing to (eventually) have 100 per cent of its garments made from recycled fabrics. This year, the business aims to eliminate the use of all nonrenewable packaging in its products. “You (may want) to look inward at your company’s strategy and values to ensure you’re doing everything you can to help it become environmentally friendly ... that you’re making business decisions so your employees, customers and the community can count on you without concern for their future,” Larsson says. From there, businesses — and their leaders — may benefit from seeking the knowledge, advice and support of like-minded companies and other stakeholders, including investors and employees, who are concerned about the impacts of climate change and who can identify what initiatives might work best for the business. There are organizations like Green Economy Canada, for example, that offer a Climate Action

Boot Camp to help small and medium-sized enterprises learn about their carbon footprint and the business case for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. At RBC, we’re working to accelerate tech-based solutions that help preserve the natural ecosystem by providing $100 million by 2025 to support organizations that are leveraging technology and innovation capabilities to solve pressing environmental challenges. Examples include the Ottawa Climate Action Fund’s commercial building retrofit program and Ottawa Riverkeeper’s study of the health of the Ottawa River. Business owners may also consider starting to educate their consumers, partners and suppliers about their climate-related goals. This is something Bushbalm Skincare actively does with its customers. “We educate (them) on how to recycle our products both on the product pages and through social storytelling,” the company’s cofounder and COO Tim Burns notes. The Ottawa-based organization also strives to make intentional choices about the plastics it uses with its suppliers. “In an industry traditionally known for a lot of waste, we are continuing to look for ways to improve,” Burns says. In the end, building a net-zero organization won’t happen overnight, so it’s important that a company start reviewing its practices sooner rather than later. — Justin Schurman is the regional vice-president, business financial services, at RBC

Local business leaders are encouraged to download a copy of the 2023 Welch LLP Business Growth Survey by visiting



2023 Sueling Ching and Michael Curran host the 2023 BOBS awards. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON

Here’s the full list of Best Ottawa Business award winners for 2023





he belief “no one does it alone” echoed through the acceptance speeches like a refrain of humility at the 2023 Best Ottawa Business Awards, an annual awards dinner that celebrates excellence and recognizes outstanding achievements. More than 600 entrepreneurs and industry leaders gathered Nov. 23 at The Westin Ottawa for the gala evening hosted by the Ottawa Board of Trade and Ottawa Business Journal. “I’m proud that every year we get together as a community in what many people think of as a government town and we celebrate the work that is done in the private sector by business leaders like you,” said Mayor Mark Sutcliffe. He congratulated recipients for making the local economy stronger, recognizing that thriving businesses provide the resources to solve many of the challenges faced by Ottawa as a community. Almost 30 awards were handed out

during a seamless ceremony punctuated with speeches from recipients in the four top categories. There to welcome attendees to the BOBs, as it’s known, were OBJ publisher Michael Curran and board of trade president and CEO Sueling Ching. CEO of the Year went to Mike McGahan of CLV Group and InterRent REIT; CFO of the Year to Nathalie Cadieux of The Ottawa Hospital; Lifetime Achievement to Grant and Pam Hooker of BeaverTails fame; and Newsmaker of the Year to Michael Andlauer, new owner of the Ottawa Senators. Here are the other award winners:

DEALS OF THE YEAR REAL ESTATE: CBRE Ottawa’s biggest real estate deal of the year certainly had the city buzzing. Thanks to the CBRE national investment team who

brokered the deal, 160 Elgin changed ownership from H&R REIT to Groupe Mach to the tune of $277 million, one of the largest commercial real estate transactions in the city’s history. One of Ottawa’s marquee office towers, this LEED Goldcertified building is accessible, comes with exceptional tenants and boasts nearly one million square feet of space.

TECHNOLOGY: SOLINK Video surveillance company Solink takes this year’s prize for best technology deal. The company landed $60 million in fresh venture capital after closing a Series C round led by Goldman Sachs. Since its founding in 2009, Solink has been a trailblazer in the video surveillance market. Its AI-driven technology is now used to store security camera data in the cloud for more than 18,000 locations around the world. The company is said to be headed for an IPO.

RETAIL: CF RIDEAU CENTRE Ottawa’s CF Rideau Centre turned lemons into lemonade after losing marquee tenant Nordstrom. Without missing a beat, the CF Rideau Centre team secured tenancies with several first-to-market retail players, including Uniqlo, Arc’teryx and the first Imaginaire location outside Quebec. The gaming and hobby retailer Imaginaire occupies 20,000 square feet of space spanning the third and fourth floors. Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo occupies 15,000 square feet. Popular outdoor retailer Arc’teryx has 3,000 square feet on the second floor. These deals and more continue to make CF Rideau Centre one of the top 15 highest performing shopping centres in Canada.

TOURISM: PORTER AIRLINES AND OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY Ottawa is becoming an even bigger part of aviation infrastructure due to the deal struck this year between Porter Airlines and the Ottawa International Airport Authority. Two new hangars totalling nearly 150,000 square feet will be added to Ottawa’s airport as the maintenance hub for Porter’s new fleet of planes. Hundreds of jobs will be created, including 160

BEST OTTAWA BUSINESS AWARDS aircraft maintenance engineers plus shop technicians, store clerks and administrative support workers. With the first hangar scheduled for completion by the end of 2023 and the second in the first quarter of 2024, Ottawans can expect Porter’s presence to grow in coming years.

FINANCE: OTTAWA SENATORS / MICHAEL ANDLAUER Ottawa’s splashiest business deal of the year was preceded by months of rabid speculation and celebrity star power. On the opening day of this year’s NHL training camps, it was announced that Michael Andlauer, founder and CEO of the Andlauer Healthcare Group and founder of Bulldog Capital Partners, would be the next owner of the Ottawa Senators. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the deal took a bit longer than expected to close due to the number of local investors in Andlauer’s ownership group, including Farm Boy grocery chain partner Jeff York and the Malhotra family, owners of real estate development giant Claridge Homes.

BEST BUSINESS TRYCYCLE DATA SYSTEMS Digital health innovator TryCycle Data Systems is revolutionizing mental health care with its app TetherAll. The app improves mental health-care delivery and outcomes for Indigenous peoples and was built hand-in-hand with the community it serves. Founder and CEO John MacBeth believes “listening is a superpower.” It’s why his company’s competitive advantage is living and demonstrating inclusivity and transparency. TryCycle’s exponential growth continues to be fuelled by strategic partnerships to reach more people and give back to the community.

AMSTED DESIGN-BUILD Amsted Design-Build wants to be the most sought-after company in its industry and is on the way to achieving that. In 2022, the company surpassed $20 million in revenue by acquiring a like-minded Brockville company and diversifying its offerings. The team that made it happen was built by focusing heavily on recruitment and retention. Amsted has built a company culture that landed it a Best Places to Work award in 2022. To take the company to the next level, Amsted is harnessing its team’s energy and potential with a new HR strategy.

BEST NEW BUSINESS KIDSCANSWIM Serial entrepreneur and lawyer Hugues Boivert is revolutionizing the way kids learn to swim. He designed Kids Can

Swim’s purpose-built swim schools with the needs of babies, children and parents in mind. Families have been lining up to buy a monthly subscription since the first facility in Kanata opened in 2020 and popularity has grown throughout the pandemic. With the Kanata location being sold out and boasting a 500-person waiting list, new locations in Orleans and Barrhaven can’t come soon enough.

ESPRIT-AI Esprit-ai provides smart tech that monitors seniors who are limited by mobility and memory. The goal is to keep seniors safe and living where they choose. Esprit-ai Sense is an imperceptible caregiver. It doesn’t rely on wearables or intrusive cameras. For care teams, every 16 rooms equipped with the technology is like adding an extra staff member. The company is founder-funded and is led by a dream team boasting deep expertise in technology and health, including Ottawa tech giant Terry Matthews.

GENESISLINK Genesislink is a business firm dedicated to helping talented individuals and aspiring entrepreneurs settle their businesses in Canada. Founded during the pandemic to empower startups and support their growth, Genesislink is on track to reach $1 million in revenue in 2023. Among its keys to success, Genesislink rapidly adapts to market needs, provides stellar service and practices inclusivity. It takes care of its people with progressive HR policies and is committed to moulding future industry leaders by mentoring students, newcomers and youth.

BEST PERFORMANCE MARKETING: OTTAWA AIRPORT AUTHORITY Twenty years after opening the new YOW terminal building, the Ottawa International Airport Authority decided to raise awareness about its important role and contribution to the local community. It


After 40 years as a global tech leader, Calian keeps delivering the “wow” factor through innovation and strategic acquisitions in new markets. It’s why it keeps winning contracts from tech powerhouses such as NASA and NATO 360. Calian has been able to continue positive revenue growth, reaching new revenue milestones in spite of the pandemic and supply chain issues. A diverse leadership team is steering that

growth, with a focus on gender equity and inclusion.



Mark Laroche, president and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority; Julian Law, vice-president of corporate development at Porter Airlines; Airport Authority vice-president of communications and public affairs Krista Kealey; Brad Cicero, director of communications and public affairs at Porter. PHOTO BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS

BEST OTTAWA BUSINESS AWARDS EXPORT: SIEMENS HEALTHINEERS Siemens Healthineers’ export strategy is driven by its mission to deliver the best health care to everyone, everywhere, sustainably. The company pioneers breakthroughs in health-care technology, making it more accessible, while developing customer bases in less mature markets and rural areas, reaching those who need it most. Regardless of location, patients can receive information such as lab-accurate blood gas, electrolyte and metabolite results in less than one minute. Siemens Healthineers exports to more than 100 countries, including Asia Pacific, North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: YOUTH OTTAWA: HOT SHOE PRODUCTIONS Hot Shoe Productions is a social enterprise of Youth Ottawa. It empowers youth by providing a pathway for young people to build a career in video production. With a focus on at-risk youth, Hot Shoe Productions makes a tangible difference in the lives of young individuals who face barriers to employment. By giving young people handson experiences, Hot Shoe Productions is unleashing the untapped potential, creativity and talent of these young individuals. The team intertwines business success with social impact in hopes of creating leaders, advocates and contributors in the community to further spark positive change.

landed on the theme “Global Reach, Local Return” for its first major public marketing campaign in two decades. Externally, the message reached more than 3.3 million people and generated 10,000 plus clickthroughs to the YOW website. The videos were also viewed 750,000 times.





Fullscript’s ultimate goal is to become an indispensable partner to its customers with an unwavering focus on their needs. The goal is for each customer to feel helped, empowered and poised for success after an interaction with the Fullscript team. Fullscript delivers that best-in-class support by providing a seamless experience from start to finish, even evaluating its performance monthly with its Customer Effort Score. With empowered agents trained to handle any interaction, Fullscript recovers 50 per cent of dissatisfied customers.

CO-OP: NOKIA This isn’t the first time Nokia has been recognized for its stellar co-op program.


TOP: Michael Crockatt, president and CEO of Ottawa Tourism, with vice-president of operations and culture Roslyn Smith and manager of people and culture Nicole Picton. ABOVE: CFO of the Year Nathalie Cadieux with Cameron Love, TOH president and CEO. PHOTOS BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS

The first time was in 2016. Since then, the co-op program has hit new heights, with 535 students joining Nokia for internships and co-op placements this year. Most of those placements come straight from Ottawa’s robust academic community,

which helps keep local talent in Ottawa. Nokia attracts the best students through its heavy involvement in events and sponsorships at Carleton, uOttawa and Algonquin college, as well as its presence in Kanata North.

Whether in the office or working from home, Spiria’s team takes its HR practices to heart. The company’s human resources policies reflect its core values: transparency from leadership, integrity of all, trust towards employees, and fun … during and after work. A transparent pay grid, unlimited leave for physical and mental health challenges, and a new “hours used to get better” program are pillars of that strategy. As a result, Spiria has seen an increase in employee engagement and a zero per cent turnover rate.

SALES: TRYCYCLE DATA SYSTEMS TryCycle Data Systems’ commitment to addressing societal needs provided the genesis for its successful sales performance. The company recorded a 381 per cent increase in sales, ending fiscal 2023 with just

BEST OTTAWA BUSINESS AWARDS under $4 million in revenue. For TryCycle, success lies in a better future for Indigenous youth and anyone else who needs access to mental health and addiction support. New contracts in these areas and introducing its flagship programs Talking Stick and Milos Wish bolstered revenue and achieved these goals by reaching new markets and growing the company’s impact.

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: QUANTUM LIFECYCLE PARTNERS Sustainability is baked into Quantum’s vision to become its customers’ most trusted partner. Quantum sets the standard for sustainable electronics lifecycle management by linking its goals back to stakeholders: the planet, its team and its customers. Quantum is reducing building emissions for the planet, diverting waste from landfills for customers, and ensuring a safe workplace for its team. The company only works with partners who match those high standards and has proven its the best in the biz with top certifications for responsible recycling, data security, responsible management and more.

no one has gone before. By diversifying its customer base in new markets in the U.S. through strategic acquisitions, the company realized its 21st consecutive year of positive income. Working in health, cybersecurity, agriculture and now playing a leading role in Space Canada, Calian is expanding its capabilities to put the company on the global stage. Calian delivers results year after year by fostering a culture of innovation, while creating efficiencies and interconnecting various parts of the business.



TOP: Andrew Newman, office managing partner at KPMG, with Kevin Ford, CEO of Calian Group. ABOVE: Stéphane Brutus, dean of the Telfer School of Management, with Marjolaine Hudon, regional president of RBC. PHOTOS BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS

administrators helps companies and organizations implement DEI initiatives and company restructuring. The team uses a robust training and analysis toolkit to help employers update their policies and processes. By helping organizations focus more on diversity and inclusion, the team is also looking to educate workplaces about

making work more accessible for people with disabilities.

SERIOUS TECH LIVES HERE BEST BUSINESS: CALIAN Based on this year’s revenues, Calian’s trajectory continues to “grow” where

When Pleora Technologies discovered a pain point for manufacturers, it didn’t hesitate to put its 23 years of expertise to work to find a solution. Enter Pleora’s Vaira AI-driven inspection tool, an easyto-deploy app that helps reduce costs and risks by making human decisions consistent, reliable and traceable. Vaira helps manufacturers solve an error-prone process with an app-based approach for incoming, in-process and outgoing manufacturing steps. It cuts inspection time from minutes to seconds. Because Vaira works for automotive, medical, utility and small parts manufacturing sectors, it has also expanded Pleora’s market opportunities.


Dancia Susilo Services wants to make Ottawa more accessible by providing training around culture, stigma and teaching people how to be more inclusive. This small team of designers, communications professionals and



Ottawa Tourism’s mission is to market and sell Ottawa as a compelling leisure and business destination, all with a goal of supporting Ottawa’s economic development objectives. Ottawa Tourism is bringing billions of tourism dollars to Ottawa, attracting events that leave legacy infrastructure and creating thousands of jobs. Ottawa Tourism measures its success by tracking the number of visitors, how much they spend and attractions they visit. The data-driven team also reports its local impact by tracking the size of the tourism workforce, the number of businesses in the industry, and how the community responds to its efforts.

BEST OTTAWA BUSINESS AWARDS helping him. His name was Phil Drouillard. He had his own real estate company. He mentored me and taught me a lot of different things — buying and financing and just what kind of properties to look for. He spent a lot of time with me, which I appreciated. I was running five city park rinks when I was in high school, continued while in university, and that’s how I saved up to make my first down payment (on a property). I ended up buying about two or three properties when I was in university.

How did you eventually form the CLV Group?

2023 CEO of the Year Mike McGahan, centre, accepting his award from Paul Marshall and Claire Leroux from Boyden. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON

Community builder: CEO of the Year Mike McGahan BY DAVID SALI





e might prefer to keep a low profile, but make no mistake — Mike McGahan is a towering figure in Canadian real estate. After cutting his teeth in the business under the tutelage of mentors such as the legendary Jacie Levinson, the 60-year-old Ottawa entrepreneur became an industry giant in his own right. He helped form the CLV Group, which eventually became the property development and management arm of another Ottawa-based real estate firm, InterRent Real Estate Investment Trust. In more than a dozen years as InterRent’s chief executive, McGahan oversaw the company’s ascent to the upper echelons of the Canadian real estate industry before stepping aside last

year and assuming the role of executive chairman. Today, the REIT controls more than $2 billion worth of assets from Quebec to British Columbia, representing nearly 13,000 rental suites, and employs close to 600 people. Meanwhile, McGahan continues to lead the CLV Group, which has become an industry trailblazer in office-to-residential conversions. McGahan is also renowned for his tireless philanthropic efforts. For two decades, he was a key organizer of the CLV Group’s Ron Kolbus Memorial Charity Golf Tournament, which raised more than $3 million over two decades before wrapping up in 2017. Today, McGahan is a driving force behind another major fundraiser, the Mike McCann Charity Golf Tournament, an event

named in honour of the former Ottawa advertising executive and philanthropist who was one of McGahan’s closest friends and passed away from cancer in 2019. For all those accomplishments and many more, McGahan is the 2023 recipient of the CEO of the Year Award from OBJ and the Ottawa Board of Trade. OBJ’s David Sali sat down with McGahan to discuss his career. Here is an edited transcript of their conversation.

How did you get your start in the real estate industry? I started buying properties while at Ottawa U. I was playing hockey and one of my buddies on the hockey team, his father was doing very well buying real estate. He gave me some part-time jobs when I was in university and I learned by watching and

I ended up working at a large (property management) company called LevinsonViner for a few years and then left to start my own real estate company called Commvesco. I had a really good relationship with (Levinson-Viner founder) Jacie Levinson, who was another great mentor. I bought Jacie’s company in 1998 and Jacie continued to be involved in the business due to his passion in real estate. We kept on investing together and he ended up being the chair of the REIT. That’s how CLV came to be — Commvesco Levinson-Viner. We thought it sounded like a law firm, so we just shortened it to CLV.

And how did InterRent come into the picture? We went through the early ’90s and we saw a lot of pain in the real estate side. We ended up selling off some of our properties to this REIT (InterRent, which was established in 2006). We didn’t know anything about it. They asked me to take back some shares and asked us to stay on as their Ottawa managers. They got into a hostile takeover situation, and then they approached us about doing a friendly takeover. We ended up bringing in a group of pension funds and long-term investors. A lot of them are still in the REIT. In 200809, everybody was really nervous (during the financial crisis), as you can imagine. We ended up doing a private placement. I had made a deal with the old CEO that, over a span of three to six months, we were going to find a new CEO. After we did our deal, he gave me his resignation. I was the temporary CEO for 12 years. To read the full interview, visit


BeaverTails’ sweet success lands Grant and Pam Hooker 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS


Pam and Grant Hooker, founders of BeaverTails, received the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON

to the public at the Killaloe fair in 1978, using a recipe from Grant’s GermanCanadian grandmother. They next brought the doughy delights to Ottawa’s ByWard Market, where they caught on in popularity once they were introduced to skaters on the frozen Rideau Canal. BeaverTails remain as much a Canadian tradition as hockey, maple syrup and being nice. Today, there are roughly 200 BeaverTails locations, including operations in Dubai, France, Japan, Mexico and the U.S. The Hookers sold their majority ownership in 2002 but retained 35 per cent ownership of the franchise company, carving out the National Capital Region, which they continue to control with partner and CEO Andy Cullen. BeaverTails has employed a total of more


proposal for a 17-storey hotel in the core of the ByWard Market, out of concern the tower would physically overshadow the Market and open the historic area to larger-scale development. The project ultimately got rejected and the ByWard Market went on to be designated a heritage conservation district. The Hookers’ story is the stuff of dreams for the young and adventurous. Originally from the United States, they came to Canada with their young family in the early 1970s during the counterculture movement, settling in the Ottawa Valley village of Killaloe. They originally lived as homesteaders in a shack built from an abandoned horse stable with no running water or electricity. They first introduced the BeaverTail


rant and Pam Hooker recently got a phone call they never would have expected. The founders of Canadian pastry chain BeaverTails learned that they’d been selected as the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award recipients by the Ottawa business community. “I was really glad I was sitting down,” said Pam of her astonished reaction mixed with disbelief. They were told the good news by Ottawa Board of Trade president and CEO Sueling Ching and the Ottawa Business Journal’s publisher, Michael Curran, and editor-inchief, Anne Howland. Grant also found himself shocked and pleasantly surprised. “I kind of thought, ‘Why us?’ I look at all the other people who have done what I would consider the equivalent or more and there are certainly people who built bigger businesses than ours. “Anyway, we’ll take what comes our way.” The husband and wife, both of whom are 79 years old, were even more flattered and humbled when they heard the distinguished names of all those who’d won the award before them. “It’s such a privilege to be part of that list, that’s what I thought,” said Pam. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the Hookers’ long-term business success, innovation and perseverance, strong leadership and remarkable community involvement. Along with building the BeaverTails brand, the couple has been the heart and soul of the Canadian Tulip Festival, an annual multi-day celebration that takes place in Ottawa each spring. As well, Grant played a key role in the 1980s in stopping the controversial

than 10,000 young people over the years. “You can’t live in Ottawa and be connected to the business, government and the not-for-profit community and not know Grant and Pam,” said Ottawa Board of Trade board chair Brendan McGuinty, who has fond memories of enjoying BeaverTails at the Ottawa SuperEx at Lansdowne Park when he was a kid. “They built a fabulous, fabulous business and for me personally, they’re the kind of team, the kind of leaders, that really embody what success is. When you look at people like Grant and Pam, you think of the successful business they have built and the global brand that they have created and I really think they did it on some oldfashioned — and this may sound a bit corny to say — but on some old-fashioned values: hard work, honesty, integrity and humility.” McGuinty also holds the Hookers in high esteem for staying true to their roots. “They really just have wonderful traits and they’re the kind of couple I want my kids to look up to. They built a business, they built a brand, but they’re really fundamentally honest, hard-working, decent people who give back to their community. What more can you ask for, and that’s what we really need to celebrate.” The couple’s impact on Ottawa has been “profound,” said Jim Durrell, former mayor of Ottawa and a past recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. “The mere fact that the president of the United States would drop by to get a BeaverTail speaks volumes,” he said of the moment when then-president Barack Obama was served an “ObamaTail” at the George Street kiosk during his first state visit to Ottawa in 2009. “I don’t think you could buy that publicity for all the money in the world,” said Durrell. “And that, probably, in my mind, is what they’re all about. They make people happy. They serve good food. They’re good to their employees and they’re just an integral part of what I call our tourism and local fabric. “I’ve always admired them and respected what they’ve been able to accomplish, particularly as a couple of radical kids coming up from California.” No, the dessert wasn't BeaverTails at the awards gala. Among the reasons: it’s too logistically difficult to serve them piping hot to hundreds of guests and the pastries can be a tad messy to eat. “We don’t want anyone wearing cinnamon and sugar at this event,” said Pam playfully.


CFO of the Year Nathalie Cadieux talks work, community and family BY JEFF BUCKSTEIN





ith the demand for public health care outpacing the ability of the system to keep up, Nathalie Cadieux’s job as executive vice-president and chief financial officer of The Ottawa Hospital has never been so challenging, says the CFO of the Year for 2023. “Demands on our services have never been this high,” she says. “They were high before the pandemic, but the pandemic really heightened that because of some of the slowdowns that occurred and also just the lack of primary care in general. “The demand far exceeds our financial capacity and I think that’s true for the entire health-care sector, not just The Ottawa Hospital. We want so much to do more, but we are limited by that and by our funder, the Ministry of Health,” she explains. Cadieux was born in Montreal and grew up in Gatineau. After graduating from the Université du Québec en Outaouais with a degree in business administration and accounting, she began her career as an auditor in the Ottawa office of KPMG LLP, while studying to become a chartered accountant. She earned her CA designation in 1996 and became a CPA, CA when the Canadian accounting profession merged a decade ago. Cadieux recalls how, when she started her career, finance opportunities for women, including the prospect of securing a partnership at a major accounting firm, were limited. “I really couldn’t see a longterm career there for myself,” she says. In 1998, she moved into the health-care industry, becoming a financial analyst at Bruyère Continuing Care. Two years later, she accepted a position as joint controller for the Hawkesbury General Hospital and Winchester District Memorial Hospital. “As a finance professional, I probably could have worked in any industry, but I chose health care because of the focus on

Nathalie Cadieux accepts her award from Charles Castonguay and Doreen Hume from Deloitte. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON

I’ve got 25 years of experience and I really want to give back. — Nathalie Cadieux, executive vice-president and CFO, The Ottawa Hospital

people and giving back to the community. That, to me, is so rewarding,” says Cadieux. She began her tenure at TOH in 2002 as manager of budget and reporting, was promoted to director of budgeting and reporting in 2005, and returned as corporate financial controller in 2010 after working for one year at the Université du Québec en Outaouais as director of finance. Cadieux became executive vicepresident and CFO at TOH in 2015 and has steadily increased her responsibilities in that senior portfolio. Today, she has responsibility for all of the hospital’s finance functions, procurement and supply chain, business development, and part of its human

resources portfolio. “When I started in 2002, after the merger of the four hospitals — General, Civic, Riverside and Grace — the annual budget was around $400 million. It’s grown close to $1.6 billion. It continues to grow because we’re adding more beds and we’re adding more programs,” she says. “Nathalie is an integral part of our leadership team at The Ottawa Hospital,” says TOH president and CEO Cameron Love. “Since becoming executive vicepresident and chief financial officer, Nathalie has strengthened and improved the financial position of our organization, provided exceptional leadership within TOH and across the province, developed

strong community partnerships, and prepared us well as we build our new campus and plan for the future of health care,” says Love. “She is so deserving of this recognition.” Cadieux was chosen CFO of the Year by the Ottawa Business Journal and the Ottawa Board of Trade. “I’m so honoured,” says Cadieux, 52. “Going to work every day is not a chore. I love my job. And so to get this award is just a huge bonus.” Cadieux participates in discussions with various stakeholders, including other accounting firms, on how best to support hospital reporting and accounting. “Since I’ve been CFO in 2015, I’ve been focusing on improving the financial health of the organization. Our financial health has definitely improved and this has positioned us really well for the upcoming (Civic) hospital redevelopment, which will be huge and will require a lot of financing and investment,” Cadieux says. According to estimates, the construction of the Ottawa Hospital’s new Civic campus is expected to pump nearly $2 billion into the local economy and create more than 4,000 full-time jobs annually over the four-year life of the project. The massive infrastructure project has a total price tag of about $2.8 billion. Construction of the 2.5-million-square-foot health-care facility at Dow’s Lake is slated to begin in 2024 and wrap up in 2028. Away from the office, Cadieux and her husband Norman have three sons — Mathieu, 25, who is also a CPA; Samuel, 22; and Alexis, 18. “I’m the proud mother of three boys. I’m also a football and a hockey mom. We’re huge fans of the Ottawa Senators and the Ottawa Redblacks,” she says. Cadieux places a strong emphasis on fitness and health, working out every morning at the gym to keep physically and mentally sharp. “My other passion is travelling. Europe is probably my favourite destination,” she says. Cadieux recently became a board member with the Canadian Mental Health Association in Ottawa and serves on its finance committee. “I’ve got over 25 years of experience and I really want to give back,” she says.

BEST OTTAWA BUSINESS AWARDS “ (I) realize what a privilege it is to be the owner of a team. With that privilege comes responsibility and I feel that responsibility. This is not a toy. It’s my passion, but I realize this is more than just a hockey team. “ — Michael Andlauer, in conversation with Mayor Mark Sutcliffe at the Mayor’s Breakfast in October

Michael Andlauer (left), seen here with Gary Bettman, became the new owner of the Ottawa Senators in 2023. PHOTO SUPPLIED

New Sens owner Andlauer named Newsmaker of the Year T

and moved them to Hamilton. Andlauer’s passion for hockey, as well as his desire to bring a Stanley Cup back to the nation’s capital, has already spurred a new wave of excitement for the future of the franchise. “The Ottawa Senators Hockey Club is an amazing organization, from the players, to the staff, to the most passionate fan base in the game,” Andlauer said in a release when the sale was finalized in September. “My family and I are thrilled to officially be a part of Ottawa’s team and the OttawaGatineau community.” “Michael represents everything we could have hoped to find coming into


feel that responsibility. This is not a toy. It’s my passion, but I realize this is more than just a hockey team.” He added, “We’ll take it one day at a time; it’s a process. The passion is there. I’ve never taken so many selfies over the last couple of weeks. But you know, I want to take some selfies on the ice with the Stanley Cup.” Andlauer, 57, is the founder of ATS Healthcare, Accuristix, Bulldog Capital Partners and Andlauer Healthcare Group, where he is currently the CEO. He owned the American Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs from 2004 to 2015, then purchased the Ontario Hockey League’s Belleville Bulls


he new owner of the Ottawa Senators was named Newsmaker of the Year for 2023 by the Ottawa Business Journal and the Ottawa Board of Trade. Over the summer, a group of investors — including several from the Ottawa area — led by Canadian businessman Michael Andlauer reached an agreement with the National Hockey League to purchase the Senators for a reported US$950 million, the highest amount ever paid for an NHL franchise. “(I) realize what a privilege it is to be the owner of a team,” Andlauer said in his conversation with Mayor Mark Sutcliffe at the Mayor’s Breakfast in October. “With that privilege comes responsibility and I

this process — a passionate owner who is committed to Ottawa,” Senators chairman and governor Sheldon Plener said in the release. “We believe it is a momentous day for the National Capital Region.” New ownership comes amid an ongoing rebuilding of the team, which hasn’t made the playoffs since 2017 when the Senators fell a goal short in the Eastern Conference final. With a talented young core led by captain Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle and Thomas Chabot, the Senators seem poised to make a breakthrough. Andlauer, a former former beer-league goalie with a deep connection to the game, has already made a commitment to elevate the team and strengthen the club’s bond with Ottawa fans and the local business community. “I believe that the Senators’ fan base is one of the most passionate in the league and I’m excited to take the franchise’s success both on and off the ice to the next level,” Andlauer said earlier this year after reaching an agreement to buy the club. “The shortand long-term future of the team is incredibly bright and I look forward to getting to know the team, the fanbase and the community.” His ownership group also has a strong local flavour, bringing in multiple wellknown names from Ottawa’s business community, including the Malhotra family, owners of real estate development giant Claridge Homes, and Farm Boy co-CEO Jeff York. The Newsmaker of the Year award goes to a person or organization who received positive, high-profile media coverage over the last year and brought attention to the National Capital Region. Recipients also demonstrate strong and inspiring leadership and their actions are consistent with creating a vibrant and innovative business environment. Andlauer joins a prestigious list of Newsmaker of the Year recipients, which includes Coconut Lagoon owner Chef Joe Thottungal, Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches, and e-commerce software giant Shopify.


We’ve got a great community to show the world Addressing challenges

Acknowledging past challenges, Crockatt highlighted the issue of international visas for business events delegates, a barrier that hindered growth in recent years. The CEO expressed optimism, noting that the federal government is actively working to improve the visa approval process so that business events goers can obtain their visa in a timely fashion, a crucial step toward fostering international collaboration and convention participation.

Ground-level impact of growth initiatives

Ottawa Tourism dubs 2024 a ‘year of growth’ for the sector WINTER 2024




ttawa Tourism and their CEO, Michael Crockatt, are leading a bold course for the city’s tourism sector in 2024, aiming for growth after a number of challenging years. In an exclusive interview, Crockatt shared insights into Ottawa Tourism’s vision for the coming year.

Strategic vision and data-driven approach Crockatt emphasized the importance of strategic groundwork laid out over the

past years, culminating in the Ottawa Destination Stewardship Plan. This plan, combined with increased investments in data research, positions Ottawa Tourism on a path of growth that will be driven by more, higher-quality data than ever before. “[I]t’s exciting for us to be intentional about how we target some of our key audiences,” said Crockatt. Using data analytics, the organization aims to identify and attract targeted visitors according to their interests and values.

Crockatt detailed several initiatives contributing to Ottawa’s tourism sector growth on the ground through the funding of new attractions, citing successful support programs such as the Tourism Relief Fund and the Destination Development Fund. The diversification of Ottawa’s offering is also underway, with the development of priority sectors, such as Indigenous and rural tourism. With access being another high-ranking priority, the introduction of a direct Air France flight to Paris is seen as a gamechanger, opening doors for international visitors to easily connect to Ottawa via one stop from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India and other big global markets. Crockatt anticipates that the success of this flight will demonstrate the strength of the Ottawa market, which should lead to even more international air capacity. Sports tourism is another focal point, with up-to-date, accessible sports facilities playing a crucial role in attracting major sporting events. Crockatt stressed the importance of modern and welladapted sports infrastructure, including those affected by the Lansdowne 2.0 project, for maintaining competitiveness and hosting significant events that contribute to the city’s appeal. Mentioning the shift in the habits of

independent business travelers since remote work has become more widely spread, the CEO finally mentioned Ottawa Tourism’s efforts to keep attracting big conventions and other major events. With added capacity in that department and dedicated partners, Ottawa Tourism intends to build on the success they had in 2023 in the year ahead.

Community-wide impact and legacy Beyond economic growth, Crockatt underscored the positive impact of tourism on the community, describing tourism as the “first date for economic development,” benefiting residents, businesses, and workers alike, in addition to generating tax revenue. Not just that, but major sporting events, such as the 2023 Pacific Four Series for women’s rugby during which Canada’s team spent a day with at the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan to play rugby with youths and bring rugby balls to the community, create lasting legacies, fostering community engagement and collaboration. Crockatt highlighted that Ottawa Tourism’s plan is in fact a plan for the whole community, cultivating a city people want to visit, and establishing a strong brand that not only attracts visitors, but also plays a pivotal role in talent acquisition and the attraction of investments in Ottawa. As Ottawa Tourism gears up for a year of expansion and revitalization, the CEO anticipates positive ripple effects that will enhance Ottawa’s status as a premier destination for both residents and visitors: “We’ve got a great community to show the world […]. There’s lots of opportunity. I’m incredibly optimistic about the future of Ottawa.”

Staying connected to the community

Ottawa-Gatineau realtor Danny Dawson speaks the language of luxury His custom storytelling strategies put high-end properties on the world stage

Why competing in the luxury market takes a custom approach “Selling a luxury property is not something you can do in a week,” said Dawson. “It’s why we offer a higher, more organized and strategic level of service.” One of the most important factors is timing, which is why Dawson recommends starting the preparation process 6-12 months in advance. “It allows us to start our work on the marketing, like taking exterior photos while the pool is open and the garden is in full bloom,” said Dawson. “Having enough lead time also helps relieve stress for the homeowner.” But great photos that showcase properties are just one of Dawson’s tools. Others include 3D floor plans, like the one used in a record breaking Meech Lake sale, or next-level videos, like the one that just sold 107 Arbourbrook Boulevard in Ottawa.



The high-end service you receive could include bringing in the right furniture for staging and connecting homeowners with Dawson’s network of local professionals for repairs or a coat of paint. But the cost for these services is entirely covered by his commission, saving the homeowner money as well as the time and hassle it takes to coordinate an army of pros to handle everything. The final but perhaps most important tool in his kit is having the wisdom and experience to know when ‘custom’ means going against the grain. Like the way he’s selling an idyllic Howl Hill farmhouse in Quebec. Instead of following the typical industry standard of depersonalizing a property, Dawson leaned into its history with a video interview of a former owner, who talked about what it was like to grow up on the farm. And he applies the same wisdom with luxury investment properties, like the turn-key triplex currently for sale in Gatineau at 24 Rue Hanson. If you’d like to chat with Dawson about the best way to sell your luxury property, reach out today.


You might think high-end properties would be luxurious enough to sell themselves, but Ottawa-Gatineau’s cross-border realtor Danny Dawson knows better. Whether the high-end property you’re selling is located in Ottawa or Quebec, Dawson says getting top dollar takes more than a one-sizefits-all approach. “We’ve partnered with Ardent Media to craft a high-end, custom marketing strategy for each property,“ he said. “So prospective buyers can discover every detail from anywhere in the world.” Dawson also accesses a nation-wide market through his membership in Royal LePage’s Chairman’s Club, an award that recognizes the top one per cent of the brokerage’s realtors in Canada — many of whom specialize in luxury real estate. This network quickly connects Dawson to

colleagues with prospective buyers in centers like Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, a critical tool for raising the profile of the comparatively smaller market in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.

In addition to zeroing in on his clients’ specific needs, one of Dawson’s core values is focusing on his role in the community. It’s why he’s a big supporter of Royal LePage’s commitment to raise funds for women’s shelters, a critical housing need for any community. Dawson and 120 other Royal LePage professionals from across Canada took ‘bold steps with big hearts’ in November to support the company’s Ecuador Challenge for Shelter. Participants raised over a million dollars nationally. In the past these intrepid trekkers left behind the comforts of home to hike through “the Purcell Mountains (2021), across the Sahara Desert (2019), through the southern highlands of Iceland (2017), and towards the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu (2015).”


Performance Plus launching its own mentorship program in the new year “PPRC Connect” will put people with disabilities and more on the pathway to success For years, Performance Plus Rehabilitative Care (PPRC) has been making career mentorship matches for people with disabilities through the MentorAbility program, an initiative of the Canadian Association for Supported Employment that promotes the recruitment, employment, and retention of people experiencing disability.


“We’ve conducted 54 mentorship matches since 2020 and expect to be closer to 60 at the end of the year,” said Linda Simpson, PPRC’s director of rehabilitation. Since PPRC will no longer have the operational funding to support the MentorAbility project after Ontario’s Employment Services Transformation puts a new funding model into effect, Simpson and her team found a way to continue offering the service. “In January, job seekers will be able to visit the PPRC Connect website and self-refer as a potential Ontario client,” said Simpson. Service providers will be able to charge for some of the cost to the systems managers under the new model. A key benefit of the new integrated employment program is that applicants won’t need to have a disability to be eligible.



PPRC’s best practices for career mentorship Mentorship is an incredibly useful tool for helping people without

connections or a network explore a field they want to pursue. “We connect young people who want to explore a career path to an employer for a virtual meeting, or a half or full day on site.” It sounds simple enough, but that’s due to the best practices PPRC has developed over the years. “We help clients identify the right career path by uncovering their field of interest,” said Simpson. “Then we seek out organizations that offer those types of jobs.” Next, they provide information to the mentor about the mentee’s abilities and discuss any accommodation needs. Over the years, PPRC has helped hundreds of people using this formula. They’ve even matched a few clients to a mentor with the same disability. “We had a client with vision loss who was interested in the Public Service,” said Simpson.“We matched them to someone within Health Canada who also had vision loss.”

“Career development changes everything” November is career month, and this year’s North American theme is “Career development changes everything.” For people with disabilities, the biggest change is being lifted out of poverty. Simpson can tell story after story attesting to that fact.“We had a neurodivergent client whose grocery store job wasn’t a great fit,” she said. “We placed him with a mentor at Fieldless Farms and he was offered a position by the end of the day.” Even if a mentee doesn’t get a job offer on the spot, what they do get is inside information.“Mentors often tell mentees what to put on their resume and which skills they should highlight when applying for jobs,” said Simpson. Using the PPRC preparationis-key formula, mentors leave the experience wanting to support more people. With that kind of success, expanding the program makes sense. “Now we can also help

newcomers, retirees, people who are underemployed, or youth coming out of the foster care system,” said Simpson. Recently, her team helped a professional from Iran who was educated in Canada to undertake a mentorship with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. This gave them the courage to pursue a two-year federal government internship program for Canadians with disabilities. How to make your mentorship a success The first thing Simpson and her team look for in a mentee is someone who’s expressed an interest in wanting to work. In mentors, they’re looking for employers who want to be more inclusive. Simpson says employers who come to her with an open mind will leave the experience knowing they’ve contributed to somebody’s career path. It’s a good feeling.

We help clients identify the right career path by uncovering their field of interest


Time to scrap engagement tools in favour of ‘real change,’ workplace expert says BY SARAH MACFARLANE


looking at employee engagement work and trying to move the needle, is it really making a difference? “The answer is usually, ‘No, it’s not,’” Ring continued. “So let’s go deeper and show them a values-based tool for how they can have much richer conversations.” In some cases, Ring said companies

Engagement is a symptom of what’s going on. It’s the surface … You look at these stats about employee engagement and people have been ‘quiet quitting’ for decades; someone actually just put a new name on it. — Carol Ring, CEO, executive coach and management consultant, The Culture Connection

have been struggling with growth and, after focusing on a customer-first approach or process re-engineering, their growth is “stagnating.” That’s when it’s time to consider culture. Many businesses, for example,


“Engagement is a symptom of what’s going on. It’s the surface … You look at these stats about employee engagement and people have been ‘quiet quitting’ for decades; someone actually just put a new name on it,” she said. “But when you’re


t a time when workplace culture is becoming more vital than ever, one industry veteran says leaders need to focus on “transformative change” — and engagement tools and fun perks just aren’t cutting it. Carol Ring, CEO, executive coach and management consultant at Ottawa-based The Culture Connection, got her start at Rogers Communications, where she began as a general manager before “climbing the corporate ladder.” Ring then served as regional president of Ottawa operations before relocating to become president of the firm’s operations in the Greater Toronto Area and then working both in business transformation and strategic initiatives. “That’s when I realized, all I care about is the people part of things,” explained Ring. “I asked, ‘What is it I’m doing?’, and I realized it’s all about getting the culture right. “I felt I could make a bigger impact if I could go out and serve many companies instead of staying within one.” In 2012, Ring started to work for herself and offer cohesive coaching and consulting to mid-market companies. Since then, the world of workplace culture and employee engagement has evolved drastically, and she says approaches that might have been helpful in

the past aren’t doing the trick anymore. When leaders first began to understand the value of workplace culture and the importance of an engaged workforce, tools like Gallup polls or online surveys were an easy way to keep employees’ attention. Now, Ring says engagement strategies aren’t treating the source of the problem.

use buzzwords like “innovation” or “teamwork,” painted on walls or written on website pages, to describe themselves, said Ring. But more often than not, she said, these words are used “aspirationally.” Others don’t consider that work culture includes physical work setting, she explained. For people working from home with limited resources, their struggles or challenges with establishing a workspace are a part of work culture. This can also be an issue in brick-and-mortar workplaces, she said, and it is often overlooked. “Is the paint peeling off the wall? Is the security so tight that you can’t go to the washroom without swiping six times to get there?” she said. “How does that physical environment reflect the type of company culture you’re trying to do?” Inconsistent policies and processes also have an impact, Ring explained. For example, in a call centre organization, a reward and recognition system might actually be operating in contrast to the stated culture. “We might say we want customer-first orientation, but we reward employees based on average handle time. It’s not in sync,” she said. “So an employee says, ‘I’m not working on customer satisfaction, I’m just going to make sure I’m off within two minutes and 20 seconds.’” Similarly, companies should be sure their language and policies reflect their perceived or intended culture. “You can say, ‘We’re a family-oriented company,’ but every policy starts with ‘you must.’ ‘You must file an expense report before the end of the month,’ or ‘You must show up in the uniform,’” Ring explained. “Excuse me, family? Sounds like an angry parent talking to children.” In any situation, work culture is complicated, Ring said, and requires more advanced tools than it used to.


Boutique employment law firm Emond Harnden reaches major milestone After more than three decades, the Ottawa law firm has grown to 50+ lawyers


n 1987, Lynn Harnden and Jake Emond shared a lunch that would change their careers and give Ottawa employers a legal partner they could count on. The lawyers frequently ran into each other about town despite working at different firms. Eventually they got to talking about founding their own local firm specializing in labour and employment law. They decided to take the leap and set a goal of growing the firm to 10 lawyers, never imagining that would only be the beginning. “Reaching 50 lawyers is a significant milestone for a boutique firm that specializes in one field,” said Harnden. “It’s the result of longstanding relationships across many sectors, including employers in the private sector, the health, education, and municipal sectors as well as federally regulated employers.”


Emond Harnden’s client partnership model – the secret to success



The firm believes establishing long-term business relationships with their clients is the secret to their success — it makes their clients consider the firm as a business partner when facing employment and labour relations issues. By working together as partners, lawyers and clients collaboratively create innovative and strategic approaches that help them avoid costly litigation. Also central to the firm’s success has been a commitment to responsiveness. “Most of the problems we deal with are time sensitive,” said Harnden. “Working with our clients with a sense of urgency marked us from day one and helped accelerate the growth of the firm.” They also made a decision from the start to deliver services in both official languages. “We have taken great pride in ensuring that clients have always been able to access services in the language of their choice,” said Emond.

Strategic recruitment

These founders also know the first step to providing excellent client service is hiring the best people. “We have been successful in recruiting incredibly talented lawyers who are recognized leaders in the profession in their area of specialization,” said Harnden. The partners take pride in seeing new recruits find their stride. “Seeing the people we hired right out of law school develop into highly competent lawyers is particularly gratifying,” said Emond. Hiring local Ottawa talent to fill key operational roles is also an important part of an intentional strategy to evolve and expand the firm. An example is chief operating officer, Steven Herzog, who joined in the past year. “Steve brought his professional services background and business acumen and infused that into how we operate,” said Emond. “He improved the caliber of our administrative, operational, and marketing teams and introduced innovative ways to run our business.”

Providing service beyond Ottawa

What Ottawa employers may not know about Emond Harnden is the extent of the firm’s geographic reach.

“On any given day, our lawyers may be advising employers in B.C., Newfoundland or Nunavut,” said Emond. “We have clients in every province and territory and assist many U.S. based employers with operations in Canada.” They’re happy about the message it sends to Ottawa businesses. “Ottawa-based business can go far beyond servicing the local market, particularly in a postpandemic world where advisory services are not constrained by geography,” said Harnden. Even as the size and reach of the firm continues to expand, the partners will always take pride in supporting the local Ottawa community. “From day one, we have placed a priority on giving back to the local community,” said Harnden. “We try to step up as often as we can to help local organizations reach their fundraising goals.” Harnden is also grateful for what they’ve received. “We’re so grateful for how much the Ottawa community has supported us,” he said. “It’s that very support that has helped us to grow partnerships with employers far outside of Ottawa.”


Ottawa doesn’t fit the bill for most gen-Z workers, but Gatineau scores higher: survey BY SARAH MACFARLANE


Some cities appear to have a headstart in the race to attract the youngest generation of professionals. Having high median incomes for this age group and low home-price-to-income ratios are definitely great advantages, but this is far from enough. — Andra Hopulele, senior real estate writer, Point2

Despite similarities between Gatineau and Ottawa and their geographic proximity, Hopulele said Quebec cities could be “outperforming” other provinces due to consistently high, steady scores. “Some cities appear to have a headstart in the race to attract the youngest generation of professionals. Having high median incomes for this age group and low homeprice-to-income ratios are definitely great advantages, but this is far from enough,” Hopulele explained. “Some cities have great scores for some metrics, but very low for others, while others


cities rather than bustling downtown hubs, the report found. The results showed that gen Z tends to be drawn to smaller cities, with eight of the top 10 cities having populations below 300,000. Aside from Montreal, which came in eighth, none of Canada’s large business hubs made the top 10. Of the top 10, eight communities were in Quebec, with one in Saskatchewan and St. John’s, N.L. leading the list. Ontario cities don’t come into play until Burlington, which placed 13th, and Ottawa in 16th.

are much more level.” The eight Quebec cities that landed in the top 10 scored highest in categories such as median income, cost of living, health resources, and share of young homeowners. “It’s not that (the city) excels in one or two metrics. That wouldn’t be enough,” Hopulele said. “Cities in (Quebec) manage to score high in many of the categories that gen Z considers vital for a life well-lived.” Gen Z’s priorities could “soon become society’s priorities,” the report noted, resulting in a shift away from busy city hubs and toward well-rounded, tight-knit communities. Gen Z’s “uncompromising attitude makes them take real steps in the direction of their goals,” Hopulele said. The younger generation is more willing to negotiate salary, demand more work flexibility, and seek better access to medical and mental health services, Hopulele added, as well as be more involved in solving social issues in their communities. “This ‘have your cake and eat it, too’ attitude is precisely the opposite of what millennials and the other generations believe in,” she said.


eneration Z employees have high standards for where they choose to live and work, a recent report says, with Quebec cities ranking highest among the country and Ottawa scoring a cool 16th place. An analysis by Point2, an international real estate search portal, examined what gen Z workers are looking for and ranked cities by their readiness to attract the younger generation. While Gatineau scored seventh place, Ottawa came in at 16th. The report suggested that gen Z has higher expectations than generations before them and none of Canada’s 50 largest cities fit the bill. The 2023 City Readiness Index for Gen Z analyzed 35 metrics across categories that gen Z deemed most important, including affordable housing, cost of living, work-life balance, and perceived mental health. Born between 1997 and 2012, gen Z named access to mental health services, financial security, and environmental issues such as air quality and walk scores among their top concerns. “Gen Z, the newest generation to start entering the labour market, is quite different from the millennial generation, not to mention gen X and baby boomers. Being the youngest, a higher dose of idealism and can-do spirit are almost a given,” said Andra Hopulele, senior real estate writer at Point2 and author of the report. “What is slowly setting them apart from other generations, though, is their determination and bold attitude. “They are much more uncompromising when it comes to what they perceive to be valuable. Where millennials were more willing to be more accepting of the status quo, gen Z draws a much stronger line in the sand,” added Hopulele. The desired lifestyle for gen Z seems more suited to smaller communities and


30 WINTER 2024


Canada’s next winter ‘hot spot’ is Prince Edward Island A short flight will take you to an idyllic place filled with food, fun and winter festivities


o matter the season, the people of Prince Edward Island want to show you what you’re missing. Canada’s smallest province may be best known for Anne of Green Gables, but the spunky spirit she represents lives on during the winter season — albeit at a leisurely PEI pace. What you’ll find are tons of unique adventures you can experience in a single trip. Whether you’re a foodie, outdoor enthusiast, or lover of east coast music, there’s something for everyone in PEI.

Canada’s Food Island

Maritime festivals and music

There’s no party like an east coast kitchen party, and you’ll find plenty of live ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) performances around the province all year. “Each area has its own flavour,” said Daniel. Some of the flavours you can enjoy while taking in live music come from PEI craft brewers like Evermoore Brewing Company, Lone Oak Brewing Company and Bogside Brewing, to name a few. Daniel is lending her expert taste buds to Red Island Cider to develop a unique cider for the fifth year running. This year’s offering is a spicy brew called Ginger Brett House “with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and other spices.” There are traditional winter festivals to enjoy like the Ice City Festival and Jack Frost Winterfest, a popular event that’s been known to welcome 15,000 visitors. What may be the most clear about tourism in PEI is that it’s fueled by creative entrepreneurs who believe their work isn’t just about making a living. “For us, it’s about the people and the community you build,” said Robertson. If you decide to head to PEI this winter, don’t be shy. The locals will definitely want to show you around.


While harvesting winter shellfish may be best left to the pros, there are plenty of other activities for winter adventurers, like ice fishing in Alberton, an hour and a half’s drive from Charlottetown. Daniel says it’s the perfect way to experience an authentic PEI winter, especially since you’ll probably run into some characters that will tell you a great story. One local character is PEI native Mike Robertson, who has founded multiple tourism ventures over the past 20 years, the latest being Meridian63. Through his business, Robertson leads mountain bike tours year round and loves to introduce people to the sport he calls ‘fat biking’ in winter, so named due to the fourinch wide, sometimes studded tires. But winter mountain biking couldn’t happen without the trail grooming team that travels the province, packing down the snow to make them perfect for cycling and hiking. Robertson also rents Scandinavian inspired off-grid cabins in the Bonshaw Hills area, less than a half-hour’s drive from Charlottetown. “You can immerse yourself in nature by staying in these cozy cabins, while also enjoying a side of luxury,” he said. If you’re not a cyclist, there are plenty of other winter outdoor activities to enjoy like downhill and Nordic skiing, snowmobiling and sledding, a world-class disc golf course


Island cuisine offers up an incredible variety of tastes, with many found at traditional events during the holiday season. PEI is chock full of festive farmers markets and food events you can enjoy all winter, whether you’re a hot chocolate aficionado or enjoy a bit of dinner theatre. And Winter Dine will be running again from Jan. 22 to Feb. 11 in 2024, which includes a wide variety of restaurants offering prix fixe menus. If you’re a shellfish lover, you don’t have to worry about missing out in the winter. PEI culinary ambassador chef Ilona Daniel says PEI’s winter shellfish, harvested with a heavyduty chainsaw that cuts through the thick ice, is even better than the warmer months. “Our winter oysters and mussels are fat and plump,” said Daniel. “You get this beautiful flavour and crisp salinity.”

Outdoor adventures

that’s open year round, and ATVing on the groomed trails. You can also ice skate at Charlottetown’s picturesque rink at Founders’ Hall or enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride. And all these winter adventures are made more special by the provnce’s beautiful countryside and vistas.


Former NHLer Slater Koekkoek finds fulfilment after starting temporary work agency BY SARAH MACFARLANE





rowing up in rural Winchester, Ont., Slater Koekkoek was naturally two things: a hockey player and a leader. In the tiny hamlet of Inkerman, Koekkoek spent recess at Inkerman Public School rallying his friends and classmates to build an ice rink in the playground. While the school closed its doors many years ago, with only 60 children enrolled in its final year, Koekkoek took the teamwork, collaboration and hockey skills he learned there on his way to become an NHL defenceman. Koekkoek was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning, 10th overall, in the 2012 NHL entry draft and made his NHL debut with the Lightning on March 31, 2015. In 2020, he was signed to the Edmonton Oilers. Then, in February 2022, he took a step back from the game. “I was experiencing some mentalhealth challenges, I had a lot of anxiety issues towards the game, so I decided to just dive into therapy,” explained Koekkoek, 29. As he dedicated himself to therapy, Koekkoek said he began volunteering in his community and picking up casual shifts for an Ottawa renovation company. From there, the idea for his business, FFYLwork, was born. “When I left the game, I had very low self-value,” said Koekkoek, comparing that to the feelings he had in his casual work. “I was picking up shifts, showing up to random job sites and being accepted by my colleagues and really valued. I was carrying toilets from 1970s bungalows that needed a revamp and I felt better going back than playing an NHL game when I sat on the bench for the majority of the game,” he continued.

Koekkoek said he learned the impact of being valued for a job well done and the importance of flexible or casual work opportunities. He also became aware of the many students, retirees and other people looking for work but unable to commit to traditional, full-time jobs. He participated in the Invest Ottawa Ignition Program, which he said “validated” and developed the business idea before bootstrapping FFYLwork, pronounced “fulfill work.” Koekkoek also credits the creation of FFYLwork to the lessons he’s learned since marrying into a family business. His wife, Santana Campanele Koekkoek, is director of sales and marketing at Campanele Homes, which was co-founded by her father Vince and his brothers in 1979. Being around the family-operated business and his in-laws’ entrepreneurial spirit boosted Koekkoek’s ideas and he said he’s learned a lot from them. “I had attempted businesses a few times, things like renting out land or cottages, but marrying into a secondgeneration family business has just been a blessing and a huge help.” FFYLwork, which has been in operation for six months, connects employees with companies seeking help with casual, flexible shifts. Currently, many of the positions are designed for employees with labour or trades experience. The roster of workers has grown to about 70. Businesses can sign up for FFYLwork’s services and the available positions are distributed to workers weekly, based on experience and skill level. Meanwhile, employees apply on the FFYLwork website by uploading their credentials and selecting what kinds of jobs they’re interested in. From there, potential workers are vetted by Koekkoek before they are added to the

roster, with ID verification, background checks and, perhaps most importantly, a trip to an Ottawa Senators game. “I host them in a box and have been vetting them that way; it’s how I get to know them a bit,” laughed Koekkoek. “I let them pick the game, but the one rule is that they’re not allowed to wear a visiting team jersey. “It’s going to get more formal coming into the new year, though, because there are so many workers now that the games are getting expensive.” In its current business model, FFYLwork collects a percentage from businesses that sign up for the service, but sign-up and continued use is free for workers, Koekkoek said. “They’re strapped as it is; they don’t need to be paying me.” Koekkoek also ensures that workers are paid same-day after a shift, based on the offered wage, and FFYLwork collects reimbursement and a 30-per-cent fee from the employer at a later date. “Businesses can offer shifts at whatever rate they’re offering as long as it’s above minimum wage and sometimes it’s last minute, so that drives prices up. But FFYL will pay same-day,” he explained. “The workers need it right away and to be able to start using it. “They’re paying grocery bills, they’re making ends meet, so they get it right away,” Koekkoek continued. “So I make nothing from the worker.” The business model is attractive for companies seeking labour, Koekkoek said, who have changing hiring needs and are unable to hire for permanent or full-time positions.

There are no limits to how many — or how few — shifts that users must work, Koekkoek said, to ensure that the work is tailored to employee needs. The flexibility is key for workers to feel like they can contribute to their community and support themselves on their own schedule, he said. “It’s been really interesting talking to retired folks, students and young people looking for flexible work, people who have left a career or position that still have all these skills on hand,” he continued. “There have been a lot of surprising signups, too, like people from the health-care industry who have left their position because full-time was too much and are looking to pick up random shifts that fit their life a lot better.” Koekkoek works with businesses to create short training videos for their workers, explaining where to show up, what to wear and the task at hand, so that employees are prepared for the work day. The shifts are strictly in-person, offering everything from snow removal and leafblowing, to landscaping and skilled trades. While the majority of jobs offered are currently in the trades or require general labour, Koekkoek said he is looking to expand into new industries in the near future. So while Koekkoek may not be on the ice anymore, he’s still using the skills he learned in the schoolyard — and that he carried with him through his professional hockey career — every day to give back, lead and collaborate with his community. “I didn’t think I’d be an entrepreneur, but I always viewed myself as a team leader. I was captain for two OHL teams, leading a team, and right now I’m just leading myself but also helping all these workers and businesses,” he explained. “We have a serious loneliness epidemic happening right now. This way, people are able to get back into their community,” he explained. “Often it’s local businesses they’re helping out and it opens a lot of doors to fulltime positions, friendships and networking and they’re really hands-on helping businesses. “Putting in a day’s work, being valued by your coworkers, being valued for the job you’re doing … It has such an incredible impact on mental health. And I just want to provide an opportunity for others to feel that, too”


Ottawa Panelized Solutions, a local answer to Ottawa’s housing crisis The pre-fabricated wall and floor systems can create more housing in less time How do you solve a housing crisis in the midst of a labour and lumber shortage, as well as an interest rate crisis? Ask Marcello Panetta. He’s been using an assembly line approach to build prefabricated wall and flooring systems for townhouses and mid-rise buildings since 2018. Panetta recently bought out his partners from Ottawa Building Solutions Inc., rebranding the company to Ottawa Panelized Solutions (OPS) in September of this year. Having built up a healthy roster of local and Toronto-area customers like Mattamy Homes, Minto, Marshall Homes, Ashcroft Homes, Olympia Homes and Phoenix Homes over the years, Panetta says OPS is already set up for success — especially since expanding its Chesterville facility into a 30,000 square foot manufacturing hub. Some of their local work can be found in Barrhaven, Kanata and Cobourg. They’re also returning to the Mattamy Wateridge site in Ottawa’s east end. But Panetta knows he can do more. “Our process allows us to produce more with less labour,” he said. “And we build it more quickly using a safer process that creates less waste.”

How they do it The OPS facility is a one-stop shop that runs on an assembly line system. The operation is driven by the company’s single-platform design and engineering software.

“It’s all computerized,” said Panetta. “The designer uses specialized software to lead the process and his team provides quality control every step of the way.” The build starts with their in-house designers, who use the developer’s architectural design to create their own 3D model. By using this process, there are far fewer issues with plumbing, mechanical and structure. “Our designers work with the architect to address any issues, which takes about seven weeks,” said Panetta. Once the design is approved, it’s sent to a specialized saw that labels every piece of lumber with precise measurements and locations. Panetta’s assembly-line workers then cut the lumber to size before sending it to their colleagues to assemble the pieces into a prefabricated wall or floor. “We build the whole structure,” said Panetta, which includes porches, flat or sloped roofs, and floors. “No one in Ottawa is doing that.” The software also allows clients and OPS to coordinate all aspects of the build.

The benefits of the OPS one-stop shop The OPS assembly-line approach is faster, safer, and uses materials more efficiently. The process requires 60 per cent less construction time than stick-built homes because building more quickly and efficiently reduces labour and carrying costs on taxes and interest.

Constructing components in the facility rather than on-site — which could be up to six-storeys — is safer for workers, and produces a product that is consistently square, has a tighter building envelope, eliminates the chances of a re-work, and will pass city inspections. “The quality is far superior than what’s framed nowadays,” added Panetta. Clients also save money because OPS uses less materials. The precise measurement of lumber means using 26 per cent less wood than stick-built homes. And, OPS provides an “all in” price that includes lumber and installation so budgets can be set up front. Clients save money by having fewer garbage bins to clean up, and less labour to supervise the sites. Lumber theft is greatly reduced. The shorter build time also keeps other trades on your sites with very little down time. OPS also works with a local recycler who grinds up off-cuts and sells the material to farmers for animal bedding and other uses. Delivery is handled by OPS’s seasoned logistics and shipping team through its reliable fleet of trucks and trailers. And all components are packed in the reverse order they’ll be needed to make on-site unloading and assembly efficient. Finally, the company’s seasoned installer takes over on site — Panetta says he’s the best in the business, putting up 15,000 square feet every week. All this means developers can focus on the exterior design while letting OPS handle the building envelope. With Panetta’s experience and firm commitment to increasing the volume of what he produces, local developers will find a reliable partner in their effort to build the housing Ottawans need.




Networks launches Ottawa’s very own telecommunications network Hiboo’s state-of-the-art, fibre-based footprint will connect businesses better than ever, with customer service second to none.





ow do we turn the capital into an even smarter city? That’s the question hiboo networks, Ottawa’s newest fibreoptic network provider, has set out to answer. As a growing business hub, home to several big players and Canada’s largest technology park, connectivity in Ottawa-Gatineau is more important than ever before. Recently, surrounded by local business leaders at the monthly Mayor’s Breakfast, hiboo networks announced the general availability of its services on its secure, highspeed network, designed specifically to meet the needs of OttawaGatineau’s business community – both now and into the future. Owned by Hydro Ottawa Holding Inc. hiboo is a brand new, state-ofthe-art fibre network that provides businesses in the area with the bandwidth, flexibility, and reliability they need to stay connected. Hiboo’s powerful network deploys hundreds of kilometers of fibre and can reach thousands of businesses in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. “Hiboo is bringing a new, hyper-local option to the table, unlike anything we’ve seen before,” said Christopher Emery, general manager at hiboo networks. “What really attracted me to hiboo is that we are starting with a clean slate, with no legacy technology in place,” said Emery. “When you start with a fresh page, you get to cast a new culture, a new attitude towards customer service and you’re able to employ the latest technology.”

Technology built for the future

One of the most exciting things about hiboo’s city-wide network is that the infrastructure has been designed from end to end with the future in mind. Using the latest fibre-optic technology, hiboo networks offers businesses enterprise grade internet, ethernet and wavelength services and has the speed, security and reliability to be a catalyst for smart city initiatives such as 5G connectivity, autonomous vehicles and AI platforms. “Employing this level of connectivity and network redundancy in the region is key to not only supporting local businesses who are adopting these new technologies but will help attract new opportunities to the capital as well,” says Mark Fernandes, executive vicepresident of hiboo networks. “Our sole purpose here is to make sure

that our city and our community benefits from what we have built,” he says. While hiboo’s network is designed to be future-proof, it is also built to grow. “With an initial focus on serving the Ottawa-Gatineau area, the network’s spine-leaf architecture allows hiboo’s footprint to scale and expand as demand increases,” says Charles Berndt, director of technology and network operations at hiboo networks. “We put a lot of thought into the network because we built it from the ground up,” he says. “We’ll be able to scale quickly, remain nimble and provide connectivity at whatever speed a customer needs.”

Customer service done differently

Another key differentiator for hiboo is the company’s focus on providing unparalleled customer service. With a clean slate and no technical debt from legacy systems,

hiboo networks elevates the customer experience, and redefines how businesses think about service from a telecom service provider. Similar to how the network was designed from scratch, hiboo has built a highly skilled and dedicated team committed to providing topnotch customer service every step of the way. “We are a local company and we understand the DNA of the city,” says Fernandes. “When you call hiboo you are speaking to someone who is invested in the future of Ottawa. We are committed to building ubiquitous connectivity across the Ottawa-Gatineau region.” The company also provides customers the flexibility to connect how and when they want, adds Brenda Smith, sales and marketing enablement manager at hiboo networks. “We’re all about availability, transparency and reliability,” says Smith. “Being local, we have the opportunity to empower our business community to thrive. We are offering a seamless experience that will change the standards of customer service in the telecommunication industry.” While the hiboo networks team gears up for a busy year ahead, they are confident about the impact their network will have on their clients and the city as a whole, adds Emery. “We’re basically a network built by Ottawa, for Ottawa,” he says. “You can’t get any more community based than that.”

Calian on track to hit elusive $1B in annual revenues, CEO says BY DAVID SALI

software to satellite components, finished fiscal 2023 on a high note and hasn’t taken its foot off the gas pedal. alian Group reported double-digit The company posted double-digit growth revenue growth for the sixth year in a in three of its four divisions in the last three row and said it remains on track months of fiscal 2023 as it generated to reach its goal of a billion record quarterly revenues of dollars in annual sales $176 million. The firm also within three years. acquired Hawaii Pacific The Kanata-based Teleport, which supplies company generated satellite and fibre-based revenue of $659 million communications services for the fiscal year ended in the Americas, Asia and Sept. 30, a 13 per cent Australia. increase from a year ago, it Since then, Calian has reported in late November. agreed to acquire OttawaKevin Ford, CEO Calian is projecting based IT and cybersecurity revenues of between $730 firm Decisive Group and million and $790 million for hired veteran tech executive fiscal 2024. CEO Kevin Ford told analysts Michael Tremblay, who left his post as the company is gaining momentum as head of Invest Ottawa to lead its IT and it continues to diversify its four main cyber solutions division effective Dec. 1. business segments and adds new “With his vast experience across Ottawa capabilities through acquisitions. and North America, he will be instrumental “I’m excited as we now have a very clear in driving results and growth,” Ford said of roadmap toward $1 billion in (annual) Tremblay, describing the former Microsoft revenues,” Ford said. VP as a “seasoned, empathetic and Calian, which delivers a range of deliberate leader” who will help Calian tap products and services from cybersecurity into new markets.


million, or $1.61 per diluted share, up from $13.6 million, or $1.19 per diluted share, in the 2022 fiscal year. In the fourth quarter, it turned a profit of $5.1 million, compared with a profit of $1.2 million a year earlier. Chief financial officer Patrick Houston said Calian will continue to pursue an aggressive strategy of growth through acquisitions. He told analysts the firm has a “robust pipeline” of potential M&A transactions in the works and expects to bring more companies under Calian’s umbrella before the end of fiscal 2024. “With this guidance, we’re off to a great start to achieve our $1-billion revenue target by the end of fiscal ’26,” Houston added.


“I’m excited as we now have a very clear roadmap toward $1 billion in (annual) revenues.” – Kevin Ford, Calian CEO


Meanwhile, Ford said the federal Competition Bureau has approved the acquisition of Decisive Group. The deal, which could be worth up to $75 million, was expected to close by early December. Ford lauded the “incredible talent” of Decisive’s 60-plus employees and said their addition will shore up Calian’s cybersecurity offerings. He also noted the firm has forged relationships with a number of federal government departments and agencies that Calian has yet to penetrate. “Their brand is very strong,” he said. “We’re expecting it to help our government business both short- and long-term.” Calian recorded a net profit of $18.9

How are you taking advantage of the technology ecosystem at your fingertips?



©2023 Ernst & Young LLP. All Rights Reserved. 4338287


Find out how EY can support.

Innovation expert Dan Breznitz offers his views on Kanata North BY DAVID SALI


overshadowed by the media glare on tech hubs like Toronto and Waterloo?


I think Ottawa needs to be slightly more proud of itself. There are only so many Shopifys, not just in Ottawa but Dan Breznitz in the whole of Canada. And lo and behold, look where Shopify is (headquartered). How many great companies came from (Waterloo’s) Q: What is the main Communitech or Toronto that grew to be focus of your talk at the global leaders in the last 10 years and how Brookstreet? many came from Ottawa? What I’m hoping to achieve is to open a conversation about thinking about what Q:Where do you think innovation really is and why we should Kanata North has the care about it … and then asking very biggest opportunities to hard-nosed questions about what kind of capitalize on its strengths? models cities and communities want to I don’t think I’m the person who’s the have about innovation-based growth that expert in Kanata North. But if you look at creates widespread prosperity for people the history of Ottawa and where Ottawa with different kinds of skill levels and not has a lot of skills, if you think about not just just for R&D teams, and also how you creating startups around (information and create a sustainable model of innovationcommunications technology), but creating based growth. companies that do what I call stage two and stage three innovation in the global Q: Do you think Kanata ICT industry … try to think about ways North sometimes gets in which we can have more companies


ome to hundreds of tech firms ranging from telecommunications giants such as Nokia to software startups, Kanata North contributes billions of dollars annually to the Canadian economy. As the Kanata North Business Association embarks on its next phase of strategic planning, Dan Breznitz, one of the country’s foremost innovation experts, was invited to the Brookstreet Hotel by Kanata-based investment firm Wesley Clover International to offer his perspective on global tech and innovation centres and discuss ways Kanata North can maximize its potential as a tech hub. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Breznitz is a professor at the University of Toronto. He is Munk Chair of Innovation Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and also serves as co-chair of the University of Toronto’s Innovation Policy Lab. Breznitz also spent a year and a half as the Clifford Clark Visiting Economist at the federal Department of Finance. While there, he was an architect of the Canada Innovation Corp., a new Crown corporation aimed at helping scale up innovative Canadian companies.

OBJ’s David Sali spoke with Breznitz in advance of his talk to get his thoughts on Kanata North, where it might have a competitive advantage, and the role of the federal government in helping fuel its continued growth. The transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

where we might be leading not in the latest (semiconductor) chips, but in the latest technologies of how to produce those chips and then actually creating fabrication technologies and the fabrication facilities, instead of trying to look like yet one more company from the U.S. trying to get a financial exit by being bought out or (doing an) IPO as quickly as possible. If Ottawa was in the U.S. and it had Nortel and Nortel went down, instead of one company, you would have four or five global companies based on the technology and the people who work at Nortel. We have not managed to do that. I think that Kanata North has a very good chance of looking at the skills and technology it still has around telecommunications, understanding that the global system has changed and then instead of copycatting business models from Silicon Valley, it can look into different kinds of business models. There is a need for Kanata North and Ottawa — I’m not talking Ottawa as a federal capital, but Ottawa as a community — to figure out what policy-makers need to do in order for this to be successful. If this is the model that you are going for, what you need is a very different kind of investment than just regular venture capital. You actually need to be able to build production facilities. This is something Kanata North should start thinking about now — not wait for another five years, because that window of opportunity will be lost. The Americans already have their plan put together. We in Canada are barely waking up to the fact that the world has changed. I’m not sure Ottawa, the political Ottawa, is up to spec with being able to do that in time.

Nick Quain, vice-president of venture capital at IO.

Surprising surge in applications for startup bootcamp has officials scrambling BY MIA JENSEN



ayoffs in the tech sector and a growing interest in applied AI are just a couple of the reasons behind a recent surge in applicants at a local tech startup bootcamp, officials say. Invest Ottawa’s IO Ignition bootcamp is a 10-week program to help startup founders workshop their ideas and create a solid business foundation, while connecting them with local resources. “It helps really early-stage founders,



usually at the idea stage or early prototype,” said Nick Quain, vice-president of venture capital at IO. “We go through the fundamentals of building a tech startup, everything from customer discovery, business models, financing, sales, marketing, the whole thing.” According to Quain, the program typically receives around 30 applications for 15 to 20 open slots each quarter. But this past fall, 70 startups applied, and by early December IO had already received more than 80 additional applications for the upcoming winter term

that starts at the end of January. Quain said the program has never seen this much interest in the five years since it started. “We have a pretty good finger on the pulse of the typical number of startups (in the city),” he said. “But we’ve never had anywhere near that many applications. This next one might even hit 100 (applications).” It’s created a challenge for the Invest Ottawa team, which Quain said isn’t used to dealing with this many applicants, let alone this many applicants of such high quality. “The advisers rate the startups on a scale of one to five, based on their readiness for the bootcamp and whether they’re a good fit,” he said. “Last I heard, there were already 19 five-star candidates. Usually, all the four stars are getting in and threes could slip in there. Now we’ve got a situation where these advisers are like, ‘Oh my god, this person might not get in.’” He added that Invest Ottawa has already started considering what other workshops and programs it could offer to triage the early-stage candidates who don’t make it into Ignition. Quain attributes the surge in applications to recent layoffs in the tech sector, something that historically generates waves of entrepreneurship. “There’s a natural balance that happens with layoffs,” he said. “When companies do layoffs and give people severance, a lot of those people have some time and have ideas for businesses and they see this as an opportunity. When there’s a bunch of people made available in the market, you see entrepreneurship go up.” Also, more people have become aware of the resources available to them in Ottawa, according to Erin Seegmiller, senior manager of early-stage programs at

Invest Ottawa. “Word of mouth is very powerful in Ottawa. We’ve really been able to get the Ignition brand out into the market,” she said. “A lot of people don’t realize how strong the founder-to-founder network is here. And we have huge advocates and great organizations in Ottawa, all working together to support these founders. Cities like Toronto or Waterloo won’t necessarily have the same early-stage programming that we have to hold founders’ hands to validate their business.” Seegmiller, who oversees the Ignition bootcamp, said applicants come from all walks of life, from new grads to established professionals, as well as those who’ve decided to start a business on the side. She said there’s been a steady stream of startups in the digital health and educational technology space, but with this new surge, many are utilizing AI technology. “I would say about a quarter of our applicants have some component of applied AI,” she said. “They’re using AI to solve real problems, whether it’s creating real-time quotes in the construction industry or using AI to upskill new immigrants or students. AI has just been buzzing in all our applicants.” While many of the early-stage startups who go through the bootcamp ultimately fail, Seegmiller said that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “We’ve seen a lot of failure and we want to encourage that for founders,” she said. “Once they graduate (from) the program, they’re still very much in the Invest Ottawa community and they can access advisers and fellow founders. Often they make connections in the cohort. We’ve seen founders decide to join together and build a new company. The fail is a win because they can start something new.”

The brightest legal advice. 613-238-2022




NUMBERS We elevate, grow, and support businesses – from start-ups to large corporations – with our inhouse team of experts who provide outsourced financial support for every stage of your company’s growth. You are stronger with Numbercrunch.

If you want to know your numbers,



Virtual CFO Services | KPI Tracking | Payroll | Bookkeeping | and more


contact us.



We get that small business owners often have to make decisions on the fly. That’s why with TD, you can bank from anywhere, anytime – online, in-branch, or by phone. Along with business products, tools and support, it’s how TD Business Banking is there whenever you need us. That’s what confidence feels like.™

Visit or a branch to learn more.



Keep your business moving with TD Business Banking.

®The TD logo and other trade-marks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank.


Driving impact in Canada’s Largest Tech Park: uOttawa and Ciena’s collaboration in developing AI technologies T

he University of Ottawa established a satellite campus in Kanata North with the goal of continuing to foster collaborations and long-term partnerships between uOttawa and industry in the tech park that result in mutually beneficial outcomes. Over the course of almost five years, the uOttawa Kanata North campus has worked with over 120 partners in the area to help support innovation and impact in Canada’s largest tech park. An example of an impactful collaboration between uOttawa and industry in Kanata North is one between communications tech giant Ciena and uOttawa’s Dr. Shervin Shirmohammadi, a computer and software engineering professor with the Faculty of Engineering.

The value of the industryacademia partnership In addition to the personal and professional satisfaction that comes from problem solving, each party benefited from the partnership in unique ways. For Ciena, it was about discovering new industry-relevant solutions and accessing the unique infrastructure and expertise at uOttawa. “Collaborating with uOttawa allows us to explore curiosity-based research, which is pivotal for driving innovation,” said Dr. Chris Barber, senior data science manager at Ciena’s Blue Planet division. For uOttawa, it was about being a part of developing solutions to support a specific industry need, creating and sharing knowledge, as well as giving graduate students the opportunity to gain unique experience working with industry. “We give our PhD students ‘non-academic experience,’” said Shirmohammadi. “By working with

The impact Overall, what both parties may value most is seeing how their collaborative work is being put into action. Ciena is now leveraging the intellectual property, including three patents, created from this project to incorporate into their product offerings and make their communications infrastructure more robust and stable around the world. uOttawa has also elevated the reach and impact of university research by working to help solve industry problems, leveraging research grants that support industry-academia collaborations, and creating unique training opportunities for students. “Without uOttawa and the research collaboration grants, research like this may not be possible since you sometimes have to try many approaches until you get it right, meaning it can take years to yield any return on investment,” said Barber. “Companies tend to think that a project that doesn’t immediately result in revenue is a failure, but I think you have to break a few eggs before you find the golden one.” But the most exciting impact could be the AI technology itself. Shirmohammadi says what they built came up with a solution a human wouldn’t have considered. “The AI put all video streams into a single link — something an engineer would never do because it can lead to congestion,” he said. “It was a strange approach but turned out to be the right thing to do.” Interested in collaborating with uOttawa? Connect with the uOttawa Kanata North team to explore how you can partner and innovate with them!


How it began The research collaboration, which has now spanned over five years, initially began by leveraging a funding program through Mitacs which helps financially support industryacademic research and innovation collaborations. Ciena was interested in exploring if AI could troubleshoot problems causing network quality issues and/or interruptions. Collaborating with industry was not something new to Shirmohammadi, as he has a passion for helping to solve industry-related problems as well as sees substantial benefits in the experience students

can gain through working closely with industry. The initial Mitacs project looked at stabilizing video streaming services, like YouTube and Netflix, by using AI to identify and fix network problems before they arise. The project was such a success that Ciena saw the potential to use the same solution for larger networks. As a next step towards commercializing the solution, together, they applied for an NSERC Idea-to-Innovation grant which provides funding to support this next stage in the partnership. To understand the potential of this tech, think back to the 2022 Rogers network outage, reportedly caused by a maintenance upgrade issue. The introduction of advanced AI tools, such as the one Ciena and uOttawa were developing, brings new analytical options for telecom service providers to proactively identify the root cause of these types of problems.

an industry partner, they pick up hands-on skills which prepares them for the job market.”


A Single Provider For All Your Technology Needs 160K+

We provide businesses with simple and scalable solutions for unified communications, managed network & security across Canada.

Voice users




Partner carriers across the country


Managed sites


Business internet everywhere • Business VoIP • SD-WAN • Cloud Call Centre • Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams and much more



Our technology partners:


Winning the talent war may be easier than you think, thanks to the Global Talent Stream program Immigration lawyer Warren Creates says more employers should take advantage


found a way to help employers hire foreign talent faster, while still protecting the Canadian workforce and economy.

How the GTS gives back to Canada

Creates says the simplest way to take advantage of the GTS, which launched in 2017, is to consult the “in-demand occupations list”, a resource that is updated annually. Current occupations include civil engineers, computer and information systems managers and digital media designers to name a few. The GTS helps employers give back by requiring them to complete a Labour Market Benefits Plan (LMBP) instead of embarking on a lengthy public recruitment campaign. “These plans are commitments from the employer to transfer the new skills and knowledge through training and development to their employees and co-op students,” said Creates. Employers develop their LMBP collaboratively with Service Canada. Once they agree on the plan, the approvals tend to be swift — meaning within days or weeks instead of months. “If the foreign worker comes

How to take advantage of the GTS

The GTS can be accessed via two paths. Category A involves engaging a ‘designated partner’. The Category B path involves using the list of designated occupations. Creates says Category B is the simplest place to start. However, it is not enough to have a need — employers have to prove they are a legitimate business. While this is fairly easy for a multinational, smaller companies must show they have established a track record of customers, revenue and expenses, current employees and a CRA number

they have used to file tax returns. This proves the employer can pay the market salary the GTS requires. “They don’t want companies to hire someone quickly by promising a high salary, but then knock it down once they arrive,” said Creates. Random audits are conducted to prevent that kind of fraud — the penalties are severe when a company intentionally misleads the worker or the program. The bottom line for Creates is that the GTS program is being underutilized: in 2021 only 4.8 per cent of the total work permits were issued to highly-skilled temporary foreign workers, which includes this stream. “There’s no cap, so there’s no limit on the number of people who can be recruited via this program,” said Creates. “That number could grow considerably if more people were aware of it.” If you need help sourcing the best talent for your business from abroad, contact Warren Creates to learn more.


he war for highly skilled tech talent is real. Warren Creates, head of the Immigration Law Group at Perley Robertson Hill & McDougall LLP/s.r.l and certified specialist wants employers to know that the Global Talent Stream (GTS) program is the fastest and most efficient way to hire foreign talent in specialized occupations. “Anytime that we can recommend a way to circumnavigate the standard Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), we’ll do it,” said Creates. He is talking about the process employers have traditionally followed when hiring talent from another country. The position has to be posted for 28 days in Canada first and requires the employer to document why no domestic applicants were suitable before they can justify hiring from abroad. The goal was to ensure Canadians were considered first for highly skilled positions — an understandable approach at the time it was created. Since then, the lengthy process could result in Canadian companies losing out on the talent they need to grow their businesses. But the federal government

from a non-visa required country, we can put them on an airplane the next day,” said Creates. “The work permit can be issued at the airport in under an hour.” The benefits to the Canadian labour market have been significant. “Employers have committed to creating 48,000 new jobs, 12,500 new co-op positions, and invested $113 million in skills development and training,” said Creates. He calls it the multiplier effect. “When a business brings in a programmer, that person will help grow the revenue of the company, which will be used to hire new people,” said Creates. “All boats float higher.”



VOICE OF BUSINESS Unite. Influence. Grow.



ur downtown is the cultural and economic heart of our region and as the national capital, our country. The pandemic changed what was a bustling business district and provided Ottawa with a once in a generation opportunity to transform our city core to be more diverse, resilient, and vibrant than ever before. The time is now for us to embark on a whole community approach to city building, economic development, and a deep commitment to an inclusive and sustainable plan. The Ottawa Board of Trade has declared downtown Ottawa as a top priority and calls on every level of government, economic partners, businesses, and residents to do the same. Fortunately, we have many

assets to build on. A strong downtown will attract investors, talent, visitors, and young leaders. Conversely, a declining downtown will impact every taxpayer, erode our resources for services and community support and delay much needed infrastructure investment. Join us as a champion for the heart of our city; be an OBOT member, shop and promote local, invite colleagues and friends to meet you downtown, and spread the word about our amazing city.


WELCOME NEW MEMBERS • Agos Property Management and Design Development Inc. • Asign Inc. • Baton Rouge • Borna’s General Hardware Ltd. • CAA North & East Ontario • CVE Inc. • ENCORE • EV Workforce Inc. • Evolve Integrated Concepts Incorporated

Sueling Ching, President and CEO, Ottawa Board of Trade

Be a Member!


• Francis Plumbing & Heating • Future Vision Productions • Gifford Carr Insurance Group • Gobel Sampson & Associates Private Wealth Management • Grand Lake Consulting Inc

We are stronger together. We invite every Ottawa business to be a member of your local board of trade. To strengthen our business community, drive an economic growth agenda and build an affordable, inclusive, and sustainable city. Join us today and . . .

• Innovation Realty Ltd.

• • • • • • • • • • •

• Louis W. Bray Construction

Stay informed about local business and best practices Promote your brand, your business, and your services Attract customers, employees, investors, and partners Get connected with business and community leaders Access business and employee growth opportunities Save on events, programs, and deals from members Sign on for exclusive offers on group benefits, insurance, etc. Attend premier keynote, networking, and recognition events Mentor the next generation of local leaders and city builders Influence decisions impacting our business success and city building Contribute to the future of Ottawa, be a model of leadership in Canada’s Capital

Learn more:

Special thanks to our Pillar Partners:

• Jelly Digital Marketing & PR • KTS Properties

• National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association • Optimal Show Experience (OSE) • PiiComm Inc • Proveras Commercial Realty • R.B. Consulting • Shepherds of Good Hope • The Mortgage Source Inc. • The Vista on Sparks Retirement Residence • Triumph Mobility Inc • Troy Curtis • University of Waterloo • uxpertise • West of Main Design • WSA Light Energy Design


Who are the next big startups coming out of uOttawa? Desjardins provides both funds and business advice to up-and-coming innovators


usiness leaders and entrepreneurs gathered at the Telfer School of Management in November for the 2023 Desjardins Elevator Pitch Competition, an annual gathering celebrating the University of Ottawa’s top startups. The competition, which will mark its 10th anniversary next year, was created to support uOttawa students’ entrepreneurial aspirations and accelerate their startups. With categories representing each step of the entrepreneurial journey — from having an idea to being up and running with sales — the competition gives students a shot to explain their concept to a panel of expert judges and get the feedback they need to succeed. Also on the line this year was $35,000 in prizes, including $20,000 from Desjardins, which was awarded to the top five companies. Desjardins sees events like this as the perfect opportunity to foster innovation by investing in Canada’s next generation of entrepreneurs. “Supporting the well-being of our youth and helping them achieve their dreams is very important to us,” said Isabelle Rémillard, donations and sponsorships advisor at Desjardins. “It’s why we’re helping these entrepreneurs take their dream a little further.”

This year’s winners

The other winners this year include:

• 2nd place ($5,000): Spyce Girlz has created a suite of all-natural glutenfree seasoning blends for people with dietary restrictions.

• 3rd place ($1,000): Lutendi Systems is a tool that helps property managers and landlords reduce payment delinquencies by over 70 per cent while enhancing the credit-worthiness of their residents. • Validation category ($3,000): AccMov Health Inc. is a sports technology startup that wants to advance musculoskeletal health applications by integrating and translating knowledge from the field of human movement sciences. • Idea category ($1,000): eMediate specializes in providing an alternative, accessible legal solution that will alleviate pressure on our court systems by focusing on small claims court cases; disputes over bylaws, property disputes, landlord vs tenant and cases with monetary claims of up to $35,000.

For Desjardins – who have made a five-year commitment to supporting uOttawa’s elevator pitch competition – the most important takeaway from the annual event is a sense of optimism. “Young people want to be involved in creating solutions to solve societal, environmental and economic challenges,” said Rémillard. “Everyone present during the Elevator Pitch felt optimistic about a future where our youth help us find and build innovative solutions.” As for the team at uOttawa, excitement is already building for next year when the university can once again showcase its robust network of innovative entrepreneurs.


For more information on this year’s cohort of winners – or to be the first to know about next year’s competition – visit today!


Amongst the winners this year was Yellowbird Diagnostics, Inc., which captured the $10,000 first-place prize in the “Traction” category. Yellowbird CEO and co-founder Nick Calvert is currently a uOttawa PhD candidate in chemistry. Calvert and the Yellowbird team have developed a contrast dye to use in MRIs and other diagnostic tools that’s safe for people with contraindications, like kidney disease. Calvert explained why opportunities like the elevator pitch contest are so important to budding entrepreneurs like him.

“I come from a science background, so when it comes to the business side, there was a lot to learn and I needed to learn it quickly,” he said. “At pitch events like these you meet so many people who want to help. I had a great talk with Megan from Desjardins and got a lot out of the conversation.” The funds will help Yellowbird continue its work by helping them conduct the pre-clinical assessment required for their upcoming clinical trial.





Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus plans to build 7K rental units by 2030 BY SARAH MACFARLANE


If we build housing our workforce can afford, there’s a long-term benefit. — Peter Emon, chair, EOWC

will bring “significant” employment opportunities and boost the economy in more “forgotten” ways. “One of the things we’re hearing from the area is that, as things tighten, workers move further away from their workplace and commute and then they’re looking at other workplaces that are closer to their home,” said Emon. “If we build housing our workforce can afford, there’s a long-term benefit.” Due to the variety of unique and farflung communities that make up Eastern Ontario, Emon said many different developers and contractors can take part. “There’s not one lone company that’s large enough to cover the whole area, so it makes sense to use these six smaller areas, and then there’s further downsizing within those areas,” explained Emon.


The campaign, which has been assisted by Haliburton business management firm KWM Consulting, will bring on local developers and trade teams, Emon said, and help to stimulate the economy across Eastern Ontario. The EOWC is working on “prequalifying” builders and developers, as

well as breaking the region into six projectbuild areas, Emon said, but until financing is secured, the specifics of the projected units are “not nailed down.” “Every area across Eastern Ontario will be somewhat different. Some are more rural, others are urbanized, and each of the areas will be considerably different,” he explained. Early projections include 688 units near Prescott, Russell and Cornwall; 1,300 in Kingston, Frontenac, Leeds and Grenville and Lanark; and 587 in Renfrew County, he said, emphasizing the proximity of these municipalities to Ottawa. The costs to build the units are also unconfirmed, but Emon said “host communities” can expect a return of three times the cost per unit. The EOWC is also confident the project


hen asked why the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) is trying to build 7,000 rental units by 2030, chair Peter Emon responds, “If not us, then who?” The “7-in-7” campaign, spearheaded by the EOWC, aims to build a minimum of 7,000 affordable rental units in the next seven years and will tap into various industries, trades and levels of government across the region to get the job done, said Emon. Representing 13 municipalities over 50,000 square kilometres, the EOWC met in the summer of 2022 to discuss waiting lists for affordable housing across the region. “Our service manager showed 16,000 people on the waiting list for between four and 10 years,” said Emon. “We’ve since found out through Statistics Canada that we have about 42,000 people now looking for housing. It was already serious, and it’s getting much more serious.” The 7-in-7 campaign will involve 26,000 parcels of surplus municipal land contributed by the EOWC, Emon said, and has the potential to attract additional developers. “We found if we were to build 7,000 units, it would generate a further 21,000 units held by the private or not-profit sector,” explained Emon. “So with that land, it will attract the other builders, and they have the capacity to do even more.” With a combination of community and market-rate units, the campaign is projected to build a total of 28,000 units, said Emon, with the possibility of even more. “We always exceed our targets and there’s always room for additional investment and additions to the project,” he said. “We work to the max of the budget and extract as much value as we can.”

Leeds Grenville Entrepreneurs Loving their Lifestyles Enjoying life’s natural beauty – aka “stopping to smell the roses” - is what a growing number of Leeds Grenville entrepreneurs do daily. A key attractor for them to be in the 1000 Islands and Rideau Waterways region is the affordable land to fulfil their dreams of doing what they love each and every day. Brokor Greenhouses: Owner Koren Manneck believes life is good when you’re surrounded every day by flowers and plants. For more than three decades, Koren has built a reputation on growing quality seedlings and plants as well as creating unique floral arrangements in her greenhouses near Cardinal. “It’s passion and creativity wrapped together that drives me,” says Koren. Floral design for weddings and special events is a big part of the business. Koren has a flare for arranging and blending colours. A big hit are her fall bouquets using pumpkins as vases. She shares her talent in many popular workshops like BYOV - Bring Your Own Vase. “Our philosophy is to offer a local, naturally grown product, with biological controls that are free of chemicals,” says Koren. She credits customer loyalty, product quality and a strong work ethic to Brokor’s success and longevity.

Read her story HERE


Read her story HERE

Flowers of the Field: Brenda Visser’s stunning bouquets have near zero travel time from greenhouse to local customers because they are grown right in Augusta Township, just off Highway 401. “Our flowers are cut and sold immediately from our farm, which means the most enjoyable and longer vase life for you,” says Brenda. “Historically Canadians have relied on flowers from afar, particularly during the colder months, but we can do it right here!” Brenda operates an all-season, high-yield passive solar greenhouse for year-round blooms. “There is a real need for beauty in our lives and flowers can make a real difference,” she says. In the warmer months, Brenda grows thousands of field flowers, from Zinnias to Astilbe, Dahlias and Asters. She is an advocate of eco-friendly production and bio sustainability. Plans to expand her greenhouse and add trails have already begun.


48 | | | 613-342-3840 ext. 5365 | 1-800-770-2170


Perth distillery tries online fundraising to support expansion plans BY SARAH MACFARLANE


If we can grow our whisky program, we can do a lot more fun stuff, keep up with demand and have more on hand to sell. — Stuart Thornley, communications manager, Top Shelf

turntable and other modern equipment and expand the distillery itself. These additions and improvements will help Top Shelf “give the people what they want” and keep up with demand by producing 10 times more whisky than it can with its current operations, Thornley said. Right now, Top Shelf mashes, distills and puts away about two barrels a month for aging, Thornley said. Each barrel makes


grants, Top Shelf plans to purchase additional fermentors, a grain silo, a milling machine and other equipment. Several new fermentors are currently on order with Niagara Falls manufacturer Criveller Group, which will add 6,000 litres of capacity at the distillery — triple the current capacity. The distillery also plans to upgrade its bottling line with a t-corker machine,


Perth distillery is seeing proof of a loyal following with an innovative campaign to raise $20,000 in whisky pre-orders and qualify for a number of industry grants. Top Shelf Distillery in Perth wants to ramp up whisky production, but to do so its team must look to enthusiastic whiskylovers across the country. Unlike clear spirits such as gin and vodka, whisky production requires lots of equipment and, most importantly, time, says Stuart Thornley, communications manager at Top Shelf. In order to keep up with increasing demand for the whisky as well as what Thornley calls a “cult following,” Top Shelf has lined up equipment update grants from Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME). But there’s a catch: to qualify, the distillery must have spent a certain amount on equipment before the application period closes. For the CME grant, Top Shelf would receive up to $50,000 matched 50/50 with funds spent. So Top Shelf has taken to crowdfunding in the form of pre-sale vouchers to reach its $20,000 goal. “We crowdfunded in 2021, when we wanted to include hand sanitizer in our production, to urgently raise funds,” said Thornley. “It worked. So we thought, ‘Why not do the same thing to grow whisky?’” The funds raised aren’t donations, Thornley explained, because customers are essentially pre-ordering whisky from the batches they’re helping to fund. Participants can purchase single bottles or packages of three bottles of Top Shelf Rideau Whisky or invest in an entire barrel, which retails for US$7,500. With the funds raised through its Indiegogo campaign, as well as any

about 255 bottles of whisky. Then, everybody waits a few years for the barrels to age. “To have a successful whisky program, we need (10 times that) to have whisky set aside. People want to see five-year, 10-year, 12-yearold whisky, but when it’s sitting in a barrel, it’s just costing you money and you can’t sell it,” explained Thornley. “We want to be putting more of it away and be able to have small batches, launch parties and lots more. “If we can grow our whisky program, we can do a lot more fun stuff, keep up with demand and have more on hand to sell.” By late November, just over a week since the launch of the online campaign, Top Shelf had raised 30 per cent of its goal, Thornley said, a testament to the “strong backing” for the Perth whisky. And while the local community has rallied behind Top Shelf, the distillery also has a strong consumer base through its online store, which ships to customers in places such as Prince Edward Island, British Columbia and Iqaluit, Thornley said. “There are not many craft distilleries in Ontario, so people are keen to get a taste of it,” he explained. By purchasing pre-order vouchers, buyers are investing in a “storied whisky region” and can “get themselves a piece of history,” Thornley added. “In (the) late 18th, early 19th centuries, there were a lot of Irish people and Scots who settled in Perth and there were three big distilleries in the Perth area and we’re continuing to add on to Perth’s whisky story,” said Thornley. “The Lanark region produced a lot of whisky up until 1916. The streets in Perth are lined with empty whisky barrels. Then, 100 years later in 2016, we started aging whisky again. “Where it might have ended in 1916, Perth gets a second chance at the story,” said Thornley. “We’re proud to bring that back and we want to make a whisky that reflects that story from our area.”


Great Wolf Resorts asks province for $30M to support Cornwall build BY SARAH MACFARLANE


new Great Wolf Lodge planned for Cornwall is awaiting a funding decision from the province, Cornwall Mayor Justin Towndale told EOBJ in mid-November. The proposed indoor water park and resort represents a US$350-million investment and would be the first of its kind in Canada, Towndale said. There is an existing Great Wolf Resort in Niagara Falls, but it’s owned and operated by a separate company. The Cornwall facility will be managed by Great Wolf Resorts. In January, U.S.-based Great Wolf Resorts announced it had entered into an agreement of purchase and sale for 40 acres

of land along Highway 401 at the northern extension of Nick Kaneb Drive in Cornwall. But while the initial announcement said the resort would be built within the next few years, Towndale said in November that “red tape” from the province has temporarily stalled the project. “Since the resort in Niagara is a franchise, this is their first direct investment (in Canada), so they’ve asked the province for $30 million,” explained Towndale. “(The province) seems supportive, but there’s an ask and they haven’t confirmed it yet. “It’s one of those things that just has to be done properly. We joke about red tape with the government, but obviously there’s a way to do things and the right way to do

business,” he continued. “We just have to go through that process.” In a statement to EOBJ, Great Wolf Resorts said the company “still has some steps to complete before we can confirm intentions for a Great Wolf Lodge in Cornwall.” The city also has to extend the road and municipal water and sewer network to that plot of land, a project to which the city has committed $15 million and is currently in the design phase, said Towndale. “The land purchased isn’t serviced yet, but we’ve committed to it. It will unlock 300 acres in the business park that will also impact other tenants,” explained Towndale. “They’re just waiting for us to complete construction right now.” Great Wolf Resorts said the company

Discover the perfect business opportunity in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry!

Discover the perfect business opportunity in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry! Offering accessible and affordable real estate options, this area presents a remarkable combination of budget-friendly pricing, strategic geographic positioning, and developmental preparedness. Empower your enterprise to grow and thrive in a space designed for expansion. Choose from an extensive selection of small, medium, large-sized lots, commercial buildings, and storefronts for your development needs.

“remains optimistic” and hopes to be “a significant contributor to the economic growth” in Eastern Ontario. Recent estimates from Great Wolf Resorts said the Cornwall Lodge would utilize more than 2,500 construction workers to build and a staff of about 500 to operate, while attracting a half-million new visitors to the region annually. Despite the recent roadblocks, Towndale maintained that he is excited to bring the attraction to Cornwall. “The (construction) timeline I’m aware of would be next year (2024) or early 2025, but it’s a substantial project that will take time to complete. From our perspective, we’re ready to move forward,” he said. “We still are excited — this is a gamechanger, not just for Cornwall, but for the region. “We’re doing whatever we can and doing our part of what was agreed upon to get the project to happen. We’re behind the province 100 per cent,” he said. “We’re just waiting for a puzzle piece that hasn’t come out yet.”

MORRISBURG INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT 21 Acres of developable land • 500,000 SF High Bay Industrial Space • Built-to-Suit option available


17-acre lot is located right off highway 401 • Highway Commercial zoning allows for various permitted uses

CAMINO INLAND PORT AT LONG SAULT Camino Inland Port at Long Saul

Intermodal inland port strategically located in the middle of CN’s Eastern Canadian network between Halifax and Chicago • 530 Acres net developable land • 4.5 – 6.0 Million SF of Industrial Space • 135 Acres rail, storage and intermodal yard

Long Sault East Industrial Park

Wills Transfer Distribution Center


100 Acres developable land • Zoned General Industrial (MM) • Access to utilities like water, sanitation, hydro, gas, and internet



Morrisburg Industrial Development

Looking for detailed information and additional commercial MORRISBURG INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT LONG SAULT EAST INDUSTRIAL PARK real estate opportunities? Explore a world ofBay potential: 21 Acres of developable land • 500,000 SF High 100 Acres developable land • Zoned General

Industrial Space • Built-to-Suit option available MORRISBURG - 5210 HIGHWAY 31 ROAD 17-acre lot is located right off highway 401 • Highway Commercial zoning allows for various permitted uses

Industrial (MM) • Access to utilities like water, sanitation, hydro, gas, and internet WILLS TRANSFER DISTRIBUTION CENTER – INGLESIDE 155,000-square-foot warehouse facility with 10,000 racked locations, 4000 bulk locations and 14 bay



Morrisburg - 5210 Highway 31 Road

155,000-square-foot warehouse facility with 10,000 racked locations, 4000 bulk locations and 14 bay doors

Offering employers wage subsidies of 50% of a participant’s wages to a maximum of $5,000 for a training period of up to 20 weeks. WILWorks Skilled Trades in Advanced Manufacturing is a pre-apprenticeship program for youth (15-29) to help manufacturers create a pipeline of talent to fill the growing demand in manufacturing skilled trades roles. For youth, the program will help them discover and learn introductory mechanical and electrical skills, along with hands-on training in skilled trades related to advanced manufacturing.

Application – Kickstart the process by submitting your application. We’re ready to guide you through the rest.

Enroll a Learner – Select a current employee or new hire and embark on a journey of growth and skill-building.

Complete the Program Requirement – Fulfill the program’s requirements and get your wage subsidy.

Julie Smith | Project Coordinator Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium | 519-377-0235


The program has been designed to be highly flexible for employers and participants. Training is delivered through online-self-directed modules and learners are guided through hands-on practical components by your organization’s skilled mentors.




52 WINTER 2024

THE LIST Company/Address Phone/Fax/Web

1 2

165 Pretoria Ave. Ottawa, ON K1S 1X1 613-238-2801 / 613-238-4583

1090 Ambleside Dr. Ottawa, ON K2B 8G7 613-596-4133 / 613-596-5905


Solid Rock Realty




Cushman & Wakefield Ottawa

1723 Carling Ave. Ottawa, ON K2A 1C8 613-725-1171 / 613-725-3323 5 Corvus Crt. Ottawa, ON K2E 7Z4 613-733-3434 99 Bank Street ,Suite 1005 Ottawa, ON K1P 6B9 6135678050 / 613-567-8035 400-55 Metcalfe Street Ottawa, ON K1P 6L5 613-236-7777

800-45 O'Connor St. Ottawa, ON K1P 1A4 613-567-2680 / 613-567-2671

7 7

Marcus & Millichap

340 Albert Street, Suite 1900 Ottawa, ON K1R 7Y6 613-782-2266 / 613-782-2296 301-275 Bank St. Ottawa, ON K2P 2L6 613-364-2300 / 613-364-2310

Local support staff



12 600








Year est. in Ottawa


Russell Perkins, Broker/ Manager John Rogan, Broker of record

Office leasing, industrial, land and retail sales and leasing, tenant representation, investment sales, multi-residential.



Leah Sarazen, Broker of record

Real estate sales and leasing, multi-residential, retail, industrial, office, institutional, land, market research and consulting services.




Rick Eisert, Broker and Manager

Full range of services including sales and acquisition, leasing, tenant representation, land assembly and development and consulting for all commercial and institutional asset types.


1 6



Gina Cristello, Broker of record

Commercial leasing, industrial, institutional, appraisals, property management, consulting, retail, multi-family, residential, apartments, market research.



3 15



Warren Wilkinson, Managing Director

Leasing (landlord and tenant representation), investment sales, real estate management services, valuation and advisory services, project management, consulting, research.



1 22



Nathan Smith, Executive Vice President and Managing Director

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



1 15



Michael Church, Managing Director and Principal

Full-service commercial: leasing, office/industrial/retail, multi-residential and apartments, asset management, property management, mortgage brokerage, investment sales, appraisal, project management, valuations.



1 22



Louis Karam, Senior Vice President & Managing Director

Tenant representation, office, industrial and retail leasing and sales, investment and multi-residential sales, consulting/client advisory services, project management, appraisal, capital markets, workplace strate






Mark Paterson, FVP, Broker of record

Brokerage and advisory firm serving institutional, public and multinational corporate investors, private owners, major space users, developers and lenders.

1390 Prince of Wales Drive, Suite 106 Ottawa, ON K2C 3N6 613-601-1353






Denis Shank, President, Broker of Record

Full Service Commercial Real Estate Services. Advisory Services to purchase property, lease, build-to-suit.






Ross Webley, President and Broker of record

Tenant representation; office, industrial, commercial, land and retail leasing; investment sales; advisory and consulting services; business sales.






Darren Fleming, Broker of record

Management consulting, workplace strategy, brokerage services, tenant representation, commercial property manangement.


1 380


Zach Coakeley Dan Marques Martin Aass

Tenant representation; project management; lease administration; national brokerage solutions; office/ industrial sales and leasing, lease auditing, market research, office, industrial and retail sales and leasing; workplace solutions




Ransome DrCar, Vice President and Practice lead

Tenant representation, project and facility management, lease administration, national brokerage solutions, office/ industrial leasing, investment sales and management, retail sales, leasing and investments, land sales, multi-residential investment.


1 9


Philip Zunder, President and Broker of record

Commercial real estate sales and leasing including office, retail, industrial, hotels, apartment buildings, cannabis, retirement homes, land and syndication.

Coldwell Banker First Ottawa Realty, Brokerage 1749 Woodward Drive Ottawa, ON K2C 0P9 613-831-9628 / 613-831-9626

12 13

Cresa Ottawa



200-1280 Baseline Rd. Ottawa, ON K2C 0A9 613-216-0130

204-1750 Courtwood Crescent Ottawa, ON K2C 2B5 613-688-7200 / 613-688-7201 800-275 Slater St. Ottawa, ON K1P 5H9 613-656-0145 / 613-288-0109





CDN GLOBAL (OTTAWA) LTD. 1419 Carling Ave., Suite 203 Ottawa, ON K1Z 7L6 613-695-0440

WND = Would not disclose



doing more than 50% (in dollar value) of their work in commercial real estate)



Services offered


Top local executive

Capworth Commercial Realty Brokerage

Real Strategy Advisors Ltd.


Local offices / National offices

Avison Young Commercial Real Estate Services, LP, Brokerage



National commercial agents

Coldwell Banker Sarazen Realty Brokerage




Royal LePage Performance Realty

Royal LePage Team Realty


No. of brokers 1

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE BROKERS is supported by the generous patronage of Mark Motors and Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc. STORIES AND PHOTOS BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS

From left, Meighan Hartley with Kathy Patterson and Ali Campbell. David Gourlay, left, CEO of the Shepherds of Good Hope Foundation, with Paul Meek.


Aiāna restaurant extends warm welcome to Shepherds of Good Hope From left, Lina El-Khoury, Aaron McFarlane, Carrie Irvine, Ashley Hopkins and Yasser Ghazi.

From left, Sam Waterman and Keaton Ambrose.

The crowd, which included board members, donors and supporters, was welcomed by SGH Foundation CEO David Gourlay. He was joined by his board vice-chair, Kaveh Rikhtegar, as well as colleagues such as Shepherds of Good Hope CEO Stephen Bartolo. Attendees also included Ben Lidzbarski, Katrina Barclay and Sofia Santiso Borsten from the Shepherds’ Champions Table, made up of volunteer community and business leaders who support the non-profit organization. Also spotted was Paul Meek, owner of Kichesippi Beer Co.


Steve Ball and Chris Kincaid.

Ottawa business leaders gathered downtown in late November at Devinder Chaudhary’s fine dining restaurant for cocktails, canapés and a conversation about an issue everyone there was in agreement on: resolving chronic homelessness. Aiāna Collective Restaurant hosted a donor reception for some 60 supporters of Shepherds of Good Hope (SGH) Foundation, a local non-profit organization that remains at the forefront of providing safe and stable housing for individuals in need.


54 From left, Kaveh and Caroline Rikhtegar with Ben Lidzbarski.

From left, Monica Dale, Soley Soucie, Kirsty Howe and Luisa Elejalde.

From left, Cody Sorensen, Michael Purcell, Phillip Shaer and Matt Haddad.

From left, Erin Meisner, Carrie Irvine and Soley Soucie.


Chop Steakhouse serves up breakfast for business leaders with Big Brothers Big Sisters

From left, Susan Ingram and Aaron McFarlane.

From left, Nik Lemieux and Erin Helmer.

55 From left, Matt Brearey, Gabriela Pineda and Irfan Ahmed.


attendees to learn about the good work BBBSO is doing to help children and youth through its various mentoring programs and to consider getting more involved in fundraising activities. BBBSO has celebrated the one-year anniversary of its new thrift store, Thrive Select Thrift, at 1547 Merivale Rd. On hand for the breakfast were BBBSO executive director Susan Ingram and members of her board, including vice-chair Michelle Alfieri, a partner at Deloitte Canada. The event was emceed by marketing, communications and PR professional Carrie Irvine, who, having recently joined the organization’s board at the same time as Cody Sorensen from Welch Capital Partners, joked about being upstaged by the two-time Olympic bobsledder.

From left, Karen Wood with Gavin Lumsden.


The complimentary meal served by Chop Steakhouse & Bar was everything that breakfast dreams are made of, from eggs Benedict and buttermilk pancakes, to crispy bacon and assorted fresh fruit, to coffee of the bottomless cup variety. The delicious spread was for local business leaders to enjoy, specifically those who have supported Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa (BBBSO) over the past year. The idea to host the breakfast was led by the reputable restaurant’s general manager, Trenton WilzerJones. He’s a big believer in the organization and the work it does to provide one-on-one youth mentoring that helps underprivileged kids stay in school, avoid risky behaviour, and ultimately reach their potential. The breakfast was a chance for

From left, Mat Flosse and Kaitlyn Stokes.

Ottawa’s Finest Portfolio of Luxury Homes 613.842.5000 |

Reba Wilson

Broker of Record

$2,390,000 WINTER 2024

Waterfront Dream Home



Marilyn Wilson REALTOR® is supported by the generous patronage of Mark Motors and Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc. STORIES AND PHOTOS BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS

From left, Ron Prehogan, Rabbi Zischa Shaps and Dr. Kathi Kovacs.

From left, Christine Clancy, Jacqueline Belsito and Cyril Leeder.


Queensway Carleton Hospital cuts ribbon on Barbara Crook and Dan Greenberg Mental Health Centre It was a great day for Ottawa’s mental health as the Queensway Carleton Hospital celebrated a decade-long dream come true with the official opening of its fully renovated and expanded Barbara Crook and Dan Greenberg Mental Health Centre. The new and improved facility is named after the Ottawa couple whose $1-million donation launched the Hopes Rising community campaign to improve intensive

and acute mental health care services at the west-end hospital. The philanthropic pair marked a milestone by agreeing, for the first time, to lend their name to a building. “It’s because this cause has been so important to us,” Crook told a room full of hospital officials and staff, local politicians, business leaders, campaign volunteers and fellow donors.

Attendees heard how the new centre spans two storeys and is double the size of the original footprint. Along with being bright and airy, it offers a more therapeutic environment for promoting wellness and healing than the unit’s former physical layout. That layout had been virtually the same since the hospital first opened nearly 50 years ago, in 1976.

From left, Barbara Crook and Dan Greenberg


57 From left, Heather Linton and Roslyn Smolkin.

From left, Paul Kruyne and Kathy Turner .

From left, Melissa Kruyne and Bram Bregman.


From left, Melanie Adams and Barbara Crook.



Two seasoned professionals join Gifford Car Insurance Group



When Rick Chase and Adam Kane were separately contacted by an Ottawa recruiter as ideal candidates for a couple of job positions, the men were flattered but not necessarily swayed. “We get those calls, as we all do I’m sure, every now and again from people who say, ‘Come over here,’” said Chase, who wasn’t actively looking when Keynote Search came calling. That it was Keynote, though, carried significant weight. Both men had heard positive things about the process honed by its co-founders, James and Donna Baker. As a result, they each agreed to be interviewed. Once they learned more about Gifford Carr Insurance Group and the vision its president, Matthew Carr, had for the company, they realized the positions being offered were an excellent fit. “I listened a bit and thought, ‘Hmm, that’s kind of compelling, that’s interesting,’” said Chase, who did feel his decade-long career at insurance giant Canada Life had probably reached a plateau. At Gifford Carr, he saw potential for growth, both personally and professionally. “The opportunity seemed to align with exactly where I wanted to go.” Chase is currently in the process of assembling a team and bringing together some of the best in the industry to launch a new benefits and planning division in early 2024. “I’m excited, like really excited,” said Chase of his new role as vice-president. Meanwhile, Kane is the new director of sales and marketing

Rick Chase (right) and Adam Kane join Gifford Carr Insurance. PHOTO BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS

for Gifford Carr Insurance, which specializes in business and personal insurance. After 20 years of working in the financial and banking industry, he saw the potential to make change happen. “In large corporations, you have no say,” said Kane. “Here, we’re in direct line of sight to the president. We can collaborate with him at will.” Carr is a third-generation insurance broker and an up-andcoming businessman. In 2021, he was recognized with a Forty Under 40 Award. “Matt’s (career) runway is longer than mine, or so I hope,” said Kane. “He’s raised in Ottawa,

grounded in Ottawa; he’s here for the long haul.” The history of Gifford Carr Insurance Group stretches back 75 years. It’s one of the “very few” family-owned insurance businesses that still exists nationally, let alone in Ottawa, said Chase, who found himself attracted to the company’s strong local roots when considering his job change. “For me, anyway, it has a lot to do with perception and, probably, the reality of client service and who answers the phone when someone calls,” said Chase. “Really, whether it’s for your home, auto or life insurance,

you want to know your people.” Gifford Carr Insurance Group operates two offices in Ottawa: one on Lancaster Road in the east end and another currently under redevelopment on Terence Matthews Crescent in Kanata. It also has a presence in Burlington, Sudbury and North Bay, and employs an account executive in Belleville. It has 70 employees in total. The company recently solidified its position as the largest independent brokerage in Sudbury and one of the fastest-growing brokerages in Ontario with its acquisition in early November of Sudbury-based W.W. Dopson Ltd. While the insurance industry can have a reputation for being cold and uncaring, the attitude of Chase is nothing short of passionate. Sure, an attractive employee benefit package helps with recruitment and retention for employers competing for the best talent but, more importantly, it can provide financial protection and security in a person’s greatest time of need, especially when a critical illness – such as cancer or heart disease — strikes, he said. “My conviction comes from these (insurance) plans providing something when somebody really is at their lowest low,” said Chase. “Not that a cheque makes it all better, but it definitely helps in the moment and allows you to go, ‘Ah, I can breathe, we can pay the bills, we have a bit of money coming in the account.’ “Insurance can bring positivity, and relief, during a terrible period in time.” — by Caroline Phillips

ALSO ON THE MOVE IN OTTAWA Community leader, local entrepreneur and former elite triathlete Ian Fraser has been announced as the new CEO of The RA Centre, a not-for-profit multi-sport, recreation and leisure facility in Ottawa. The Ottawa-born-and-raised Fraser, who’s also an alumnus of Carleton University, was previously with Run Ottawa, where he served as executive director and race director since 2019. Fraser is also former owner and partner at Somersault Events, Human Power Performance and Cyclelogik. He’s volunteered on numerous non-profit association and organization boards, including Invest Ottawa. Fraser is anticipated to take the helm on Jan. 15, following a transition period. Ottawa contemporary art gallery Studio Sixty Six has announced that Brendan A. de Montigny, formerly of PDA Projects, is taking over as the new director and owner, effective Jan. 1. After 10 years at the helm, gallery founder Carrie Colton has decided to retire. “I’m immensely proud of what

the gallery has achieved so far,” Colton stated in a release, adding that she has “every confidence” in de Montigny’s ability to take the Glebe-based gallery “to new heights”. De Montigny has worked with Galerie LeRoyer, Galerie deBellefeuille, St-Laurent + Hill, and such cultural institutions as Canada Council for the Arts (Art Bank) and Artscape. Sam Loewen will continue in his role of creative director, while Ginny Stovel will move into the new position of director of operations. Geoff Publow has been promoted to CEO at Myers Automotive Group, taking over from Cyril Leeder, who recently stepped down to return to the Ottawa Senators as president and CEO. Publow, who’s been with Myers since 2019, will lead the company into its next phase of growth and innovation. He previously had a long career with the Senators Sports & Entertainment Group, holding several senior executive positions, including vicepresident of strategic development. The Youth Services Bureau and CHEO have announced Joanne Bezzubetz is joining the organization as vice-president

of integrated mental health and addictions care, a shared position between YSB and CHEO. The experienced health-care leader was previously at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group for 10 years, serving as CEO for five years. She’s also worked on the West Coast, where she was responsible for the delivery of community services and mental health programs. Kit Public Affairs has announced that Jennifer White has joined the femaleled public affairs team as a partner, bringing with her 15 years’ experience in media relations, crisis and strategic communications. White most recently spent five years leading strategic and public affairs for Canopy Growth Corporation while serving as a board member on the United States Cannabis Council, the voice of America’s regulated cannabis industry. Assent Inc., a solution provider in supply chain sustainability management, has announced its promotion of Andrew Holyome to chief information officer and the addition of Tanya Weston as general counsel. Prior to joining Assent

in 2021, Holyome held leadership roles at Payments Canada, IBM, MD Financial Management and Pythian. Weston was most recently associate general counsel and head of commercial services at Shopify and has also held senior legal roles at MDS Nordion and Halogen Software. Recollective, the maker of an online community platform for qualitative research, has announced the appointment of seasoned sales executive Costa Constantakis to the role of chief revenue officer. Constantakis previously worked at Sun Microsystems (Oracle), Halogen Software, Saba Software and Kivuto Solutions. CBC’s former chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge has joined spark* advocacy as senior counsel. Earlier this fall, the company announced Alex Kohut, formerly with the Prime Minister’s Office, as the new senior director of spark*insights, its new research division. As well, Annette Goerner, former host of CTV Morning Live and news anchor on 580 CFRA, joined in September as the new director of public relations.

STUFF Made and Built In Eastern Ontario Read the digital edition at WINTER 2024


THANK YOU! MERCI! On Wednesday October 25, 2023, Distinguished Patrons and friends of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation celebrated the exhibition Riopelle: Crossroads in Time in black-tie style at this annual fundraising gala, hosted to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jean Paul Riopelle. The National Gallery of Canada Foundation gratefully acknowledges our donors and supporters of the evening.

The Riopelle: Crossroads in Time exhibition is on view at the National Gallery of Canada until April 7th, 2024. Le mercredi 25 octobre 2023, les Mécènes distingués et les amis de la Fondation du Musée des beaux-arts du Canada ont célébré avec éclat l’exposition Riopelle, à la croisée des temps lors du gala annuel de collecte de fonds organisé en vue de souligner le 100e anniversaire de naissance de Jean Paul Riopelle. La Fondation du Musée des beaux-arts du Canada aimerait sincèrement remercier ses donateurs et toute personne qui a contribué à faire de cette soirée un succès.

L’exposition Riopelle, à la croisée des temps est à l’affiche au Musée des beaux-arts du Canada jusqu’au 7 avril 2024. Thank you to our Patrons of the Jean Paul Riopelle Gala / Merci aux Mécènes du Gala Jean Paul Riopelle ! Gala principal / Partenaire principal du gala

Gala cocktail reception presented by / Cocktail du gala présenté par

Gala sponsor / Commanditaire du gala

Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa

Gala table / Table du gala

Table host / Table d’invités

Gala partners / Partenaires du gala


Thomas d’Aquino and Susan Peterson d’Aquino



Riopelle: Crossroads in Time Exhibition Support / Soutien accordé à l’exposition Riopelle, à la croisée des temps Sponsored by / Commandité par

With support from / Avec l’appui de

In celebration of / Pour célébrer

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.