Ottawa Tourism

Ottawa Tourism Sees Significant Increase in Large Business Events in 2017

Shaw Centre, Rideau Canal

While Canada’s Capital is celebrating the country’s 150th anniversary of Confederation all year long in 2017, Ottawa Tourism is celebrating a substantial increase of large-scale business events being held in the city this year.

As of January 2017, 45 large-scale business events—which count over 500 delegates each—were confirmed to take place in Ottawa in 2017. This is an increase of more than 45% when compared with the same category of events held in 2016 (a total of 31), and over 220% when compared with those held in 2015 (a total of 14).

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

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

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

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

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

La Machine | Ottawa 2017Delegates attending meetings in Canada’s Capital in 2017 enjoy an added benefit: they can take advantage of the many special events celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. Special programming is taking place all year-long thanks to the efforts of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau. Some highlights include:

  • La Machine: a giant dragon and spider will roam downtown streets (a North American first)
  • Kontinuum: a free underground multimedia experience in an unfinished underground light rail transit tunnel (a world first)
  • Ignite 150, a series of 17 epic stunts and gatherings throughout the city, including: a gourmet experience 50m (150 feet) in the air overlooking downtown; a yoga session on a barge floating down a local waterway accompanied by a live orchestra; and an outdoor dining experience featuring all-Canadian dishes served by the country’s top chefs to 1,000 guests, with Parliament Hill’s Sound and Light Show as a backdrop

Numerous legacy projects will also keep attracting leisure visitors and business events beyond 2017, including:

  • the new permanent Arctic Gallery at the Canadian Museum of Nature
  • the new Canadian and Indigenous Galleries at the National Gallery of Canada
  • the renovated National Arts Centre
  • the new Canadian History Hall at the Canadian Museum of History

Visit our Ottawa 2017 Events Highlights page to check out the year-long lineup of celebrations taking place in Ottawa in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary, and the legacy projects that will keep animating Canada’s Capital for years to come.