Ottawa Tourism

August 2017

Find out what’s new with Ottawa Tourism programs, members and people in this latest edition of the Ottawa Tourism Member Newsletter.

Canada 150 Update

Canada 150 Update

Ottawa Tourism surveyed members following this year’s Canada Day weekend and an overwhelming majority declared it a success. Despite heavy rain, large crowds filled Parliament Hill, while others opted for the many other free events and attractions around the region, including the two other official celebration sites, Major’s Hill Park and the Canadian Museum of History, The Museum welcomed twice as many people this year than it did in 2016. The fun extended well beyond the downtown core! From Petrie Island to Stittsville, and all the way to Winchester, neighbourhoods throughout Canada’s capital region joined in the celebrations. In the lead-up to the celebration weekend, Ottawa Tourism’s Visitor Information Coordinators responded to 35% more inquiries compared to the previous year. Ottawa Tourism asked its members to respond to a short survey comparing Canada Day 2017 with Canada Day 2016 results. 70 member businesses and organizations responded. Of those:

  • 89% saw an increase in visitors, or had visitor numbers remain the same, from 2016
  • 92% saw an increase in revenue, or had the revenue stay the same, from 2016

Here’s what some Ottawa Tourism members had to say:

  • “Despite horrible weather, we had a huge crowd for the fireworks.”
  • “We had great numbers (never had those numbers before), despite the rain.”
  • “We were closed on Canada Day – but there was a surprising amount of people in the neighbourhood.”
  • “So many people!”
  • “The security measures and road blocks on site and around the downtown area caused visitors problems to find or get to our attraction.”
  • “Lots of happy people having a great time.”

The streets of the capital weren’t the only place flooded with participation, as the Ottawa Tourism website was busy with 200% more active sessions this year than in 2016, with the most popular page being our Canada Day page, which received 40% of all views.
With our social media team steadily at work during the Canada Day celebrations, our social channels were buzzing with interactions with our Twitter account (@Ottawa_Tourism) seeing an impressive 2,406% increase in engagement from 2016.

Ottawa Tourism’s Communication and Marketing teams had direct contact with many travel media, bloggers, and social media influencers. Here’s what some of them had to say about the Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa:

  • BBC was in Ottawa for a Facebook Live segment of the Canada 150 celebrations on the three official sites: Parliament Hill, Canadian Museum of History, and Major’s Hill Park. A short clip of the event is available on their website.
  • eTalk was in Ottawa for the festivities with a national broadcast of the Canada Day celebrations aired on June 30 and July 3.
  • Ici Radio Canada Montreal aired its final La route des 20 episode directly from the Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa.
  • LGBT influencer Brian Webb posted about Canada Day on his social media channels and wrote the great piece 7 best places to visit in Ottawa.
  • Hopscotch the Globe’s Kristen and Siya produced a Canadian Corolla Road Trip video showcasing Ottawa’s culture and art scene.
  • Local Youtubers LazMel Escape also produced a great video about the celebrations on their YouTube channel.
  • And many of them posted about the celebrations on their Instagram accounts: Kael Rebick , Taylor Burke, Barry Hoy, Teraj Allen
  • Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism, was interviewed by CityLine Toronto on June 30 about the city’s preparations for Canada Day weekend.
  • Ottawa Tourism’s Senior Director of Destination Development, Catherine Frechette, was interviewed by AMI-Télé Montreal on the accessibility initiatives in Ottawa, including the Canada Day celebrations in the episode L’accessibilité de la fête du Canada à Ottawa.
  • Ottawa Tourism’s Director of Communications, Jantine Van Kregten, spoke to CTV Ottawa Morning Live about the many things to do on Canada Day and then to CBC Ottawa as part of a post-Canada Day recap piece.
Convention Sales

Convention Sales


Ottawa Tourism welcomed members of its Client Advisory Board and five important US meeting planners to the capital during July. Established several years ago, the Client Advisory Board (CAB) included Canadian, US and international meeting planners who provided Ottawa Tourism with invaluable guidance and advice on products, sales and marketing. During this third and final CAB meeting, its members met with level 1,2 and 3 convention campaign partners for a professional development session and one-on-one meetings. They also participated in an Ottawa DNA session with Destination Think, attended Bluesfest, enjoyed SkyLounge, and visited The Westin Ottawa’s new TwentyTwo venue.

In addition to hosting the CAB, Ottawa Tourism also welcomed five independent US meeting planners for a mini FAM and workshop led by Ottawa’s Doreen Ashton Wagner. The group likewise attended Bluesfest (Tom Petty) and visited Kontinuum. These planners were in the city as part of Ottawa Tourism’s sponsorship with PCMA, which provides direct access to US planners.

If all that weren’t enough, Ottawa Tourism also attended the CSAE Trillium 2017 Summer Summit at Nottawasaga Inn Resort in Alliston in July, for two days of intensive professional development and networking with over 130 client participants. Ottawa Tourism and the Shaw Centre were Platinum Sponsors, and were able to share Ottawa fun facts through an interactive APP game that assists us in marketing Ottawa as a key destination for meetings and events.

Global Partnerships

Global Partnerships


Ottawa Tourism has developed a new global partnerships plan and is beginning the process of identifying and targeting potential partners. This new focus on partnerships was a key element of the Ottawa Tourism Strategic Plan. The Global Partnerships plan was developed in consultation with industry leaders across North America, and built upon Ottawa Tourism’s well-established partnership model. The focus over the coming months will be crafting Ottawa’s value proposition and targeting organizations in key sectors identified in the plan, including financial institutions, education, technology, research and government. Ottawa Tourism’s new business intelligence analyst is supporting the Global Partnerships program with reliable metrics for targeting potential partners.

Travel Trade Sales

Travel Trade Sales

Ottawa Tourism has hosted over 165 travel trade clients on fams this year, including during the recent La Machine event at the end of July. If your business is hosting clients and you are interested in arranging for them to visit local attractions, use Ottawa Tourism’s Attraction Passport. Created for travel trade, convention and media clients, the Passport allows two clients to visit local attractions free of charge. Ottawa Tourism validates the Attraction Passport with the client name and duration of their visit. To access this industry tool, please contact Shawna Page, [email protected] with the following details: name of client, company name, date of arrival and departure.

Destination Development

Destination Development


Gardens grace virtually every corner of the capital, and now they’ve been brought together as a visitor experience under the Garden Promenade banner. The initiative was launched to bring together 40 gardens offering more than 70 unique self-guided garden experiences in the capital. Special events with garden themes are also planned, including the upcoming Garden Photo-Fest (August) and Gardenlicious (September). Current options for exploring the Garden Promenade include self-guided options such as hop-on-hop-off bus service through Lady Dive, or bike rental through Velogo; or alternatively, guided exploration by Escape Bicycle Tours or Ottawa Walking Tours. A guided option by bus is currently in development. A brochure of the Garden Boulevard (pictured) is hot off the press and can be ordered by emailing [email protected]. The Garden Promenade is a Canada 150 project led by the Canadian Garden Council in collaboration with Gardens Ottawa and is supported by Landscape Ontario, Ontario 150, National Capital Commission, Ottawa Tourism, Tourism Outaouais, City of Gatineau, Tree Canada, Just Food as well as hotel, restaurant and attraction partners.




Ottawa Tourism hosted travel media and social media influencers for the Ottawa 2017 signature event Sky Lounge and many of them produced great content about their time fine dining in the sky. While Canadian Blog House’s Sandy tackled her fear of heights in her blog post, Apt613’s Hannah Manning and Ottawa Life Magazine’s Nicole Suzanne wrote about what people can expect during the experience. Stephanie White recapped her time through bright and airy photos in her post Sky Lounge: a Once in a Lifetime Dining Experience and Laura Byrne Paquet gave her tips and tricks in Bring the Camera, Forget the Purse.

Ottawa made the top 10 in two different USA Today 10Best pieces: 10 unique festivals in Canada you won’t want to miss and 10 hot spots in Canada for live music.

The Quirky Traveller, Zoë Dawes, visited Ottawa as part of an initiative by top U.K. travel bloggers to visit Canadian cities in celebration of Canada 150. Following her visit, she highlighted Ottawa’s history and culture in her piece Canada 150: celebrating this magnificent country’s history and culture. Stay tuned for more coverage in the fall.

In May, Ottawa Tourism hosted travel writer and editor Jill Ellis-Worthington who featured Ottawa in her great article Wow Canada, Ottawa shows off for 150, published in the July/August issue of the Lifestyle Magazine.

Also in May, Ottawa Tourism hosted journalist Eve Dumas who, following her visit to Ottawa, produced a great piece in La Presse called Ottawa se réveille.

Travel writer Carolyn B. Heller highlighted Ottawa in her piece for Moon Travel Guides Toronto to Ottawa: A Celebratory Canadian Road Trip.

Freelance writers Jim Byers and Jennifer Allford, in collaboration with other travel media, produced the awesome round-up of 150 Reasons to Celebrate Canada on Its 150th Birthday in Hemisphere’s July 2017 issue.

TMAC member Jane Canapini produced a great culinary piece on her blog GrownupTravels.

After his visit to Ottawa in June, travel writer Bert Archer featured Ottawa’s local museums in his piece What a Nuclear Bunker Taught Me About Museums.

Ottawa Tourism’s Senior Director of Destination Development, Catherine Frechette spoke to Metro News about how the upcoming wayfinding initiative will enhance the visitor experience.




If the growth in visitation to Ottawa Tourism’s website is any indication (it is) people are interested in what’s happening in Ottawa during this special year. Canadian website sessions are up an incredible 73% through June 30, while visits from the US are up 42% versus 2016. Almost half (48%) of Canadian visits are via mobile device–a trend that is likely to continue. In 2017, Canadians 25-34 accounted for 30% of visitors to the site, 34-44 year-olds accounted for 25.5% of visitors. At 62%, female visitors continue to make up the majority of Canadian visitors to the site.




This is a mid-summer reminder that the annual Ottawa Tourism Stars of the City Recognition Evening will take the stage at Algonquin College October 18. The Stars of the City program facilitates Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region in becoming known as a world-class destination that prides itself on superior customer service across all sectors. The program will deliver star events and collateral that will help to reinforce the “Stars Of The City” designation as Ottawa Tourism’s official recognition of excellence in customer service. It will also create awareness within the tourism industry, and for visitors and residents alike, about the importance and benefits of nurturing and rewarding front line staff. To learn more and nominate someone today, visit the Stars of the City website.

Staff Updates

Staff Updates


Ottawa Tourism is pleased to welcome Kelly Haussler to its team as Project Manager effective July 13. Kelly replaces Sylvie Theriault, who is on maternity leave. Kelly has over six years of Project Management experience in the tourism industry while working in Brisbane, Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Dalhousie University, as well as a Diploma of Tourism, an Australian Accredited Diploma. Kelly is a native of Ottawa, and is very excited to be returning to her home city! Kelly can be reached at [email protected]

Major Events

Major Events


After an already busy summer of hosting Triathlon, Road Cycling and Track and Field National Championships, the excitement continues in August with the Canadian Whitewater National Championships, the Canadian Ultimate Championships and Volleyball Canada Youth Beach Nationals.

The Canadian Ultimate Championships (CUC) Series is a series of provincial and national tournaments geared toward Ultimate teams. The CUC series takes place every summer with teams from across the country competing to represent at the Canadian Ultimate Championships. CUC 2017 will take place August 13-16 at Ultimate Park Incorporated (UPI) fields. The junior open and junior women’s divisions take place on the Sunday-Wednesday (Aug 13-16) before the adult divisions (Aug 17-20) at the Canadian Ultimate Championships.

The Youth Beach Nationals will take place August 17-20 at three locations in the Ottawa area, including Shefford Park, where the Volleyball Canada event will be contested on 31 courts. “Ottawa is a centre of activity this year, with Canada’s 150th celebrations, and we are excited to contribute to the diversity of events by hosting the Beach Nationals for the first time in the city” said Stephane Maxwell of Max Volley, host of this year’s event.

The Whitewater National Championships will bring the best whitewater paddlers in the country to Ottawa to compete alongside up-and-coming athletes for the title of National Champion. The event will be held July 31 to August 6 at the Pumphouse near Victoria Island, a natural amphitheatre-like setting that will allow spectators to get up close to the action in downtown Ottawa.