Capital Context: Leadership
LEADERSHIP. IT SETS the context for the cultural, social, and economic story of a city. Ottawa has lots of it. And the benefits are real.
Ottawa is one of Canada’s largest cities but with a unique ability to maintain a close community spirit. This allows us to forge meaningful partnerships among leaders in the public, private and third sectors. The synergy and optimization of effort and resources positions us well to risk, regroup and grow quickly. To be the seat of the federal government brings many amenities, embassies, and a cosmopolitan culture. But it also naturally attracts national associations, charities and social enterprises that drive agendas critical to whole community health and prosperity. Ottawa is also home to world class education and health institutions, attracting top talent and investment and resulting in a highly educated and well served population, a breeding ground for future thinking leaders.
Tourism and the visitor economy is a top industry and priority for the national capital region. It is natural for both domestic and international visitors to be drawn to a capital city including business, conference, and leisure travel. Fortunately, Ottawa is well set up to welcome these visitors with a plethora of attractions, festivals and events, diverse neighbourhoods, national sport teams and the list goes on. There is something for everyone. Art aficionados, business travellers, foodies, music lovers, outdoor adventurers and sport fans alike create memorable experiences. The direct impact of our visitor economy bodes well for our local businesses and our tax base. However, there is more.
The visitor economy is the front door to every other form of economic development. Simply put, when someone visits Ottawa, experiences Ottawa, we increase the possibility they may consider our city as a great place to live, to work, to invest. They are more likely to recommend it to someone who is considering where to go to school, plan a vacation or open a business. Also, the assets we build for visitor attraction are the same assets that attract residents. Increasingly, the talent value proposition extends beyond the job, the compensation, and the workplace. The executive, entrepreneur, and employee of today care just as much and perhaps more about the community they live in. Tourism plays a significant role not only in community development but directly impacts our business and economic success by creating lifestyle choices and promoting our city.
Fortunately, Ottawa Tourism is known for their leadership. Working collaboratively with the City of Ottawa and key economic stakeholders they lead the way in branding, customer experience, marketing, and destination development. And they make it easy to engage all members of our community and business community. They have recently launched “Canada in One City”, the Ottawa brand story with toolkits to attract businesses, citizens, students, and visitors. Check out canadainonecity.ca to learn more about Ottawa as a legacy building, caring and diverse city that connects people, urban and nature with a vibrant quality of life. And there is more to come. This year Ottawa Tourism will be releasing our new Destination Stewardship Plan to further develop the Ottawa offering.
It is impossible to speak of leadership in Ottawa and not immediately think of the tech sector: our previous success and strong prospects. Our international reputation as a leading centre for tech excellence and innovation is founded in deep tech roots, access to a significant talent pipeline and a collaborative ecosystem. Our tech community including multi nationals, start ups, post secondary institutions, government and key economic development organizations like Invest Ottawa and the Kanata North Business Association can be described as agile, connected, and diverse. Key initiatives like the AV Test Track and Area X.O combined with innovation centres at Bayview Yards and Hub 350 and announcements of private sector success and expansions signals the continued growth and diversification of Ottawa’s tech industry. And if tech talent concentration is any indicator of future success – and it is – then Ottawa’s rating as the highest in North America tells the story of where we are going. All the way.
Build it and they will come. Innovative infrastructure is a critical component of city building. Ottawa has several game changing projects on the horizon. The building of LeBreton, the revitalization of the ByWard Market, the creation of Lansdowne 2.0 and the construction of the new Ottawa Hospital will continue to elevate Ottawa as a world class city. Integrated mobility and transit plans that include our next phases of light rail, an expanding international airport and the future of high frequency rail all provide opportunities for affordable, inclusive, and sustainable city building.
Energy is the foundation of our businesses, homes and community so having city owned Hydro Ottawa as a key partner and bold leader in ESG and climate action is a leading edge for the national capital. Last year their Board of Directors announced the acceleration
of their transition to net-zero operations by 2030: a first for any municipally owned utility company in Canada. Residents, business, and community leaders alike can proudly point to our local utility as a change maker and share the story of their partnership with Zibi Canada and Kruger Products, to complete the construction and commissioning of the district energy plant which will provide zero-carbon heating and cooling to the Zibi community in downtown Ottawa and Gatineau.
We are at a time that calls for a new style of leadership from individuals, businesses, organizations, and governments. Opportunity is everywhere for those who are adaptable, bold, collaborative, and inclusive. Ottawa has it all. And we are just getting started.