The Ottawa Convention Centre (OCC), Canada’s conference facility, officially opened its doors on April 19, 2011, marking a new era in the capacity of the nation’s capital to prosper on the world stage.
The modern design, situated in the midst of one of Canada’s most historic architectural landscapes, has positioned the OCC as Ottawa’s new building, with technological and environmental advances that could not have been achieved as recently as five years ago.
Attended by workers and representatives from the three levels of government that contributed to the project, the official OCC opening began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed the next evening by a gala held in the spectacular multipurpose hall on the third level, which features views of the Parliament Buildings, the Chateau Laurier and the Rideau Canal.
“The new OCC is proof once and for all that Ottawa is a city worthy of competing with the best of the best in the tourism and hospitality industry,” said Jim Durrell, chair of the OCC Board of Directors.
“This dramatic new site is the perfect venue for ‘Canada’s Meeting Place’,” said Durrell. “This project shows what Ottawa can achieve when leaders in business and government team up with talented trade workers to offer their passion, partnership and a commitment to excellence.”
Built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification, the
state-of-the-art facility is an integral component of Ottawa’s bid to host the NHL All-Star game in 2012, which will enhance the city’s profile throughout North America and beyond.
“As of today, the OCC is holding space for more than 90 conventions up to the year 2015, and 10 percent of these are international events that could not have previously considered Ottawa a viable meeting place due to a lack of suitable facilities,” said Patrick Kelly, president of the OCC.
Built with contributions from the Government of Ontario, the Government of Canada and the City of Ottawa, construction of the facility has already provided a wealth of welcome economic benefits for the region’s local labor market.
“Together, we’ve worked and watched this amazing project take shape, and it was worth the wait,” said Dalton McGuinty, premier. “It’s a wonderful addition to the Ottawa cityscape and a testament to the drive and spirit of this city.”
Through four years of negotiation, design, planning and construction, nearly a thousand workers have been involved in the OCC project, including more than a dozen trades comprising over 50 job activities.
“The new and expanded OCC will re-brand Ottawa and will change the architectural landscape of the city for generations to come,” said Mayor Jim Watson, thanking all who made it happen.
The new facility will also provide the National Capital Region with a competitive advantage so that as the economy recovers, the OCC will be well placed to take advantage of the upturn by attracting more and larger conventions than in the past.
In fact, the economic impact of meetings booked to date between 2011 and 2015 at the new OCC has more than doubled since last year. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or the total monetary value of all goods and services produced as a result of meetings currently scheduled to take place at the OCC, rose from a projected $63 million in June 2009 to over $200 million in December 2010. Employment impact is also expected to double from 1,200 to 2,900 jobs.
“Based on the conventions on the books to date, total tax revenues generated from these events will exceed $65 million,” said Durrell. “We are grateful to the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, and the City of Ottawa for their investment in the largest redevelopment in years in our region. This could not have come at a better time.”
In addition, it is estimated that the new OCC will attract thousands of out-of-town guests to the region, who will generate $82.4 million in annual revenues and 1,992 full-time employees in the local visitor economy; $14.2 million in sales and 118 full-timers in the local retail industry; and $11.3 million in revenues and 141 full-time employees in local restaurants and bars.
To take a video tour of the new building, view the construction photo gallery, or for more information about planning, exhibiting, or attending an event, visit the OCC website at www.ottawaconventioncentre.ca .
|People on the Move|