On November 12, Ottawa business leaders, members of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and members of the press met at the Shaw Centre to be part of a discussion on Ottawa’s economic future over lunch. The Ottawa Chamber of Commerce hosted Ottawa’s Economic Outlook 2014 featuring high profile speakers George Cope, President and Chief Executive Officer, BCE and Bell Canada, Douglas Porter, CFA Chief Economist and Managing Director, BMO Financial Group, and newly re-elected Mayor Jim Watson as well as a panel of industry experts.
The event, hosted by CEO and CFA of Great River Media, Mark Sutcliffe, began with a whirlwind presentation by Douglas Porter from BMO, who managed to cover Canada’s unemployment rate (steadily dropping), what we can expect to happen in the much-discussed housing market (flat-lining), Ottawa’s finances (looking good), interest rates (modest increase by October 2015), and the Canadian dollar (dropping, dropping, dropping) all within a ten-minute timeframe. His incredibly informative speech set the stage for Mayor Jim Watson to talk about the exciting growth and innovation building in Ottawa right now.
Jim Watson began by expressing that he is eager to collaborate with Ottawa’s business leaders and economic champions to build a strong future for the city. He continued by highlighting the term “build”, elaborating that he meant it both literally and figuratively, referring to the city’s biggest construction projects – the LRT, Lansdowne Park and the Bayview Innovation Centre, and building confidence in Ottawa’s economy, attracting tourism, investments in the city, and creating new jobs. Watson’s speech centered on helping small and medium businesses develop and thrive through programs at the Innovation Centre, stating that they will have a major impact on Ottawa’s economic future.
The mayor also spoke about the strives that Invest Ottawa is making in attracting new business to the city through Community Improvement Plans, the Capital Investment Track program and strengthened relationships with Ottawa’s Business Improvement Areas, as well as providing support for some of the city’s fastest growing companies like Shopify and Blackberry.
The topic of tourism focused largely on the growing anticipation of hosting 2017’s celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, and the potential to place Ottawa on a global stage. The 8 million visitors expected to arrive for the festivities over the course of 2017 bring with them a once-in-a-generation opportunity to show off the city’s progress and development to the world. Major events the mayor hopes to bring to town for the year include Watson’s “hat trick of amazing Canadian events” – an NHL Outdoor Classic, the Grey Cup and the Juno Awards.
Overall, there will be plenty of chances for Ottawa to grow economically through new investments, infrastructure, businesses large, medium and small, tourism, and collaboration in the near future. Ottawa’s economic outlook looks very optimistic.
For photos from Ottawa’s Economic Outlook event click here
Pamela Hyatt is a freelance writer for the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and content coordinator for Ottawa-based content studio Crafted. To learn more about her and view her portfolio visit www.pamelahyatt.com, or connect with her on Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIN