Ottawa Celebrating 150 Years with Landmark Projects



There are reasons to celebrate in Canada’s capital city this year. In addition to being at the epicentre of the 150th anniversary celebrations of Canadian confederation, Ottawa is toasting several new venues and projects that have made it a top destination for pleasure visitors and meeting planners alike.

“The 2017 celebrations brought a focus to many of Ottawa Tourism’s members who deal with meetings and conventions,” says Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “Over the past several years, we’ve seen extensive renovations, additions, new builds, and enhancements and have a much more robust collection of meetings and conventions assets to promote than ever before.”

Ottawa’s tourism industry is certainly in full gear for Canada’s birthday. The Westin Ottawa, for one, is debuting its new 3,000 sq. ft. banquet room on its uppermost floor. Dubbed “TwentyTwo”, the stylish event space was designed to cater to any group with a 270-degree panoramic view of downtown Ottawa, a wealth of amenities, and cutting-edge audio and visual equipment.


New additions have also come to Ottawa’s iconic Sussex Drive. The new Global Centre for Pluralism at 330 Sussex Drive, for one, was recently installed on the former site of the Canadian War Museum Building, between the National Gallery of Canada and Royal Canadian Mint. It was created in partnership between the Government of Canada and the Aga Khan to introduce a permanent, non-profit research and education centre to the city that aims to “foster global learning and exchange about the foundations and benefits of inclusive citizenship.”

In honour of Canada’s anniversary, the centre will host an open pavilion for the public until October 31, 2017.

“Throughout the history of Canada, the Ottawa River has been a meeting place for diverse peoples, originally the First Nations, and then the British and the French, and, more recently, Canadians from many different backgrounds. It symbolizes the spirit of connection. And the spirit of connection, of course, is at the very heart of the Global Centre for Pluralism,” said the Aga Khan said during Centre’s May 2017 ribbon cutting.

Down the road, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society will establish its new home at 50 Sussex Drive, next door to the Embassy of France. Canada’s Centre for Geography and Exploration will feature exhibition spaces, a 210-seat auditorium, and – of course – one of the best views the city has to offer at the junction of the Ottawa and Rideau rivers.

The Centre is currently hosting a Confederation Pavilion for Canada’s 150th anniversary festivities on the site, and will officially open its doors as the society’s new headquarters in spring 2018.

“The National Capital Commission is proud to partner with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society to bring a new long-term vocation to one of the Capital’s signature properties,” said Dr. Mark Kristmanson, Chief Executive Officer of the National Capital Commission. “We look forward to opening it to the public with exhibits celebrating Canada’s sesquicentennial.”


Several of Ottawa’s landmarks are also receiving upgrades. The largest of these is a $110.5 million addition to the National Arts Centre which has seen the construction of a 59,200 sq. ft. expansion to the historic building. Highlights of the project include a new “lantern” glass tower embedded with LED technology that will convert the exterior into a digital screen designed for live event streaming.  On July 1, the NAC will also reveal a new public entrance, education rooms, and several new entertainment and corporate meeting spaces.

Elsewhere in the city, the Canada Science and Technology Museum is slated to re-open its doors this November after a massive $80 million renovation. It will welcome guests to nearly 80,000 sq. ft. of new exhibition space, including five new themed galleries for exploration, including the Children’s Gallery, Creating and Using Knowledge, Moving and Connecting, Technology in our Lives, and Transformation Resources. A 9,200 sq. ft. exhibition hall is also being added to showcase travelling exhibitions from all four corners of the globe.

From new ballrooms to entertainment venues, and conference spaces to cultural centres, Ottawa is ramping up to make a big impression throughout 2017 and beyond.

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