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Message from OBOT CEO re: Downtown Ottawa

 On May 22, 2024 the Ottawa Board of Trade released A Living Capital: Downtown Ottawa Action Agenda, prepared by the Canadian Urban Institute.


On behalf of the OBOT board and our economic partners, I am excited to share that after several months of analysis, consultation and research has culminated in the launch of our Downtown Ottawa Action Agenda.

Last year we declared the transformation of downtown Ottawa a top priority and called on every level of government, the business community and every resident in our region to do the same. Since then, we have consistently engaged key stakeholders in our region from the private and public sectors. We secured the expert services of the Canadian Urban Institute to create our community action plan building on the work of our OBOT Economic Development Committee led by Hugh Gorman, our Good Neighbours Initiative in partnership with RPIC and our Gatineau partners, and the Downtown Revitalization Report led by MP Yasir Naqvi. CUI was able leverage key intel and best practices from cities across the globe to ensure we curated the best plan for Ottawa’s future, and we are deeply grateful for the way they have consistently gone above and beyond for our community. We then struck an advisory council to inform and lead the work in a way that we could be confident in the subsequent implementation.

Many thanks to our partners at the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Tourism, Invest Ottawa, BOMA Ottawa and the National Capital Commission as well as the OBOT Pillar Partners and Committee Members for making this Downtown Ottawa Action Agenda possible with resources and thought leadership.

Thank you to MP Yasir Naqvi, MP Marie France Lalonde, the Honourable Mona Fortier and Minister Jenna Sudds as well as Mayor Sutcliffe and city councilors Ariel Troster and Stephanie Plante for your engagement and leadership on this important matter

Downtown Ottawa is the heartbeat of our whole region. What happens downtown has a direct and immediate impact on every business, every resident, and every visitor. Our post pandemic world is very different from what we have known and relied upon. Our local economy and especially our downtown have been hit hard by the changing nature of work.

We will not go back to the way it was, this is the time for diversification and transformation. And that simply means more people in the city core. To that end, we support all private and public employers willing to increase their workforce presence in core. We encourage all residents in our region to be hometown tourists and invite family and friends to explore downtown. We call on all business and community leaders to leverage their international networks and our growing number of direct flights to come to Ottawa. We invite all creatives, entrepreneurs, innovators and out of the box thinkers to consider our city core for their next big idea and venture. This is an all-hands-on deck situation. And the time is now.

Our vision fosters a holistic live-work-play environment. One that creates a culturally rich, inclusive, and accessible downtown for all. One that that boosts our local economy. And one that attracts artists, investors, innovators, leaders, talent, and young people.

We are confident that a focused plan will turn our current trajectory and have a positive impact our tax base enabling us to provide the key services we rely on for our quality of life. Every one of us has a role and a vested interest in the resiliency and vibrancy of our city core.

We invite residents, businesses, and all stakeholders to join us in reshaping our city core, making downtown Ottawa more diverse, resilient and vibrant than ever before. And making our city, Canada in one city, a place that every Canadian can be proud to call their capital. Together, we will.

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