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Thursday, November 19, 2015

OTTAWA IS ON FIRE! Rebranding Canada’s favourite city in 2017

Extolled for being great communicators, former winner of the IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) Award, Mayor Jim Watson along with veteran businessman Guy Laflamme, an MBA professor at the University of Ottawa for over 25 years, engaged a full audience at the Lowertown Brewery in Ottawa’s Byward Market on Tuesday night, the 27th of October, by their fireside chat on “Ottawa 2017”.

What is Ottawa 2017?

APEX CELEBRATIONS: Ottawa 2017 is gaining high currency nationwide!

In 2017, Canada turns 150 years as a nation, and the city’s mayor was in full form as he introduced the idea of a joyeux anniversaire as the country unites in the opinion that Ottawa should lead the country’s sesquicentennial celebrations. Guy Laflamme, Executive Director for this project, has scripted a 300-page blueprint/business plan of 2017 that details the year-long festivities and logistics planned for this city. Every day of the year will be celebrated as Canada Day.  The yearlong event is pegged to be not just a “flash in the pan”, but a mega celebration with sustainable long-term benefits for the city, province and neighbouring provinces.  Moreover, it’s not just Canada but the province of Ontario that’s also turning 150 years old and they are hoping to align Ontario's celebrations with the city of Montreal’s 375th anniversary in 2017.  


Guy Laflamme’s team conducted a series of consultations and sought over 600 recommendations from a number of stakeholders from which around 60% of the ideas were implemented. Research revealed that Ottawa should lead the celebrations as the country’s capital. They conducted numerous focus groups and considered the results of national surveys. 

Findings and proposed festivities

In 2017, it is estimated that over 11 million visitors will be coming to Ottawa,  the epicenter of all celebrations. It will be a unique program and rebranding exercise for the city, that plans to engage all of Canada with most events being offered FREE of charge. Guy explained some specifics of his blueprint, and how the project aimed to bring Ottawa to the forefront of all celebrations in his multimedia presentation that included fancy building projections, the new glass structure at the National Arts Centre, big interactive GIS powered experiences, a salute to the video games industry, sound and light shows, National Museum exhibits, and so much more! The plan is to distribute the celebrations equally across all regions of the city. Ottawa the Old will become Ottawa the Bold, spoke Guy, the mutltimedia magician.

The idea would be to partner with existing local events (like Bluesfest, Jazz Fest), festivals and local businesses to magnify the offering for 2017. Their efforts have received close to 6 million dollars in municipal funding and is slated to bring in almost $230 million in GDP impact and provincial economic benefits. While New Canadians and the Canadian Youth (in accordance with the Canadian Tourism Commission 2017 Strategy) are the key target markets for this festival others include:  National Capital Region (NCR) Residents, Leisure tourists, Travel trade associations in Canada and the US.  All activities would be aimed at social cohesion and acculturation of diverse new cohorts of new Canadians by involving embassies and sub-communities as much as possible.   
How do organizations and small businesses get involved?

Watch out for in the middle of May 2016 to find out exactly how. In the meantime, if you’d like to brainstorm, feel free to contact Guy or Jim. They extend an invite to align all your marketing efforts across all your platforms in ingenious ways to encourage a 150 years alliance. The board is also ready to sit down with your unique organizations and chat about other ways you could become "Sesquicentennial Ambassadors".

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