by Bruce Lazenby, President & CEO of Invest Ottawa
Canada is the smallest country in the G7 by population and the youngest nation. Ottawa too is the smallest Capital City by population and the youngest. What Ottawa lacks in population and history, it makes up for by being a City of the 21st century.
GLOBAL ECONOMIC PLAYER
In 2015, Ottawa was named the most business-friendly, mid-sized city in North AND South America by the Financial Times. It is the largest regional ranking published by the magazine and is an intensively competitive field.
Our dynamic tech sector is on fire with Ottawa software companies (Halogen, Kinaxis and Shopify) raising more money in the public markets than every other city in Canada combined over the last five years. Branham Group’s latest list of the top 250 technology companies in Canada concluded that Ottawa was home to more headquartered companies than Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and more than three times Waterloo. Multinational companies including Cisco, IBM, Ericsson, Huawei, Trend Micro and most recently Apple come, not to sell to government but to open R&D offices to take advantage of our highly skilled workforce. Our tech companies are closing in on record employment but with more diverse sectors and more diverse geography across the city. They are attracting young, exciting and dynamic new talent to our city.
The Airports Council International rates Ottawa as having the best airport in Canada and third in the world; the other G7 capitals are nowhere to be found in their rankings. Our Convention Centre was crowned number two in the world by the International Association of Convention Centres; again the other G7 capitals were noticeably absent.
Looking forward, we will be opening a world-class Innovation Centre this year, phase one of the new LRT system is well underway with phase two planning near completion, and two major brownfield developments in downtown will radically transform the core and heart of the City.
A SMART CITY WITH HIGH QUALITY OF LIFE
Canada has the most educated workforce in the world and Ottawa has the most educated workforce in Canada. The Martin Prosperity Institute rated Ottawa first in their search for the world’s top Creative Class. We beat out 61 other cities. According to Mercer, we ranked third in North America for quality of living and Today’s Parent says we are the second best place in the country to raise a family.
When it comes to the cost of living, Ottawa is not only the least expensive G7 capital by leaps and bounds but it is also the most affordable major city in Canada.
FUN FOUND AT EVERY CORNER
Culture is everywhere in the capital. Start by touring one of our 44 museums or art galleries, or take in a festival that celebrates music, theatre, sports or different ethnic backgrounds. Ottawa hosts over ninety events a year, so you’ll be sure to find one you like.
Our bike paths are an incredible way to see the city. Clocking in at 600 km, we are on par with Paris and Berlin. Tokyo has less than nine kilometers. Our green assets don’t stop there. The area is home to seven ski resorts and over 430 km of cross-country ski trails. If the water calls your name, the Ottawa River is home to seven sailing clubs and is one of the top white-water rafting spots in the world. And for the daring, rent a built-to-race eight-cylinder Mustang and take a spin on Canada’s longest private race track topping out at well over 200 km/hr. I did and I’ll never forget it.
And finally 2017 is around the corner and Ottawa is taking the lead in celebrating our country’s 150th birthday.
WORLD CLASS POTENTIAL
Add everything up and I believe you have a world-class city for the 21st century. Ottawa may lack a history of culture and municipal development that span over thousands of years, compared to many of its G7 counterparts; yet, the nation’s capital has its own distinct assets and we are just scratching the surface of our potential. Ottawa is a mere baby, but it is a global model for a clean, diverse, people friendly, smart sustainable city thriving in the challenges of the 21st century.
If you are looking for tourism, trade or investment opportunities in a G7 capital, think Ottawa.