A million reasons to celebrate

ottawa
Ottawa Tourism CEO Michael Crockatt (left) with Mayor Jim Watson at Friday's event marking a population of one million in the nation's capital. Photo provided

Welcome to the one-million club, Ottawa.

In an announcement that had been hyped for days, Mayor Jim Watson made it official Friday morning: The population of the nation’s capital has hit one million people, a feat the city said puts it “in a different league of big North American cities.”

Watson credited Ottawa’s high quality of life and thriving economy for propelling the city to the seven-figure population mark.

“Reaching one million in population is an important milestone for Ottawa, and an opportunity to celebrate all the reasons we have to be proud of our beautiful city,” he said in a news release.

“While Ottawa’s status as a G7 capital signifies our role in international governance, our residents also take pride in our rich cultural mosaic, connection with nature and the many attributes that make Ottawa a quintessentially Canadian city. That we grew to one million people with so many new residents moving here shows what an outstanding place Ottawa is to live, work, play and visit.”

Ottawa is the fourth Canadian city to reach a population of one million after Toronto, Montreal and Calgary. Overall, the Ottawa-Gatineau metropolitan area is Canada’s sixth-largest urban centre with about 1.5 million residents.

According to the city, Ottawa’s population is currently growing by 28 people a day, and 70 per cent of its growth has been due to net migration ​– more people moving to the city than leaving it.

The city said that’s good news for the economy, creating a “critical mass in population” that will generate new business opportunities from a larger domestic market and more global investment.

“Our growing population can also support more cultural activities, sports events and exciting projects that give us greater worldwide visibility, a more vibrant cultural and artistic presence, and a greater capacity to attract new residents and businesses,” it said in a statement.

At an event celebrating the historic occasion on Friday morning, Watson and Ottawa Tourism CEO Michael Crockatt unveiled Ottawa’s new slogan: “Canada in One City.”

Ottawa Tourism launched a new website, CanadaInOneCity.ca, which features photos, videos and other multimedia content designed to showcase the city. The tourism marketing agency is also running a photo contest in conjunction with the new branding campaign.

Noting that tourists spend more than $2.2 billion a year in the National Capital Region, Crockatt said the new branding reflects Ottawa’s status as a place that represents “fundamental Canadian values” and attracts visitors from coast to coast.

“Announcing this new approach in conjunction with Ottawa reaching one million residents underscores the correlation between Ottawa’s visitor economy and the residents who benefit from the spending of tourism dollars in our destination,” he said in a statement.