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Tourism makes its mark on Ottawa’s transformation

Ottawa at night
Ottawa at night

Long known for its vibrant neighbourhoods, green space and Parliament Hill, Ottawa is undergoing a significant transformation in the eyes of visitors and residents alike. Light rail, fresh attractions and new hotels are reshaping the city and continually evolving our worldclass destination.

Emerging from the Canada 150 celebrations that helped to attract more than 11 million visitors, Ottawa’s tourism industry took the opportunity to strengthen the city with series of major infrastructure investments that are changing how visitors see Canada’s capital. Major investments include the highly anticipated LRT expansion, the Parliament of Canada’s Centre Block renovations, and 2018 opening of the new Ottawa Art Gallery and new Le Germain hotel.

“What the Canada 150 celebrations in 2017 did for Ottawa was to elevate the conversations people were having about Ottawa both on and offline,” says Catherine Callary, vice-president of destination development at Ottawa Tourism. “Those celebrations gave locals a new feeling of pride in our city. This continues to be true. Festivals and events give a platform from which locals can express their pride in the city, creating positive interactions with visitors.”

Ottawa Tourism conducted an economic impact study that measured the contributions from Ottawa businesses, attractions and events involved in tourism to Ottawa’s overall economy. Here are some key takeaways from the 2019 study. You can read more by visiting the Ottawa Tourism website.

Tax revenue income


Tourism generates $755 million a year in tax revenue. On a percapita basis, that means the tourism industry contributes over $750 towards vital government services per resident, which includes such services as health care and snow removal.

New attractions


Ottawa residents are surrounded by national institutions, several of which have recently undergone massive facelifts such as the National Arts Centre’s new Elgin Street façade and entrance.

Visitor spending


In a typical year in Ottawa, overnight and same day visitors spend $2.2 billion in our city.



There are 30,640 direct full-time jobs in the tourism industry with employees earning $1 billion in direct wages and salaries.