The target beneficiary of the work of OLIP is the whole community. In this short period we have planted together important seeds for Ottawa’s development.   

Dick Stewart
OLIP Council Chair
The WOW seminar on immigrant women’s nutrition and health was a step in the right direction towards closing the gap between academic researchers and service providers.

Josephine Etowa
Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Ottawa
Canada has been shaped by people who came from all over the world to build this country. Welcoming Ottawa Week offers a platform for Ottawa residents to celebrate both this…

Alex Munter, Chair of the OLIP Council and President and CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre
The OLIP Council is committed to leadership.  In only a few years, we have a common vision and priorities, and are up to the task of implementing the Ottawa Immigration Strategy.

Salimatou Diallo
OLIP Council Vice Chair, Assemblée de la francophonie de l'Ontario
In our city’s history, immigrants have always played an important role. They build our economic prosperity, diversify our culture, contribute to our social vitality.

Jim Watson
Mayor of Ottawa
Welcoming Ottawa Week is wonderful platform to demonstrate our city’s longstanding openness to immigration and commitment to supporting newcomers’ successful integration. …

Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa
All the WOW events that I went to were great – WOW does give a sense of a community trying to improve its attraction and retention!

Caroline Andrew
Professor, University of Ottawa
My nomination is an indication that our hard work in building Canada is recognized. All we do is to serve the community in return for embracing us when we needed it.  

Mehdi Mahdavi
Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards Nominee
The City of Ottawa will continue to play a lead role in the implementation of the Ottawa Immigration Strategy, just as we did in the founding of OLIP.

Steve Desroches
City Councillor and Deputy Mayor of Ottawa
I was happy to see integration to Algonquin territory and indigenous culture related programming in 2014 WOW. Please continue to involve local Aboriginal organisations and…

Linda Manning
WOW 2014 participant, Senior Fellow, University of Ottawa

Ottawa’s Community Cup

March 20, 2013 How to Replicate

Subject of Analysis

Community Engagement, Integration, sports, welcoming communities


Dan Dubeau, Wendy Robbins

Ottawa’s Community Cup: Using Sport for Developing and Building a Welcoming Community

The Community Cup, one of Ottawa’s most ‘feel good’ events, is based on three simple principles:

  • playing a sport together breaks down barriers between newcomers and host communities;
  • people who play sports have friends and families who come to cheer them on, and who benefit from other planned activities; and
  • building connections begins during event planning.

The Community Cup began in Ottawa in 2005 as an initiative of the Host Program of the Catholic Centre for Immigrants, which works to integrate newcomers to Canadian culture and lifestyle.  Choosing soccer for its universality, a soccer tournament was designed to attract new volunteers and meet the needs of newcomers for connections in their new community.

Now in its 9th year, the Community Cup has grown to become a festival that showcases sport, inclusiveness and community awareness.  This year’s event will host 48 soccer teams (groups of friends), a kids zone, seniors zone, community connections tent, dance stage, Citizenship ceremony, demonstration sports, and more.   This event attracts Ottawa’s multicultural communities, bringing together a diverse, multigenerational crowd for ‘a day in the park.’

At the heart of the Community Cup is soccer. Research (such as this report from the Conference Board of Canada) demonstrates the power of sport to connect people, and to promote positive values. Community Cup soccer has its own rules and style, emphasizing ‘spirit’, resulting in a less aggressive game.   Monitors judge ‘spirit points’ throughout each game, and teams move ahead based on spirit and game points for the Community Cup. The Spirit Cup goes to the team with the most spirit points (game points do not count).

The event’s community building initiatives include:

  • connecting Ottawa’s leaders, such as MPs, MPPs and the mayor, with diverse communities through their engagement as honourary team coaches;
  • engaging planning team and event day volunteers, almost half of which are newcomers, and providing valuable work experience and social connections;
  • celebrating inclusion and respect in every way, such as through environmental sustainability and promoting the inclusion of women, girls and people with disabilities;
  • encouraging corporate partners and sponsors to become champions and engage their staff to volunteer as part of their employer supported volunteerism programs;
  • placing on average two newcomer individuals on every  team; and
  • using recreation, volunteerism and sport to involve people who otherwise might not interact with newcomers or diverse communities.


  • In 2012, 24 teams (240 individuals) participated in the soccer tournament.
  • 2000 people attended the event, more than 40% of whom were newcomers.
  • More than 200 community members volunteered.
  • Following Ottawa’s success, four Ontario communities (York Region, Niagara/St. Catharines, London, Windsor) held their own Community Cups in 2012.   At least two more locations will pilot an event by 2014.

Newcomers have expressed that this event has been the point at which they truly felt welcomed and on their way to integration.  Some have said they met their new best friends and some have said they got a job lead.  Families connected and learned a bit about each other in the welcoming park.  This is what makes it worth all the effort and pushes us to ensure the Community Cup continues for years to come.