More than 70 Events Planned for 2017 Welcoming Ottawa Week Celebrations from June 20 to 30June 5, 2017
The fifth annual Welcoming Ottawa Week (WOW) will be celebrated in Ottawa from June 20 to 30, 2017 at various venues in the city. This year’s WOW includes more than 70 events that will enable participants – newcomers and long-term residents alike – to express themselves and to connect through fun and engaging experiences that may produce lasting impressions and relationships.
The WOW Calendar of Events caters to many diverse interests – there is something for the foodies, sports enthusiasts, and artists among us; but also for story tellers, film critics, community and social developers, and business executives.
This year’s WOW embraces Canada’s 150th anniversary and includes events that reflect on lesser known aspects of Canada’s history. For example, a series of twelve immigrant heritage walking tours will take participants on a journey of discovery to Chinatown, Little Italy, and Lowertown. Participants will discover the treasure trove of history, food, art, architecture, places of worship and the myriad of business that have flourished thanks to the hard work and creativity of successive cohorts of immigrants in these unique neighborhoods.
“Canada has been shaped by people who came from all over the world to build this country,” said Alex Munter,” Chair of the OLIP Council and President & CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario & Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre. “Welcoming Ottawa Week offers a platform for Ottawa residents to celebrate both this history and the future it will help us create together. Join us in participating in Welcoming Ottawa Week activities, with your families, colleagues, friends and neighbours.”
On June 20, 12 Ottawa residents, nominated by immigrants, will receive the Welcoming Ottawa Awards at a special breakfast event co-hosted by Mayor Jim Watson and OLIP to kick-start the WOW activities. Welcoming Ottawa Ambassadors are Ottawa residents who, in interacting with immigrants or refugees, have demonstrated the human qualities of openness, positive curiosity, friendship and connection across differences that can be so enriching, but are not always there or easy to achieve in our busy lives.
The first WOW was held in June 2013 when Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson proclaimed the last week of June of every year to be the Welcoming Ottawa Week, a time when Ottawa residents would express our genuine welcome to newcomers. “The residents of Ottawa are diverse, and a large majority of us originate from immigrants who came, settled, and contributed to Ottawa’s quality of life,” said Mayor Watson in his WOW proclamation speech. “The Welcoming Ottawa Week will underscore our genuine respect and hospitality to newcomers, while at the same time creating opportunities for dialogue and interactions between newcomers and established residents.”
WOW is an annual, week-long series of dialogues, cultural and celebratory events, sports activities, documentary screenings, and other fun events, designed to convey the genuine welcome and hospitality of Ottawa residents to newcomers.
The inaugural 2013 WOW included eight events that showcased Ottawa’s thriving diversity and welcoming spirit. In 2017, the chorus of our welcome is a lot stronger, with more than 70 events taking place throughout the city during the week.
WOW is presented by the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP), founded in 2009 by the City of Ottawa and Local Agencies Serving Immigrants (LASI). OLIP is funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, with the mandate of improving local capacity to attract, settle and integrate immigrants.
On average, Ottawa attracts 12,000 new immigrants every year and these include permanent and temporary residents, international students and refugees. Immigration is a major contributor to Ottawa’s population and labour force growth. As such, it is now well understood that Ottawa’s economic and social development is in lock-step with its success in welcoming immigrants and facilitating their integration in all aspects of community life.
For interviews and more details please contact:
Suzanne Charest, Communications Officer, OLIP
613-232-9634, ext. 318
Hashtags: #WOW17, #SAO17, #Ottawa, #CndImm