More than 70 events planned for 2018 Welcoming Ottawa Week – June 18 to 30June 5, 2018
Ottawa (June 5, 2018) – The sixth annual Welcoming Ottawa Week (WOW) is from June 18 to 30, 2018, with 77 events taking place across the city. Welcoming Ottawa Week aspires to build connectivity, solidarity, and a shared civic identity between newcomers arriving from all over the world and long-time residents.
The WOW calendar of events includes live cultural performances, sports events, guided tours, town hall discussions, information fairs, documentary screenings, book launches, social media campaigns, and more. There is something for everyone.
“Through WOW activities, we can express our genuine welcome to newcomers, meet people from all over the world, and learn about different cultures while having fun and being engaged in the many educational, cultural, artistic and sporting events,” said Alex Munter, Chair of the OLIP Council and President and CEO of CHEO and the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre.
At the WOW launch event co-hosted by OLIP and Mayor Watson at City Hall on June 18, 11 Welcoming Ottawa Ambassador awards will be presented to Ottawa residents who have embodied the welcoming attitudes of respect, friendship, support, hospitality and genuine human curiosity toward newcomers.
As part of Welcoming Ottawa Weeks, June 18 to 30, 2018, the public is invited to participate in guided walking tours of Chinatown, Little Italy, Lowertown West, Lowertown East, and Vanier. These tours explore the important contributions of immigrants to the social, cultural, and economic development and vitality of these unique Ottawa neighbourhoods. These free tours, organized by the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership, Heritage Ottawa, and the City of Ottawa, will celebrate Ottawa’s diversity by focusing on the social and built heritage, daily life, architecture, food, and the myriad of businesses created by successive cohorts of immigrants in these neighbourhoods.
Among the new activties this year is a series of three public meetings to conceptualize an image to be painted on an outer wall of the building at 215 Wurtemburg Street. This project is in collaboration with artist Claudia Salguero, the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership, Ottawa Community Housing, Lowertown Community Resources Centre, and the City of Ottawa.
“We are excited about the collaborative and inclusive development of a mural which represents the very idea of WOW, which is to connect Ottawa residents culturally, intellectually and socially to achieve a cohesive civic culture that draws on the creativity of all residents to develop a diverse, inclusive and vibrant city,” said Hindia Mohamoud, Director, OLIP. “Having the mural on a building in Lowertown, one of Ottawa’s oldest neighborhoods with a large newcomer population, makes this mural all the more significant.”
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 2018, the chorus of our welcome is a lot stronger, with more than 70 events taking place throughout the city during the week. This year’s lineup shows great progress and growth. There are several new event hosts coming on board, unique creative formats, inspiring content and countless opportunities for fun and knowledge sharing.
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.