WOW Is Back After a 2-Year Pause and Is Going Regional!June 22, 2022
Ottawa, June 20, 2022 – The eighth annual Welcoming Ottawa Week (WOW) was launched today. With more than 50 events scheduled to take place, WOW is designed to build connectivity, solidarity, and a shared civic identity between newcomers arriving from all over the world and long-time residents. Back from a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic, this year’s WOW calendar features a line-up of over 50 free events happening both in Ottawa and Lanark-Renfrew Counties.
In 2014, WOW was recognized by the federal government as a best practice initiative in forging a welcoming city. As a result of this recognition and thanks to the success and growth of WOW, the model has been replicated in several Canadian cities. This year, WOW is expanding to neighboring communities, starting with Renfrew-Lanark. The growth of WOW is testament to Ottawa’s increasing capacity and commitment to attract and integrate immigrants.
“We are delighted that Welcoming Ottawa Week is expanding beyond our community to Lanark and Renfrew Counties,” says Deborah Tunis, Acting Chair of OLIP, and former Special Coordinator for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Canada. “Joining forces with our Local Immigration Partnership counterpart in the neighboring counties of Lanark-Renfrew will strengthen how both regions welcome newcomers,” continued Ms. Tunis.
Five Ottawa residents were presented with the Welcoming Ottawa Ambassador Awards this morning, at the WOW launch event co-hosted OLIP and Ottawa Mayor, Jim Watson. The annual Welcoming Ottawa Ambassadors Awards recognize Ottawa residents who embodied welcoming attitudes of genuine respect, friendship, and support towards newcomers. Carl Nicholson, who recently retired after 28 years as the Executive Director of the Catholic Centre for Immigrants, was also given a special award for his hard work and dedication to immigrant and refugee settlement in Ottawa.
As part of Welcoming Ottawa Week, June 20 to 30, 2022, the public is invited to participate in guided walking tours of Chinatown, Little Italy, Byward Market and Vanier. Participants will have the opportunity to discover the treasure trove of history, food, art, architecture, places of worship, and the myriad of businesses that have flourished there thanks to the efforts of successive generations of immigrants and of their descendants.
WOW is an annual, two-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 first WOW was held in June 2013 when the 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.”
Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa, June 2013
“After almost 10 years since the inception of WOW, I am so proud of the work OLIP has done to make WOW such a successful initative. I am also proud that the City of Ottawa is a close partner of OLIP to continuously strengthen Ottawa as a welcoming city.”
Jim Watson, June 20, 2022
WOW is presented by the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP). OLIP is a partnership of 60 organizations working together across five sectors to build Ottawa’s capacity to attract and integrate immigrants. OLIP was co-founded by the City of Ottawa and Local Agencies Serving Immigrants (LASI), in October 2009. The Partnership is funded primarily by IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada).
For interviews and more details please contact: Jean-Pierre Niyitanga, Communications and Events Officer, OLIP
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