President’s Blog

Nina Kressler, CEO And President of the Shaw Centre
Presidents Blog

Shaw Centre opens its doors and its heart to the community

Published on December 3, 2019

Did you know that Shaw Centre (formally known as the Ottawa Convention Centre® Corporation) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, making it truly a public entity? You might think you have to book a room or event space to visit our facility, but, in fact, we welcome the public for lots of events. Having the Centre accessible to locals and visitors is an important part of our mandate. We particularly enjoy watching the ‘wow’ reaction that many people have the first time they set foot inside our stunning facility.

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We enjoy every opportunity to host events that are open to the public. Over the years, we’ve had several sessions of yoga in our ballroom, welcomed visitors to a travelling science exhibition and embraced all the glitz and excitement of the Junos, the Grey Cup and the NHL All-Star Game. In addition, every year, tens of thousands of people from all over the world pass through the Centre during Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend as we host the 2.5 day Health and Fitness Expo in Canada Hall.

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On a regular basis, Shaw Centre is home to trade shows plus lifestyle and food events. In early 2020, we eagerly anticipate welcoming the top chefs from across the country for the national culinary championship, dubbed Canada’s Great Kitchen Party. Given our love of good food here at the Centre, this event is a great fit for us. Speaking of food, we recently launched a new initiative, open to the public, in our main floor crEATe Kitchen. On the first Monday of the month, a guest chef, chosen from among Ottawa’s finest, works with our executive chef, Patrick Turcot, and his team, to deliver an intimate, interactive gastronomic experience that we call BY55 Lazy Mondays.

On December 6, it will be an honour for us to welcome hundreds of businesspeople, politicians and Ottawa residents to the annual Christmas Cheer Breakfast in support of the Ottawa Food Bank and other local food banks, the Youville Centre, the Youth Services Bureau, the Shepherds of Good Hope, Christie Lake Kids, the Caldwell Family Centre, the Ottawa Mission, the AIDS Committee of Ottawa, Operation Come Home, St. Joe’s Supper Table, Debra Dynes Family House and the Caring and Sharing Exchange. It’s an important fundraiser that comes at a crucial time of the year for these organizations which provide vital support for some of our city’s most vulnerable individuals.

Another public event which everyone at the Centre is really looking forward to is BougeBouge, an indoor 5K run through our facility and the adjoining Rideau Centre, taking place on February 16, 2020 as part of the Winterlude festivities. Organizers of these unique community sports events being held across the country are working to promote physical activity among adolescents, young families and retirees by bringing them together for fun activities like the upcoming run. I’m certain some of our team members will be participating!

At Shaw Centre we are very mindful of ensuring our space is as accessible as possible for everyone; an important part of that is making sure people feel welcome when they visit the Centre. We hope to see you at one of the many upcoming public events in the months and years ahead.