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Ottawa supports local champions to put conventions on an international stage

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More than 1,900 technology companies and 400 associations are located in Ottawa. Hosting an international conference at home creates the opportunity to make a significant contribution to their industry, share their knowledge on the global stage, and broaden their networks for increased impact.

In 2018, Ottawa hosted 16 international events, representing over 6,000 hotel room nights, which in turn create a positive economic impact for Ottawa. To increase these numbers, three of Ottawa’s pillar economic development organizations – Ottawa Tourism, Shaw Centre, and Invest Ottawa – have joined resources to provide complimentary support to new local ambassadors. Launched in April 2019, the ThinkOttawa program aims at working with local industry leaders to bring more conferences and events to Canada’s capital by supporting them in their international conference bids.

Four local ambassadors have been selected to tell the Ottawa story worldwide, encouraging a focus on world-leading research in different fields such as oncology, electricity or safety. Hosting a national or international conference in their hometown is a powerful opportunity to showcase the pride they have for their city on a global stage. Regional, national and international organizations rely on the influence and connections of local “host city” leaders and organizing committees to leverage sponsorships, speakers, programming content and social events.

The program has been successful so far as new high-end events are planned in the capital in the coming years.

Victor Dillabaugh, Vice President of the Ottawa Professional Firefighters Association, has made a successful bid for the 2022 International Convention of the Association of Firefighters. "This put us on a world stage. I mean, there’s 3000 firefighters and families coming to Ottawa that week. It’s going to really give us a chance to show off what Ottawa has to offer,” said Victor.

Dr. Donna Johnston, Chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology at CHEO, is the Chair of the Organizing Committee for the International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP) conference in 2020. She leveraged support from ThinkOttawa in bringing together pediatric oncologists from around the world to meet, exchange ideas, and form partnerships that will save childrens' lives. "I looked after the scientific aspects, and ThinkOttawa looked after arranging all the hotels andthe location of the meeting. ThinkOttawa branded the whole thing; made it a whole package,” explained Dr. Johnston.

Enrico Del Castello, Director of Knowledge Mobilization and Partnerships at Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada, was instrumental in attracting and organizing the International Metropolis Conference in 2019. "Ottawa has a lot to offer in terms of culture, diversity, and also public servants, and the bilingual nature of the city is the perfect location to host a conference,” said Enrico.

Raed Abdullah, an Ottawa-based Innovative Engineer, decided to host his colleagues at conventions in his hometown, for Fusion 2019 and SC 2021. Raed said that ThinkOttawa allowed him to concentrate on innovation and collaboration instead of spending a large amount of time organizing the events.

Visit the Think Ottawa website to find out how the program can help you host spectacular events in Canada’s capital.

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