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Insider Events – 2017 OTTAWA TOURISM AWARDS

Article written by Christina Amos, Ottawa Tourism


Basic details of the event:


Title: 2017 Ottawa Tourism Awards

 Date: April 27, 2017

 City, Country: Ottawa, Ontario

 Host Venue: Shaw Centre

 Organizing Team:

  • Karen Best
  • Lizzy Low

Number of Attendees: 290

 Who was the target audience?

Ottawa’s tourism industry professionals celebrating the excellence of their peers.

 What was the main objective of your event?

The primary objective of the 2017 Ottawa Tourism awards was to celebrate the individuals, organizations, and events that have set high standards and demonstrated outstanding achievement, contributing to the growth and development of tourism in Ottawa and the National Capital Region.

 What was unique/different about this particular event for you/your organization?

The 2017 Ottawa Tourism awards were hosted by the 2016 Grey Cup Champion and MVP, Henry Burris. This fit in with the creative and lively theme of the event, as the Ottawa Redblacks have helped shape the newer, younger, more modern, cooler brand in Ottawa. Over 290 local tourism and industry leaders, as well as Ottawa Mayor, His Worship Jim Watson were in attendance.


 What was the biggest obstacle you/your team had to overcome?

The biggest challenge Ottawa Tourism had to overcome when organizing the 2017 Ottawa Tourism Awards was the revitalization of the awards ceremony without the industry having called for change. The introduction of a novel approach to the traditional four-course sit-down dinner format required thoughtful and creative organization and communication with our guests.

The new format favoured a dynamic atmosphere filled with participation and networking amongst the participants.

What was your biggest triumph?

This event is like the Oscars of tourism in Ottawa: a gala event where we celebrate excellence in our industry, and the see and be seen evening for our partners. The evening, filled with vitality and excitement, received a tremendously positive response from our guests.

Guests enjoyed an evening filled with networking, conversation, and delicious food. The creative coast-to-coast themed menu allowed guests to taste unique regional dishes inspired by national cuisines. Specialties included: squid ink pasta from the East Coast; creamy wild mushroom gnocchi cooked with Niagara Chardonnay; seared Alberta beef skewers; West Coast inspired candied smoked salmon; and for dessert, warm arctic berry crumble mason jars with a Northern flair.

 Did you do anything new or innovative? If so, how did it go?

Ottawa Tourism collaborated with the staff of the Shaw Centre, LouLou Lounge Furniture Rental, and Freeman Audio-Visual to design an interactive revolving stage, and seating to ensure everyone had a great view of the speakers, and an inclusive, and direct experience.

 What challenges did you have putting the features together?

The biggest challenge Ottawa Tourism had to face when organizing the awards ceremony was taking the risk of stepping away from comfortable familiarity and moving into new and innovative territory. Fortunately, we received an overwhelmingly positive response from our guests, proving the industry is open to constant change and innovation, even when it concerns an already beloved event.

 What were some things that you improved on this year over last year?

The new social format encouraged networking and participation amongst the tourism industry leaders, all the while keeping up with the dynamic pace of the ceremony. The Ottawa Tourism Awards also saw a 20% increase in attendance. Guests were pleased with the evening and reported having a great time at the event.


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jill-garnerArticle compiled by Jill Garner, Sheraton Ottawa Hotel

Article edited by Cynthia Beaudin, Canada Foundation for Innovation