As a Realtor with more than 30 years of experience helping clients buy and sell homes in the Ottawa area, I’m passionate about the attributes that make our region such a wonderful place to have a home.

These include the beautiful green spaces, rivers and canal; our excellent schools, universities, colleges and hospitals; our thriving performing arts and sports scenes and world-class summer and winter festivals; our first-class restaurants and shopping and the new Light Rail Transit system now under construction.

Of course, clients from other cities also love to see how far their home-buying dollar goes in Ottawa compared with cities like Toronto and Vancouver, where average home prices are much higher.

If you’re lucky enough to call Ottawa home or if you have plans to visit Canada’s capital over the coming year, you can look forward to a particularly exciting year full of memorable events as Canada celebrates its 150th birthday in 2017. Activities created specifically for the occasion are planned throughout the year, starting with the New Year’s Eve celebrations on Dec. 31, 2016.


Many more events are still to be announced, but to give you a taste of what’s been announced so far, events you can look forward to during the birthday year in Ottawa will include:

  • The chance to dine with a bird’s-eye view of Ottawa. Available from July 15 to 22, Sky Lounge is a structure that will take visitors 150 feet in the air for dinner or tapas and cocktails, with spectacular views of the Ottawa area. The Sky Lounge has already been presented in cities that include Athens, Paris and London. Tickets will be available later in the fall.
  • A free multi-media show underground at an LRT Station. The Confederation line of the new LRT is scheduled to open in 2018. But in the summer of 2017, for approximately 10 weeks, the Lyon Station will be open to the public and will present a “futuristic and immersive multi-media production” created by the Moment Factory. While experiencing the show, visitors will get a preview of what Ottawa’s new transit line will be like when It opens.
  • An interprovincial picnic above the Ottawa River. On July 2, 2017, you can experience a Canadian first: the chance to have a picnic between two provinces, with a stunning view of the Ottawa River and the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau. The Alexandra Bridge, which connects the two cities, will be transformed to a green haven for the event, and visitors will be able to have picnics above the water and enjoy the stunning view. The event will include entertainment, samplings and special giveaways.
  • See spectacular mechanical animals, possibly including a fire-breathing dragon or two, parade through the streets of downtown Ottawa. La Machine, a production company based in Nantes, France, is known for its extraordinary, large-scale machines. These creations tower high above spectators as they move slowly along a street, leaving adults and children in awe, judging from video on the website for the Ottawa 2017 celebrations. The exact location for the event is to be announced.
  • If you’re a hockey fan, you can look forward to several events that also tie in to the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup. These include a March 17 event at Aberdeen Pavilion, where visitors can have their photos taken with the Cup and also meet legendary NHL players. The Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau will also present a major exhibition on the history of hockey, running from March through October.

In a message on the website for the 2017 events, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson describes the year-long celebration as “a once-in-a-generation occasion,” and adds officials expect a 20 % increase in visitors to our region, with the potential to add millions of dollars to Ottawa’s tourism revenue.

What’s particularly exciting for those of us who call Ottawa home is that the celebrations will not merely consist of one-time events. The plans and projects that have been funded also include many legacy projects that will have an impact on our region for years.

These projects include opening the much-needed new Ottawa Art Gallery and a redeveloped Arts Court complex near the Rideau Centre following a $100 million redevelopment that includes a hotel and condo tower; an exciting multi-million dollar renovation to the exterior and interior spaces at the National Arts Centre that will give the venue a dazzling, more welcoming entrance on Elgin Street and improvements to performance spaces inside; plans to plant 1 million trees in our already beautifully green city, including groves of maple trees planted in each of Ottawa’s 23 wards; and planting new community gardens and expanding our region’s cycling and recreation infrastructure.

For more information on activities planned for Canada’s 150th, you can visit www.ottawa2017.ca. You can also sign up there to receive the regular newsletter, so you will stay in-the-know about specific events and activities as they are announced. While many events are free, some of those that require tickets and will be presented only for a limited time are expected to sell quickly. So if there are events that particularly interest you, keep an eye on when tickets go on sale.


If you’re interested in buying or selling property in the Ottawa area, I’d love to chat with you about our market and what you can expect. You can reach me through my website, nancybenson.com, or by calling me directly at 613-747-4747.