People & Places

Ottawa Tourism celebrate new experiences, great partnerships with annual awards

All year, local businesses work hard to serve not only residents, but also the thousands of visitors who come to Ottawa. And once the snow melts and the tulips are in bloom, the city’s festival season lures even more people to the capital.

But before every hotelier and tour operator is booked solid entertaining visitors, Ottawa Tourism hosts their annual tourism awards as a way to recognize and celebrate the previous year. By nominating businesses in the categories of New Company, Tourism Partnership, Visitor Experience, and Event of the Year, Ottawa Tourism and their 450 members take a moment to raise a glass and toast their mutual success. (Remember, these are the people who hustle to make experiences seamless for frazzled visitors, as well as us locals who like to be treated well when we rent a bike, visit a restaurant, or attend a festival; they deserve a night of their own!)

Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen for Ottawa Tourism

The 2019 Ottawa Tourism Awards took place in the Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne. As the sun poured into the grand space, guests enjoyed a cocktail reception with beer tastings from Nita Beer Company, Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company, Flora Hall Brewing, Lowertown Brewery, Stray Dog Brewing Company, as well as cocktails from Artist in Residence Distillerie. Chef Michael Moffatt of Thyme & Again Creative Catering drew people in by demonstrating his technique for preparing tuna tataki.

Chef Michael Moffatt offers a cooking demonstration during the cocktail reception. Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen for Ottawa Tourism
Jim Kyte and Peggy Austen of Algonquin College. Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen for Ottawa Tourism

After cocktails, the crowd of about 250 moved to the back of the much-loved Cattle Castle for the awards ceremony. As industry leaders took to the podium to recognize the nominees and announce the winners, short videos played highlights from the past year alongside sponsor logos. The stage and seating included touches of “lumberjack chic” — the theme of this year’s event.

MC Mike Sutherland. Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen for Ottawa Tourism

Herewith, the winners of the 2019 Ottawa Tourism Awards!

New Company of the Year: Le Boat

Lisa McLean, from Le Boat, winner New Company of the Year & Steven Lacelle of Freeman Audio Visual. Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen for Ottawa Tourism

Also nominated: Artist in Residence Distillerie and Le Germain Hotel Ottawa.

Tourism Partnership: C’est Bon Cooking and Escape Bicycle Tours & Rentals – Bike & Bites Tour

Maria Rasouli, Escape Bicycle Tours and Stefanie Siska, C’est Bon Cooking partnered for Bike & Bites, winner of the Tourism Partnership of the Year Award. Shown with presenter Karen Moores, blackiron. Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen for Ottawa Tourism

Also nominated: Escapade Music Festival, Live Nation Ontario, and Beachclub for Escapade Music Festival; Music and Beyond and Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra for John Rutter in Ottawa; and TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, OLG, and Air North for OLG Play North.

Event of the Year: TIE! Escapade Music Festival and Ottawa Chamberfest

Left: Peter McDonald of Chamberfest with presenter Duncan Clark. Right: Escapade Music Festival’s Ali Shafaee with Duncan Clark of Where Ottawa. Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen for Ottawa Tourism

Also nominated: Saunders Farm Inc. and St. Lawrence Parks Commission.

New Visitor Experience: Ottawa Art Gallery

Fabienne Nadeau of Casino Lac-Leamy with Ottawa Art Gallery’s Alexandra Badzak. Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen for Ottawa Tourism

Also nominated: Calypso Waterpark, C’est Bon Cooking and Escape Bicycle Tours & Rentals, Chelsea Pub, Escape Manor, and Le Boat.

The evening also saw special recognition for six industry leaders. Jonathon Harris, Tourism Industry Advisor with the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, was recognized as this year’s Tourism Champion. 

Michael Crockatt, Ottawa Tourism; Jonathon Harris, winner Tourism Champion; Don Masters, Mediaplus. Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen for Ottawa Tourism

The Don Blakslee Hotelier of the Year award was presented to Colin Morrison, General Manager of the Ottawa Embassy Hotel & Suites.

Anna Verozub, a student in Algonquin College’s School of Hospitality and Tourism, will receive the annual Ottawa Tourism Scholarship. 

The Ottawa Tourism Scholarship was awarded to Anna Verozub by Ottawa Tourism by Glenn Duncan, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Ottawa Tourism and Michael Tarnowski, Algonquin College. Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen for Ottawa Tourism

Hans Tammemagi, a travel writer from British Columbia, has won the Ottawa Tourism Travel Writing Award for his article A Moving Ceremony at the Memorial Chamber, which appeared in the November 2018 issue of Inspired 55+ Lifestyle magazine.

Hannah Manning was recognized as the winner of the Ottawa Tourism Social Media Influencer Award.

Colette Latour of the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel was congratulated for being named the 2018 Star of the City.

By celebrating the individuals, organizations, and events that have set high standards and demonstrated outstanding achievement, Ottawa Tourism recognizes their  contribution to the growth and development of tourism in Ottawa and Canada’s capital region.

Michael Crockatt, President & CEO of Ottawa Tourism

“Ottawa really rallied in 2018 to continue the success we saw as a result of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations in 2017,” says Michael Crockatt, President & CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “We are excited to put the focus on our members’ achievements at this year’s Ottawa Tourism Awards and to continue celebrating the success of the tourism industry in Ottawa.”

The reception was sponsored by five Ottawa Business Improvement Areas: Bank Street, ByWard Market, Downtown Rideau, Glebe, and Vanier; award sponsors include blackiron, Casino du Lac-Leamy, Freeman Audio Visual, Mediaplus Advertising, and Where Ottawa.

Ottawa Tourism supports the local tourism economy, which is fueled by an estimated 11 million visitors per year. With $3 billion in economic output for Ottawa, tourism generates huge community wealth — plus, it enlivens our city by generating exciting new experiences.