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Ottawa business community concerned Canada Day changes could impact tourism

The executive director of the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas feels some business in Centretown and the ByWard Market might not see usual Canada Day volumes with many of the festivities being moved to LeBreton Flats.
2021-02-16 Canada flag RB

Ottawa's business community is concerned that moving main Canada Day events off Parliament Hill to LeBreton Flats could affect the number of tourists coming into the capital for the celebrations.

Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (OCOBIA) executive director Michelle Groulx says many people come to Ottawa for Canada Day celebrations, specifically for the festivities at Parliament Hill, and it will be difficult to change that.

"I believe there are some minor festivities that are still going to take place [on Parliament Hill]," Groulx told CityNews Ottawa on Monday, May 16. "Hopefully that's enough to attract people to Ottawa, and that the moving of this isn't going to prevent people from coming to our downtown in the first place."

She also feels some businesses in Centretown and the ByWard Market might not see usual Canada Day volumes with the move to Lebreton. 

"It's a completely different area -- it's far enough away that it's no longer a walk from the ByWard Market or from downtown, or even businesses along Elgin Street," Groulx explained.

She anticipates the businesses directly near Parliament Hill will not take the change to Canada Day venues very well.

Groulx is encouraging those who do come into town for Canada Day to explore the city, since many key amenities in Ottawa are accessible by public transit.

"It is something prior to the pandemic a lot of businesses prepared themselves for, and certainly they made a lot to recuperate what would have been a slower year," Groulx said. "That may not happen this year but I'd say it would still hopefully be much better than it has been over the past two and a half years regardless."

Kalin McCluskey, the executive director of the ByWard Market Business Improvement Area (BIA), said she found out about the changes to Canada Day plans in a news release that was circulated. 

"We knew it was in the realm of possibility because of reports in 2020 before the pandemic this might happen because of the construction," she told The Sam Laprade Show on Tuesday, May 17. "The news wasn't completely out of the blue, we were disappointed to see the movement."

The ByWard Market BIA represents 600 local small businesses, and McCluskey said BIA's goal is to continue to promote the ByWard Market area, and hopes people will visit the area on Canada Day, or any other day, during the summer months. 

Businesses in the ByWard Market have had a difficult time over the past two years, dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the trucker convoy earlier this year. 

She hopes there will be some Canada Day programming to attract people to the ByWard Market area. 

"If you are doing Canada Day in Ottawa, you have to comes to ByWard Market," she added. 

Listen to the full interview with Kalin McCluskey below:


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