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Oh, Canada! Ottawa has a nightlife strategy!

24 Minutes Podcast
Season 2, Episode 21
Sep 8, 2023
Guest: Emmanuel Rey
Officer, Economic Development
Planning, Real Estate and Economic Development Department
City of Ottawa, ON, Canada

Depending on your information source, Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton have larger populations than Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.

To one degree or another, the cities with larger populations are known for their nightlife, hospitality, sporting events, and festivals.

Yet, Ottawa was the first Canadian city to step up and frame a nightlife strategy. Edmonton and Vancouver are currently developing plans, and Montreal’s nighttime advocates certainly want the City of Montréal to do the same.

But then, bam, from back in pack, Ottawa does a full-out sprint and breaks the tape first to create a city council-endorsed nightlife economy strategy. And it is a strategy that prioritizes the creation of a paid nightlife commissioner.

Here are key discoveries:

  • Ottawa’s nighttime economic impact equals $1.2 billion dollars, one-third of the city’s daytime economic activity.
  • Residents, rather than visitors, generate 84% percent of that nighttime ‘spend.’
  • Eighty-eight percent of Ottawa residents agree that a vibrant nightlife is important to them.

As such, residents receive the focus in Ottawa’s nightlife action plan.

The City of Ottawa also distinguishes between nightlife and nighttime economy. And important elements of the city’s nightlife culture are sporting events. That is a distinguishing factor.

These are just a few of the intriguing insights provided in our 24 Minutes podcast episode with Emmanuel Rey. Listen in.



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