Mayor of Ottawa - Jim Watson

Mayor of Ottawa - Jim Watson

Jim Watson


Interview: Nikki Gillingham, Blue Whale Communications

Photography: Marianne Rothbauer, Rothbauer Studio


What’s the best part about being the Mayor of Ottawa?

I enjoy getting out to all parts of the City, whether they be urban, suburban or rural, and meeting members of our community. I also have the chance to witness some amazing volunteers at their best and communities coming together to help those in need, such as during the 2017 floods and 2018 tornadoes.

We’re about to reach a population of 1 Million! Clearly people love Ottawa - what is your favourite part about living in this city?

The City of Ottawa’s unique geography allows its residents to go skiing in the countryside, visit a historic working flourmill in Manotick, or tour a Cold War Bunker just 20 minutes from the downtown core!

How has Ottawa changed since you first took office almost 10 years ago?

Ottawa has become a much more metropolitan city with a vibrant restaurant scene, hundreds of festivals and a growing business community.

What is the first thing you do when you arrive at City Hall each morning?

I review my agenda, check Twitter, read the day’s newspapers and have tea.


You serve on the board of directors at Invest Ottawa; tell us a bit about this economic development program.

Invest Ottawa is an economic development agency we created with two main focuses: Venture Development and Global Expansion.

The Venture Development team delivers programs that help launch and scale-up our emerging entrepreneurs with their innovative products and technologies. Their services include business coaching, mentorship, start-up incubation and growth acceleration for existing companies.

The Global Expansion team plays a crucial role in promoting these great businesses abroad, while also attracting companies to setup shop in Ottawa, creating investment and jobs in our city.

Given the talent shortage challenge that exists in Ottawa’s economy, the team has also been hard at work – along with our economic development partners – developing a talent strategy that will help us retain and attract the talent our companies need to keep growing.

The team at Invest Ottawa is small but mighty, and does a great job by promoting what a fantastic city Ottawa is to live, work and invest, while highlighting the great quality of life our residents get to enjoy.

Why are Ottawa-based businesses important?

Ottawa-based businesses are important for so many reasons. They provide meaningful and rewarding employment opportunities for residents and they contribute to the prosperity and growth of our local economy.

Whether downtown, in the suburbs, or out in the city’s rural areas, our entrepreneurs and businesses enhance the vibrancy and character of our neighbourhoods. Our local restaurant and food scene is thriving. We also have a passionate entrepreneurial culture that fosters creativity and innovation, leading to many start-ups taking shape across the city. This offers Ottawa residents a variety of unique, quality products and services to choose from.

Lastly, Ottawa-based businesses are important in coming together to support each other. We are seeing this now through the “I Dig Elgin” campaign, where the local businesses on Elgin Street have joined forces to develop and implement measures to attract customers to the area during the road renewal project.  


What is the best topping on a Beavertail?

Anything with maple!

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