Ottawa’s Shaw Centre, a 192,000-square-foot convention facility in the city’s parliamentary district, has received $2 million to help cover operational and maintenance costs and to stave off insolvency after 16 months of idle exhibit halls and meeting rooms. The funding injection is part of $8 million in newly announced tourism support from the Ontario government.
“Large gateway cities like Ottawa have keenly felt the impact of COVID-19,” says Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. “This funding will enable the Shaw Centre and Ottawa Tourism to continue to adapt and respond to the new realities facing tourism businesses, ensuring that, when it is safe to do so, they are prepared for a renewed leisure and business travel interest in Canada’s capital.”
The Shaw Centre’s allocation will be directed to rent, utilities, insurance and health and safety costs as the events venue prepares to reopen after an extended shutdown. Ottawa Tourism — an independent, not-for-profit organization that works with approximately 450 tourism-related related businesses in the region — is expected to use its $6-million share to help alleviate losses, draw visitors to the national capital region through promotional activities and development of new attractions, and to support workforce training.
“This critical funding will allow us to maintain our core operations and ensure that the Shaw Centre remains a safe and welcoming space for our guests as we plan for a brighter future,” maintains Nina Kressler, president and chief executive officer of the Shaw Centre. “We look forward to working alongside our partner, Ottawa Tourism, to attract business events to and generate economic impact for this great city.”