Note: This article first appeared in the Centretown Buzz.

By Suzanne Charest

Every year, about 12,000 immigrants arrive in Ottawa and our city has a well-earned reputation as being welcoming to newcomers. It is one of six cities in the country receiving top marks for attracting newcomers, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

Welcoming Ottawa Week (WOW) provides an excellent forum for conveying to newcomers Ottawa’s warm welcome and genuine hospitality.

WOW is an annual, week-long series of cultural and celebratory events, sports activities, documentary screenings, dialogues, town halls, and other engaging, thought-provoking and fun events held in various locations of the city in the 12 days leading up to Canada Day. This year, it kicks off June 18.

It is designed to connect, strengthen, and amplify the many ways in which our city is welcoming to newcomers. WOW also provides opportunities for quality interactions between residents, long-term and new.

“WOW is a wonderful platform for us to reflect on Ottawa’s current and historic welcome to refugees and newcomers, while showcasing our genuine respect for the courage and strength newcomers demonstrate in overcoming tremendous obstacles to join our community,” says Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.

“Newcomers are attracted to diverse, vibrant cities where their families can participate in city life, contribute economically and actively engage in civic development,” says Hindia Mohamoud, Director of the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership, which leads WOW.

“By hosting a WOW event and participating in its wide range of activities, you can not only provide a warm welcome to newcomers, but you will also meet people from all over the world, learn about different cultures, and have fun through the many educational, cultural, artistic and sporting events that are a mainstay of WOW.”

In its sixth year, WOW has grown to 73 events held across the city last year. Do not miss being a part of this incredible celebration! Together we can make Ottawa Canada’s most welcoming city!