Shaw Centre (Ottawa)

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Shaw Centre
Centre Shaw (French)
Ottawa Convention Centre, spring 2011.jpg
Exterior view of the centre (c.)
Address55 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 9J2
Coordinates45°25′27″N 75°41′30″W / 45.4242°N 75.6916°W / 45.4242; -75.6916Coordinates: 45°25′27″N 75°41′30″W / 45.4242°N 75.6916°W / 45.4242; -75.6916
OwnerGovernment of Ontario
Opened11 April 2011
Construction cost
CA$170 million
($204 million in 2020 dollars[1])
Former names
Ottawa Congress Centre (1983-2008)
Ottawa Convention Centre (2011-14)
Classroom-style seating
22 (Jim Durrell Boardroom)
Banquet/ballroom1,050 (Trillium Ballroom)
Enclosed space
 • Total space365,973 sq ft (34,000.0 m2)
 • Exhibit hall floor57,740 sq ft (5,364 m2)
 • Breakout/meeting44,854 sq ft (4,167.1 m2)
 • Ballroom19,032 sq ft (1,768.1 m2)
Parking730 spaces

The Shaw Centre (formerly the Ottawa Convention Centre) is a convention centre located in the downtown core of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It opened in April 2011. The Centre replaces the Ottawa Congress Centre, which opened in 1983 and is built on the site of the Ottawa Congress Centre building which was demolished in 2008-2009.

In October 2014, the Ottawa Convention Centre and Shaw Communications entered a ten-year naming right agreement that saw the venue renamed to the Shaw Centre. The Centre is located on Colonel By Drive, just south of Rideau Street. The facility is owned by the Ontario provincial government.

Facility floor plan[edit]

The Shaw Centre has four levels, each with a view of the Rideau Canal and Downtown Ottawa. The first level features a large lobby, as well as the Wall of Three Rivers artwork, which is made of reclaimed logs and acts as a tribute to Ottawa history. This floor consists of eight meeting rooms, an executive boardroom, a coat room, a kitchen studio, administration and direct indoor access to parking lots. The second level consists of 15 meeting rooms, a pre-function area of over 19,806 sq. ft. / 1,840 sq. m., a dedicated show office, a corporate business centre, a coat room, and bridges that link the Shaw Centre to the Westin hotel and the Rideau Centre. The third level is a large multipurpose hall and can accommodate up to 6,260 people theatre-style, 4,600 people banquet-style, or up to 400 10'x10' booth displays. The fourth level is a ballroom, reserved for meetings, conferences, or weddings.[2]

Awards and certifications[edit]

The Shaw Centre was built to be as environmentally friendly as possible, and in January 2013, was awarded LEED Gold certification. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a green building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council in 1998. It is based on a points system, which then places the building in one of four categories – Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum – the latter being the highest achievement of environmental friendliness. There are 70 possible LEED points that can be earned. These points are divided into five different categories: Sustainable Site Development, Water Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Material Selection and Indoor Environmental Quality.[3] The OCC saves 969,000 gallons of water each year by harvesting rainwater from the roof, which is stored in a cistern below the building. This water is used to flush restroom toilets.[4] 97% of materials from the demolished Congress Centre were diverted from landfill. The Shaw Centre used recycled steel to build the roof trusses,[5] and logs from the bottom of the Ottawa River to make the Wall of Three Rivers.[6] Because of its panoramic glass design, the OCC saves energy by letting in natural daylight.[4]

In May 2013, the Shaw Centre achieved AIPC Quality Standards Gold Certification with the successful completion of an audit by the designated external auditor for AIPC (International Association of Congress Centres). The Shaw Centre joined a group of 20 AIPC convention centres worldwide that have successfully achieved this level of international certification.

In July 2014, the Shaw Centre finished in a tie for second place for the title of "World's Best Convention Centre", an award handed out by the International Association of Congress Centres (AIPC). The Shaw Centre was among 27 finalists vying for the award at the 2014 AIPC Annual Conference in Berlin, Germany. The Cairns Convention Centre (Australia) won the title, followed by the Ottawa Convention Centre and the Palais des congrès de Montréal.


Steel skeleton of building being erected within construction site
View from Slater Street bridge of Convention Centre under construction. Rideau Canal in front. (February 7, 2010)

The project's cost was CA$170 million, for a four-level 192,000 square feet (17,800 m2) facility. The cost was shared by three levels of government. CA$50 million came from the Canadian government, CA$50 million from the Ontario government, $40 million from the City of Ottawa and the remainder of $30 million was borrowed by the centre itself.[7]

The new building features a large glass facade on the Colonel By Drive front. From the outside, the entrance from the street is clearly visible and the internal escalators are also visible. While it has four levels of convention space, it is seven storeys in height.[8]

As part of the new project, the name was changed to the Ottawa Convention Centre. According to the centre's chairman, the former title of "congress" was confusing to American convention planners.[9]

Congress Centre[edit]

The Congress Centre building was designed by Bemi & Associates Architects in 1982. It had 70,000 square feet (6,500 m2) of exhibition space. The building was built on former railways lands, vacated when the main Ottawa train station was moved to Alta Vista Drive outside of downtown. The building was opened by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.[10]

The Congress Centre was used for conventions, public exhibitions and music concerts. It could support audience sizes of up to a few thousand.


  • National Career Development Conference - January 2014[11]


  1. ^ 1688 to 1923: Geloso, Vincent, A Price Index for Canada, 1688 to 1850 (December 6, 2016). Afterwards, Canadian inflation numbers based on Statistics Canada tables 18-10-0005-01 (formerly CANSIM 326-0021) "Consumer Price Index, annual average, not seasonally adjusted". Statistics Canada. Retrieved April 17, 2021. and table 18-10-0004-13 "Consumer Price Index by product group, monthly, percentage change, not seasonally adjusted, Canada, provinces, Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit". Statistics Canada. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  2. ^ "Planner". Ottawa Convention Centre. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  3. ^ "Introduction to LEED". Canada Green Building Council. Archived from the original on July 28, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Fun Facts". Ottawa Convention Centre Corp. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  5. ^ Rochon, Lisa (May 3, 2018). "Ottawa's new Convention Centre: A glass spaceship on the Rideau Canal". Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  6. ^ "Materials and Resources". Ottawa Convention Centre Corporation. Archived from the original on March 30, 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  7. ^ Dare, Patrick (May 7, 2008). "Ontario hands over $50 million for new Congress Centre". Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved 2010-02-04.
  8. ^ Dare, Patrick (October 12, 2009). "Changing the way Ottawa sees itself". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2010-02-04.[dead link]
  9. ^ "New convention centre eyes foreign business; Name change expected to clear up some confusion". Ottawa Citizen. February 12, 2009. p. D1.
  10. ^ Jenkins, Phil (May 11, 2009). "The heart of our city, in surgery again". Ottawa Citizen. p. A11.
  11. ^ "National Career Development Conference". Eventegg.

External links[edit]