Ottawa Festivals Launches Comprehensive Five Year Research Project

Ground breaking in-depth research project will provide valuable information and tools vital to strengthening and sustaining Ottawa’s standing as being Canada’s Festival Capital

Ottawa Festivals, an organization that represents more than 50 not-for-profit festivals, special events and fairs that take place in the National Capital Region, has embarked on an in-depth study of Ottawa’s festival industry. As it rolls out over the next five years, the research project will include three areas of concentration: social, economic and environmental impact studies.

“This kind of study is long overdue,” says Barbara Stacey, Ottawa Festivals’ Executive Director, “The majority of studies look solely at the economic impact of festivals, most of which don’t go too much farther than looking directly at tourist spending,” she explains, “These numbers are very important and we certainly are collecting this information, but to get a deeper understanding of the industry’s impact you also have to look at other factors such as: quality of life; the industry’s contribution to municipal branding; civic pride; volunteerism; and providing venues for local artists. Festivals are just as much about community building as they are about economic spin-off. We are very excited to see where this research takes us.”

A collaboration with Algonquin College, the project will provide real-world experience for students who will take part in various capacities. “Right from its inception, we knew we had to involve students in the project,” explains Dr. Tamer Mansy, Program Manager Research and Partnerships at Ottawa Festivals, “true to our industry, we looked at how we could leverage the project to extend benefit to others – with this partnership we are able to do that.”

The collaboration also includes an impressive list of industry leaders. An advisory committee has been established to shape the direction that the project will take. Representatives from the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Tourism, National Capital Commission, Council for the Arts in Ottawa, Algonquin College and Ottawa Festivals have already begun their work and the project is well under way.

The project will be carried out with the participation of Ottawa Festivals Members. “We have already begun an inclusive consultation process involving staff and volunteers that organize festivals, special events and fairs in the National Capital Region,” says Dr. Mansy, “we are gathering firsthand accounts and information to help us develop a clear snapshot of the industry – this will help us identify our strengths and areas that may require more focus going forward.”

“It has always been our intention to be as inclusive as possible. We are very pleased and honoured to have the involvement of the people on our advisory committee and the participation of our members,” says Stacey, “as key stakeholders and partners, their participation was essential.”

About Ottawa Festivals

Ottawa Festivals is a not-for-profit organization that represents 51 not-for-profit festivals, special events and fairs that take place in the National Capital Region. In partnership with the City of Ottawa, Employment Ontario and Trillium Foundation, the organization manages a number of programs to develop and sustain the industry to contribute to positive benefits that impact the community.