Mayor Jim Watson – after four terms – is retiring from municipal politics. He’s still as busy as ever and we imagine he will continue to be (after, we hope, a well-deserved break). He kindly took the time to share some of his favorite memories of Orléans.
1. What are your most memorable moments as the Mayor of Ottawa?
That’s a hard question because it doesn’t boil down to just one moment. Many of the initiatives I am most proud of had been on the City’s books for years, and some for decades. For a variety of reasons, they were stuck in neutral, and I was fortunate to be able to work with many partners to move these ideas from the drawing board to completion.
To keep things brief, I am most recently proud of securing funds for LRT Stage 2, which will soon serve the residents in the east end with five new stations: Montreal Station, Jeanne d’Arc Station, Orléans Boulevard, Place d’Orléans, and Trim.
An absolute highlight in my career was the year of 2017, when we held a series of celebrations across the capital for Canada’s 150th, including La Machine, the Grey Cup, the NHL 100 Classic, Red Bull Crashed Ice, and so much more.
There are so many moments that I will never forget during my time in office. I’m just so grateful to have been able to watch this city grow over the last thirty years.
2. What do you most appreciate about the Heart of Orléans?
The Heart of Orléans has so much to offer – whether I am looking for authentic cuisine, quality entertainment, or great local shops, I can always find it a few blocks away from me when I visit our city’s beautiful east end.
If I’m there for dinner, Orléans is home to one of the best steakhouses in the city Delicious Steakhouse. Their business name really doesn’t lie.
The Shenkman Arts Centre is a state-of-the-art facility that provides affordable enjoyment for all.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention my favourite event and a community staple: Santa’s Parade of Lights!
3. What are your future plans (if you are willing to share)?
At this stage, I don’t know what the future holds. In the short term, I look forward to giving my time back to the community through a not-for-profit, or by going back to my roots and volunteering at a soup kitchen for our most vulnerable. My priority at this point is the work required to finish the many projects that are currently underway and to enjoy these last few months in office.