Full article available at Ottawa Business Journal

BIA-run festivals such as Wellington West’s WelliWOW have become key parts of Ottawa’s tourism landscape. Photo courtesy Wellington West BIA

BY: Andrea Sakiyama Kennedy

PUBLISHED:Jun 7, 2022 4:10pm EDT

With the first official day of summer around the corner, neighbourhoods across the city are coming to life, preparing for what residents and businesses hope marks a return to ‘‘normal”. 

For Ottawa’s central business improvement areas, the warm weather signals the highly anticipated return to in-person festivals and events that allow them to showcase and celebrate all that their local communities have to offer. 

“Collectively as downtown BIAs, we all agree that creating a sense of life and energy in the core is what we owe our businesses and our neighbours to get people excited again about the idea of being in public spaces together,” said Dennis Van Staalduinen, executive director of the Wellington West BIA.

OBJ reached out to some of Ottawa’s BIAs to find out what impact the return of in-person festivals and events for the first time in more than two years is having, or going to have, on their local member businesses and communities.

Wellington West BIA – WelliWow –  May – July 2022

Representing the interests of the eclectic Hintonburg and Wellington Village business communities, the Wellington West BIA has partnered with Ottawa-based community arts organization MASC to unveil a new kind of event experience that celebrates the intersection of culture, creativity and diversity this neighbourhood community is already known for.

The WelliWOW 2022 Performance Arts series will see outdoor arts and performance events popping up all around the Wellington West community, the plan being to animate local parks and public spaces and introduce a diverse range of artists and art forms.

The BIA hopes the free series will attract area residents, as well as encourage Ottawa-area or visiting art-lovers to stop by and see all that Wellington West has to offer.

“We are very intentional, trying to be as open and multicultural and as diverse an area as is humanly possible, because we believe that creativity, prosperity and great communities are built on diversity, with people meeting people who aren’t like them and then forming surprising partnerships and projects,” said Van Staalduinen.