Ottawa’s night mayor says diversity of city’s nightlife is a ‘huge advantage’

Ottawa’s night mayor says diversity of city’s nightlife is a ‘huge advantage’
Ottawa’s night mayor says diversity of city’s nightlife is a ‘huge advantage’

Ottawa’s new ‘night mayor’ says the diversity of the capital’s nightlife is a ‘great asset’ as he gets to work shaping the city’s economy after 6pm

The city appointed Mathieu Grondin as its new nightlife commissioner on June 11. It’s a key part of Ottawa’s new nightlife economy action plan, which focuses on leisure, live entertainment and cultural activities between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Grondin begins his tenure with Ottawa’s summer festival season in full swing, with events including Ottawa Bluesfest, Escapade, the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival and the Ottawa Jazz Festival.

During an interview with Patricia Boal on CTV News at Six, Grondin was asked what he enjoys about the city’s nightlife during this busy period.

“I think it’s the diversity,” Grondin said.

“Two or three weeks ago I was walking around during Escapade, I went to the ByWard Market. On one side you have an Irish pub with folk music, on the other side you have a tavern with punk and heavy metal, then there’s a drag queen cabaret and you have techno and hip hop, and it’s all within walking distance.

“This is a huge advantage. There are smaller spaces, smaller initiatives that we can strengthen and grow and that can maybe make the lean times a little bit more exciting.”

Grondin plans to spend the summer meeting with stakeholders in Ottawa’s nightlife scene, and he hopes to appoint a Nightlife Ambassador Council by the end of the year.

“This will act as an advisory board to the Nightlife Commissioner Office to identify the obstacles, barriers and ‘red tape’ that people are talking about in relation to nightlife activities, and perhaps suggest some actions that the Nightlife Commissioner Office can take to enhance Ottawa’s nightlife,” Grondin said.

According to the Nightlife Commissioner, the opening hours of terraces and the bureaucracy involved in obtaining permits are some of the obstacles to stimulating nightlife.

“A lot of people are saying they’d like to see more activations in public spaces, like these temporary pop-up patios,” Grondin said. “We’ll have a better sense of that toward the end of the year.”

Why is nightlife important?

While some Ottawa residents question whether the city needs to spend money on a Nightlife Commissioner’s office, Grondin says the nightlife economy is important to everyone.

“I think it’s great for the quality of life of the residents. Everyone participates in nightlife at some point; everyone goes to the restaurant, everyone goes to the movies or the theater – you don’t have to go to a nightclub until 2 a.m. to be considered a nightlife participant,” Grondin said.

“I think it’s great for the vibrancy of any neighborhood to have these entertainment venues in their neighborhood. We work 9 to 5, so after 5 o’clock that’s a time when we spend our money that we earn during the day, so it’s an important time and space for economic and cultural development.”