InsideTrack with Guy Laflamme:  “From Ottawa the Old, to Ottawa the Bold”

InsideTrack with Guy Laflamme: “From Ottawa the Old, to Ottawa the Bold”

In anticipation of the upcoming Ottawa 2017 celebrations, InsideTrack approached Guy Laflamme, Executive Director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau to join us on the show.  

Mr. Laflamme did not disappoint. During a live panel discussion and subsequent recorded interview,  we got a quick preview of what to expect over the next year, a behind-the-scenes look at how it all came to be, and a discussion about the expected legacy of Ottawa’s big year.

Ottawa 2017 wanted to use the celebrations to showcase Ottawa as a “technology city” and to develop a program that’s big, immersive and rich in emotion.  The hope is that this program will generate massive national, and even international visibility for Canada’s capital city.  

Beyond the next year, Mr. Laflamme hopes that the celebrations will have a lasting legacy both through increasing business and personal tourism to Ottawa, but also by inspiring younger generations to contribute to the future of the city.

With over 170 planned events spanning 365 days in 2017, one of the most pressing questions on everyone’s minds was ‘what should we look forward to the most’.  After a bit of prodding, Mr. Laflamme gave us his top three:


1. Red Bull Crashed Ice: This action-packed event features the Ice Cross Downhill World championship.  The championship will be held at the Rideau Canal locks, and due to its proximity to the parliament buildings, the Chateau Laurier and the stunning vistas across the Ottawa River, Mr. Laflamme predicts that it will be the “most scenic ever edition of the Red Bull Crashed Ice”.


2. Underground Multi-media Kontinuum: Touted as a “mind-blowing” science-fiction themed underground journey through time and space, Kontinuum will feature a light and sound show projected in one of Ottawa’s future LRT stations.  The story will be premised on a fictionalized finding during excavations for the LRT, which allows participants to travel through time by accessing an invisible electromagnetic field.


3. La Machiene: Like something straight out of a Michael Bay movie, La Machiene will bring larger-than-life mechanized monsters to the streets of Ottawa.  Specifically, a giant spider and a flame-breathing dragon will “take control of the downtown core” from the Caudiere Islands all the way to the Byward Market between July 26-30.  


For more on Mr. Laflamme’s vision for the celebrations and the expected cultural and economic legacy for Ottawa, watch the full LIVE panel discussion below


Thank you to this week’s guests for joining us on the

The InsideTrack.Show with Shirley Westeinde: “Just be yourself”

At first glance, Shirley Westeinde appears to be an eloquent, fashionable and unassuming. After a little digging, it becomes apparent that not only is she all of those things – but she’s also a passionate philanthropist, savvy entrepreneur, an industry trailblazer, and a Best Ottawa Business Awards (BOBs) Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.’

Ms. Westeinde’s impressive career started as a homecare nurse before she co-founded Westeinde Construction with her husband in 1978. She went on to become the first and only female chair of the Building Owners’ and Managers’ Association’s (BOMA) Ottawa chapter. Her achievements don’t end there – she was also the first woman president of the Canadian Construction Association, the first female chair of the Ottawa Economic Development Corp. (a pre-cursor to Invest Ottawa) and is still an active philanthropist with, among others, the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Care Group.

Her career would have been impressive (to say the least!) for any person, and especially noteworthy because Ms. Westeinde, now 75 years old, was making her name for herself as an entrepreneur and association head at a time when female leadership in business was rare in many industries, let alone the construction industry.

We sat down with Ms. Westeinde to discuss her achievements and learn from her insights on dealing with gender in the workplace. Here’s a summary of what we learned:

  • She got her start as a homecare nurse, working alone to operate a clinic in St. Thomas, Ontario. There, Ms. Westeinde developed the entrepreneurial skills necessary to keep a small organization running and a commitment to volunteerism before she ever entered the construction industry.
  • She can roll with the punches. After her husband came home one day having quit his job working for a large construction company, she dug in and managed the administration of their fledgling company, Westeinde Construction.
  • She’s a problem solver. When she joined BOMA, her objective wasn’t to shatter the glass ceiling or to make a stand for women in the industry – she just saw some issues, and set out to solve them. This attitude gained her support amongst the people involved in the organization.
  • Her advice to young women in business? Be yourself. Ms. Westeinde urged women not to think of themselves in gendered terms in the workplace, but instead focus on an objective, stick with it and approach problems with hard work and enthusiasm.

The InsideTrack with Jeff Hunt: Creating a successful sports entertainment culture in Ottawa

The first episode of InsideTrack features Ottawa’s own Jeff Hunt.  Hunt’s CV is long and impressive.  In addition to  owning the Ottawa Redblacks, Ottawa Fury FC, and the Ottawa 67s, Hunt was also a major force behind the redevelopment of Landsdowne Park.

In our discussion with Jeff Hunt, we wanted to learn more about his passion for sports entertainment, and his relationship with Ottawa - a city that the Newfoundland native migrated to at the age of 20.

During Hunt’s interview with Carlo Lombard, OBJ’s Multimedia Specialist, we learned a few things about sports, business and Ottawa’s multi-million dollar Landsdowne redevelopment project.  

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • As a child in Labrador City, Hunt saw Gerry Organ (punter for the Ottawa Rough Riders) speak at his school.  He became an immediate Ottawa Rough Riders fan and associated Ottawa with football from then on.

  • The biggest challenges facing the launch of the Ottawa Redblacks was overcoming the defeatist attitude toward football in Ottawa.  You know - the people who insisted that Ottawa already had two football teams that had failed, why should a third be any different?

  • The Landsdowne redevelopment wasn’t just about football.  In fact, in order to justify the $500 million redevelopment plan, Hunt had to bring in multiple revenue streams.  This eventually led to the diversification of sports entertainment in the city to include the Ottawa Fury FC (soccer) hosting the 2016 Brier Cup (curling) and creating an attractive destination at Landsdowne with something of interest for everyone - not just sports fans.

The secret to his success?  Paying attention to detail.  In developing a multi-purpose entertainment park such as Landsdowne, you have to take every detail into account - ease of access, parking, food services.  People aren’t going to want to come to a football game where they can’t park and food and drink lineups are out the door for a warm beer and hot dogs.