Earlier in 2023 Ottawa announced a slew of significant wins across the electronics engineering and technology sectors. This included flagship events through to summer 2025 such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Sections Congress in 2023, the 2024 IEEE NSREC, and the 2025 IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation. This winning streak is clearly a testament to Ottawa’s standing as a hub for technology and innovation, drawing industry leaders to explore new ideas, collaborate, and discuss the latest developments.
However, we wanted to explore what it is that makes the city so appealing to such high tech and high-profile events.
Renowned as Canada’s smartest city, Ottawa boasts an impressive engineering pedigree, a thriving technology sector, and world-class meeting and event infrastructure.
One of Ottawa’s most significant assets for association events is its vast engineering community, providing an unparalleled wealth of expertise. As the capital city, Ottawa is home to the federal government, prestigious research institutions, advanced technology companies, and universities with world-class engineering programs. Notably, Ottawa boasts the highest concentration of engineers and scientists in Canada, totalling 74,500, and the second-highest in North America. In fact, between 2005 and 2012, the city recorded the most patents per capita on the continent, showcasing its commitment to innovation and technological advancement.
Ottawa’s homegrown technology sector has attracted over $4.7 billion in venture capital investment over the past decade, fostering an environment of continuous growth and development. This robust ecosystem is a magnet for global experts, making Ottawa an ideal setting for associations seeking to tap into a pool of knowledge and innovation, attract leading speakers and create an event in location where engineering part of the city’s DNA.
In fact, Ottawa’s engineering legacy is underscored by institutions such as IEEE Ottawa, established in 1942 and the largest and most active IEEE section in Canada. With 18 chapters, 2,000 members, four affinity groups, and three student branches, IEEE Ottawa is a testament to the city’s commitment to fostering engineering excellence. In addition, the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, both offer top-tier engineering programs, contributing to the city’s reputation as an intellectual hub. With over 27,000 students enrolled in STEM programs across multiple institutions, Ottawa is a breeding ground for future innovators and leaders in the engineering sector.
Notably, the city hosts major international technology companies like DragonWave, Telesat, and Alcatel-Lucent, which, along with leading Canadian and international technology companies, invest over $320 million annually in sponsored research. This collaborative environment ensures that Ottawa remains at the forefront of engineering advancements, providing a dynamic backdrop for association events.
Central to Ottawa’s appeal as a meeting destination is the Shaw Centre, recently voted one of the top three convention centres globally. This architectural marvel, overlooking a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers 200,000 square feet of space and is an AIPC Gold Standard facility with LEED Gold certification. Equipped with advanced telecommunications and networking services, the Shaw Centre provides exceptional cuisine and professional planning services. Its strategic location next to the Rideau Canal and within walking distance of over 6,000 downtown hotel rooms, attractions, shopping, and restaurants makes it a convenient and attractive choice for association events.
In addition to its impressive conference facilities, Ottawa offers brilliant off-site venues that add a unique touch to association events, with many offering significant links to both the technology and engineering sectors. Ottawa’s national museums, such as the Canadian War Museum, Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Canadian Museum of History, and the National Gallery of Canada, provide grand indoor spaces for memorable off-site events. These venues allow delegates to immerse themselves in history, art, and technology, creating a rich and engaging experience for attendees. Fully catered services for gala dinners, receptions, and celebrations enhance the overall event atmosphere.
It is clear that Ottawa emerges as an ideal destination for association events in the technology and engineering sectors. Its thriving engineering community, state-of-the-art meeting facilities, impressive off-site venues, and successful track record in hosting major conferences make it a premier choice for organisations seeking a dynamic and intellectually stimulating environment. As Ottawa continues to attract global leaders and experts, the city’s commitment to excellence ensures a seamless and enriching experience for both attendees and organisers alike.
For more information about Ottawa’s flagship technology offering for the international association market, please contact Theresa Gatto at firstname.lastname@example.org