From June 20-30, more than 100 events are held across the city, ranging from guided tours and arts events, to sports activities and town halls. You can find all of the WOW events listed here.

Yes, all WOW events are free of charge.

The majority of events are open to the public. However, there are some events that are private, for example, workplace events for employees. The Calendar lists which events are open to the public and which are not.

You can use our searchable calendar to filter WOW events by type, date and location. Events take place across the city and most are accessible by public transit.


Yes, anyone can organize a WOW event. For an event to be a part of the Welcoming Ottawa Week, it has to meet only two conditions:

  • It has to be free and inclusive of immigrants
  • Event content has to be linked to topics related to immigration, diversity and integration.

Yes, all WOW events must be registered online. The deadline for registration is June 5, 2022

In order to ensure the success of your WOW event, OLIP:

  • Provides ideas on types of WOW events and activities you can host.
  • Promotes your WOW event through its launch event, a print calendar, traditional media and social media.
  • Hosts a blog for WOW event hosts to post their reflections and summaries of their events.

If you have any questions about hosting an event, contact Nyamulola at nyamulola@olip-plio.ca.


WOW was launched in 2013 to respond to two priorities of Ottawa’s Immigration Strategy:

  1. To create opportunities for all Ottawa residents, including immigrants, to connect culturally, intellectually and socially in order to achieve a cohesive civic culture that draws on the creativity of all residents to develop a diverse, vibrant, and cosmopolitan city.
  2. To draw attention to Ottawa’s flourishing diversity and to strengthen the city’s competitive advantage, allowing it to attract new residents and capital from around the world.
  • To make newcomers feel more welcome and better able to participate in building Ottawa’s future.
  • To sustain Ottawa’s reputation as a cosmopolitan city where diversity thrives and newcomers are welcomed.
  • To create new champions for attracting and integrating immigrants.

WOW was initiated and developed by OLIP, championed by Mayor Jim Watson, and fuelled by the OLIP partners, stakeholder organizations and civic groups that host WOW events. 

The number of organizations hosting WOW events has grown every year since its inception in 2013. 

Everyone is encouraged to be part of WOW by hosting an event, participating in any of the dozens of WOW events taking or simply promoting WOW in their network to help grow the movement. 


In June 2013, the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, proclaimed the last week of June of every year as WOW, a time we set aside to express Ottawa’s hospitality to new immigrants. Through this proclamation, the Mayor of Ottawa invites residents to recognize that a large proportion of residents arrive here as immigrants and contribute to Ottawa’s quality of life.


Ottawa receives about 12,000 newcomers every year, split equally between permanent residents and temporary residents. Temporary residents include international students, temporary foreign workers, refugee claimants and humanitarian admissions.

Newcomers are essential for Ottawa’s future prosperity, growth and social development. Apart from the economic benefits, there is universal agreement that Ottawa residents want to live in an inclusive and unified city.

Many Ottawa residents value and welcome immigrants and assist them daily in their integration process. However, this support is too often invisible to newcomers who are focused on overcoming the many challenges of integration. 

Our goal with WOW is to create opportunities for Ottawa residents to convey their genuine respect and welcome, and to encourage many more Ottawa residents and organizations to join the chorus.