The Ottawa Jazz Festival will not have to vacate Confederation Park during construction in 2016 as it originally feared. The National Capital Commission (NCC) and City Of Ottawa officials informed OttawaJazzScene.ca that they have now scheduled construction to accommodate the festival. The NCC had announced last year that the park would be unavailable, first in 2015 and then in 2016.
At the Ottawa Jazz Festival's annual meeting in November, 2014, executive director Catherine O'Grady stated that that the festival was trying to stay downtown, and was looking at alternate locations including Major's Hill Park during the expected construction next year.
Carina Duclos, Manager of Design and Construction for the City of Ottawa, informed OttawaJazzScene.ca that, “The City is planning to undertake work to rehabilitate a sewer located between Laurier Avenue and the Rideau Canal, adjacent to the Confederation Park (along the ramp from Queen Elizabeth Drive to Laurier Avenue). This work is being coordinated with the NCC and will occur at a time that have as little effect as possible on events organized in the area.”
The NCC is planning rehabilitation of older park elements including vegetation. Cédric Pelletier of the National Capital Commission confirmed that “planned work at Confederation Park in 2016 is expected to be scheduled mostly in the spring and in the fall in order to have as little effect as possible on the NCC’s annual event organizers.”
O'Grady said that the festival was “delighted” about being able to remain in Confederation Park, although it isn't known yet if the construction work will have any impact on the festival's operations.
Ottawa Jazz Festival concerts have been presented in Confederation Park since the 1980s. An estimated record audience of 10,500 filled the park in 2010 to hear a concert by Dave Brubeck and the NAC Orchestra. However, since 2011 the Confederation Park concerts with the largest audiences have primarily been rock and pop acts, which have replaced most jazz performances in the Concert Under the Stars series.
The park closure would also have affected Canadian musicians. Excluding local musicians, the majority of Canadian groups continue to perform in the Great Canadian Jazz series in Confederation Park.
– Brett Delmage
Note: OttawaJazzScene.ca received review access to the Ottawa Jazz Festival but was denied access for Brett Delmage.