Mayor Jim Watson presenting the Ottawa Citizen's Key to the City to Nicole MadAdam, Editor-in-Chief. Photo Credit: Tony Caldwell/Postmedia.

After 177 years of delivering the daily news, the Ottawa Citizen was presented with the Key to the City by outgoing mayor Jim Watson, in a ceremony at City Hall on Thursday, June 16.

Editor-in-chief Nicole MacAdam received the key on behalf of the paper. Many Citizen staff members were at the event, celebrating the award they should have received two years ago for their 175th anniversary, which fell during the pandemic.

“This is a such a wonderful honour, and so well deserved,” said Algonquin College President Claude Brulé, who attended the ceremony on behalf of the college. “I’m delighted that the Ottawa Citizen was awarded this for their ongoing integrity in journalism.”

Algonquin College received a Key to the City five years ago to mark its 50th anniversary. The key is on display at the entrance to C building on ground level.

The college is responsible for more than 200,000 graduates since its inception in the year 1967.

“Even if just half of the graduates remained in Ottawa, which would be 100,000 students, that would still be a tenth of the city’s population who graduated from Algonquin College who contribute to society,” said Brulé.

According to Heather Theoret, Ottawa City Hall’s protocol advisor, the mayor is trying to accomplish as much as possible before he exits office. With the pandemic absorbing much of the last two years of council work, he is playing catch up with several Key to the City and other events that will be held before the “mayoral lull” in July and August.

The last scheduled event is the Mayor’s Annual Canada Day for Seniors at Aberdeen Pavilion in Lansdowne Park. July 2 marks the 30th anniversary of saving and restoring the Aberdeen Pavilion, which is celebrated by the Aberdeen Heritage Festival. During his tenure as mayor, Watson and two other councillors were responsible for seeing the restoration of the historic landmark through to completion.

Regarding Watson’s exit from city hall, Brulé stated, “the community-college relationship will always be there. We produce talent that supports the community.”