Mayor Jim Watson won't seek re-election this fall

City Hall
Jim Watson has been mayor of Ottawa since 2010. File photo

After a record-setting run that saw him become the longest-serving mayor in Ottawa history, Jim Watson will not seek re-election this fall.

The 60-year-old Montreal native, who was first elected to Ottawa council in 1991 and went on to serve two separate stints as mayor, said Friday that he is moving on from the job he has held for nearly the last 12 years when his current term ends.

“The decision was both easy and tough,” Watson said in a statement on his website, adding he made up his mind three years ago that if he won the 2018 mayoral race, it would be his final term. 

“On the one hand, I loved almost every hour of every day and it was a true privilege and honour to serve as our city’s Mayor. However, I also knew that I would be turning 60 during this term of Council, and if I was going to have one more career, then I needed to move on from elected office.”

Calling the chance to serve in the city's highest elected office “the greatest honour of my life,” Watson highlighted a number of achievements since he was elected mayor of the amalgamated City of Ottawa in 2010, including the construction of the Confederation LRT line, the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park and the capital’s Canada 150 celebrations in 2017.

“I look forward to watching from the sidelines the progress our city will benefit from over the next few years – but I remind future mayors and councillors that our job is to plan and prepare for the next generation, and not just the next election,” he said.