After a busy day of activities and celebrations on Thursday for Hub350, guests got to let their hair – and even their masks – down during a late-afternoon cocktail reception held at the new state-of-the-art global tech centre in Kanata.
The Kanata North Business Association (KNBA) hosted leaders in finance, academia, technology and government as part of the grand opening of Hub350. The 12,000-square-foot space is being billed as the physical gateway for Canada’s largest technology park, where tech talent will have a place to converge and explore opportunities to live, work, play and learn.
For many attendees, it was exciting to be together again under one roof.
“It’s like a homecoming for Ottawa’s technology community that are here in the Kanata North Technology Park,” Jamie Petten, president and executive director of KNBA, told OBJ.social.
The day’s events featured presentations and important conversations, as well as a ribbon-cutting ceremony. “The KNBA team worked so hard to make this day happen,” said Petten. “They have put their whole heart and soul into ensuring this day went so well and that it represents our vision for this (tech) park.”
Hub350 is designed to provide local tech businesses with the kind of ecosystem and services that will drive collaboration, innovation and economic activity. “In addition to that, we’ve brought so many world-class partners to the centre that are here to roll up their sleeves and support these companies on their continued growth and momentum,” said Petten.
Attendees had to follow public health measures that day by showing proof of full COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter the building. They were also instructed to keep their masks on, except when eating and drinking.
By the end of the afternoon, guests were invited into the building’s RBCx Finance Quarter to mingle over drinks while live jazz music played softly in the background and the late-day sun bathed the patio in warmth and light.
Attendees included Wesley Clover International chairman and serial technology entrepreneur Terry Matthews, who has a portfolio with more than 45 investments under active management around the globe, from start-ups in the incubation stage, to first-product firms in the accelerator phase to more mature companies that now trade publicly.
Earlier that day, Matthews told attendees how the “timing is perfect” for the new Hub350 centre.
During the reception, some folks ventured outside to the patio, where they were pleasantly surprised to discover heated Muskoka chairs, powered by Kanata North company fidus.
“It’s one of those revolutionary things, like bottom-freezer refrigerators,” said Amy MacLeod, vice president of corporate communications for MDA, while enjoying the chair’s comfy warmth. “It just makes sense.”
Hub350 is located at 350 Legget Dr. It’s in the former Mitel building, where MacLeod worked for eight years.
“This afternoon was the first time I’ve been back since I left. Walking in and seeing it like this, looking entirely different, has reenergized me. That’s the nature of this (tech) park; it reinvents itself constantly.
“What Jamie and her team from Kanata North have done here is to create a whole environment for collaboration and relationships and small meetings," MacLeod continued.
Amanda Gordon, who’s on the board of KNBA and a partner at Boyden Executive Search, praised Petten and her team once she took to the stage to welcome guests to the reception, sponsored by Ottawa Tourism.
The leadership torch was passed to Petten in 2018 when her predecessor, Jenna Sudds, left to successfully seek political office.
“Little did we know that Jamie would not only take that torch but that she would really run with it,” said Gordon, who’s a member of Kanata North's HR leadership council as well.
Gordon made a point of encouraging the local tech businesses to take advantage of the meeting spaces available at Hub350.
“This is a community space for you,” said Gordon. “Come and use it, because what we hope and what we dream is that this will definitely be a place for collaboration.”
Hub350’s current anchor partners include TELUS, RBC, Salesforce and such post-secondary institutions as the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Algonquin College and Queen’s University.
“Our goal is to enable that collaboration, not only with our partners but also with our 550 companies that are in the tech park and our over 30,000 employees that support this economy,” said Gordon.
Marjolaine Hudon, regional president of RBC, was joined by such colleagues as Sid Paquette, head of RBCx; Ray Rashed, director of RBCx; and Justin Shurman, new regional vice president of business financial services. Carleton University president Benoit-Antoine Bacon and University of Ottawa president Jacques Frémont both attended. So did Michael Tremblay, president and CEO of Invest Ottawa. Also spotted at the reception were Chief Trade Commissioner of Canada Sara Wilshaw, team members from TELUS, and Shannon Gorman, president and CEO of Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation, which is the centre's official health and wellness partner. From Linebox Studio, which did Hub350's design work, were co-owner and COO Melissa Reeves, senior architect and partner Josée Anne Pronovost, and architect Reggie MacIntosh.
Ottawa Tourism board member Stéphane Pelletier, chair of the meetings and conventions committee and general manager of the Ottawa Marriott, led the room in a toast “to congratulate all of those who made this possible" while joined on stage by Stephanie Seguin, director of business events at Ottawa Tourism.
“We look forward to much success and growth of our city," said Pelletier as he raised his glass.