Ottawa 2017 hosts weeklong celebration of gaming despite cancelled awards

Video game

Ottawa gamers will have the chance to brave chilling winds to battle fire-breathing monsters during a weeklong event across the city.

The fire is simulated; the chills, well, maybe bring some gloves.

Starting Monday night at Carleton University, Ottawa 2017 will be hosting several nights of outdoor gaming projected onto buildings’ walls. Gamers will have the chance to play Nintendo’s new Super Mario Odyssey game, and also check out offerings from local studios in attendance.

The week of events culminates with a gaming tournament on Saturday hosted at Makerspace North, with a prize pool of $10,000 up for grabs. More than 500 people have registered for the tournaments, according to Ottawa 2017.

For those worried about frozen fingers in the frigid November air, organizers have said heated tents will be part of the event.

(Though you may want to follow Mario’s lead and toss on a pair of gloves, anyways.)




Speaking of cold, Snowed In Studios is one of the companies attending the festivities, celebrating the launch of a new game with children’s network Nickelodeon.

Henry Danger: Crime Warp is a game based on a crossover between two Nickelodeon shows. The game launches worldwide in 46 languages on Thursday.

Studio head Jean-Sylvain Sormany says the international scale of the game should reflect the quality of work in the Ottawa gaming industry.

“It is, in my opinion, amazing that a studio in Ottawa was able to produce this game that will have large distribution and promotion worldwide,” he said in an email.

It’s a busy week for Snowed In, as today is also the day Sormany and a few of his fellow Ottawa studios move into a single gaming hub in Hintonburg.

Videogame awards, competition cancelled

This wasn’t the original plan for a week celebrating Canadian gaming during Ottawa 2017, but a last minute cancellation forced Ottawa 2017 into plan B.

Three years ago, Mayor Jim Watson announced that the Canadian Videogame Awards would be headed to the capital to coincide with the 2017 celebrations, one of the first major events confirmed for the year’s lineup. A larger-scale competition was also meant to accompany the event.

In August of this year, the Canadian Videogame Awards announced the event would not be produced this year.

“After seven amazing years, spanning three different locations across the country, we bring the CVAs to a close,” the Canadian League of Gamers, who produced the awards, wrote in a statement. No specific reason was given for closing down the event.

In its original release, Ottawa 2017 said it expected the videogame awards and accompanying week of events to generate up to $1 million in economic benefit for the city.

Ottawa 2017 executive director Guy Laflamme says the organization still wanted to celebrate Canadian gaming and local Ottawa studios, and switched gears to plan a substitute event.

“Our goal was not as much to host the videogame competition, but to showcase and celebrate Canadian achievements in the videogame industry,” he tells Techopia.

Laflamme says Ottawa 2017 didn’t provide any up-front funds to the videogame awards and competition, which meant it could reallocate that money to this week’s events.

The week of events, which are hosted at Ottawa’s two universities as well as the ByWard Market, were originally slated to take place at La Cite and Algonquin College, but organizers decided to avoid the two campuses in light of the province-wide faculty strike.