Only at a cocktail party for Kanata North's new Hub350 would you find heated outdoor furniture

Crowds gather at new state-of-the-art global tech centre for day-long action hosted by Kanata North Business Association
Editor's Note

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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.”

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From left, Jamie Petten, president and executive director of the Kanata North Business Association, with Ray Rashed, director of RBCx, Wesley Clover International chairman Terry Matthews and Sid Paquette, head of RBCx, the financial anchor partner for the new Kanata North tech hub. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Amy Karam, a 5G thought leader at TELUS, with Kalene DeBaeremaeker, senior manager of communications and public affairs for TELUS, Jacob Glick, vice president of public policy at TELUS, and Tasso Daras, manager of products and services with TELUS Business, at a reception held during the grand opening of Hub350 in the Kanata North Technology Park. Photo by Caroline Phillips

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. 

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From left, Michael Tremblay, president and CEO of Invest Ottawa, with Jamie Petten, president and executive director of the Kanata North Business Association, and Wesley Clover International chairman and serial technology entrepreneur Terry Matthews, at the Hub350 grand opening cocktail reception. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Justin Schurman, regional vice president of business financial services at RBC, with RBC's regional president, Marjolaine Hudon, and Ray Rashed, director of RBCx Ottawa, at the Hub350 grand opening cocktail reception. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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University of Ottawa president and vice chancellor Jacques Frémont briefly lowers his mask for a photo with Jamie Petten, president and executive director of the Kanata North Business Association, at a cocktail reception held during the grand opening of Hub350 in Kanata North. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Shannon Gorman, president and CEO of the Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation, with Sarah Arden, senior event marketing manager at TELUS, on the outdoor patio during a cocktail reception held during the grand opening of Hub350 in Kanata North, held Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021. Photo by Caroline Phillips

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.

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From left, tech executive Amy MacLeod, who returned to her old stomping groups on Thursday, October 28, 2021, enjoys some conversation with Amanda Gordon, a board member with the Kanata North Business Association, in heated Muskoka chairs at the new Hub350 centre. Photo by Caroline Phillips

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.

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Guests of a Hub350 cocktail reception, held Thursday, October 28, 2021, during the grand opening activities and celebrations for the new state-of-the-art global tech centre in Kanata North. Photo by Caroline Phillips

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.

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Linebox Studio senior architect and partner Josée Anne Pronovost (seated), with Reggie MacIntosh, who's also an architect at the firm, and Melissa Reeves, co-owner and COO of Linebox Studio, at a cocktail reception held Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, for the new Hub350 global tech centre in Kanata North. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Jeff Poapst, chief manufacturing and services officer at Ross Video, with Cathy McCallion, recruitment strategy and community relations manager at Ross Video, and James Baker, CEO of Keynote Search, at the Hub350 grand opening cocktail reception. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Wesley Clover International chairman Terry Matthews with Sara Wilshaw, Canada's chief trade commissioner, at a Hub350 cocktail reception, held Thursday, October 28, 2021, during the grand opening activities and celebrations for the new state-of-the-art global tech centre in Kanata North. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Ottawa Tourism board member Stéphane Pelletier leads the room in a toast during a cocktail reception, sponsored by Ottawa Tourism, during the official opening of Hub350, a new state-of-the-art global tech centre in Kanata North. Photo by Caroline Phillips

– caroline@obj.ca