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A Year in Review of Unforgettable Events at the Shaw Centre

Published on December 21, 2023

As we reflect on the past year, the Shaw Centre has played host to a diverse array of events, making it the busiest year since the reopening of our building in 2011.

From enchanting weddings to corporate gatherings, indigenous events, glamorous prom nights, international conferences, and awe-inspiring galas, the Shaw Centre has been a stage for an array of unforgettable moments. In this blog, we’ll highlight some of these exceptional events and gain insights from the planners who brought them to life. Join us as we dive into the events that unfolded within the walls of the Shaw Centre in 2023.

Graduations and Proms

June at Shaw Centre was a month of milestones and celebrations, with a total of 19 proms orchestrated by our Event Service Manager, Heidi Danson, rightfully crowned as the Prom Queen of the centre! These lively events brought together over 4,600 prom-goers, creating a magical atmosphere that will be etched in their memories forever. Adding to the festivities, we had the privilege of hosting Ottawa University’s graduation ceremonies, welcoming a whopping 15,000 people. This year’s graduations were marked by significant moments, including Ottawa University’s 175th Anniversary, the remarkable achievement of 12-year-old Anthaea-Grace Patricia Dennis as the youngest university graduate in Canadian history, and the commencement of Claudette Commanda’s term as the first Aboriginal Chancellor.

OttawaU Graduation, students sitting in their chairs facing the empty stage
World Trivia Night, group of people sitting in at a round table cheer with beers

World Trivia Night

On October 27th we hosted the Children’s Aid Foundation of Ottawa’s World Trivia Night –a longstanding tradition since 1995 and recognized as Canada’s Largest Live Trivia Contest. The Shaw Centre buzzed with the energy of over 1,000 enthusiastic trivia participants, organized into teams of 10. The event was not only a battle of wits but also a fundraising extravaganza, with teams actively raising funds all in friendly competition prior to the event and through live auctions, and 50/50 raffles. The collective efforts of the night resulted in substantial contributions to the Children’s Aid Foundation of Ottawa, emphasizing the Shaw Centre’s commitment to fostering community engagement and supporting impactful causes.

“We want to send a heartfelt thank you to you and your team at the Shaw Centre for supporting our Ottawa kids and for the delicious “Brain Booster Break” for World Trivia Night. As you witnessed, our fundraiser was a tremendous success, as you (trivia contestants and sponsors) raised $132,000 for the Children’s Aid Foundation of Ottawa. This was in no small part because of your support. The Shaw Centre and all of your team truly are Dream Launchers!”

– Mairi Thomson, Resource Development and Communications Director

Ontario Professional Planners Institute – Adaptive Transformation Conference

Shaw Centre welcomed over 600 attendees to the OPPI Adaptation Transformation Conference, where the planning profession’s dynamic landscape took center stage. Throughout the event, Registered Professional Planners (RPPs) engaged in discussions on critical topics such as housing affordability, demographic shifts, representation of equity-deserving groups, and technological advancements. The conference provided a platform for professionals and industry experts from across Ontario to gather face-to-face, fostering meaningful connections during two and a half days filled with insightful keynote speakers, thoughtful panel discussions, and impactful breakout sessions.

“We wanted to thank you very much for all that you did to help make our event at the Shaw Centre a success. Our participants really enjoyed the conference, and many said that this was the best conference they’ve attended so far, and you were a part of that, so thank you very much. It wouldn’t have been such a success without you, your wonderful staff, and all your work behind the scenes.”

– Katie Watt, Coordinator of Education and Events

OPPI Conference. Attendees look toward the stage in round tables
Jessica Samad Bride in her office on the phone


Love was in the air at the Shaw Centre we had the pleasure of hosting a total of 11 weddings this year. Among these beautiful unions, one stood out as an extra special affair. Our Culinary Operations Manager, Jessica Samad, said “I do” in the Trillium Ballroom this fall. It was a day filled with love and happiness, and our dedicated teams went above and beyond to ensure that Jessica’s wedding was nothing short of magical. At the Shaw Centre, we take pride in creating unforgettable moments for every couple who chooses our venue for their special day.

28th IAVSD International Symposium on Dynamics of Vehicles on Roads and Tracks

This summer we hosted the IAVSD 28th International Symposium on Dynamics of Vehicles on Roads and Tracks, drawing an attendance of over 400 researchers, scientists, and engineers. As a prominent international symposium, the IAVSD event serves as a vital platform for professionals in the field of ground vehicle dynamics to showcase and exchange their latest ideas and breakthroughs. This gathering marked the second time the biennial IAVSD Symposia took place in Canada, with the organizers being the National Research Council Canada, Virginia Tech, and Carleton University. Beyond the symposium sessions, participants had the opportunity to explore interesting locales and observe road and rail operations, as well as advanced technologies in the National Capital Region.

“Coordinating a 6-day international conference with multiple plenary and parallel sessions—and frequent last-minute changes—is a challenge for any event planner and any venue. Not for the Shaw Centre. The Shaw Centre exemplifies how working closely with the event’s planning team on site can allay indecision, overcome challenges and smooth the way to produce a seamless event. Every level of the Shaw Centre staff was present in our event space to assist. “Is there anything more we can do” came regularly from all Shaw Centre staff involved with our event!”

– David Dunlop, Dunlop, President, D. R. Dunlop & Associates

8th Annual Cyber Future Summit

The Cyber Future Summit, a gathering of global thinkers, executive leaders, and practitioners in the cybersecurity domain, drew approximately 500 attendees who met in Ottawa for the first time. Organized by the Cyber Future Foundation, the event featured interactive sessions where attendees collaboratively developed actionable guidance and frameworks. With a focus on national and international partnerships for cybersecurity, the summit aligned with the Cybersecurity Strategy of the United States, emphasizing the mission of ‘Partnerships for Progress.’ Notable highlights included the Cyber Futurist Award, Policy Jam for Cyber Peace, and the Innovation Pitch Fest.

“On behalf of all of us at Cyber Future Foundation, please accept our thanks – and kudos! – for all you did to make the Cyber Future Summit a resounding success with our attendees. It was a most productive collaboration for the global cybersecurity community. You enabled us to help make a positive difference in ensuring a safe cyber future. Every Shaw Centre department we worked with went above and beyond what was expected from them. Your reputation for excellence precedes you.” 

–  Valmiki Mukherjee, Chairman and Founder

Indigenous Events

Shaw Centre is honoured to have been host to 16 impactful Indigenous events this year, providing a crucial space for reconciliation, education, and the celebration of Indigenous cultures. These events, attended by over 7,700 participants, embraced diversity and fostered understanding. Notable gatherings included the AFOA Canada – 21st National Conference focusing on “The Indigenous Economy of Tomorrow,” the Metis Nation of Ontario- Youth Leadership Conference 2023, and the Odawa Native Friendship Centre’s Children’s Pow Wow, among others. The latest event was the 2023 AFN Special Chiefs Assembly, where the election for the Office of National Chief took place. Cindy Woodhouse’s election as National Chief, with the ceremony held at Shaw Centre, was a significant moment, emphasizing the centre’s commitment to supporting and amplifying Indigenous voices and leadership.

Women looking at jewelry on table
SAAS North conference attendees looking at booths/displays


Since 2016, the Shaw Centre has hosted SAAS NORTH, Canada’s premier SaaS hub for founders, executives, service providers, investors, and their teams, drawing 600 attendees annually. Recognized nationally as the conference for the fastest-growing SaaS companies, SAAS NORTH is a dynamic event fostering networking, knowledge sharing, and growth opportunities.

“It has been an absolute privilege for the team at Cube Business Media to bring the SaaS community together in Ottawa annually since 2016. We have grown from Canada’s SaaS Conference to a top respected tech conference across North America, and even globally. One of the most rewarding things we see as a mature event are those companies and founders who we have watched scale from Day 1 as startups to where they are today, thanks much in part to the connections, investors, and mentors they have met at the event. SAAS NORTH 2023 was another success, with a record-breaking number of tickets sold, and we can’t wait to see what next year brings!”

– Michelle Wong, Vice President, Operations, Cube Business Media

Holiday Celebrations

The festive spirit was in full swing at the Shaw Centre this holiday season, where we played host to a grand total of 15 holiday parties during the months of November and December, welcoming over 6,000 guests to our venue. Against the backdrop of breathtaking views, our spaces provided the perfect setting for celebrating the season of joy. It was a fantastic opportunity for companies to express gratitude to their hardworking employees, making each event a memorable and spirited affair.

Holiday Party Set Up road tables with chairs around them with a stage

It isn’t easy to only highlight a few events of the hundreds we hosted. Still, as we bid farewell to a remarkable year filled with diverse and meaningful events, we express gratitude to all who made 2023 a year to remember. As we eagerly anticipate 2024, we look forward to creating more moments that matter and continuing to be the canvas for celebrations, learning, and connection.