Published on September 7, 2018
Note: The following is a guest blog post prepared by Shaw Centre’s Director, Marketing and Partnership, Julia Forbes, sharing news of an exciting project with which she was recently engaged in the Centre’s community relations efforts.
At Shaw Centre, finding innovative ways to give back to the community – on our own, or in tandem with our clients – is a top priority. This summer, our marketing team came up with a unique initiative that exemplifies our community spirit. Some of our own staff and many people working at nearby downtown businesses enjoy the weekly Parliament Hill Yoga (PHY) sessions so much that we thought it would be fun to host a yoga class here in the Centre. Everyone on our team agreed that this would be an ideal use for our centre on a non-occupied day.
We consistently strive to be creative and innovative with the many spaces in our building. We love our big bright windows and the airy feel it provides guests; Shaw Centre is a location that is perfectly suited not only for speeches, cocktail receptions and galas, but also to provide a calming, relaxing atmosphere for team building activities like yoga. The view of the Parliament buildings from our floor to ceiling windows in the Trillium Ballroom is actually what provoked us to think about hosting a PHY session. We wondered what happens when it rains on a Wednesday and thought that perhaps our location could be the perfect fit as an indoor alternative. As the only facility in Ottawa that can accommodate hundreds of yogis and still offer a fantastic view of the Peace Tower, it seemed like a perfect idea to us!
We reached out to Lululemon which organizes the PHY sessions, inviting them for a site visit of our space to showcase the location and our vision. They loved it and readily embraced the concept; not long after we had 650 people blissfully stretched out on their yoga mats, including more than a dozen Shaw Centre employees. One participant named Jenn told us on Facebook after Shaw Centre’s inaugural public yoga session, “The venue was a great alternative to (very hot) yoga in the great outdoors on such an extreme-temp day. Parliament Hill Yoga is one of my favourite activities of the week. Thank you so much for offering to host it!” Yogi Nathalie added that she found the space ideal: “Clean, well lit, gorgeous vistas, excellent floor plan, modern and spotless washrooms, easy access to affordable parking and signage to make sure you don’t feel lost or overwhelmed. Thanks for a great experience.”
To sweeten our Yoga in the Ballroom experience, we provided complementary sample-sized smoothies and energy bites to our yoga guests. We’re toying with the idea of running additional sessions in the winter, at which point we would like to offer a more comprehensive lunch option to those that are participating, making available for purchase a delicious “grab and go” healthy meal prepared by our outstanding culinary team.
The main goal of the summertime yoga event was to use it as a pilot to test participation, reaction and enjoyment of this location, setting up conversations surrounding a winter edition of Parliament Hill Yoga. We would be honoured to help provide the city of Ottawa and its tourists with a year-round opportunity to get in touch with their inner yogi while gazing out over the downtown core of the nation’s capital and especially the Parliament buildings.
Shaw Centre’s size and room configuration lends itself to many diverse purposes. In fact, yoga in the ballroom is now an optional activity that some guests choose to incorporate into the schedule for their events and conferences. Ours is a very flexible and dynamic place and we are glad to see our spaces being put to a wide variety of uses, including “yoga with a view”.