Mayor hopes Queen's Park trip accelerates Kanata tech scene

Mayor Jim Watson says Terry Matthews and Invest Ottawa will join him in Toronto to promote Kanata's technology scene.

Jim Watson hopes 'mission' will position Kanata to be autonomous vehicles leader

QNX brought this Lincoln MKZ, the first self-driving car shown in Ottawa, to the Autonomous Vehicles Summit in Kanata. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Ottawa mayor Jim Watson is hoping a trip to Queen's Park in the coming weeks with serial entrepreneur and high-tech magnate Sir Terry Matthews and others will keep Ottawa's tech scene in the provincial spotlight.

"It's a chance for Terry Matthews and Invest Ottawa and other organizations and companies to come and do a bit of dog-and-pony show to show opinion leaders and decision makers that we have a very vibrant tech sector," said Watson.

Watson said he wants to make sure Ottawa figures as prominently in the minds of MPPs as other jurisdictions closer to Toronto, such as Waterloo.

"One of the things I learned from my time at Queen's Park is the old expression 'out of sight, out of mind.'"

No date is yet set for the trip, but the mayor's office is looking at the first week of March.

Watson eyes provincial designation for driverless cars

"Ultimately, in politics, some people like what you're doing, and other people don't like it, and you accept that," said Watson. (Roger Dubois/CBC)
A priority for Watson on this upcoming "mission" to Queen's Park is to position Kanata as a leader in autonomous vehicles.

The province has yet to name a community that will become its centre of excellence for driverless car technology and Watson wants to push for the capital region to be in that running.

"We're seeing private sector investment come into this city in record amounts…  so I'm hoping we'll be at the forefront of autonomous vehicles in the future," said Watson.

The mayor also spent part of his state of the city speech on Tuesday describing the promise of 5G technology, the next generation of telecommunications networks, and how it is helping "turn the innovation industry spotlight toward Ottawa once again."