Businesses around Lansdowne Park all smiles about outdoor NHL game


Economic expectations are high for businesses around Lansdowne Park after the announcement that an outdoor hockey game between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens is coming there in December.

With a capacity of around 35,000 people at an expanded TD Place stadium, nearby restaurateurs such as Crust & Crate's Ray Skaff said filling their own seats isn't usually an issue.

"When it's a big event, we're not really worried about the capacity; we're worried about making sure we can serve as many people as possible, because we don't want to disappoint anyone," he said in an interview Friday.

The owner of Lansdowne Park's Aroma Espresso Bar said he expects a lot of people to come to the area, given the crowds that have come out for the Ottawa Redblacks.

"I think there are a lot more NHL fans than [CFL] fans, even though the Redblacks doing really well inspired a lot of people to be more adamant fans," said Alasdair Grant.

Big game means citywide boon for business

The head of the Glebe Business Improvement Area said it's not just places selling food and drinks that will benefit.

"Feet in the street means business in the stores," said Andrew Peck.

"[If] you're bringing people into the area, it reacquaints them [with it]. Some people come all the time, some people come occasionally. For some people, it might be the first time for them in the Glebe if they're coming from out of town."

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said he's thinking back to when Ottawa hosted the 2012 NHL All-Star Game and mentioned wanting to replicate that multi-day, citywide hockey celebration in mid-December.

"We think $10, $20, $30 million in economic spinoff is quite realistic," he said.

"It's going to be great for the fans, but it's going to be even greater for the economy with restaurants filled, hotels and people shopping."

Realizing the vision for Lansdowne

​Peck said it's "epic" that the Glebe will host a Grey Cup festival, followed by an outdoor NHL game between these two rivals less than three weeks later.

The group managing Lansdowne Park said it's events such as the NHL game, the Grey Cup and major shows by groups including AC/DC and Guns N' Roses that inspired the park's rejuvenation.

"The vision for this place always was to make it the top destination for sports and entertainment in Ottawa. That's beginning to happen now," said Bernie Ashe, CEO of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group.

"Here we have a big event that has North American appeal being able to be played here... November-December is going to be great for the site.

"On the weekends, this is a great environment to be in. It's a great buzz," said Skaff, back at Crust & Crate.

"[For the outdoor game] we're going to be taking it to a whole new level."

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