The Order of Ottawa recognizes exceptional residents who have made a significant contribution in a professional capacity in many areas of city life, including arts and culture, business, community service, education, public service, labour, communications and media, science, medicine, sports and entertainment, or other fields that benefit the residents of Ottawa.
This prestigious civic award was established in 2012 by Mayor Watson and City Council. Recipients of the Order of Ottawa are chosen by a selection committee comprised of the Mayor, City Clerk and Solicitor, Chief of Police, Chief of Protocol, City Archivist and Chief Executive Officer of the Ottawa Public Library.
Bernie Ashe has enjoyed a long and formidable career as a key community builder in the nation’s capital, contributing to its economic growth and making the city of Ottawa a better place to live and work.
In his role as Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club from 1990 to 1997, he helped establish the business of hockey and build the Canadian Tire Centre. As the first CEO of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, Mr. Ashe was instrumental in the development of Lansdowne Park and the launching of major sports franchises in Ottawa. Canadian Football League team the Ottawa REDBLACKS made it all the way to the 2015 Grey Cup in their second season, and won the 2016 Grey Cup. The Ottawa Fury FC competed in the league’s championship match at the end of their second year. More recently, Mr. Ashe’s ambition and hometown pride helped bring the 2017 Grey Cup game and festival and the 2017 NHL 100 Classic to Ottawa.
Mr. Ashe helped the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group Foundation raise more than $2 million to lower financial barriers and enable youth from all backgrounds to participate in team sports. He launched the Bernie Ashe Sports Fund, which will provide children in the care of the Children’s Aid Society a chance to participate in organized sport.
A long-serving trustee and former Chairman of the Board of CHEO, Mr. Ashe also served on the boards of the Shaw Centre and Celebrations Ottawa, the organization that planned a range of Ottawa events for Canada’s 150th anniversary. He was a member of the Mayor’s Leadership Table on Homelessness and acted as a mentor to future leaders as CEO in Residence of the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management. In 2015, he was named the CEO of the Year by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce.
For more details on other Order of Ottawa inductees and the Brian Kilrea Award for Excellence in Coaching, please click here.