Marion Dewar Plaza

Objectives for the use of Marion Dewar Plaza
Application for use

Eligibility and assessment criteria

Cost of rental

Additional terms and conditions



To provide direction for use of the Marion Dewar Plaza located at 110 Laurier Avenue W. adjacent to the Ottawa City Hall complex. Marion Dewar Plaza forms one part of the Festival area, which also includes Confederation Park (across Laurier Street) owned by the National Capital Commission (NCC). While these guidelines only apply directly to the Marion Dewar Plaza, they are also consistent with relevant NCC guidelines.

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Objectives for the use of Marion Dewar Plaza

The purpose of the Marion Dewar Plaza is to provide a central site for festivals and special events which:

  • encourage economic development in the city (through attracting visitors and other direct/indirect economic spin-offs)
  • enhance the social /cultural life of residents and visitors via high quality programming of special events.

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Application for use

Organizations wishing to use Marion Dewar Plaza must meet specific criteria and pay associated fees. An application form is to be filled out by the organization and submitted to the Special Events Co-ordinator. The Special Events Co-ordinator will then review each application and approve use of the Plaza based on concurrence with eligibility criteria and availability.

Festival and special event organizers must provide the following information:

  1. Description of the event, including purpose and goals, dates and time
  2. Outline of the theme, target clientele and programmed activities
  3. Description of the organization (history, structure, key contacts)
  4. Admission fees and projected attendance figures, local and from outside the Region
  5. Outline of the event’s marketing/promotion plan, including samples of promotional material
  6. List of artists, performers, groups participating in the event (where relevant)
  7. Description of food, beverages and merchandise to be sold
  8. Site plan (which must be approved in advance) and identification of required road closures
  9. Financial statements, including the projected value of sponsorship and sponsors’ names

Organizations must also provide:

  • an outline of required equipment and services (e.g. barriers, change area, use of site control area If the event organizers require the use of the Festival Control Room, the rental is included for the Operational Days Only. The schedule fee is applicable for any additional days.
  • an evaluation report within 60 days after the event, which includes attendance, marketing/promotional achievements, levels of amplification, financial statements and assessment of City of Ottawa services.

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Eligibility and assessment criteria

Use of the Marion Dewar Plaza is awarded on a priority basis, contingent on availability of the site. Applications by Priority 1 groups will automatically take precedence over lower priority events.

Priority 1 Established major festivals
Priority 2
Emerging smaller festivals or larger, established special events (one day)
Priority 3
Events organized by commercial groups and events of one day or less, organized by community groups and other organizations. The latter will be approved by Special Events Co-ordinator or City representative based on availability of space and the nature of the event.

The priority of an applicant is assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

  • ability to attract tourists from outside the region
  • ability to generate economic development
  • existing event with a proven track record (vs. developmental event)
  • organization demonstrates a high level of fiscal responsibility and organizational stability
  • unique nature of the event, (i.e. public appeal, ability to attract new audiences)
  • duration (longer activities will have priority over short-term events)
  • impact on the surrounding community (e.g. requirement for road closures, sound amplification)
  • volunteer involvement

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Cost of rental

Non-Profit Organizations:

Non-profit groups not charging an entrance fee; community associations holding events for one day or less; City funded organizations. Rental fee of $721/day (plus HST) to cover all support staff and utilities is applicable.

Other Users:

All successful applicants will be asked to enter into an agreement with the City of Ottawa. Rental costs for the Marion Dewar Plaza are $1381 (plus HST) for a three day period (one day set-up, one day of operations, one day of tear-down). Each additional day of operations will be charged $1381 (plus HST)

This fee will include:

  1. Utilities (regular power including “A” Boards and access to water).
  2. Cleaning within City Hall building - “Outside by Organizer”.
  3. Access to Festival Control Room (operational days only).
  4. Minor repairs to grass area.
  5. The use of existing (if available) barricades / cements weights.
  6. Portable electrical panels.

Note: The groups shall be responsible for all damages to landscaping and equipment due to negligence.

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Additional terms and conditions

The festival/special event organizers will, at their own cost:

  1. Provide a programming/logistics co-ordination contact person.
  2. Provide overnight site cleaning during and post the event.
  3. Provide adequate supervision, crowd control, co-ordination and technical support during the event.
  4. Install and dismantle necessary equipment and infrastructure.
  5. Provide a certificate of comprehensive liability insurance coverage with the City of Ottawa as additional insured to a minimum limit of $5 million dollars per occurrence.
  6. Ensure the Marion Dewar Plaza is left in its original physical condition.
  7. Recognize the Marion Dewar Plaza as the official event site in promotional material and signage.
  8. Obtain a Special Occasion Permit related to the sale of alcohol, if required.
  9. Respect all government regulations and laws, specifically City policies pertaining to use of tobacco and public use of City facilities.
  10. Be bound by the Terms and Conditions of the Municipal Alcohol Policy,
  11. Respect City of Ottawa regulations regarding use of the site (e.g. no use of ground stakes, monitoring of amplification levels, adhering to weight restrictions above the permanent stage and parking garage, etc.).
  12. Not conduct any illegal activity.


  1. Permission to use Marion Dewar Plaza does not necessarily ensure similar permission in subsequent years. A new application must be made on an annual basis (December of the previous year).
  2. These guidelines only cover usage of Marion Dewar Plaza, the site control office and the change rooms. The booking of all other interior/exterior space must be co-ordinated through the Special Events Co-ordinator, which will also look after logistical arrangements subsequent to booking the Plaza.
  3. The City of Ottawa reserves the right to request changes to a site plan in order to protect the natural, structural or architectural features of Marion Dewar Plaza.
  4. Event management guidelines outlining infrastructure resources (water outlets, power sources, etc.) and regulations will be provided.
  5. Normally a two week period will be scheduled between major events to allow the Plaza grounds time to rejuvenate.

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Special event:

  • a one-time organized activity of a sports, social, recreational, touristic or cultural nature

Festival - cultural touristic:

  • annually recurring public celebration of limited duration of a nature organized by a not-for-profit group

Major established Festival:

  • has an operating budget over $100,000 and is at least two years old

Small emerging Festival:

  • less than two years old, and with an operating budget smaller than $100,000

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To enquire about public space availability at Marion Dewar Plaza:
E-mail: or,
Call: 613-580-2424 ext 22771.

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Updated December 2010