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Carleton University receives the Key to the City

June 18, 2017
Announcements and Events

This afternoon, Mayor Jim Watson presented the Key to the City to Carleton University – in recognition of 75 years of disciplinary and interdisciplinary teaching, study and research, creation and dissemination of knowledge, and betterment of our community. The ceremony was held at the Fairmont Château Laurier.

Carleton University opened in 1942 as Carleton College on First Avenue. It quickly expanded as the student population grew with the many soldiers returning from World War II. Carleton officially became a university in 1957 and its current campus along the Rideau River started taking shape at that time.

The current site is now 62 hectares large and the university offers programs in more than 65 disciplines. Today, 30,000 students attend Carleton annually. The university features 878 faculty members, 1,085 staff members, 740 contract instructors and 1,828 graduate teaching assistants. It has graduated more than 140,000 students in its 75 years, including many who have made an impact on the City of Ottawa, including Mayor Jim Watson, politician Paul Dewar, photographer Paul Couvrette, Dr. Wilbur Keon, architect Barry Hobin, Journalists Jane Taber and Nahlah Ayed, CBC radio host Alan Neal, former Mayor Ben Franklin, MPP Yasir Naqvi, hardware and software developer Michael Cowpland, City Councillors Scott Moffat and Michael Qaqish, and City Manager Steve Kanellakos.



“It’s an honour to present the Key to the City to my alma mater. Carleton University has had a tremendous impact on the City of Ottawa. In the last 10 years, Carleton has seen its student body grow by almost 20 percent while its international student population increased by 50 per cent in the last five years. This means more talented and diverse youth are choosing to study in our city. These students bring enthusiasm, intelligence, ideas and actions with them when they arrive to study in Ottawa. This is reflected in the graduates they have sent out into the world, which include community leaders, business leaders, politicians, entertainers, and journalists who have shaped our neighbourhoods and enriched our lives.”

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson

"We are extremely grateful to Ottawa for this signal honour. We look forward to collaborations with our city in ever-increasing ways to the benefit of all citizens."

Carleton University President Roseann O’Reilly Runte


Key Facts

The Key to the City

  • The Key to the City is Ottawa’s most prestigious award.
  • An ornamental key is presented to esteemed residents, visitors and others whom the City of Ottawa wishes to honour. This practice has a symbolic meaning evoking medieval walled cities, the gates of which would be guarded during the day and locked at night. The key symbolizes the freedom of the recipient to enter and leave the city at will as a trusted friend of city residents.
  • Some former recipients include:
    • Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth (now, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II)
    • Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands
    • Author Margaret Atwood
    • Photographers Yousuf and Malak Karsh
    • The Community Foundation of Ottawa
    • Actress Sandra Oh
    • Ottawa Senators former Captain Daniel Alfredsson
    • The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
    • Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek
    • TV and radio news journalist, Michel Picard
    • Algonquin College


Carleton University

  • Carleton University is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2017.
  • More than 140,000 students have graduated from Carleton University since it opened.
  • Carleton has 25,530 undergrad students and 4,043 graduate students.
  • Carleton features 878 faculty members, 1,085 staff members, 740 contract instructors and 1,828 graduate teaching assistants.
  • Notable alumni include:
    • Maude Barlow
    • Pauline Jewett
    • Paul Dewar
    • Janice Charette
    • Kellylee Evans
    • David Gourlay
    • Grete Hale
    • Barry Hobin
    • Dr. Wilbur Keon
    • Alison Korn
    • Jane Taber
    • Nahlah Ayed
    • Jim Watson

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