I recently learned from an article on Open File Ottawa, that there's this beautiful modern building, formally known as the Canada and the World Pavilion, that the NCC has been neglecting for the past couple years. At approximately $4 million dollars over budget, this glass building overlooking the Ottawa Rideau Falls was constructed in 2001. According to an article on the the NCC Watch, the intent for the building was for it to be a forum where visitors can see and appreciate the global achievements of Canadians in diplomacy, peacekeeping, aid, science, technology, art and sport. Also, the then chairman said that the pavilion would fill a gap in tourists' experience of Ottawa.
While I like the idea, I would say from the picture below of the "better days" of the pavilion, they clearly didn't know what they were doing, starting with the presentation of the building. Who would cover a piece of art with stretched fabric like this?
But that's nothing compared to the "business plan". Apparently the operating budget was $500,000 per year, admission was free and the objective was to attract 120,000 visitors per year. Mind you, the pavilion was only opened during the summer. As a entrepreneur, I cringed when I read this. What did they expect would come out of such a plan?
So essentially, they opened their doors in 2001, and just when the number of visitors reached their target, they closed their doors. The building was left mostly vacant since. Makes sense?
I thought long and hard about it, and I think I came up with a good solution. It seems like most people like the idea of a museum. In fact I think the original idea of celebrating Canada's contribution is a good one, just poorly executed. What I would suggest is to open our very own branch of Madame Tussauds museum, featuring Canadian celebrities? The first one in Canada!
I'm assuming such a museum is successful by the simple fact that this model has been repeated in several cities around the world. There are currently 4 in the US, 5 in Europe, 3 in Asia and 1 in Australia. There are a lot of successful canadians who already have their wax figures in the United States, such as Celine Dion, Justin Bieber, Jim Carrey and William Shatner. Why not have the first Canadian version one in Ottawa?
How can we make it fit NCC's criteria? We focus only on Canadians and add more wax figures from our large pool of Canadian celebrities. Seriously, there's a lot to choose from. Off the top of my head I can think of Keanu Reeves, Pamela Anderson, Keifer Sutherland, Drake, Deadmau5, Mike Myers, Rachel McAdams, Kardinal Offishall, Sandra Oh, Michael J Fox, Donald Sutherland, Seth Rogan, Russel Peters, etc. It's not that hard! We could also add our own Prime ministers to the list. What a fun and effective way to fill a gap in tourists' experience of Ottawa both for locals and tourists from around the world!
Now I'm considering looking for someone or a group of people to make this happen. So if you, or anyone you know fits the bill, have them contact me. If there's a way to take the NCC out of this deal completely, it's even better. We can't let the NCC ruin yet another gem in the city. In fact, you can find a long list of failures on the NCC Watch website.
The building has three levels and is built into a cliff facing the Ottawa River. It features two floors of open spaces with windows on three sides overlooking the river and a lower level built into the cliff. I cringe when I see so much potential wasted. Hard earned taxpayers money going to waste. This is unacceptable.
I even put together an initial conservative proposal. This is based on the data I was able to find so far. The MoOt plan is this :
- Keep it open year round: There's no reason I can think of that would justify closing a museum in the winter. Since NCC was able to bring it 125,000 visitors while opened only in the summer. We could conservatively expect to double the number of visitors if we keep the place open year-round
- Make it profitable: First, there should be an admission fee, say on average $30,00 per person. This should bring in minimum $7.2 million dollars a year. Second, there should be things visitors could purchase as a souvenir such as a wax molding of your hand (like it Las Vegas) and merchandises. This should significantly increase revenues.
- Stay current and interesting : Use a clever marketing campaign to attract visitors, make the museum interactive and stay up to date with technologies. Add value to the visits with events such as appearances from celebrities, maybe even presentation sessions. Add new wax figures on a regular basis as well. It takes from six months to a year to complete a figure at a cost of $150,000 - $250,000. It looks feasible to me.
From what I've seen in the four years I've been living in this city, is that if you want to make things happen in Ottawa, you have to do it yourself. I'm on board, but I can't do this alone. So if I can find the proper serious partners to make this happen, I will. So please spread the word. The deadline for proposals is April 30, 2012.
Source : KatLevPhoto | Michael Afar | Shane Zurbrigg | NCC Watch | Wikipedia | Open File Ottawa | NCC Watch | Ottawa Citizen