Amazon HQ2 in Canada’s Capital Region is integral to and integrated into one of the largest and most transformational waterfront development projects undertaken on North America’s urban landscape in generations.
Amazon’s quest for a setting worthy of HQ2 happily coincided with the beginning of massive redevelopment projects along the shorelines of the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau on the mighty Ottawa River. Approximately 120 acres of pre-planned and close to shovel-ready public and private lands were poised for development. Amazon stepped in on the ground floor of this generational, city-building undertaking to establish an incomparable 8 million square foot urban HQ2 right on the edge of nature.
Amazon HQ2 is located at the key junction of the Capital Region’s sustainable light rail transit system, connecting the campus to all districts of this beautiful, welcoming and economically stable G7 capital of 1.3 million people–almost half of whom speak both English and French. It’s also just 15 minutes from the award-winning Ottawa International Airport, which has US Customs pre-clearance and is within a two-hour flight of over 200 million North Americans.
Amazonians working at HQ2 are within steps of the Ottawa River, an all-new NHL hockey and entertainment venue, a national festival plaza, shops, restaurants, clubs and pubs, the new Ottawa Public Library, the Canadian War Museum–even a world-class white water kayaking facility right in the heart of the city.
Amazonians who are into the outdoors step outside HQ2, mount their bikes and pedal directly onto an 800-kilometre network of cycling and recreation paths that line both sides of the Ottawa River and crisscross the entire Capital Region. In summer, they can enjoy the thrill of whitewater rafting just five minutes upriver from campus. In winter, they cross-country ski on groomed trails along that same River, and skate on the Rideau Canal, the world’s largest skating rink and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And any time of the year, they’re just minutes away from hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, zip-lining, and downhill skiing in the nearby Gatineau Hills.
HQ2 Amazonians who appreciate the arts and culture work just minutes from world-class performances of music, dance and theatre at the National Arts Centre, Canada’s stage. They can discover the creativity and diversity of Canadian and Indigenous art displayed at the National Gallery of Canada and Ottawa Art Gallery. And they can explore Canadian heritage and global cultures at the Canadian Museum of History.
Many Amazonians working at HQ2 live within steps of the campus in homes and condos built at the same time as the campus itself. Others live in the nearby trendy neighborhoods of Hintonburg and Westboro, and at the all-new residential community at Tunney’s Pasture, minutes west of the campus. Others choose to live elsewhere in the city’s core, while still others opt for new homes in the surrounding suburbs. Surprisingly, the commute for most is rarely more than a half hour. Happily, the cost of housing and cost of living in Ottawa-Gatineau is the most favorable of any major Canadian city.
HQ2 is embedded in and surrounded by a globally competitive technology and research ecosystem that has deep roots and is the most intensive in the country. Companies here are at the forefront of product and service research and development across sectors as diverse as autonomous vehicles, AI, machine learning, telecom, defense and aerospace, biosciences and more. The Capital Region is likewise home to national research institutes devoted to science and technology, communications, aerospace, and health, plus research-intensive universities, and hundreds of national industry associations. When Amazon made its decision to build HQ2 in Ottawa-Gatineau, the region’s ICT workforce was 89,000-strong and the region already boasted the country’s most educated populace and the second highest concentration of engineers and scientists in North America.
Amazon talent recruiters at HQ2 draw directly from the thousands of STEM and business grads groomed at the Capital Region’s four universities and five colleges. They take advantage of the fact that international students who are increasingly drawn to the Capital Region can stay and work upon graduation, with a path toward permanent residency. They likewise leverage Canada’s Global Skills Strategy and Global Talent Stream, the Provincial Nominee Program and the NAFTA immigration scheme to process international candidates in as little as two weeks. When recruiting from outside the Capital Region, they put the unparalleled quality of life afforded by Ottawa-Gatineau–which consistently ranks #1 for quality of life in Canada–front and centre to attract and retain the best and brightest.
Amazon executives at HQ2 who are active in government relations and trade matters have ready access not only to Canadian government officials, departments and agencies–and their programs for business–but also to diplomats flying the flags of over 130 countries at embassies and missions located here in the Capital Region. The Parliament of Canada is just three LRT stops from HQ2, the US Embassy just four stops.
HQ2 is located on a site that has been planned using the ambitious One Planet Communities framework–and is one of only three sites in North America to have received the coveted One Planet Communities Endorsement. The campus is part of a fully integrated mixed use community of energy and resource efficient commercial and residential buildings, parks, green spaces and gathering places. HQ2 is powered by affordable, sustainable hydro electricity, generated two minutes downstream on the Ottawa River, and at clean hydro generating stations in the province of Quebec. The Capital Region has long been ranked as one of Canada’s most sustainable metropolitan centres, and HQ2 is contributing significantly to the region’s environmental bona fides.
HQ2 is located in one of Canada’s most connected cities, with competitively priced, redundant Dark Fibre connectivity that supports Tbps+ speeds. Since establishing HQ2, Amazon has become a major player in the Ottawa-based Centre of Excellence for Next Generation Networks, which Amazon counted on to make its deployment in Ottawa-Gatineau as simple as possible.
Amazon chose Ottawa-Gatineau as the site for HQ2 because Canada’s Capital Region offered a singular opportunity for Amazon to join in building an entirely new waterfront district in an accessible, welcoming and centrally-located G7 capital, recognized technology hub, and magnet for tech talent. Amazonians love the place, and Ottawa-Gatineau is a better place thanks to Amazon’s presence. Welcome to Amazon HQ2 in Canada’s Capital Region.