Ottawa is in for a great surprise!

Rosemary Thompson, photographed at the National Arts Centre

The National Arts Centre has been wrapped in scaffolding, undergoing renovations for one and a half years. On Canada Day, as part of our country's 150th anniversary, the “new” NAC will be opening to the public, unveiling a space that will be welcoming and inclusive, a reflection of our city’s generous nature and our coming of age as a world capital.

Rosemary Thompson, Director of Communications, along with her NAC colleagues, has been an important part of this transformation. We photographed her as she was preparing to attend a Sunday matinee session, and chatted about what the new, renovated space holds in store for our city.

What can we expect from the new NAC, what awaits us?

“Ottawa is in for a great surprise! It is going to be very beautiful. All of the public spaces are there for the people. It is about being inclusive, not exclusive. This used to be a fortress, but now it's about a transparent, beautiful, glowing place. We are going to have public animation in the new spaces. People can come in and have a cup of coffee or bring their kids and enjoy many activities, such as Toddler Tuesdays or yoga with music. It will be a place where people can really enjoy the arts without having a ticket.”

In the past, the main access to the centre was from the Rideau Canal. The back of the building was facing the city. This has now changed significantly.

The new NAC now has incredible views. The whole idea of the renovation was to turn the main access of the building. Now we will be facing the city and embracing the capital. We will be opening our arms and asking people to come in!"

Rosemary believes the whole city is engaged in a renaissance at the moment, the NAC being the symbolic part of it because of the arts. However, there is so much change and renovation underway throughout, that it truly makes Ottawa stand taller.

“It is a great time to be in Ottawa. We are growing up as a city, about to pass the million mark - we are not a little town anymore. We are starting to strut a little bit as a big city and we should be proud!”

Thank you so much, Rosemary, for taking the time today to share your passion for our city, the arts and the grand re-opening of the National Arts Centre.

If you are downtown on Canada Day weekend, be sure to drop by the NAC, where there will be free performances from some of Canada’s most accomplished artists.