• History

  • Our Roots Matter

    Really? Does all the history matter?

    We think so. All businesses start with a story. A story about a person with an idea or a group of people with a plan. And those stories grow over time. And in this moment, we stand between the story that’s been written and what will happen next.

    We know that Chambers of Commerce have been around for a long time. The first was in the 1500s. They’ve taken many different forms as they should: they represent different regions and different business communities.

    The first Chamber of Commerce in Canada was formed in Halifax in 1750. Over 250 years ago, a group of business leaders—they were merchants—got together to create the "Association for the Benefit of Trade." This was the first time a business group was organized and conducted their affairs independent of any government affiliation. Soon after, Saint John, Quebec City and Montreal all followed suit. They all recognized that business leaders needed to lead themselves first if they were ever to lead others.

    Let’s fast forward to September 26, 1980. At the request of Michael Cowpland, the one-year-old Nepean Chamber of Commerce was changed to the Nepean-Kanata Chamber of Commerce.

    As Kanata continued to grow into a vibrant city in its own right, the Board of Directors created the Kanata Chamber as a division of the Nepean-Kanata Chamber of Commerce. The Nepean Chamber was also created as a division at the same time. This all happened in October of 1988.

    Three years later, it had become evident that these two divisions warranted the creation of their own separate Chambers of Commerce and on January 1st, 1991 the Kanata Chamber became it’s own legal entity. A few weeks later the Kanata Business Association voted to merge with the newly formed Kanata Chamber.

    In July 2005, the Kanata Chamber of Commerce reached out to the neighbouring business communities of Goulbourn and West Carleton to explore working together to continue to build on the growing business momentum.

    In December 2013, with support from a unanimous vote at the September AGM, the organization name was changed to the West Ottawa Board of Trade. Following membership approval from both organizations, effective January 1, 2015, the Nepean Chamber of Commerce amalgamated with the West Ottawa Board of Trade to become a comprehensive, integrated community of business leaders representing the communities of Nepean, Kanata, Goulbourn and West Carleton.

    It is with the support of dedicated local business leaders that this Board of Trade will continue the work that started in 1750 as we work together to build a vibrant future.

    Past Presidents of the Kanata Chamber of Commerce

    • Gordon J. Smith, Gordon J. Smith, FCGA & Associates: 1991-1992
    • John Rick, Rick & Associates: 1992-1993
    • Allan Whitten, Strand Securities Corporation: 1993-1994
    • Martin Payne, Nightingale & Payne Accountants: 1994-1995
    • Doug Foster, DF Interior Design Services: 1996-1999
    • Mike Merpaw, BDO Dunwoody LLP: 2000-2001
    • Brian Warren, Warrenty Communications 2001-2002
    • Tracey Dixon, Comfort Inn: 2002-2003
    • Dirk Bouwer, Gibson & Associates: 2003-2004
    • Kristine Dempster, Holiday Inn Select Hotel & Suites: 2004-2005
    • Dave Perley, Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Co.: 2005-2006
    • George von Jagow, TD Waterhouse: 2006-2008
    • Brent Lavery, Brookstreet Resort: 2008-2010
    • Megan Cornell, Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP: 2010-2011
    • Angela Houle, McAuley Financial Services: 2011-2012
    • Greg Weatherdon, MRG Media Inc.: 2012-2013
    • Rick Chase, Freedom 55 Financial: 2013-2014

    Past Presidents of the West Ottawa Board of Trade

    • Greg Weatherdon, MRG Media Inc.: 2014-2015