First Canadian Hard Rock Hotel and Casino will be built in Ottawa

ABOVE: The ceremonial groundbreaking of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Ottawa. (PHOTO: OLM STAFF)

It’s the opening act for the future Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Ottawa.

Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and other dignitaries were all smiles at a ceremony on Tuesday afternoon as they held guitar-shaped shovels in unison to launch the groundbreaking of the building of the first Canadian Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on the site of the Rideau Carleton Casino on Albion Road in South Ottawa. The announcement came after years of delays due to the Covid calamity.

Slated to open in 2025, the $350 million-dollar Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Ottawa is being built on the grounds of the Rideau Carleton Casino. It will include a 150-room hotel with 22 suites; a 1,800-seat “Hard Rock Live” theatre, with standing room for 2,200; and an expanded casino with 1,500 slot machines, 40 live-action table games, a sportsbook, high-limit gaming, and a baccarat room.

The new venue is expected to create an estimated 1,900 direct and indirect construction and ongoing employment opportunities in the national capital region. Several restaurants will be on the new site, and Hard Rock memorabilia from numerous famous musicians will be on display.

Hard Rock International COO Jon Lucas told the packed room, “We’re excited, we’re breaking ground today, and it's a glorious day.”

Rideau Carleton Casino general manager Helen MacMillan took to the stage with the sound of Ottawa’s open Alanis Morrisette blazing in the speakers and then paid homage to the 60-year history of the Rideau Carleton Raceway and Ottawa. 

MacMillan said the Hard Rock Ottawa venue will contribute a new chapter to both the local community and the region and will continue to focus on the many social responsibility and charitable programs that Rideau Carleton has become famous for since its beginnings in the early 1960s. MacMillan also assured the audience that the tradition of horse racing at Rideau Carleton will continue.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe says the redevelopment will benefit the city and will have a significant impact on the local economy. “Overall, I would say it's huge for the city, and for the south end of the city in particular," he said. “It's big for economic development. Hard Rock is a very well-established, successful international brand, and the fact that they’re choosing to invest in Ottawa is a really encouraging sign.”

ABOVE: The Rideau Carleton Casino will remain open during construction. (PHOTO: OLM STAFF)

The City of Ottawa receives approximately $6 million annually and over $93 million in total payments from OLG for hosting Rideau Carleton Casino. Those numbers are only expected to increase with the new venue.

The existing Rideau Carleton Casino will remain open during the construction of the future Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.