In a major victory that could be as important as winning the franchise itself, the owner of the Ottawa Senators Eugene Melnyk has won the right to negotiate with the National Capital Commission, to bring his team to downtown Ottawa.

Melnyk’s Rendezvous Lebreton group beat a rival group lead by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte. In an exhaustive review of both bids the NCC said the Senator’s backed bid made more sense, and scored higher for a variety of reasons.

This is one major step in a long process, but the Senators group promised in their bid that a new arena would be ready for the puck to drop by September of 2021.

The big question for Kanata residents now: what are the plans for the Senators current home the Canadian Tire Centre.

Melnyk says he has plans for that site too, and will reveal them soon.


Bids from Devcore Canderel DLS group and Rendezvouz LeBreton group were made available following months of speculation as part of a secretive bidding process that began in September 2014.

“The two proponents vying for the opportunity to redevelop LeBreton Flats have proposed comprehensive visions for this unique urban site in our capital,” said Dr. Mark Kristmanson, Chief Executive Officer of the NCC in a news release.

As CTV Ottawa reported, both proposals have plans for an NHL sized sports and entertainment complex, a new Ottawa Public Library, green space for the public and new residential properties.

Devcore Canderel DLS group, formerly DCDLS, has called its concept for the 9.3 hectares of undeveloped land "LeBreton re-imagined." The group plans to turn 55 acres into a multi-use space over the next 15 years, with a Ripley's Aquarium, the world's largest skateboard park, a skydiving wind tunnel and a new NHL-sized rink at the helm of its bid.

Devcore Canderel DLS group has several high profile backers: the President of Quebec’s Power Corporation Canada, André Desmarais; the co-founder and former CEO of Cirque du Soleil Guy Laliberté; the co-founder of JDS Uniphase, William J. Sinclair; and the Mierins Family, most commonly known for their 11 Ontario car dealerships.

“This is a nationally inspired proposal that we believe represents the interests and aspirations of not only those who live and work in Canada’s Capital, but of Canadians from every part of our great country,” stated Jean-Pierre Poulin, President of Devcore Group in a news release.

IllumiNATION LeBreton, a concept by Ottawa Senators' owner Eugene Melnyk and other backers of the Rendezvous LeBreton group, plans on creating a subsidized gathering place for Canadian military on a short or long-term basis, a new home for the Canada Science and Technology Museum, an event space with a watershow for storytelling on multiple level, and two NHL-sized rinks capable of hosting national and international hockey events. 

“The Major Event Centre will host all home games for the Ottawa Senators. But more importantly, we forecast more than 70 per cent of the 175 annual events at this world class venue will be non-hockey events including cultural performances, live music concerts and family entertainment,” said Senators owner Eugene Melnyk in a release. 

Devcore Canderel DLS group:

  •          Theatre of Sports and Entertainment
  •          Ripley’s Aquarium
  •          World’s largest skateboard park
  •          Bridge to Preston Street
  •          6,0000 square foot bandshell for 4,000 people
  •          Central Library, YMCA, French Language Elementary School
  •          2,500 residential units
  •          1 million square feet of office space
  •          4 season linear park
  •          Brewseum
  •          NHL arena

Timeline:     Build to be completed in three phases, with some components finished for Canada's 150th birthday. 

Rendezvous LeBreton:

  •          Accesible Sports and Community Complex with 2 NHL-sized hockey rinks
  •          New Ottawa Central Library planned for Albert and Booth Streets
  •          Major events centre with 18,000 seats and outdoor area with capacity of 28,000
  •          Pedestrian concourse with a ‘digital’ pathway
  •          First Nations Plaza
  •          New home for Ottawa Race Weekend, Army Run and Run Ottawa.
  •          Canada House – gathering space for members of military with space for medical care for military families
  •          4,400 residential units and 2.8 million square feet of retail and office space

Timeline:     Development expected to take about 30 years, with the first Ottawa Senators game expected to happen in 2021. First of three neighbourhoods to open by 2026.

Negotiations with the preferred bidder will take place in the summer/fall of 2016. Approval is expected from the federal government in early fall 2016. The winning bidder will not be announced publicly until early 2017.