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After years of delays, ground breaks on the future Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Ottawa

It's the opening act, with guitar-shaped shovels in the ground for the future Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Ottawa.

Construction has officially started on Ottawa's rebranded casino after years of delays. On Tuesday afternoon, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the Rideau Carleton Casino, the site of the new facility.

"We're finally here," said Hard Rock International COO Jon Lucas. "We're excited, we're breaking ground today, and it's a glorious day.

"We're a hospitality company, we are focused on food and beverage, restaurants, hotel, entertainment, nightlife and oh, by the way, we have some gaming too."

The future Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Ottawa will be developed on the site of the Rideau Carleton Casino. (Hard Rock/supplied)

According to Hard Rock, the $350-million construction project is expected to create nearly 1,900 direct and indirect construction and ongoing employment opportunities in the city of Ottawa.

"We had members of our team for a couple of hours to talk to them about what's coming, what it's going to look like, and what it's going to mean for them. The excitement is definitely building," Rideau Carleton Casino general manager Helen MacMillan tells CTV News Ottawa.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe says the redevelopment will benefit the city.

"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."

Since the gaming site was added in February 2000, the City of Ottawa has received approximately $6 million annually and over $93 million in total payments from OLG for hosting Rideau Carleton Casino. This amount is expected to rise once the expanded Hard Rock facility is operational, the company says.


The opening is planned for spring of 2025. The facility will feature a 150-room hotel, including 22 suites; the 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 future Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Ottawa will be developed on the site of the Rideau Carleton Casino. (Hard Rock/supplied)

The tradition of horse racing at the site will also continue.

"We'll continue racing for sure," says MacMillan.

And if you enjoy a bit of sizzle with your rock, there will also be the "Council Oak Steakhouse," which is among more than 10 restaurants, bars and lounges, including the Hard Rock Cafe.

Hard Rock says memorabilia will also be on display.

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

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