OTTAWA - The new illuminated Ottawa sign in the Byward Market will be sporting a "made in Moncton" label. 

A company based in New Brunswick won the bid beating out three local companies.

There's clearly no "M" in Ottawa but this Moncton-based company knows what it's doing.

According to the city, it landed the bid based on “Best Value following a competitive procurement process.”

The base is already being assembled for Ottawa's new illuminated sign with a sneak preview earlier this week from Mayor Jim Watson of what the 8 foot tall letters will look like.

The company building the Ottawa sign is based in Moncton.  Hansen Signs bid on the contract along with two Ottawa companies and one from West Quebec.  But it was the out of province sign manufacturer that got the winning bid.

“It is weird,” says Ottawa resident Dan Auger, as he watches employees with Hansen Signs maneuver sign pieces into place, “Why would someone from New Brunswick get to do that?”

“I think that’s ridiculous,” adds Bob Sharpe, “Why?  That’s the word I would have.  Why?”

“Great question,” says Nick Hansen, the owner of Hansen Signs. “It's a tender that went out as a public tender across country.  We are national sign company.  We do work all over the country generally and this is a tender we bid on and won the tender.”

The winning bid, Hanse says, was for about $175,000, taxes in.

Jim Hotten's company was one of the local bidders.  They've landed some big jobs in Ottawa including the signage for the new LRT. 

The company is rebuilding in Carp after a devastating fire destroyed its Ottawa site this past winter.  Hotten says he would have loved to win the bid for the Ottawa sign but understands how the process works and says his company has bid on and won contracts in other provinces and even across the border.

“It is what it is,” Hotten says, “It’s work.  If you get it, great.  If you don’t, you don’t. Whether it’s Moncton or anywhere else, it doesn’t matter, as long as they do a good job.”

Another Ottawa sign company though believes the contract should have been awarded to a local company, even though it didn't bid on it.  But the city says the laws don't allow that."

"The Ontario Discriminatory Business Practices Act precludes the City from favouring local suppliers when awarding contracts." the city said in an email. 

The provincial statute “is to prevent discrimination in Ontario on the ground of race, creed, colour, nationality, ancestry, place of origin, sex or geographical location of persons employed in or engaging in business.”


 “I think it will be a great addition,” said Mayor Jim Watson, “but we have to look at the cost and performance and my understanding is that it was awarded based on those criteria.”

As far as Jim Hotten is concerned, he's looking forward to seeing the new Ottawa sign, even if he didn't build it.

“The design is spectacular,” says Hutton, of the photos he has seen, “It will be a nice sign.  It would have been nice to get it but like I said, you win some, you lose some.  You can't have them all.”

t sounds as though Ottawa won't have to wait long to see the new sign.  Hansen says the build is going well and that they hope to ship out the letters and install them in about three weeks, just before Christmas.