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Canada – Hard Rock breaks ground on rebranding Rideau Carleton Casino to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Ottawa

By - 7 June 2023

After delays due to the pandemic, the time finally came to break ground on the future Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Ottawa in Ontario.

The new casino will boast 1,500 slots, 40 table games, a baccarat room, and a sportsbook as well as a high-limit area with a lounge for VIP guests. It will also have a six storey, 150-room Hard Rock Hotel with 22 suites and retail shops, as well as seven restaurants and three bar and lounge areas

Hard Rock International executives were joined by elected officials, and business and community leaders as they unveiled new renderings and details on this highly anticipated tourism and entertainment destination in the national capital. 

The ceremony was held indoors in Rideau Carleton Casino’s live venue, The Joint, and featured remarks by Mayor of Ottawa and City officials, Seminole Tribe representatives, Hard Rock International officials and Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation officials. The groundbreaking featured guests holding Hard Rock’s legendary guitar-handled shovels.

Originally announced in 2017, the $350m project will take over and expand the existing Rideau Carleton Casino. 

Jon Lucas, CEO of Hard Rock International, said: “We’re not just about gaming, we’re about entertainment. We’re about hospitality. I think we’re going to bring to the market great nightlife, great entertainment and great restaurants. There’s also that opportunity in our bar and cafe to show off local bands, and then, in our larger venue, to bring talent into the market. It just enhances what we’re currently doing on a grander scale, which would be great for the community.”

“It’s been a long, tedious process,” he added. “Obviously, interrupted by COVID and additional challenges of capital markets, costs of construction and supply chain challenges. The good news is we got past all those hurdles. We’re really excited to finally bring our brand to Ottawa.”

Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe added: “The new Hard Rock Hotel and Casino represents a significant investment in the south end of our city. It will create new jobs and build on the existing attraction at Rideau Carleton Casino. I know many residents of the city are looking forward to enjoying this space and it will also be another great tourist attraction in Ottawa.”

Helen MacMillan, general manager of Rideau Carleton Casino, said: “It’s been a longer journey than we anticipated. The property was closed during the pandemic, when we actually had a groundbreaking date in April 2020. The project restarted in August of 2021, but the world changes increased significantly and supply chains were very, very challenging.” 

In terms of the Hard Rock brand, she added: “It’s going to be extremely valuable. We describe ourselves as a world-class operation, a world-class brand. Anyone who walks through the doors will have that local feel. The experience is the focus for us. We’ll be providing that entertainment experience,” she said. “We’re welcoming people to the property and providing them with an experience that is different than if they go to a nightclub or go to have dinner downtown. A lot of guests say, ‘You know, we didn’t know about this and we now have options that we didn’t have before.”

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