Ottawa concert promoter Ken Craig of Manotick was presented with a Mayor’s City Builder Award by Mayor Jim Watson in a ceremony held at Ottawa City Hall prior to a city council meeting.
The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual, group or organization that has, through their outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making Ottawa a better place today and for the future.
Ken thanked Mayor Watson for the honour and wished him future success when he leaves the City of Ottawa Council following October’s municipal election. He also thanked a variety of mentors and partners in the live entertainment business that helped and supported him over the years includingBass Clef’s owner Harold Levin, who gave him his start, and promoter Dennis Ruffo.
He also thanked and praised Canadian industry titans Michael Cohl (President & CEO, S2BN Entertainment and Chairman, EMC Presents), Riley O’Connor (Chairman, Live Nation Canada), Donald Tarlton (Chairman, Donald K Donald), and Andre Hudon (President & CEO, Donald K Donald). Ken said that it was thanks to the collective experience, patience, and generosity of these gentlemen over the years that he was able to succeed in the challenging business of live entertainment. Ken said that he looks forward to working with them all in various capacities in the future while maintaining his close personal friendships with them.
40 Years In Entertainment
Born and raised in the Ottawa area, Ken has spent 40 years in the live entertainment business which has seen him involved in the promotion and staging of more than a thousand events in Ottawa and all over the world. His events have entertained millions of fans and generated an amazing half billion dollars of total economic impact. The shows have been both big (e.g., Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Sir Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Celine Dion, etc.) and small (local bands and events) but they have all contributed greatly to the economies and culture of the communities in which they were held.
Ken has the distinction of having played a role in every one of the City of Ottawa’s Top 5 concerts of all time including the largest ever held that featured The Rolling Stones at Lansdowne Park on August 28, 2005 in a partnership with Donald K Donald. The Stones concert attracted a sold-out crowd of 43,200 fans, direct revenues of $9 million and a total economic impact of $25 million.
Other major shows at Lansdowne Park that Ken worked on included David Bowie (1987), Pink Floyd (1988), New Kids on the Block (1998), AC/DC (2015) and Guns N’ Roses (2017).
“Ken Craig has been responsible for bringing in hundreds of events to the City of Ottawa, both big and small, including some that have been exclusive to the Ottawa area,” said Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “His concerts have drawn millions of paying spectators over the years while putting Ottawa on the map as a major concert destination! Many of these fans come to Ottawa from around the world and fill hotels, restaurants and bars while also supporting other tourism businesses. Without Ken, these shows and more importantly, their profound economic impact on the city and our tourism industry, would not have been realized. Ottawa Tourism congratulates Ken on this richly deserved recognition from the mayor.”
Also on the economic development front, Ken has served as a member of various development and design committees for some major Ottawa development projects (e.g., Wesley Clover Parks, Lansdowne Park, Hard Rock Casino Ottawa, etc.) to help ensure that their design elements would meet the existing and future needs of concert promoters and event producers.
Ken is well known for his exploits as an accomplished live music impresario, but most Ottawans are unaware of his behind the scenes but significant volunteering and philanthropic work. He volunteered for 16 years on the Parent Councils of both the St. Leonard and St. Mark Catholic Schools while quietly helping to build the educational and recreational infrastructure of these same schools by personally contributing over $350,000 in funding and material support (e.g., recreational equipment, uniforms, PA systems, etc.).
“Ken Craig was totally dedicated to the parent councils of both the St. Leonard and St. Mark Catholic Schools on which he volunteered for 16 years,” said Janice Domaratzki, Portfolio Manager, RBC Dominion Securities Inc. and former long-time Parent Council Member, St. Leonard and St. Mark Catholic Schools. “Ken did so much for rural youth by providing significant funding and material support that no one really knew about. If something was truly needed like recreation equipment, PA systems, uniforms, etc., it just showed up. Teachers and parents alike just assumed that “someone found the funding”. Little did they know. Congratulations Ken!”
Ken has also been a big supporter of the Canadian military. Since 2006, he has donated more than $300,000 in show tickets to members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families. These tickets have enabled these families to enjoy top entertainment, much of which would not otherwise be affordable.
Over the years, Ken has also volunteered his time and expertise to programthe entertainment associated with major fundraising festivals and events in Ottawa (e.g., Hope Volleyball, CHEO Telethon, etc.). In addition, he has organized and produced special benefit concerts and events to support his fellow Ottawans negatively affected by natural disasters such as 1998’s Power Aid Live concert (ice storm relief benefit) and 2018’s “After the Storm” Tornado Relief Benefit Concert.
Ken lives in Manotick with his wife Jane and is the proud father of two academically inclined daughters: Madison, who at 24, is a Queen’s University graduate and is now in her 3rd year at the University of Ottawa Law School and Mackenzie, a 22-year-old Brock University graduate in Sports Business Management who has just completed a master’s degree in the same discipline at the University of Ottawa.
Ken Craig was joined by his family when he accepted the Ottawa Mayor’s City Builders Award.