President Biden arrives in Ottawa: What you need to know about day one of the visit
U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrived in Ottawa on a foggy Thursday evening, kicking off a whirlwind two-day visit to the capital.
Crowds of people gathered along Bronson Avenue, Colonel By Drive and Sussex Drive as Biden and his motorcade travelled from the Ottawa International Airport to Rideau Cottage for a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
A heightened security presence greeted the president as he arrived in Ottawa, with several roads closed and Ottawa police, the RCMP, Ontario Provincial Police and other police forces maintaining a presence across the Parliamentary Precinct.
Biden’s only item on the itinerary tonight is a meeting with Trudeau and his wife at Rideau Cottage. Biden’s trip will include an address to Parliament on Friday.
Ottawa police and the city of Ottawa have warned residents and visitors will see an increased police presence across the downtown core on Thursday and Friday, and there will be “significant traffic and transit disruptions” during the visit.
Biden is the 12th U.S. president to visit Ottawa. Biden visited Ottawa as vice-president in 2016.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at what you need to know about President Biden’s first day in Ottawa.
President Biden’s itinerary for Thursday
Governor General Mary Simon will welcome the president and first lady at the Canada Reception Centre at the Ottawa International Airport shortly after the plane lands.
The delegation of Canadian officials meeting Biden at the Ottawa airport includes Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S. Kirsten Hillman, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Treasury Board President Mona Fortier.
Biden will travel to Rideau Cottage to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau later Thursday evening. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby called the meeting an “intimate gathering”.
On Friday, President Biden will participate in a bilateral meeting with Trudeau and address Parliament.
The city of Ottawa and Ottawa police say there will be road closures and traffic disruptions today.
The following roads will be closed from 4 p.m. on Thursday until 11 p.m. on Friday:
- Wellington Street, between Metcalfe Street and Mackenzie Avenue
- Rideau Street, between Mackenzie Avenue and Dalhousie Street
- Elgin Street, between Queen and Wellington streets
- Mackenzie Avenue, between Murray and Rideau streets
- Colonel By Drive, between Daly Avenue and Rideau Street
- Sussex Drive, between Rideau Street and George Street
City staff say the following roads will have temporary disruptions today due to the president’s visit:
- Airport Parkway, between the Ottawa International Airport and Bronson Avenue
- Bronson Avenue, between Findlay Avenue and Airport Parkway
- Colonel By Drive, between Hog’s Back Road and Daly Avenue
- Sussex Drive, between George Street and Princess Avenue
While President Biden’s motorcade is moving, the Macdonald-Cartier and Alexandra bridges will have “intermittent and temporary closures in both directions” for all vehicular, cyclist and pedestrian traffic.
“The morning commute on Thursday, March 23 is not expected to be impacted, however, for security reasons, the exact details and timing of road closures and other impacts to City services may be communicated at the last minute. We appreciate your patience and understanding as this visit takes place,” the city said.
OC Transpo says bus service will be detoured from Rideau Street to the Mackenzie King Bridge due to the president’s visit. The following routes will be detoured from 5 p.m. Thursday to 10 p.m. Friday – 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 97, 99, 111, 299.
Some OC Transpo bus routes and Para Transpo service will experience travel delays due to road closures and various routes will experience detours during select time periods.
The O-Train will be operating as regularly scheduled, with stops at Rideau Station.
Transport Canada announced Thursday morning it has issued a NOTAM (notice to air missions) restricting the operation of all aircraft, including drones, within a five nautical mile radius of Parliament Hill (about 9 kilometres). They have also issued the same restriction within a 24 nautical mile radius of the Ottawa airport (about 44 kilometres).
The notices will be in effect from 5:30 p.m. Thursday until 10 p.m. Friday, about the length of the president’s planned stay. Regularly scheduled commercial and cargo flights, along with police, military and medevac flights, are excluded from those restrictions.
NORAD warns Ottawa residents may see military aircraft in the sky during President Biden’s visit to the capital.
CF-18 Hornet fighter jets and CH-146 Griffon helicopters may be in the skies over Ottawa the next two days.
Where to watch live coverage
Live coverage of the visit starts Thursday on CTV News Channel. For the latest updates on the trip, including Biden’s address to Parliament, follow our live blog launching Friday on CTVNews.ca and the CTV News app.
With files from CTV News senior digital parliamentary reporter Rachel Aiello
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