Ottawa is the capital of Canada. The city is situated on the Ontario side of the Ottawa River, opposite Gatineau, Quebec. The metropolitan population of Ottawa is just under a million and it is currently the sixth largest city in Canada (fourth largest if Gatineau is included), and the second largest in Ontario after Toronto.
Founded in 1826 as Bytown, and incorporated as "Ottawa" in 1855, the city has evolved into a political and technological centre of Canada. Its original boundaries were expanded through numerous minor annexations and were ultimately replaced by a new city incorporation and major amalgamation in 2001 which significantly increased its land area. The city name "Ottawa" was chosen in reference to the Ottawa River nearby, which is a word derived from the Algonquin word Odawa, meaning "to trade".
Unique as a North American capital, the city is bilingual. English is the first language of a majority of the population, but French is the first language of roughly 15%, and in fact Ottawa is home to Canada's largest French-speaking population outside of Quebec. Staff in most stores and restaurants speak both well and, in general, bilingualism is common.
Ottawa is home to many of the world's cultures as thousands of immigrants from around the world now call Ottawa home. The city is probably best known as the nation's capital but has become one of the fastest growing cities in North America owing to the booming high-tech business sector.
The city is the most educated in Canada, with several post-secondary, research, and cultural institutions. Ottawa also has the highest standard of living in the nation and low unemployment. It ranks 2nd out of 150 worldwide in the Numbeo quality of life index, and it contains a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
|POPULATION :||City: 883,391 / Metro: 1,236,324|
|FOUNDED :||1826 as Bytown, 1855 as City of Ottawa|
|TIME ZONE :||Eastern (EST) (UTC−5) Summer: EDT (UTC-4)|
|LANGUAGE :||English (official) , French (official)|
|RELIGION :||Christian 65%, Muslim 6.7%, Hinduism 1.4%, Buddhism 1.3%, Judaism 1.2%, None 22.8%|
|AREA :||2,778.13 km2 (1,072.9 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||70 m (230 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||45°25′N 75°41′W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 48.8%
• Female: 51.2%
|ETHNIC :||British Isles origin 28%, French origin 23%, other European 15%, Amerindian 2%, other, mostly Asian, African, Arab 6%, mixed background 26%|
|AREA CODE :||613, 343|
|POSTAL CODE :||K0A, K1A-K4C|
|DIALING CODE :||+1 343|
Ottawa is the capital of Canada. The city is situated on the Ontario side of the Ottawa River, opposite Gatineau, Quebec. The metropolitan population of Ottawa is just under a million. It is the sixth largest city in Canada (fourth largest if Gatineau is included), and the second largest in Ontario after Toronto.
The city is bilingual: English is the first language of a majority of the population, but French is the first language of roughly 15%. Ottawa is home to Canada's largest French-speaking population outside of Quebec. Staff in most stores and restaurants speak both well and, in general, bilingualism is common.
Ottawa is home to many of the world's cultures as thousands of immigrants from around the world now call Ottawa home. The city is probably best known as the nation's capital but has become one of the fastest growing cities in North America owing to the booming high-tech business sector and has earned the name "Silicon Valley North".
Museums and performing arts
Amongst the city's national museums and galleries is the National Gallery of Canada; designed by famous architect Moshe Safdie, it is a permanent home to the Maman sculpture. The Canadian War Museum houses over 3.75 million artifacts and was moved to an expanded facility in 2005. The Canadian Museum of Nature was built in 1905, and underwent a major renovation between 2004 and 2010. Across the Ottawa river in Gatineau is the most visited museum in Canada, the Canadian Museum of History. Designed by Canadian aboriginal architect Douglas Cardinal, the complex, built at a cost of 340 million USD, also houses the Canadian Children's Museum, the Canadian Postal Museum and 3D IMAX theatre.
The city is also home to the Canada Agriculture Museum, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, the Canada Science and Technology Museum, Billings Estate Museum, Bytown Museum, Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Canadian Ski Museum, Currency Museum, and the Portrait Gallery of Canada.
The Ottawa Little Theatre, originally called the Ottawa Drama League at its inception in 1913, is the longest-running community theatre company in Ottawa. Since 1969, Ottawa has been the home of the National Arts Centre, a major performing arts venue that houses four stages and is home to the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and Opera Lyra Ottawa.Established in 1975, the Great Canadian Theatre Company specializes in the production of Canadian plays at a local level.
Historic and heritage sites
The Rideau Canal is the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America, and in 2007, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition, there are 24 other National Historic Sites of Canada in Ottawa, including: the Central Chambers, the Central Experimental Farm, the Château Laurier, Confederation Square, the former Ottawa Teachers' College, Langevin Block, Laurier House and the Parliament Buildings. Many other properties of cultural value have been designated as having "heritage elements" by the City of Ottawa under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act.
In addition to the Capital Information Kiosk, the tourist office's eager helpers can be found in public places, ready to answer questions in French or English. You can identify them by their blue uniforms with white question marks ("?").
- Capital Information Kiosk, 90 Wellington Street (opposite Parliament Hill), , toll-free: , e-mail: [email protected]. 10AM-5PM daily. Excellent first stop for all kinds of tourist information, in friendly and fluent English and French. This is the office which issues free tickets for tours of the Parliament buildings. free.
Ottawa is situated on the south bank of the Ottawa River and contains the mouths of the Rideau River and Rideau Canal. The older part of the city (including what remains of Bytown) is known as Lower Town, and occupies an area between the canal and the rivers. Across the canal to the west lies Centretown and Downtown Ottawa, which is the city's financial and commercial hub. As of 29 June 2007, the Rideau Canal, which stretches 202 km (126 mi) to Kingston, Fort Henry and four Martello towers in the Kingston area was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located on a major, yet mostly dormant fault line, Ottawa is occasionally struck by earthquakes. Examples include a magnitude 5.2 earthquake on 1 January 2000, a magnitude 4.5 earthquake on 24 February 2006, a magnitude 5.0 earthquake on 23 June 2010, and a magnitude 5.2 earthquake on 17 May 2013.
Ottawa sits at the confluence of three major rivers: the Ottawa River, the Gatineau River and the Rideau River.
Ottawa's primary employers are the Public Service of Canada and the high-tech industry. The city has a high standard of living and low unemployment. Mercer ranks Ottawa with the third highest quality of living of any large city in the Americas, and 16th highest in the world. It is also rated the second cleanest city in Canada, and third cleanest city in the world. In 2012, the city was ranked for the third consecutive year as the best community in Canada to live in by MoneySense.
The region of Ottawa-Gatineau has the third highest income of all major Canadian cities. The Federal government is the city's largest employer, employing over 110,000 individuals from the National Capital region. Ottawa is also an important technology centre; in 2015, its 1800 companies employ approximately 63,400 people. The concentration of companies in this industry earned the city the nickname of "Silicon Valley North." Most of these companies specialize in telecommunications,software,development,and environmental technology. Large technology companies such as Nortel, Corel, Mitel, Cognos and JDS Uniphase were founded in the city. Ottawa also has regional locations for 3M, Adobe Systems, Bell Canada, IBM, Alcatel-Lucent and Hewlett-Packard. Many of the telecommunications and new technology are located in the western part of the city (formerly Kanata).
Another major employer is the health sector, which employs over 18,000 people. There are four active general hospitals in the Ottawa area: Queensway-Carleton Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital, Montfort Hospital, and Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. There are also a number of specialized hospital facilities, such as the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. Business, finance, administration, and sales and service occupations rank high among types of occupations.Approximately ten percent of Ottawa's GDP is derived from finance, insurance and real estate whereas employment is in goods-producing industries is only half the national average. The City of Ottawa is the second largest employer with over 15,000 employees.
The National Defence Headquarters located in Ottawa is the main command centre for the Canadian Armed Forces and hosts the Department of National Defence.The Ottawa area includes CFS Leitrim, CFB Uplands, and the former CFB Rockcliffe. During the summer, the city hosts the Ceremonial Guard, which performs functions such as the Changing the Guard.
Ottawa started as a humble lumber town called Bytown; it was named after Colonel John By of the Royal Engineers who oversaw the construction of the Rideau Canal, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, much of which was done by hand, between 1826 and 1832. Lumber mills were built along the Ottawa River in the mid-nineteenth century and those brought employment and wealth to the growing population. The centre of action then, as now, was the ByWard Market. While it's still the centre of the city's nightlife, it has changed appreciably from the rough and tumble early days of brothels and taverns.
In 1857, Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the capital of Canada. The choice was controversial, partly because it sidestepped the rivalry between Toronto and Montreal (then, as now, Canada's largest cities), and partly because the new capital was still a tiny outpost in the middle of nothing much — an American newspaper famously commented that it was impregnable, as any invaders would get lost in the woods looking for it.
During the latter half of the nineteenth century, the telephone was demonstrated to the Canadian public for the first time and the city was electrified. The first electric streetcar service was started in 1891. A menu from 1892 states that, "the first instance in the entire world of an entire meal being cooked by Electricity" was in Ottawa.
Today, the major economic sectors are the public service, travel and tourism and the high-tech industry. Ottawa has proudly remained a green city and is situated at the confluence of three rivers (Ottawa, Rideau and Gatineau) as well as the Rideau canal. Many residents make regular use of Ottawa's parks and green spaces, bikeways and cross country ski trails. Many national attractions are located in Ottawa: Parliament Hill; the National Library and Archives; the National Gallery; as well as the Museums of Civilization, Contemporary Photography, Nature, War and Science & Technology.