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Ottawa Ontario is the capital city of Canada, located at the confluence of the Ottawa, Rideau and Gatineau rivers in southeastern Ontario. The population as of 2006 was 812,129 [1]. In addition to being home to much of Canada's Civil Service, Ottawa's economy has a large "high tech" sector and is home to two major universities, the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.

Government Buildings

The Canadian Parliament is situated on Parliament Hill, a grouping Gothic Revival buildings, featuring Centre Block and the landmark Peace Tower.

The Art Deco-style Supreme Court of Canada Building was designed by Ernest Cormier.

The official residence of the Prime Minister of Canada is 24 Sussex Drive. The official residence of the Governor General of Canada is Rideau Hall. The official residence of the Leader of the Opposition in Canada is called Stornoway.


Key museums in the city include the Rideau Canal, which used as for skating in the winter. The National Gallery of Canada was designed by Moshe Safdie. The National Arts Centre is one of Canada's most prestigious venues for dance, music and theatre. Byward Market is a popular farmer's market in the centre of the city.

Capital region

Ottawa is part of the National Capital Region, which includes the Quebec municipality of Gatineau, on the other side of the Ottawa River.


The Ottawa region was home to the Algonquin people, who called the river the Kichi Sibi or Kichissippi, meaning "Great River". The first European settlement in the region was that of Philemon Wright who started a community on the Quebec side of the river in 1800. Wright discovered that transporting timber by river from the Ottawa Valley to Montreal was possible, and the area was soon booming based almost exclusively upon the timber trade. White Pine was common in the Ottawa Valley, and favoured by many European nations for its extremely straight and strong trunk. In the aftermath of the War of 1812 the British government assigned Colonel John By of the Royal Engineers to build the Rideau Canal between the Ottawa area and Kingston as a secure inland water route. A village, named Bytown, was established at the beginning of the canal. In 1855 this village was incorporated as a city and renamed Ottawa.

Ottawa was chosen as the capital by Queen Victoria in 1858, after the previous capital building in Montreal was burned by an angry mob.[2]

The original Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa was itself destroyed by fire on February 3, 1916. The House of Commons and Senate were temporarily relocated to the recently constructed Victoria Memorial Museum, currently the Canadian Museum of Nature, located about 1 km south of Parliament Hill on Metcalfe Street. A new Centre Block was completed in 1922, the centrepiece of which is a dominant Gothic revival styled Peace Tower.


Ottawa has the, sometimes unwelcome, distinction of being one of the coldest capital cities in the world in terms of mean January temperature. Ottawa ranks third behind Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and Astana, Kazakhstan[3].

Professional sports

Ottawa is currently home to one professional sports team, the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League. Some discussions have taken place to bring a Canadian Football League franchise back to the city, but no team is expected before 2009 at the earliest.[4]


  1. Population and dwelling counts, for Canada and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data. 2006 Canadian Census. Retrieved on 2007-07-20.
  2. Walking Tour of Old Montreal. Vehicule Press. Retrieved on 2008-01-30.
  3. -Coldest Capital Cities. Is Ottawa the coldest capital?
  4. Brennan, Don. Time for Hunt's club, Ottawa Sun, Sun Media. Retrieved on 2008-01-31.