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—  City  —
City of Ottawa
Ville d'Ottawa
Centre Block on Parliament Hill, the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Rideau Canal and Château Laurier.


Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Bytown
Motto: "Advance-Ottawa-En Avant"
Written in the two official languages.
Location of the City of Ottawa in the Province of Ontario, Canada
Coordinates: 45°25′15″N 75°41′24″W
Country  Canada
Province   Ontario
Region National Capital Region
Established 1826 as Bytown
Incorporated 1855 as City of Ottawa
Amalgamated January 1, 2001
 • Mayor Jim Watson
 •  City Council Ottawa City Council
 •  MPs
 •  MPPs
 • City 2,778.13 km2 (1,072.9 sq mi)
 • Urban 501.92 km2 (193.79 sq mi)
 • Metro 5,716.00 km2 (2,206.96 sq mi)
Elevation 70 m (230 ft)
Population (2011)
 • City 883,391 ( 4th)
 • Density 316.6/km2 (820/sq mi)
 •  Urban 933,596
 • Urban density 1,860.1/km2 (4,818/sq mi)
 •  Metro 1,236,324 ( 4th)
National Capital Region: 1,451,415
 • Metro density 196.6/km2 (509/sq mi)
 •  Demonym Ottawan
Time zone Eastern (EST) ( UTC−5)
 • Summer ( DST) EDT ( UTC-4)
Postal code span K0A, K1A-K4C
Area code(s) 613, 343, 819, 873

Ottawa ( / ˈ ɒ t ə w ə / or / ˈ ɒ t ə w ɑː /) is the capital of Canada, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario. Ottawa borders Gatineau, Quebec, and together they form the National Capital Region (NCR).

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 ultimately replaced by a new city incorporation and major amalgamation in 2001 which significantly increased its land area. The name "Ottawa" is derived from the Algonquin word adawe, meaning "to trade". Initially an Irish and French Christian settlement, Ottawa has become a multicultural city with a diverse population.

The 2011 census had the city's population as 883,391, the census metropolitan area (CMA) population as 1,236,324, and the National Capital Region (NCR) population as 1,451,415. Mercer ranks Ottawa with the second highest quality of living of any large city in the Americas, and 14th 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.


Étienne Brûlé, the first European to travel up the Ottawa River, passed by Ottawa in 1610 on his way to the Great Lakes. Three years later, Samuel de Champlain wrote about the waterfalls of the area and about his encounters with the Algonquins, who had previously been using the Ottawa River for centuries. The Algonquins called the river Kichi Sibi or Kichissippi' meaning "Great River" or "Grand River". These early explorers were later followed by many missionaries.

Philemon Wright, a New Englander, created the first settlement in the area on March 7, 1800 on the north side of the river, across from Ottawa in Hull. He, with five other families and twenty-five labourers, set about to create an agricultural community called Wrightsville. Wright pioneered the Ottawa Valley timber trade (soon to be the area's most significant economic activity) by transporting timber by river from the Ottawa Valley to Quebec City.

Bytown, Ottawa's early name, was founded in 1826 because of preliminary work on the Rideau Canal. Its construction was overseen by Colonel John By, and the canal was intended to provide a secure route between Montreal and Kingston on Lake Ontario by bypassing the stretch of the St. Lawrence River bordering New York State. Colonel By set up military barracks on the site of today's Parliament Hill. He also laid out the streets of town with its "Upper Town" and " Lower Town" separated by the canal. Bytown's population grew to 1,000 as the Rideau Canal was being completed in 1832. Bytown saw some trouble in its early days, first with the Shiners' War from 1835 to 1845 and the Stony Monday Riot in 1849. Bytown was renamed Ottawa in 1855, when it was incorporated as a city.

On December 31, 1857, Queen Victoria was asked to choose a common capital for the Province of Canada, and she chose Ottawa. The Queen's advisers suggested she pick Ottawa for several reasons: Ottawa's position in the back country made it more defensible, while still allowing easy transportation over the Ottawa River. Ottawa was at a point nearly exactly midway between Toronto and Quebec City (500 kilometres / 310 miles). The smaller size of the town also made it less prone to rampaging politically motivated mobs, as had happened in the previous Canadian capitals.

The Centre Block on Parliament Hill under construction in 1863.

Starting in the 1850s, large sawmills began to be erected by entrepreneurs known as lumber barons, and these would become some of the largest mills in the world. Rail lines erected in 1854 connected Ottawa to areas south and to the transcontinental rail network via Hull and Lachute, Quebec in 1886. Between 1910 and 1912, the Chateau Laurier and a downtown Union Station would be constructed. Public transportation began in 1870 with a horsecar system, overtaken in the 1890s by a vast electric streetcar system that would last until 1959. The Hull-Ottawa fire of 1900 destroyed two thirds of Hull, including 40 per cent of its residential buildings and most of its largest employers along the waterfront. The fire also spread across the Ottawa River and destroyed about one fifth of Ottawa from the Lebreton Flats south to Booth Street and down to Dow's Lake. The Centre Block of the Parliament buildings was destroyed by a fire on February 3, 1916. The House of Commons and Senate was temporarily relocated to the then recently constructed Victoria Memorial Museum, now the Canadian Museum of Nature until the completion of the new Centre Block in 1922, the centrepiece of which is a dominant Gothic revival styled structure known as the Peace Tower.

Urban planner Jacques Greber was hired in the 1940s to work on a master plan for the National Capital Region. Greber's plan included the creation of the National Capital Greenbelt and the Parkway System, and it also developed many other projects throughout the NCR. He was also responsible for the removal of the streetcar system and closing down historic downtown Union Station (now the Government Conference Centre) in favour of a suburban station several kilometres to the east. From the 1960s until the 1980s, the National Capital Region experienced a building boom. This was followed by large growth in the high-tech industry during the 1990s and 2000s. In 2001, in an amalgamation legislated by the Province, all twelve existing municipalities in the area were terminated and replaced by a new incorporation of the City of Ottawa.


In view from left to right: Gatineau the Ottawa River and Downtown Ottawa

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 June 29, 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 January 1, 2000, a magnitude 4.5 earthquake on February 24, 2006, a magnitude 5.0 earthquake on June 23, 2010.

Across the Ottawa River, which forms the border between Ontario and Quebec, lies the city of Gatineau, itself the result of amalgamation of the former Quebec cities of Hull and Aylmer together with Gatineau. Although formally and administratively separate cities in two separate provinces, Ottawa and Gatineau (along with a number of nearby municipalities) collectively constitute the National Capital Region, with a combined population exceeding 1.4 million residents, which is considered a single metropolitan area. One federal crown corporation (the National Capital Commission, or NCC) has significant land holdings in both cities, including sites of historical and touristic importance. The NCC, through its responsibility for planning and development of these lands, is an important contributor to both cities. Around the main urban area is an extensive greenbelt, administered by the National Capital Commission for conservation and leisure, and comprising mostly forest, farmland and marshland.


The Rideau Canal looking north towards the Château Laurier

Ottawa has a humid continental climate ( Köppen Dfb) with four distinct seasons. The average July maximum temperature is 26.5 °C (80 °F). The average January minimum temperature is −15.3 °C (4.5 °F).

Summers are warm and humid in Ottawa. Daytime temperatures of 30 °C (86 °F) or higher are commonplace. Ottawa averages many days with humidex (combined temperature & humidity index) between 30 °C (86 °F) and 40 °C (104 °F) annually.

Snow and ice are dominant during the winter season. Ottawa receives about 235 centimetres (93 in) of snowfall annually. Days above freezing and nights below −20 °C (−4 °F) both occur in the winter.

Spring and fall are variable, prone to extremes in temperature and unpredictable swings in conditions. Hot days above 30 °C (86 °F) have occurred as early as March (as in 2012) or as late as October, although such events are unusual and brief.

Annual precipitation averages around 940 millimetres (37 in). There are about 2,060 hours of average sunshine annually (47% of possible).

Neighbourhoods and outlying communities

Map of Ottawa showing urban area, highways, waterways, and historic townships

Ottawa is bounded on the east by the United Counties of Prescott and Russell; by Renfrew County and Lanark County in the west; on the south by the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville and the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry; and on the north by the Regional County Municipality of Les Collines-de-l'Outaouais and the City of Gatineau. Modern Ottawa is made up of eleven historic townships, ten of which are from Carleton County and one from Russell.

The city has a main urban area but there are many other urban, suburban and rural areas within the modern city's limits. The main suburban area extends a considerable distance to the east, west and south of the centre, and includes the former cities of Gloucester, Nepean and Vanier, the former village of Rockcliffe Park and the community of Blackburn Hamlet, the community of Orléans. The Kanata suburban area consists of Kanata and the former village of Stittsville. Nepean is another major suburb which also includes Barrhaven. There are also the communities of Manotick and Riverside South on the other side of the Rideau River, and Greely, southeast of Riverside South.

There are a number of rural communities (villages and hamlets) that lie beyond the greenbelt but are administratively part of the Ottawa municipality. Some of these communities are Burritts Rapids; Ashton; Fallowfield; Kars; Fitzroy Harbour; Munster; Carp; North Gower; Metcalfe; Constance Bay and Osgoode and Richmond. There are also a number of towns located within the federally defined National Capital Region but outside the city of Ottawa municipal boundaries, these include the urban communities of Almonte, Carleton Place, Embrun, Kemptville, Rockland, and Russell.

Cityscape and infrastructure

Canada Ottawa Panorama.jpg
Ottawa above the Ottawa River in May, left to right— Alexandra Bridge · National Gallery of Canada · Byward Market · Fairmont Château Laurier · Rideau Canal Locks · Parliament Hill with Library of Parliament and Peace Tower · Downtown Ottawa towers · Supreme Court of Canada


Elgin Street in downtown Ottawa, looking northwards towards the Parliament Buildings from Queen Street

Influenced by government structures, much of the city's architecture tends to be formalistic and functional. However, the city is also marked by Romantic and Picturesque styles of architecture such as the Parliament Building's gothic revival architecture. Ottawa's domestic architecture is dominated by single family homes. There are also smaller numbers of semi-detached, rowhouses, and apartment buildings. Most domestic buildings are clad in brick, with small numbers covered in wood or stone. The skyline has been controlled by building height restrictions originally implemented to keep Parliament Hill and the Peace Tower at 92.2 metres (302 ft) visible from most parts of the City. Today, several buildings are slightly taller than the Peace Tower, with the tallest located on Albert Street being the 29-storey Place de Ville (Tower C) at 112 metres (367 ft). Federal buildings in the National Capital Region are managed by Public Works Canada, while most of the federal land in the region is managed by the National Capital Commission; its control of much undeveloped land gives the NCC a great deal of influence over the city's development.

Public transit

The O-Train, Ottawa's light rail train servicing a portion of Ottawa's public transit system

The current public transit system is operated by OC Transpo, a department of the city. An integrated hub-and-spoke system of services is available consisting of: regular buses travelling on fixed routes in mixed traffic, typical of most urban transit systems; a bus rapid transit (BRT) system — a high frequency bus service operating on the transitway — a network of mostly grade-separated dedicated bus lanes within their own right-of-way and having full stations with Park & Ride facilities further supported by on-road reserved bus lanes and priority traffic signal controls; a light rail transit (LRT) system known as the O-Train operating on one north-south route; and a door-to-door bus service for the disabled known as ParaTranspo. Both OC Transpo and the Quebec-based Société de transport de l'Outaouais (STO) operate bus services between Ottawa and Gatineau.

Ottawa has approved a 12.5 km (7.8 mi) rapid transit line, called the Confederation Line, that includes a 2.5 km (1.6 mi) tunnel, featuring 3 subway stations through downtown. Work is scheduled to start in 2013 with the line beginning in operation in 2018.

Inter-city services

Ottawa is served by a number of airlines that fly into the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, as well as two main regional airports Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport, and Ottawa/Carp Airport. The city is also served by inter-city passenger rail service at the Ottawa Train Station by Via Rail, and inter-city bus service operating out of the Ottawa Bus Central Station.

Highways, streets and roads

Highway 417 approaching the Highway 416 interchange.

The capital city of Canada is also served by a network of freeways, the main one being provincial Highway 417 (called The Queensway), Ottawa-Carleton Regional Road 174 (formerly Provincial Highway 17), and Highway 416 (Veterans' Memorial Highway), connecting Ottawa to the rest of the 400-Series Highway network in Ontario. Highway 417 is also the Ottawa portion of the Trans-Canada Highway. The city also has several scenic parkways (promenades), such as Colonel By Drive, Queen Elizabeth Driveway, the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway, Rockcliffe Parkway and the Aviation Parkway and has a freeway connection to Autoroute 5 and Autoroute 50, in Gatineau. In 2006, the National Capital Commission completed work on the long-discussed Confederation Boulevard, a ceremonial route linking key attractions in National Capital Region on both sides of the Ottawa River, in Ottawa as well as Gatineau, Quebec.

Bicycle and pedestrian pathways

There are numerous paved multi-use trails that wind their way through much of the city, including along the Ottawa River, Rideau River, and Rideau Canal. These pathways are used for transportation, tourism, and recreation. Because most streets either have wide curb lanes or bicycle lanes, cycling is a popular mode of transportation in the region throughout the year. There are over 220 kilometers of paths located throughout the Ottawa-Gatineau region. A downtown street that is restricted to pedestrians only, Sparks Street was turned into a pedestrian mall in 1966. On July 10, 2011 Ottawa saw its first dedicated, segregated bike lanes in the down town core. The lane is separated from car traffic by a low concrete barrier with many gaps to allow for loading and unloading of people and goods. Ottawa's cycling advocacy group, Citizens for Safe Cycling, has been actively promoting safer cycling infrastructure in the community since 1984. On Sundays (since 1960) and selected holidays and events additional avenues and streets are reserved for pedestrian and/or bicycle uses only. In May 2011, The NCC introduced the Bixi Bike rental program.

Navigable waterways

The Bytown Museum and Rideau Canal overlooking the Ottawa River

Ottawa sits at the confluence of three major rivers: the Ottawa River, the Gatineau River and the Rideau River. The Ottawa and Gatineau rivers were historically important in the logging and lumber industries and the Rideau as part of the Rideau Canal system for military, commercial and, subsequently, recreational purposes. The Rideau Canal, connecting the Ottawa River and the Saint Lawrence River at Kingston, Ontario, by-passes unnavigable sections of the Rideau River as it winds its way through the city. Rideau is a French word that means 'Curtain' in English, and the Rideau Falls resemble a curtain, thusly named by the early French canoeists. During part of the winter season the frozen waters of the canal form the world's largest skating rink thereby providing both a recreational venue and a 7.8 kilometres (4.8 mi) transportation path to downtown for ice skaters (from Carleton University and Dow's Lake to the Rideau Centre and National Arts Centre).


Distribution map compiled from the 2001 census showing percentage of individuals that indicated French as their mother tongue

In 2011, the populations of the City of Ottawa and the Ottawa-Gatineau census metropolitan area (CMA) were 883,391 and 1,236,324 respectively, while the Ottawa-Gatineau urban area had a population of 860,928. The city had a population density of 1,680.5 persons per km2 in 2006, while the CMA had a population density of 197.8 persons per km2. The population of the National Capital Region is 1,451,415. It is the second largest city in Ontario and the fourth largest city and metropolitan area in the country..

Ottawa's median age of 36.7, as well as its percentage of seniors are both below the provincial average and the national average, while those under 15 exceed Canadian percentages.

The vast majority of the population growth is attributable to relocations to the city, and over 20 percent of the city's population is foreign-born. Around 75% describe themselves as Christian, with Catholics accounting for 43.3% of the population and members of Protestant churches was 27.6%.

Bilingualism became official policy for the conduct of municipal business in 2002, and 37% of the population can speak both languages, making it the largest city in Canada with both English and French as co-official languages. Mother tongue was listed as 62.8% English, 14.9% French and 21.6% list languages other than English and French as their mother tongue.

Local government and politics

Ottawa City Hall built as the headquarters of the former Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton.

Ottawa is a single-tier municipality, meaning it is in itself a census division and has no county or regional municipality government above it. As a single tier municipality, Ottawa has responsibility for all municipal services, including fire, emergency medical services, police, parks, roads, sidewalks, public transit, drinking water, stormwater, sanitary sewage and solid waste. Ottawa is governed by the 24-member Ottawa City Council consisting of 23 councillors each representing one ward and the mayor, currently Jim Watson, elected in a citywide vote.

Along with being the capital of Canada, Ottawa is politically diverse in local politics. Most of the city has traditionally supported the Liberal Party. Perhaps the safest areas for the Liberals are the ones dominated by Francophones, especially in Vanier and central Gloucester. Central Ottawa is usually more left-leaning, and the New Democratic Party can win ridings there as government unions and activist groups are fairly strong. Some of Ottawa's suburbs are swing areas, notably central Nepean and, despite its Francophone population, Orléans. The southern and western parts of the old city of Ottawa are generally moderate and swing to the Conservative Party. The farther one goes outside the city centre like to Kanata and Barrhaven and rural areas, the voters tend to be increasingly conservative, both fiscally and socially. This is especially true in the former Townships of West Carleton, Goulbourn, Rideau and Osgoode, which are more in line with the conservative areas in the surrounding counties. However not all rural areas support the Conservative Party. Rural parts of the former township of Cumberland, with a large number of Francophones, traditionally support the Liberal Party, though their support has recently weakened.


Tabaret Hall at the University of Ottawa, founded in 1848 as the College of Bytown.

Ottawa is known as one of the most educated cities in Canada, with over half the population having graduated from College and/or university. Ottawa has the highest per capita concentration of engineers, scientists, and residents with PhDs in Canada.

The city has two main public universities Carleton University and University of Ottawa, and two main public colleges Algonquin College and La Cité collégiale. It also has two Christian universities Dominican University College and Saint Paul University. There is also the University of Quebec en Outaouais, Cégep de l'Outaouais, and Heritage College in the neighbouring City of Gatineau.

There are four main public school boards in Ottawa: English, English-Catholic, French, and French-Catholic. The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) is the largest board with 147 schools, followed by the Ottawa Catholic School Board with 85 schools. The two French language boards are the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est with 49 schools, and the Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario with 37 schools. The Ottawa Public Library was created in 1906 as part of the famed Carnegie library system. The library system had 2.3 million items as of 2008.


Parliament hill in November, 2012. The federal government is Ottawa's largest employer.

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. Ottawa had the fourth highest growth rate among major Canadian cities in 2007 with a 2.7% GDP growth rate, which exceeded the Canadian average of 2.4%. It is estimated that the National Capital Region attracts around seven million tourists annually who spend about 1.3 billion dollars.

The region of Ottawa-Gatineau has the third highest income of all major Canadian cities. The average gross income in the region amounted to $40,078, an increase of 4.9% compared to the previous year. The annual cost of living rate in 2007 grew 1.9%.

Developed in the early 1950s, Tunney's Pasture is an area that is exclusively reserved for various federal government buildings.

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; its 1800 companies employ approximately 80,000 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. Nordion, i-Stat as well as the National Research Council of Canada and OHRI are part of the growing life science sector. 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, 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.

In 2006, Ottawa experienced an increase of 40,000 jobs over 2001 with a five-year average growth that was relative slower than in the late 1990s. While the number of employees in the federal government stagnated, the high-technology industry grew by 2.4%. The overall growth of jobs in Ottawa-Gatineau was 1.3% compared to the previous year, down to sixth place among Canada's largest cities. The unemployment rate in Ottawa-Gatineau was 5.2% (only in Ottawa: 5.1%), which was below the national average of 6.0%. The economic downturn resulted in an increase in the unemployment rate between April 2008 and April 2009 from 4.7 to 6.3%. In the province, however, this rate increased over the same period from 6.4 to 9.1%.


A view of the ByWard Market looking east down York Street in 1911.

Traditionally the ByWard Market (in Lower Town), Parliament Hill and the Golden Triangle (both in Centretown - Downtown) have been the focal points of the cultural scenes in Ottawa. Modern thoroughfares such as Wellington Street, Rideau Street, Sussex Drive, Elgin Street, Bank Street, Somerset Street, Preston Street and Sparks Street; are home to many boutiques, museums, theaters, galleries, landmarks and memorials, while dominated by eating establishments, cafes, bars and nightclubs.

Ottawa's hosts a variety of annual seasonal activities — such as Winterlude, the largest festival in Canada, and Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill and surrounding downtown area, as well as Bluesfest, Canadian Tulip Festival, Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, Ottawa International Jazz Festival, Fringe Festival and Folk Music Festival, that have grown to become some of the largest festivals of their kind in the world. In 2010, Ottawa's Festival industry received the IFEA "World Festival and Event City Award" for the category of North American cities with a population between 500,000 and 1,000,000.

As Canada's capital, Ottawa has played host to a number of significant cultural events in Canadian history, including the first visit of the reigning Canadian sovereign—King George VI, with his consort, Queen Elizabeth— to his parliament, on 19 May 1939. VE Day was marked with a large celebration on 8 May 1945, the first raising of the country's new national flag took place on 15 February 1965, and the centennial of Confederation was celebrated on 1 July 1967. Elizabeth II was in Ottawa on 17 April 1982, to issue a royal proclamation of the enactment of the Constitution Act. In 1983, Prince Charles and Diana Princess of Wales came to Ottawa for a state dinner hosted by then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In 2011, Ottawa was selected as the first city to receive Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge during their Royal tour of Canada.

Museums and performing arts

The Maman statue, a 9.144 m/30 ft bronze cast of a spider located at the National Gallery of Canada.

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 statue. 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 Civilization. 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 Langevin Block, home to the Prime Minister’s Office and designated a National Historic Site of Canada.

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.


Scotiabank Place, home arena of the National Hockey League's Ottawa Senators.

Sport in Ottawa has a history dating back to the 19th century. Ottawa is currently home to one professional sports team, the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League. A second pro team, a new Canadian Football League franchise, is scheduled to debut in 2014. A pro basketball team, the Ottawa Tomahawks, will start in the 2013-14 season of the National Basketball League of Canada. A professional soccer club will also start play in Ottawa in 2014, in the North American Soccer League. Several non-professional teams also play in Ottawa, including the Ottawa 67's junior hockey team.

Collegiate teams in various sports compete in Canadian Interuniversity Sport. The Carleton Ravens are nationally ranked in basketball, and the Ottawa Gee-Gees are nationally ranked in football and basketball. Algonquin College has also won numerous national championships. The city is home to an assortment of amateur organized team sports such as soccer, basketball, baseball, curling, hurling and horse racing. Casual recreational activities, such as skating, cycling, hiking, sailing, golfing, skiing and fishing/ ice fishing are also popular.

International relations

At present, Ottawa is host to 130 embassies. A further 49 countries accredit their embassies and missions in the United States to Canada.

Sister cities

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