Part of Ottawa's eastern suburbs, Beacon Hill is located in Gloucester, eat of Ottawa. The community got its name from a former lighthouse in the Ottawa River (just east of Duck Island), that could be seen from the top of the hill at Naskapi Dr. (now the southern edge of Ski Hill Park). Beacon Hill South and Cardinal Heights is the area between Montreal Road and the Queensway 417, east of Blair Rd. It is sometimes colloquially referred to as "The Beaks","Beacon","The Hill" or "The BH".
Beacon Hill North & Rothwell Heights neighbourhoods are north of Montreal Road, extending to the Rockliffe Parkway along the Ottawa River. The neighbourhood is bordered on the east by the Greenbelt, and Ruisseau Green's Creek (or just "Green's Creek") ravine.
Though Beacon Hill is mostly residential, there are some notable facilities in its midst, including the Robert O Pickard water treatment plant, and the National Research Council of Canada ("NRC") campus.
The 'Hill' the name refers to is actually a ridge running roughly parallel to the Ottawa River. A large, open area of the ridge is a municipal park (Ski Hill Park) and is located behind the Beacon Hill Mall on Ogilvie Road. Ski Hill Park is generally referred to as 'Zeller's Hill' by residents who lived in the community in the early 1990s when a Zellers department store occupied the Beacon Hill Mall. For the newer residents, it has been re-labeled 'Shoppers' Hill'.
Beacon Hill North had a population of 11,000 while Beacon Hill South had a population of 7,000. The population is made up of 48% bilingual, 47% unilingual English, and 4% uniligual French.
Beacon Hill residents can use either the Queensway/417 or Montreal Rd for easy access to Ottawa's core, as well as the Transitway's Blair and Montreal Rd Stations.
Beacon Hill South-Cardinal Heights is a relatively new neighbourhood; the majority of homes (64%) were built between 1961 and 1980. Another 17% were built before 1960 and 19% were built between 1981 and 2006.
By 2006, Beacon Hill South-Cardinal Heights had 2,919 dwellings: 26% were single detached, 9.7% are semi-detached, 23% are row houses, 23% were apartments with more than 5 stories, and 17% were apartments with less than 5 stories. The great majority (76%) of residents owned their homes and 24% rented.
Rothwell Heights-Beacon Hill North is relatively new but has not seen much re-development in recent decades. Six Percent (6%) of homes were built 1946 -1960, 32% between 1961 and 1970, 49% between 1971 and 1980, with only 5% built since 1996.
Of Rothwell Heights-Beacon Hill North's 3,700 dwellings, 54% were single family, 6% are semi-detached, 32% are row houses, 4% were high rise apartments (over 5 stories), and 5% were low-rise apartments. The great majority, 88%, of residents owned their homes, while 12% rented.
Beacon Hill has two French immersion elementary schools, a French public elementary, and French Catholic school, and English Catholic school, a French immersion middle school, and three high schools, Colonel By (French immersion), Gloucester H.S., and Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School
To the south of the community, along the Queensway/417 are the Gloucester Centre and Shopper City. The Beacon Hill Mall on Ogilvie Road also has some stores and services
Beacon Hill is bordered by the Greenbelt, and on the far east additional green space of Ruisseau Green's Creek ravine and Conservation Area. There are a number of parks and woodlands are spread around the neighbourhood which include three toboggan hills (from largest to smallest), at Green's Creek, Ski Hill Park, and Loyola Park. There is skateboarding & BMX park beside Gloucester High School, as well as a running track and ball diamond. There is also a running track beside Lester B Pearson Catholic High School, and another beside Colonel By Secondary, as well as several tennis courts. There is also the Potvin Arena with indoor ice, and several sports fields for soccer and football just off Shefford Rd.