Ottawa Ontario Real Estate & Community Overview
Ottawa is located where the Ottawa River is joined by the Rideau River on one side and the Gatineau River on the other.
The city was a portage spot for the early fur traders because of two major rapids. Called Bytown in its early days, it was one endpoint of the Rideau Canal, built in 1846 to bypass the St Lawrence Seaway. In 1867, the city was made the capital of the new country of Canada.
While the city has long been a centre for government, decentralization in the 1970s moved several departments away from the city. Ottawa has since grown into "Silicon Valley North" with 500 well-known technology companies including Corel, Newbridge, Mitel, and Northern Telecom.
Over that time, many government departments were relocated over the Quebec side of the river, to help create jobs and tax base for Hull, which was just beginning to shed its "lumbertown" reputation (and the federal government was trying to mitigate the shutdown of the EB Eddy mill on the Ottawa River, to beautify the views around Parliament Hill). The National Capital Region is an official Federal designation for the Canadian capital which combined Ottawa, Gatineau, and the surrounding area of 5,319 square kilometres and an aggregate population of 1,168,800 (2007).
In 2001, the city of Ottawa was amalgamated with the surrounding municipalities on the Ontario side, including Nepean, Kanata, Rockliffe Park, Vanier and Cumberland, as well as townships that were part of the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton, including West Carleton, Osgoode, Rideau and Goulbourn. This made a number of "bedroom communities" that were beyond the Greenbelt natural area officially part of Ottawa.
In 2002, the municipalities on the Quebec side (Aylmer, Hull, Gatineau, Buckingham and Masson-Angers) amalgamated into the city of Gatineau.
Ottawa has an excellent transportation network, and lies at the junction of 417 the Trans-Canada Highway and 416 which connects to the US and Toronto. It has a series of parkways along its rivers and canals and an excellent OC Transpo public transit system, combining bus, bus-rapid transit ("BRT") and light rail transit, which integrates with the STO (Outaouais) transit in Gatineau. Its international airport has excellent connections to cities around Canada, the United States, to Europe, as well as winter sun destinations. Recreational boaters can take the Rideau Canal to Lake Ontario.
In 1994, Ottawa was ranked the best city in Canada by Chatelaine magazine in terms of crime rates, air quality, job prospects and green space. Ottawa was also ranked sixth in the world by the Corporate Resources Group. Ottawa is enclosed by a 42,240 acre greenbelt of protected farmland, wetlands. The Rideau Canal meanders through the city for summer boating and winter skating, and the Gatineau Hills and Park, which offer outstanding recreational opportunities and breathtaking views, are located only 10 minutes from the downtown core.
The city has 29 museums, including 12 exhibiting national treasures, many historical buildings as old as 150 years, and hosts over 60 festivals, including the internationally recognized Winterlude and Canadian Tulip Festival. In the wintertime, the Rideau Canal becomes the world's longest skating rink.
Ottawa-Gatineau Communities Map