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Ottawa offers a rare mix of cultural and recreational experiences in tandem with economic and educational opportunities.  Ranked as one of the world's most desirable cities in which to live, it is certainly a place to call home.

Whether Ottawa is your intended destination or just a brief stopover on the way to your new home, we have compiled this guide to help you get your bearings on arrival. To obtain more details about the city check out the websites listed at the end of this profile.


Ottawa, the capital of Canada, has a population of approximately 859.704. It is the country’s fourth largest city, as well as the second largest city in the province of Ontario. Ottawa is a very bilingual city with those speaking English as a first language constituting 50.45% of the population and those speaking French as a first language constituting 32.15%.


Ottawa covers an area of 2,778.64 square kilometres and is located next to the Ottawa River which contains the mouths of the Rideau River and Rideau Canal. Although it's the fourth largest metropolitan area in Canada, Ottawa retains the charm of a small town.The oldest part of the city (including what remains of Bytown) is known as Lower Town and occupies an area between the canal and the rivers.


Ottawa has a humid continental climate with a range of temperatures from a record high of 37.8 °C (100 °F) in the summers of 1986 and 2001, to a record low of -38.9 °C (-38 °F) being recorded on December 29, 1933, the second coldest temperature recorded in a capital . By annual average temperature, Ottawa is the seventh coldest capital in the world.


The Ottawa region is a global technology centre with more than 1,800 companies involved in the growth sectors of software, telecommunications, photonics, semiconductors, defence and security, life sciences, tourism, wireless technologies, professional services and contact centres.

There are three basic types of businesses established in Ottawa; export companies that serve international markets all around the world, regional companies that serve Ottawa residents and businesses, and the rural and agricultural economy serving the region.

Supported by a strong professional services cluster Ottawa's economy is complemented by a vibrant tourism sector and the presence of more than 110,000 government employees. Widely regarded as Canada's focal point for advanced technology, the Ottawa region is a community of visionary entrepreneurs.

With the highest level of R&D spending per capita in the country, the Ottawa region has become the home of leading economic clusters. An economic powerhouse with a quality of life second to none, Ottawa is one of North America's fastest growing economies, and one of the world's most progressive centres of innovation.

Dining Out

Ottawa's status as an international capital and the city’s ethnic diversity has created an exciting dining scene in Ottawa. The city offers an abundance of excellent restaurants many of which are located in the downtown core - in the historic By Ward Market, along Elgin Street, in "Chinatown" on Somerset Street West, and in "Little Italy" on Preston Street..

Local Transport

Ottawa is served by VIA Rail passenger service, a number of airlines that fly into Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, and inter-city bus companies such as Greyhound through the Ottawa Bus Central Station.

There also is a large network of paved multi-use pathways 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.

Performing Arts

There are over 50 galleries and theatres in the region, showcasing the best of Canadian and international art, theatre, music, and dance performances. The city's museums, heritage buildings, parks, and monuments paint an exciting picture of its colourful past.

Lifestyle and Outdoor Recreation

The Ottawa region is known for its recreational facilities, leisure activities and naturally attractive features. Ottawa residents have the highest participation rate in golf and skiing in Canada. Boating, beach-going and water sports are also very popular because of the large variety of waterways.


There are three universities in the area and two community colleges.  Established in 1856, the University of Ottawa is one of the oldest universities in Canada and is the largest bilingual institution in the country. "Ottawa U", as it is known locally, specializes in law and medicine. Carleton University is well-known for its faculties of journalism, architecture and public administration.

Ottawa on the Net

City of Ottawa

Ottawa Information

Ottawa Tourism


Average maximum temperature in Summer

Average maximum temperature in Winter

Bright sunshine hours per year

Mean annual rainfall

19.7 Degrees Celsius

-8.5 Degrees Celsius




Ottawa time is 5 hours behind GMT.

Photos courtesy of City of Ottawa - www.ottawa.ca



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