- City Guide - Ottawa
The Ottawa Region, covering an area 4,662 square kilometres (1,800 square miles) in size, is unique in its history, geography and lifestyle. The nation's capital is the second largest city in the province of Ontario and is the fourth largest city in Canada. With a metropolitan population of 1,236,326 in 2011, the city of Ottawa can be found along the south bank of the Ottawa River, bordering Gatineau Quebec to form the National Capital Region.
Ottawa was ranked as the city with second highest quality of living in North America according to the Mercer Human Resource Consulting firm. It was also named the best community in Canada to live in by MoneySense in 2012 for its third consecutive year.
The National Capital Region offers a wide variety of urban attractions: many of Canada's best museums and cultural facilities, as well as the Parliament Buildings and other historical structures and major institutions, are located in the Capital area.
The city of Ottawa was originally named Bytown, due to the creation of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal. Construction began 1826 and was overseen by Colonel John By to provide a route between Kingston and Montreal along Lake Ontario. Colonel By was also responsible for setting up the military barracks on Ottawa's well-known Parliament Hill.
Today, the Rideau Canal is known as the world's largest skating rink, a major tourist attraction and recreational area for eating Beaver Tails, checking out the Winterlude Festival, or of course the Rideau Canal Festival. Parliament Hill and the Parliament Buildings have been named National Historic Sites of Canada since 1976 and are a major tourist attraction for the city of Ottawa. Residents and tourists visit the Hill for historical tours, take in the changing of the guard, and take part in major celebrations such as the annual Canada Day festivities.
The ByWard Market can be found in Ottawa's Lower Town, just east of the business and government district, on the George, William, York and Byward Streets. With fresh produce, flowers, vendors, restaurants and pubs, the Byward Market is a great place to enjoy a day or night out in Ottawa. Ottawa is also home to dedicated Ottawa Senators Fans, for the National Hockey League's Ottawa Senators. GO SENS GO!