Orleans is a suburb of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is located in the eastern part of the city along the Ottawa River, about 16 km (9.9 mi) from downtown Ottawa. The Canada 2011 Census determined that Orleans’ population was 107,823. Prior to being amalgamated into Ottawa in 2001, the community of Orleans was spread over two municipal jurisdictions, the eastern portion being in the pre-amalgamation City of Cumberland, the western portion in the City of Gloucester. According to the 2011 census, 62,888 people lived in the Cumberland portion of Orléans, while 44,935 people lived in the Gloucester portion. Today, Orleans spans the municipal wards of Orleans, Innes and Cumberland. Orléans is one of 3 areas of the post-amalgamated City of Ottawa to contain a significant francophone population, hence.
The community is thought to have been named by its first postmaster, Théodore Besserer, after his place of birth, the Île d’Orléans near Quebec City. Orléans was an incorporated police village from 1922 to 1974 and was then known as St. Joseph d’Orléans. The name corresponds to the main francophone Roman Catholic Church, Paroisse St-Joseph of which the older part of Orléans is built around, along St-Joseph Boulevard.
The community’s name inspired the name of one its main roads, Jeanne D’Arc Boulevard, which wraps its way around the community. Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc) was a 15th-century martyr who led the French army to victory in Orléans, France.
Largely a rural area for a great number of years, the first major suburban subdivision constructed in the community was the Queenswood Heights development starting in the late 1960s. Orleans has continued its steady growth as a suburban community since that time; its southern and easternmost boundaries continue to grow as more houses and businesses are built. Orleans continues to have a sizable French-speaking population, although the proportion of francophones has been decreasing in recent years. The community’s name is spelled with an acute accent in French in the relevant regulation to the City of Ottawa Act, reflective of the area’s francophone heritage.
Growth has focused around the Place d’Orleans shopping centre, a large shopping centre with over 175 stores situated off Ottawa Regional Road 174 (the Queensway). Place D’Orleans was originally constructed in 1979 and underwent major expansions in 1984, 1988, and 1990 to arrive at its current size and configuration. Many new business areas along Innes Road between Tenth Line Road and Mer Bleue Road and in the vicinity of Trim Road on the eastern end of the area have also been built recently which serve to diversify the commercial districts of the community. The country-wide housing boom starting from 2000 has also seen an extremely large amount of housing and residential areas being developed in the eastern Orleans area east of Trim Road and south of Innes Road, such as the new community called Avalon. The population and business growth also forced the improvement of Innes Road from a two-lane to a four-lane road in 2005.