Ottawa has a unique history and a fantastic story to tell. One marvelous thing is how it became Canada’s capital. Let’s take a look back. Quebec and Ontario were two provinces making up the country then, and Ottawa is conveniently placed right at the border between the two provinces. Queen Victoria decided to be polite and fair to the English and French, so in 1857, Ottawa was declared Canada’s capital.
How Did Ottawa Get Its Name?
The name Ottawa is derived from the “Algonquin,” word that means “Adawe,” which means “trade.” This makes it a significant connection, given the city’s backstory; tribes that initially settled here were best known for the fur trade. Thanks to its natural Rivers, the city’s area was an unnamed campsite until 1850, when it got its first name, ByTown. The name was changed to Ottawa in 1855.
Culture and People
ByWard market is the place to start your acquaintance with the city. It’s attraction number one for tourists in Ottawa. Around this place is a vibrant and colorful neighborhood that spans over four blocks, and this is a perfect way to get the feel of the authentic culture in Ottawa.
Parliament building on Parliament Hill is the capital of Canada, otherwise home to the federal government. The government is the city’s largest employer employing over 20 percent of the residents.
Ottawa is a truly bilingual city. The bilingualism rate is 44%, primarily English-speaking, with French as their second language. Although way smaller than Montreal or Toronto, Ottawa still has this big city feel without being too overwhelming. It’s a good balance between open green space and skyscraper buildings. Skyscrapers are a little tall; in fact, only seven buildings in Ottawa exceed 100 meters; in comparison, Toronto has nearly 100 buildings taller than 100 meters.
It’s a great place to settle down if you want the best of both urban and rural Worlds. The population of Ottawa is around 1 million people, and nearly half of that population is under 35. The average age is 40, making Ottawa one of Canada’s youngest cities. Almost all of the youngsters live around ByWard Market, Sandy Hill, and Centretown. The other half are families looking to settle down in urban areas that save for less noise and are less expensive than the big three. Some family-friendly neighborhoods include Orleans, Kanata, Barrhaven and Alta Vista.
Geography and Climate
Ottawa is ranked the seventh coldest capital in the world. The first snowfall usually happens in October, and the snowy weather can last until as late as May. So you could expect temperatures below minus 20 degrees Celsius on the coldest days.
Ottawa is home to the Rideau Canal Skateway, the longest naturally Frozen skating rink in the world. It’s open from late December to late February. However, if hitting the slopes is more your style, there are many places around the city. You can try cross-country skiing, downhill ski, snowboard tube, and Toboggan rides.
Ottawa is also home to one of the oldest winter festivals. The Winterlude, during February. The city is transformed into a winter wonderland with snow playgrounds and ice carving challenges and performances every year.
Summer in Ottawa is fantastic; temperatures usually hit from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius from June to August. The Ottawa river is a popular destination for water adventures and activities like wild water rafting or cliff jumping for a more relaxed vibe. In addition, there are a handful of beautiful beaches to enjoy. There are around 35 Major festivals in Ottawa; the Canadian Tulip Festival is one of the most famous in Commissioners Park. Ottawa is also known for its seven national museums; the Canadian Museum of History is one of the most visited.
Job Opportunities and Economy
The major employer in the city is the government of Canada. Sciences and Healthcare is the second largest employer in Ottawa. Other major job industries are Human Resources, Engineering, Accountancy, Nursing, Customer Service, Drivers, Real Estate, Sales associates, Administrative, Systems Analyst, Digital Marketing, Construction and mainly blue-collar jobs.
Tourism in Ottawa is a critical economic driver. Approximately 10 percent of Ottawa’s million population is employed in the sector. If you consider buying a house in Ottawa as your future home, there are plenty of job opportunities.
The Cost of Living
The cost of living is essential in determining which city to live in Ottawa, especially in times of high inflation and the looming housing crisis.
Buying a house in Ottawa is a more affordable option, especially when we look at the top five most prominent cities in Canada. On the other hand, renting an average one-bedroom apartment costs around one thousand, nine hundred dollars per month; this depends on what area of the city you want to live in, with prices going higher the closer you get to the downtown core.
Ottawa has a comprehensive public transit system with buses, Light Rail trains, and a monthly pass of one hundred and twenty-five dollars. Unfortunately, unlike the top three cities, Ottawa still needs a public bike-sharing service. Still, the good news is that Ottawa is pretty walkable with white sidewalks and pedestrian-friendly streets, and most attractions are easily within walking distance.
Ottawa is a unique City in itself with the perfect blend of urban and laid-back vibe with plenty of things to do and unique culture given as past and present. It’s a popular choice for future lawmakers, ambitious students, and people with families who’d like to settle in a compact and safe City, and it’s also conveniently located between Toronto and Montreal.