Ottawa has been Canada’s official capital since the Confederation of 1867, and has since developed into one of the country’s most important political, technological and cultural hubs. If you live in Ottawa or are considering a move to the area, there is plenty of interesting information to learn about this city. Here are ten facts, both current and historical, to get you started.
- Founded in 1826, Ottawa was originally named “Bytown” in honour of Lieutenant Colonel John By, the engineer who managed the construction of the Rideau Canal. In 1855, the city incorporated and was re-named Ottawa.
- The name “Ottawa” comes from the Algonquin word “adawe,” which means to trade. With three major rivers, Ottawa was an important trade hub for thousands of years.
- In 2015, Ottawa was ranked second amongst 150 cities worldwide for having the highest quality of life. And according to Forbes magazine, Ottawa is one of the cleanest cities in the world.
- Ottawa boasts over thirty-five festivals and more than fourteen diverse museums. One of the most famous festivals is the Tulip Festival, which takes place every May, while the most visited museum is the Canadian Museum of History, formerly the Museum of Civilization.
- Ottawa is the seventh coldest capital in the world, with a lowest recorded temperature of -36°C in February 1943. A few of the colder capitals include Moscow, Helsinki and Reykjavik.
- The Rideau Canal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; many of its original structures are still intact from when they were built in the early nineteenth century. The canal remains operational along its original line and is one of the best-preserved slack water canals built in North America.
- Ottawa is the most educated city in Canada, with more scientists, engineers and PhD graduates per capita than any other city.
- Ottawa has had two devastating fires. The first one, in 1900, damaged thousands of buildings and lumber mills. In 1916, a second fire started in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill, destroying everything except the Library of Parliament. Thousands of irreplaceable books would have been lost had an employee not closed the library’s iron doors in time.
- Post-fire, Ottawa began rebuilding the Centre Block of Parliament while fighting in the First World War. The new structure, featuring a Modern Gothic Revival design, was completed in 1922, while the Peace Tower was finished in 1927.
- The Ottawa region welcomes more than 7.3 million annual visitors.
We hope you learned something new about the city of Ottawa! If you know any interesting facts about the Capital, please share them with us in the comments.