Kanata is one of Ottawa's largest suburban areas, but with a growing population and a bustling economic and cultural life, it is far from a sleepy bedroom community. Comprised of more than a dozen neighbourhoods spread over some thirty square miles, Kanata is home to many of the region's major hi-tech employers and a variety of large recreational and cultural institutions, making it an attractive community for young professionals and their growing families.
Originally part of the township of March, which was first settled by Europeans in the early nineteenth century, this was a mainly agricultural area until the 1960's, when local developer Bill Teron purchased thousands of acres of land and began construction of a planned community. The fact that the area was surrounded by a greenbelt and intentionally designed with a mix of commercial and residential areas of varying densities made it more vibrant than the average suburb, and Kanata grew rapidly, incorporating as a city in 1978 and becoming part of the newly-amalgamated City of Ottawa in 2001.
Today the population of Kanata is approaching 100,000. While some residents commute into Ottawa for work (it is just 22 km to downtown), local amenities mean it is not necessary to travel far for work or play. OC Transpo and the Queensway make the area accessible with or without a car, and living on the outskirts of the capital region gives residents access to many of the advantages of both a rural and urban lifestyle.
Among Kanata's recreational opportunities are the Canadian Tire Center, home of the Ottawa Senators, and one of Ottawa's primary venues for major events; the Bell Sensplex, the Senators' practice area, which is equipped with an additional Olympic-sized rink, three NHL-sized rinks, and indoor soccer field; the Kanata Leisure Center and Wave Pool; and the Roy Maslin Playhouse, which plays host to professional and community theater productions. The area is also easily accessible to all the natural beauty of the rural areas that lay just beyond it, including sugar shacks in the spring, farmers' markets in the summer, and winter sports of all kinds. Hazeldean Mall, the recently constructed Tanger Outlets, and a variety of big box retailers are among the attractions for shoppers, in addition to a wide variety of local eateries, shops and cafes. And with more than 20 French, English, and Montessori primary schools, and four high schools, families have a wide variety of educational choices.