Ottawa Facts

Major Hill Park Ottawa

Ottawa is the capital city of Canada and is home to 1 million people. It is the 6th largest city in Canada by population. It is located just east of Gatineau, Quebec; about 110 km (68 mi) southwest of Montreal; about 260 km (160 mi) northeast of Toronto; and about 65 km (40 mi) west of Kingston. It is the second largest municipality in Ontario after Toronto. Th city has an area of 267 KM2 (103 square miles) and a density of about 2,587 people per KM2.


  • 1. Ottawa officially became a city in 1855 and had a population of only 200 people.
  • 2. The city was named after the Ottawa River, which is in turn named after the Algonquin word "Odawas" meaning to trade or to make something occur.
  • 3. Ottawa has the highest average snowfall (about 107cm) of any major Canadian city and during the winter months it can reach temperatures as low as -30C and as high as 33C during the summer months.
  • 4. Ottawa has a humid continental climate with four distinct seasons, long cold winters with warm summers and considerable snowfall (107 cm per year).
  • 5. The Ottawa-Gatineau metropolitan area is home to over one million people (about 1.2 million), making it the fourth largest metropolitan area in Canada.
  • 6. The Ottawa-Gatineau region is one of the top 5 financial centres in North America, with over 230 international banks having offices in Ottawa and over fifty banks and financial institutions being located in Gatineau, Quebec.
  • 7. The National Capital Region has a large labour force of about 688,000 people – 71% of these are employed in the services sector, with 25% employed in manufacturing and 4% employed in agriculture. The federal government is the largest employer, and the city of Ottawa is second.
  • 8. Ottawa is famous for being the centre of Canadian arts and culture, being home to the National Arts Centre, NAC English Theatre, National Gallery, NAC French Theatre, Ottawa Art Gallery, National Museum of Science and Technology and others.
  • 9. The National Capital Region attracts over 10 million tourists each year, which injects about $3 billion into the local economy.
  • 10. In 2013 there were over 874 000 small businesses in the city, which created jobs for 11% of the city's workforce. These businesses have an annual payroll of $1.3 billion and a total revenue of $13 billion – making it one of Canada's top 10 cities for small business success.
  • 11. The prime minister of Canada residence is located at 24 Sussex Drive, although he doesn't live there. He and his family stay at Rideau Cottage.
  • 12. Canada's Parliament buildings are in Ottawa and visitors to the city can take a guided tour of some of the most famous buildings in Canada, including the Peace Tower and Centre Block. These historic buildings have suffered massive fires and have undergone reconstruction.
  • 13. Ottawa is also home to the most educated city in Canada with about 46% of people aged 25-64 holding post-secondary degrees (compared to 29% for all of Canada). In 2006 over 56% of residents in the city's core had a post-secondary degree – while only 20% did in 1986.