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Ottawa, the Capital City of Canada

Key Facts About Ottawa, the Capital City of Canada


Ottawa Downtown in the Summer

Ottawa Downtown in the Summer

Danielle Donders / Moment / Getty Images

Updated: 07/22/2014

About the City of Ottawa

Ottawa is the national capital of Canada. This picturesque and safe city is the fourth largest city in Canada. Ottawa is cosmopolitan, with museums, galleries, performing arts and festivals, but still has the feel of a small town and is eminently affordable. English and French are the main languages spoken in Ottawa. You will also hear many other languages, as Ottawa is a diverse, multicultural city, and about 25 percent of its residents are from other countries. With 150 km (93 miles) of recreational paths, the world's largest naturally frozen skating rink in the winter, 850 parks, and access to three major waterways, Ottawa is a joy for outdoor enthusiasts. As well as being home to the Government of Canada, Ottawa is a high-technology centre, and boasts more engineers, scientists and PhD graduates per capita than any other city in Canada. It's a great place to bring up a family and a fascinating city to visit.

Location of Ottawa, Canada

Ottawa is in eastern Ontario, just across the Ottawa River from Gatineau, Quebec.


2,790.22 sq. km (1,077.31 sq. miles) (Statistics Canada, 2011 Census)


883,391 (Statistics Canada, 2011 Census)

Date Ottawa Incorporated as a City


Date Ottawa Became the Capital City of Canada

In 1857, the city of Ottawa was chosen by Queen Victoria as capital of the province of Canada. In 1867, Ottawa was officially defined by the BNA Act as the capital of the Dominion of Canada.

Government of the City of Ottawa

Date of the last Ottawa municipal election: Monday, October 25, 2010

Ottawa municipal elections are held every four years, on the fourth Monday in October.

Date of the next Ottawa municipal election: Monday, October 27, 2014

The city council of Ottawa is made up of 24 elected representatives: a mayor and 23 councillors.

Ottawa Attractions

Just a few of the many attractions in Ottawa are:

Weather in Ottawa

Ottawa has a humid, semi-continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters. The climate is generally pleasant, with four distinct seasons.

Average winter temperatures are around -10°C (14°F), but can sometimes dip to -40°C (-40°F). There is plenty of snow in the winter, but lots of sun too.

While average summer temperatures in Ottawa are around 20°C (68°F), they can soar to 34°C (93°F) and above. "It's not the heat, it's the humidity," is a phrase you'll hear a lot in Ottawa in August.

City of Ottawa Official Site

Capital Cities of Canada

For information on the capital cities of the provinces and territories of Canada, see Capital Cities of Canada.

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