The Ottawa region was long home to First Nations peoples who were part of the Algonquin. The first European settlement in the Ottawa region was that of Philemon Wright who started a community on the Quebec side of the river in 1800. Wright discovered that transporting timber by river from the Ottawa Valley to Montreal was possible and Ottawa was soon booming based almost entirely off timber. The city grew even further in importance when the Rideau Canal was constructed by Colonel John By. The city was then known as Bytown, but it was incorporated as Ottawa in 1855.
On December 31, 1857 Queen Victoria,
was asked to choose a capital for Canada, and chose Ottawa. There are various popular stories explaining this decision. One explanation is that she did so by sticking her hatpin on a map roughly halfway between Toronto and Montreal; Ottawa was the nearest city to were it landed. Another is that she liked some watercolours she had seen of the area. In reality, the primary objective was probably to avoid antagonising either English speakers or French speakers. The other candidates - Quebec City, Montreal, Kingston and Toronto - were perceived as too firmly rooted either in English or in French tradition; Ottawa seemed more neutral. Also, at a time when the US was considered a military threat, Ottawa was situated further from the border.
The original Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa burned down on February 3, 1916. The House of Commons was temporarily relocated to the Victorian era building which was then the Victoria Museum, and is currently (2004) the Canadian Museum of Nature, located about 1 km south of Parliament Hill at the opposite end of Metcalfe Street. A new Centre Block was completed in 1922, the centre-piece of which is a dominant gothic revival styled structure known as the Peace Tower which has become a common emblem of the city.
In 2001, the city of Ottawa was amalgamated with the suburbs of Nepean, Kanata, Gloucester, Rockcliffe Park, Vanier and Cumberland, and the rural townships of West Carleton, Osgoode, Rideau and Goulbourn, along with the systems and infrastructure of the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Municipality, to become one municipality.
See also: List of Ottawa mayors
According to the 2001 Statistics Canada census, there are 774,072 people, 310,132 households, and 210,875 families residing in the city. The population density is 278.6/km².
The lingustic makeup (mother tongue) of the city is 63.6% anglophone, 15.0% francophone, 0.9% both languages, 20.3% allophone.
There are 210,875 families out of which 72.8% are married couples living together, 11.1% are common-law couples, and 13.2% have a female householder with no husband present.
In the city the population is spread out with 25.3% under the age of 19, 6.9% from 20 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36.7 years. For every 100 females there are 95.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 92.1 males.
The median income for a working individual in the city is $39,713, and the median income for a family is $73,507. Males have a median income of $47,203 versus $31,641 for females. The per capita income for the city is $23,061.
Famous People From Ottawa