Ottawa-Gatineau, Ontario on TransCanadaHighway.com



Ottawa is located where the Ottawa River is joined by the Rideau River on one side and the Gatineau River on the other. The city was a portage spot for the early fur traders because of two major rapids. Called Bytown in its early days, it was one endpoint of the Rideau Canal, built in 1846 to bypass the St Lawrence Seaway. In 1867, the city was made the capital of the new country of Canada. While the city has long been a centre for government, decentaliztion in the 1970s moved several departments away from the city. Ottawa has since grown into "Silicon Valley North" with 500 well-known technology companies including Corel, Newbridge, Mitel

Rideau Canal in the Summer

In 1994, Ottawa was ranked the best city in Canada by Chatelaine magazine in terms of crime rates, air quality, job prospects and green space. Ottawa was also ranked sixth in the world by the Corporate Resources Group. Ottawa is enclosed by a 42,240 acre greenbelt of protected farmland, wetlands. The Rideau Canal meanders through the city and the Gatineau Hills and Park, which offer outstanding recreational opportunities and breathtaking views, are located only 10 minutes from the downtown core. The city has 29 museums, including 12 exhibiting national treasures, and hosts over 60 festivals, including the internationally recognized Winterlude and Canadian Tulip Festival. In the wintertime, the Rideau Canal becomes the worlds longest skating rink.

Ottawa History

The earliest recorded Indian habitation of the area is traced back over 1000 years. The Algonquins that lived in this area called the river Kichesippi "the Great River", and called themselves Kichisippirini, the people of the Great River. The Algonquins mastered travel on the river highways using birch bark canoes. French explorers came to the area in the early 1600s, following the lead of Etienne Brule who came up the Ottawa. He was accompanied by Jesuit missionaries who began attempting to convert the natives to Christianity. In 1613, Samuel de Champlain, the French commander of New France, himself visited the area for the purpose of trading for furs, and on June 4th 1613, he named one tributary on the southwest bank for the French word for curtain, "Rideau."

Following the War of 1812 with the United States, Britain realized it needed a trade route into the Interior of Canada that did not pass alongside the American border on the St Lawrence. It built a 200 kilometre canal from Kingston between 1826 and 1832. The canal was fortified, particularly at Kingston, and enabled ship traffic to come up from Lake Ontario and then navigate down the Ottawa River to Montreal and the Atlantic. The town was named Bytown, for Colonel John By, the canal's chief builder. The main Bytown streets of Wellington and Rideau were built at that time, to the width of 30 metres, about 50 per cent wider than most roads at the time. Over the next 30 years, Both Bytown and Wrightstown thrived on a forestry industry, as the valleys were cleared of trees (and converted to farming).

Parliament Buildings In 1857, Queen Victoria was asked to choose a new capital for its growing Canadian colonies, and was originally given a choice between Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City or Kingston. In 1867, Ottawa had a population of 18,000 and covered 760 hectares, There were few stone buildings other than the Parliament Buildings, and the riverbanks and canals were lined with sawmills paper mills and factories.

The Second World War led to a massive growth in the civil service, as the government took control of the economy in this first "total war," that made C.D. Howe the "minister of everything" under prime minister Mackenzie King. Many temporary buildings were built around the city (many were still standing into the early 1980s). During the war, Ottawa provided a residence to the Dutch royal family (they lived at Rideau Hall), and just before the birth of the royal heir, an act of Parliament declaring the Civic hospital to be (temporarily) Dutch territory. In 1945, and area of 2,330 square kilometres on both sides of the river designated the "National Capital District." The Dutch Royal family began a tradition by donating 100,000 tulip bulbs to beautify the city's pathways and parks.

National War Memorial and the Chateau Laurier Hotel In 1969, a new regional government of Ottawa-Carleton was set up to govern to Ontario lands of the National Capital District. In Quebec, the Outauoais region was set up for the same purpose. In the late 1980's there were a number of government restructuring studies, reviewing the over 10 municipal level governments in the region. The new Mike Harris government in Ontario, forced all the municipalities to amalgamate into one single City of Ottawa municipality, which became effective with the municipal elections in 2000.

Whether it's a visit to a park, an art gallery or the area's history, Ottawa offers its visitors and residents lots to do every day of the week. (See attractions maps for the downtown | west | centre | east )

Highway Notes

Because the #417 Trans-Canada Highway through Ottawa is a "400" series limited access highway, bicycles are not allowed, from the Quebec border west past Carp. Fortunately, the old Highway 17 (take the Grenville-Hawkesbury bridge into Ontario) meanders along the Ottawa River through rural farming country Ottawa's eastern suburbs. In Orleans, head a bit south of the highway to St Jospeph Boulevard in Orleans, which becomes Montreal Road in Ottawa and takes you right downtown. Ottawa has many scenic bike routes adjacent to riverside parkways taking you right past the Rideau Canal and the Parliament Buildings. After following the western Ottawa River Parkway, continue west along Carling Avenue to follow lighter-trafficked routes to where the #17 highway is accessible again. If you are coming from the west, at Arnprior, head toward the Ottawa River to follow Highway 9 & 49 into Kanata, and from there head east on Carling Avenue to the Ottawa River Parkway.

More about Ottawa, from www.FoundLocally.com/ottawa/.

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Ottawa-Gatineau Accommodation & Attractions

Here are a featured SAMPLING of hotels, motels, long-term accommodation, vacation rentals, lodges and campgrounds. For a complete (and searchable listing) use the red SEARCH feature at right.

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Accommodations Directory Listings

Here are some of the hotels, motels, campgrounds, and lodges/cottages to be found along the Trans Canada Highway:

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Ottawa-Gatineau AccommodationsFour Points Sheraton Ottawa

Directly across from the Canadian Museum of Civilization in downtown Hull, with recreation paths across street. 201 rooms, free in-room coffee, news-paper, hairdryers, business centre and business floors, indoor heated pool, fitness centre

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Ottawa-Gatineau AccommodationsCountry Inn & Suites By Carlson, Ottawa West, ON

AAA 3 diamonds with indoor pool, sauna, state of the art business center, and video conferencing in meeting room. Hotel features 39 suites with king size bed and guest rooms with high speed internet access.

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Ottawa-Gatineau AccommodationsRecreationland Tent & Trailer Park

Stay our our wonderful campground, and enjoy the great outdoors… see our website for details

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Ottawa-Gatineau AccommodationsMoonlight Bay Campground

Privately owned family park situated on the beautiful Mississippi Lake. Seasonal & short stay camping.In-ground swimming pool, sandy beach, Henderson playstructure, restaurant

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Ottawa-Gatineau AccommodationsEmbassy Hotel & Suites

Located one block from the Rideau Canal, in downtown Ottawa, The Embassy Hotel is a short walk, or close to it all. 130 Suites - Bachelor, One Bedroom, Executive and Two Bedroom Suites. Generous in size and eye appealing; sure to please.

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More Nights... More places to stay in Ottawa-Gatineau

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Attractions Directory Listings

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Ottawa-Gatineau Travel & AttractionsThomas Cook owned operated by Highland Travel

Thomas Cook is the largest leisure travel retail company in Canada. We employ experienced professional travel consultants, backed by a fully integrated web site & call centre. Our customers benefit from our superior buying power with our suppliers.

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Ottawa-Gatineau Travel & AttractionsImpress Limousine

Highly trained, uniformed, bonded and security-cleared team with a fleet of luxury late model vehicles will bring you a suite of services that will exceed your expectations.

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Ottawa-Gatineau Travel & AttractionsEnterprise Rent-A-Car - St-Laurent

Unlike other rental car companies, Enterprise focuses on neighborhood markets. We specialize in renting to people who need a temporary replacement car or a vehicle for a special occasion.

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Ottawa-Gatineau Travel & AttractionsMississippi Golf Club Ltd

The course is nestled among mature trees and intertwining creeks and streams, with endangered Blue Heron other local wildlife. The Signature hole is the 15th, a 557-yard par 5, where your drive must avoid the large tree that guards the righ

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Ottawa-Gatineau Travel & AttractionsNational Car and Truck Rental

National Car Rental operates in over 3,000 locations, and operates over 275,000 quality vehicles that serve over 15 million business & leisure travelers annually.

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More Attractions... Things to see & do in Ottawa-Gatineau

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