What is the Capital of Canada?

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what is the capital of Canada

The capital city of Canada is Ottawa. Canada, stretching from the Atlantic to the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, is the world’s second-largest country with the longest coastline. Despite its vast size, most Canadians live in urban areas south of the 55th parallel. Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver are the largest metropolitan cities in the land of Canada. Let’s find out more about what is the capital of Canada. 

Also Read- 101 Interesting Facts about Canada 

Overview of Ottawa

Ottawa is situated in the Southeast of Ontario. Once a trading and lumbering hub, Ottawa rose to become a provincial capital in 1857 and remained Canada’s capital upon Confederation.

Capital ofCanada
LocationSouthern Ontario Province
WaterwaysConfluence of Ottawa River and Rideau River
Bordering CityGatineau, Quebec
Population (City)1,017,449 (as of 2021)
Population (Metro)1,488,307 (as of 2021)
Rank4th largest city & metropolitan area in Canada
SignificancePolitical center and headquarters of the federal government

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Brief History of Ottawa

Algonquin First Nations inhabited the Ottawa River Valley. Then Europeans arrived in 1613 (Samuel de Champlain) and used the rivers for trade. The rest of the history of the capital of Canada is mentioned below. 

  • British needed timber during the Napoleonic Wars, leading Philemon Wright to establish the first permanent town (Wrightsville) north of the river in 1800.
  • The War of 1812 highlighted the vulnerability of the St. Lawrence River – Rideau Canal built as an alternate route (1826-32).
  • Bytown (later Ottawa) was founded by Lt. Col. John By to house canal workers.
  • Rideau Canal boosted Ottawa’s early growth by transporting timber.
  • Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the capital in 1857 due to political neutrality.
  • Fires in 1900 and 1916 led to reconstruction, including Parliament Buildings.
  • Civil service jobs increased due to wars and economic depression.
  • Ottawa initially remained industrial, but in 1937, plans began to beautify it as a capital city.
Source- History Today

  • Gréber’s plan included parkland, greenbelt, and the removal of the industry from the city centre.
  • National Capital Commission (NCC) and National Capital Region (NCR) were established to implement the plan. 

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Demography of Ottawa

Majorly the demographics of Ottawa consist of white and European people. The rest consists of tourists and indigenous tribes. 

Demographic AspectOttawa
Population (2021)1,017,449
Population Change (2016-2021)+8.9%
Land Area (km²)2,788.2
Population Density (/km²)364.9
Median Age40.1
Immigrant Population25.9%
Visible Minorities32.5%
Religion (2021 Census)
Language (2016)
Other Languages20.4%

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Geography of Ottawa

The capital of Canada, Ottawa is a large city with a mix of urban, suburban, and rural areas. It includes the historic pre-amalgamation city, the former city of Vanier, and the wealthy Rockcliffe Park. The old city has vibrant neighbourhoods like Centretown, Lower Town, and Sandy Hill, affluent areas like The Glebe and Westboro, and blue-collar communities like Hintonburg and Mechanicsville. It also has ethnic enclaves like Chinatown and Little Italy.

Beyond the old city, Ottawa is made up of eleven historic townships. The main suburban areas sprawl east, west, and south and include former cities like Kanata and Nepean. There are also towns like Stittsville and Richmond and communities like Manotick and Greely. Even rural villages and hamlets are part of Ottawa, including Burritts Rapids and Constance Bay. It’s important to note that the National Capital Region extends beyond Ottawa’s municipal boundaries to include towns like Almonte and Carleton Place.

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Economy of Ottawa

Ottawa’s economy has shifted beyond just government jobs.

  • Since the 1970s, it has become a hub for high-tech research, manufacturing, and companies like:
  1. Telecommunications
  2. Software
  3. Defense & Security
  4. Biotechnology
  5. Wireless
  • Other important sectors include professional services, retail, finance, and healthcare.
  • Transportation is well-developed with:
  1. Frequent passenger trains
  2. Network of expressways and major roads
  3. International airport and two regional airports

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Culture of Ottawa

Ottawa is a diverse city with a mix of British, Irish, and French ancestry. Many residents are bilingual in English and French. It also has a large immigrant population. 

Roman Catholicism is the main religion, but there are Protestant, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jewish communities. 

The city has universities, and museums (like the National Gallery of Canada) and is known for festivals like Winterlude (with ice sculptures and skating) and the Canadian Tulip Festival. 

Source- CarniFest.com

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Facts About Ottawa

Now is the time we end the article about the capital of Canada with some amazing facts about it. 

  • Capital with a Winter Wonderland: Ottawa holds grand government buildings and historical significance, so much so that you would not believe your eyes. But it’s also known for embracing winter!
  • Bilingual Buzz: Ottawa is a vibrant mix of cultures, with a significant French-speaking population due to its proximity to Quebec. Over one-third of residents are bilingual in English and French, making it a truly cosmopolitan city. 
  • High-Tech Hub: Beyond its government core, Ottawa has transformed into a major centre for high-tech research and development. Since the 1970s, it’s become a hub for companies in telecommunications, software, defence & security, biotechnology, and wireless technology.
  • Festival Fever: Ottawa celebrates throughout the year with exciting festivals. Winterlude, a three-weekend extravaganza, features ice sculptures, skating, and a triathlon. Spring bursts with colour during the Canadian Tulip Festival, showcasing over a million blooming tulips.
  • Museum Mecca: Ottawa is a haven for history and science buffs. The National Gallery of Canada houses impressive artwork, while museums like the Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum offer fascinating insights into the country’s past and military heritage.


What are the two capitals of Canada?

Most people think that Canada has two capital cities. However, Toronto is the capital of Ontario, and Ottawa is the capital of Canada.

Is Toronto a capital city?

Yes, Toronto is the capital city of Ottawa. Moreover, Toronto is the most populous city in Canada. 

Is Canada bigger than the US?

The land area of Canada is 3, 855, 103 square miles compared to America’s 3, 794, 083, making Canada 1.6% larger than the States. 

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