Canada’s capital city: Ottawa has the highest per capita concentration of residents with PhDs in Canada

Canada’s capital city: Ottawa has the highest per capita concentration of residents with PhDs in Canada

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Ottawa by the river
For those globetrotting intellectuals, here is a crowd-pulling fact…Ottawa has the highest per capita concentration of residents with PhDs in Canada. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s a lot more the city has to offer.

Canada’s capital city, Ottawa is a mix of tidy late-Victorian brick houses employed as shops and restaurants, Gothic spires and towers of Parliament Hill, and modern-day architecture with the magnificent Gatineau Hills serving as a backdrop. The city is bordered by the Ottawa River to the north, and the historic Rideau River and Rideau Canal that meanders through the city north to south.

The Ottawa River forms the border between Ontario and Quebec, and right across it lies Gatineau, which although lies in a separate province, together with Ottawa constitutes the National Capital Region.

When you enter the city, it is hard to believe that it wasn’t a likely candidate for capital city. It was chosen in 1858 as the capital only because of the rising hostility between the then major cities Ontario and Québec. But the residents take pride in their city, and the government made efforts to change the small village into a national capital, by rescuing historic sites and creating public and recreation parks among others.

Their efforts paid off and in 2007, the Rideau Canal, which stretches for 202 km, Fort Henry and four Martello towers in the Kingston area were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The climate in Ottawa is generally humid but temperatures during the year can be quite extreme ranging from a record high of 37.8 °C to a record low of -38.9 °C. On the plus side, this extreme range in temperature allows the city to indulge in a variety of annual activities.

Historical timeline:
Some of the very first inhabitants of the Ottawa region were the Algonquin Indians who called the Ottawa River the Kichesippi, or the Great River, and called themselves the Kichesippirini, the people of the Great River. The river got its current name through French fur traders who named it after the Outaouais tribe who had also occupied the region briefly.

1650 – Nicholas Gatineau, a clerk in an organization of fur traders gives his family name to the river flowing into the Ottawa River, two miles from the present city of Hull (now Gatineau).

1763 – The Treaty of Paris is signed by Great Britain, France and Spain to mark the end of the Seven Years War. France cedes Canada to Britain.

1791 – The Constitutional Act is passed by the British Parliament, establishing the individually administered regions of Upper and Lower Canada.

1800 – With the end of New France, the Ottawa area came under British rule and settlers from the United States begin to stake claims to the land. Among them was Philemon Wright who forms a settlement on the north bank of the Ottawa River. He figured that transporting timber by river from the Ottawa Valley to Montreal was possible, and so the region soon has a booming timber trade. The White Pine, found throughout the valley, is one of the chief exports.

1812 – The United States declares war against Great Britain and launches an attack on Canada.

1821 – Nicholas Sparks, one of Philemon Wright’s farmhands, purchases 200 acres of land on the south shore of the Ottawa River for 95 pounds. Today the original Sparks property, which includes the site of the parliament buildings and the downtown business district, is assessed at over one hundred million dollars.

1823 – Sir George Ramsay purchases an extensive tract of land near the Ottawa River for constructing the Rideau Canal to establish a link by waterway between Montreal and Kingston (then Canada’s capital) via Ottawa.

1826 – Lieutenant Colonel By and Sir George Ramsay choose the location for the entrance to the Rideau Canal and consequently found a community where the City of Ottawa exists today. Colonel By is recognized as the first builder and planner of what was to become the country’s capital.

1827 – The name Bytown is first used to identify the community growing up around the Rideau Canal construction.

1832 – The first Board of Health in Bytown is formed to combat an epidemic of Asiatic cholera.

1836 – Bytown’s first newspaper, the Bytown Independent and Farmer’s Advocate, appears.

1843 – The Arch Riot takes place on August 20. Animosity between the Orangemen and Papists of Bytown erupts in fighting and stone throwing.

1849 – The Stony Monday Riot takes place on September 17. Tories and Reformists clash over the planned visit of Lord Elgin. Two days later, the two political factions face off but, the conflict is diffused in time by the military.

1855 – Bytown is formally incorporated as a city and adopts the name of Ottawa. Wright’s Town followed suit in 1875 and became known as Hull.

1857 – Queen Victoria chose the City of Ottawa as the seat of the new government.

1867 – The British North America Act is ratified and Ottawa becomes the permanent capital of the Dominion of Canada.

1879 – The Great Dominion Exhibition is held in Ottawa. Later the exhibition grounds become Landsdowne Park, named after the Governor General from 1883 to 1888.

1891 – The first electric streetcar service is started.

1895 – Ottawa’s first paved street exists as of this date.

1900 – A fire starts in Hull and, carried by the wind, soon destroys a large segment of the city, making thousands homeless.

1916 – A small fire breaks out in the Parliamentary Reading Room but fed by stacks of newspapers and varnished woodwork, it soon becomes a raging blaze and reduced the library to a charred shell.

1958 – The Government established a greenbelt around Ottawa to avoid uncontrolled urban sprawl, and provide parks and public open space.


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