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What and Where is Ottawa?
What is Canada? A brief summary:
For the millions of American people out there who do not know who the Prime Minister of Canada is or even what the heck Ottawa is, this Hub is for you. Below is a brief summary which should provide a little more insight as to who precisely your northern neighbour is. First of all, if you do happen to cross the border, be sure to memorize the word "Eh". This one word will really go a long way when trying to blend in to our society and way of life. It's really simple and kind of fun - Eh? This is a word passed down from the original natives of the 1600's and means - "What do ya think of that?
With a population just 1/10 of the U.S., our military might is lacking somewhat and we rely on you, our good neighbours to the south, for some form of protection from the bullies of the world. But for gods sake, at least know who you're defending? We, after all know plenty about you. For example, we know that George Washington had wooden teeth. We know that Ben Franklin liked to fly kites and we know that Colonel Custer started up the very first Dairy Queen franchaise.
But what do you guys know about us? Well, sit down and take in a bit of history and maybe you'll come visit us someday.
What is Ottawa?
From the last ice age, native peoples with distinctive life styles made their home here and lived off the land.
By the 1600's, French explorers began to arrive such as Etienne Brulé and Samuel de Champlain, seeking a route to Asia. While no route was found, fur traders and settlers began to arrive. However, new settlements began to fade as smallpox made its way here from Europe causing great suffering and hardships among the natives. There was also great turmoil here as warfare over the fur trade heated up.
Finally, settlement by the Europeans became permanent in 1826. Lieutenant-Colonel John By supervised the construction of the Rideau Canal , which connected a series of waterways between Kingston and the Ottawa River. With the building of this canal, a military supply route had been formed between Ottawa and Kingston in case of an attack from the United States. The British government sponsored immigration here from Ireland as well as many French people from Quebec. These new settlers would build the Rideau Canal sysytem, supervised by Colonel By. Hundreds of these builders would eventually die over the years through sickness, heat and cold. Eventually, the newly established town would take on the name of Bytown.
Once the canal construction was finished in 1832, many of the people who had settled here remained. There was a thriving and fast-growing timber trade in the area, just across the Ottawa River. Bytown was incorporated as a town in 1850 and later became a city in 1855. It was at that time, renamed 'Ottawa'.
On February 10, 1857, the newly formed city of Ottawa was chosen to be the capital of the United Province of Canada, a new territory consisting of Upper and Lower Canada. Today, Upper and Lower Canada represents the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as Canada's capital city over several contenders including Montreal, Toronto, Kingston and Quebec City. Ottawa retained many advantages over the others such as a military defence position, distance from the U.S. border, a place on the map advantageous for westward expansion and potential for economic growth.
Ottawa's main advantage was it's ability to unite Upper and Lower Canada due to it's close proximity of the border line between these two provinces. It's waterways connect Montreal, Toronto and Kingston.
Ottawa, at the time was lacking any crediblilty however in the way of infrastructure. Therefore, construction on the Parliament buildings began in 1859. The gothic style buildings which resembled Westminster Houses of Parliament in London, were finally completeted in 1866. On July 1, 1867, the government of the Province of Canada sat for only one session with the sole purpose of establishing Canada as a federation. The government today is represented on Parliament Hill on the very location that once housed Colonel By's soldiers.
Parliament Hill today is still the seat of the Canadian government and is also a major landmark in the city of Ottawa.
Tourism to Ottawa is key to it's economy and there is just so much for visitors to see here. The Ottawa Region at present consists of 1,148,800 million residents and is currently the fourth-largest urban area in Canada.