Ottawa is the capital of Canada and the country's fourth largest city. Ottawa is located along the Ottawa River in the eastern region of Southern Ontario. Ottawa is a very diverse city with a population estimated at 895,000 in 2014.
Ottawa has a population estimated at 934,243 as of 2016. In 2001, the Province of Ontario dissolved the former City of Ottawa by combining it with 11 other municipalities to create a new City of Ottawa. The census metropolitan area (CMA) population of Ottawa is estimated at 1.25 million, which is also the fourth largest metro area in Canada.
Ottawa City Size and Population Density
The city proper has a population density of 317 people per square kilometer (820/sq mi). The city covers a total surface area of 2,778.13 kilometers squared (1,072.9 square miles).
Ottawa was first an Irish and French Christian settlement, but it is now has a very diverse population. About 24% of the population are foreign-born residents. Visible minority groups, or non-European whites, account for 23.7% of the population.
In 2011, the ethnic and racial composition of Ottawa was:
- White: 74.2% (28.4% Canadian, 24.3% English, 22.5% Irish, 21.5% French, 19.8% Scottish, 8.4% German, 4.9% Italian)
- Black: 5.7%
- Chinese: 4.0%
- South Asian: 3.9%
- Arab: 3.7%
- Southeast Asian: 1.6%
- Filipino: 1.2%
- Latin American: 1.2%
- West Asian: 0.9%
- Korean: 0.3%
- Japanese: 0.2%
- Other visible minority: 0.2%
- Multiple visible minorities: 0.7%
- Aboriginal: 2.1% (1.2% First Nations, 0.7% Metis, 0.1% Inuit, 0.1% other Aboriginal)
65% of the city's population belongs to a Christian denomination, the most common of which is Roman Catholicism at 38%, followed by Anglicanism (6.5%), United Church (6.2%), Christian Orthodox (2%), Presbyterianism (1.5%), Baptist (1.2%) and Pentacostal (1.1%). The next-largest religion is Islam at 6.7%, followed by Hinduism (1.4%), Buddhism (1.3%) and Judaism (1.2%). About 23% of the population has no religious affiliation.
Étienne Brûlé was the first European to explore and travel the Ottawa River as he made his way to the Great Lakes in 1610. In 1613, Samuel de Champlain joined him and wrote of the waterfalls in the area as well as the various encounters with the Algonquins.
The first settlement was created in 1800 across from Ottawa in Hull by a New Englander named 'Philemon Wright'. The community, called Wrightsville, became a pioneer in the Ottawa Valley timber trade. Bytown (later Ottawa) was founded in 1826 due to work being done on the Rideau Canal. Barracks and a town were set up, and the population reached 1,000 as the Canal was being finished in 1832. It was renamed Ottawa in 1855 and incorporated as a city.
In 1857, Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the common capital for the Province of Canada. Through the 1850s, large sawmills were constructed, followed by rail lines. Public transportation grew quickly. In the 1990s, Ottawa had substantial growth in the high-tech industry, fueling further growth in the city's economy and population.
Ottawa Population Growth
Since the 1980s, about three-quarters of the city's growth has been attributed to relocation from other cities, as well as foreign immigration. The Ottawa metropolitan area has now outpaced the national average growth rate for more than 7 years. The city grew more than 9% from 2006 to 2011, surpassing the national average of 5.9%. Ottawa is currently bracing itself for a population boom outside of the Greenbelt, which is expected to grow from 291,000 now to 432,000 by 2031.