First Impressions and an Overview

My partner in crime Theresa and I went to Ottawa 3 or 4 years ago in the winter to catch Ottawa’s famous winter festival “Winterlude“. Unfortunately that year the weather was too warm and the weekend was a total wash-out. Even the ice sculptures had melted.

Well, it was time to give it a second shot. So this past Friday we got in the car and once we drove through a few snow squalls past Oshawa it was smooth sailing all the way to Canada’s capital. We got into town right around 4:30 pm, just before sunset.

Coming in on the 417 into town we caught a bit of Ottawa’s rush hour, and traffic along Wellington Street was bumper to bumper. Funny, I had always figured that Ottawa didn’t have a rush hour, boy was I wrong. Just because some people may think that Ottawa is a bit of a bureaucratic backwater doesn’t mean it’s not a hustling and bustling place.

So I have since done some research about this capital of ours and have found out some interesting facts that demonstrate that Ottawa is a much more interesting city than expected:

  • Ottawa is the fourth largest urban centre in Canada (behind Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver), with a population of more than 1.2 million people.
  • Ottawa naturally is the home of government organizations such as the Government of Canada, Canada’s Parliament, the Senate, and the Supreme Court of Canada
  • Ottawa is a centre of high technology and home to technology giants such as Nortel Networks, JDS Uniphase, Cognos, Cisco and Alcatel.
  • Other major companies like MBNC Canada, ING Direct and Clarica also make Ottawa their home.

  • More than 65,000 people are employed in 1500 companies in the high-tech sector.
  • Apparently Ottawa has the best-educated workforce in Canada. On a per capita level it has more engineers, scientists and PhDs than any other city in the country.
  • Ottawa is one of the top 5 sites in the world for R&D.
  • More than 7 million visitors come to Ottawa every year, and collectively they spend more than $1.3 billion.
  • A Swiss-based management firm, Corporate Resources Group, ranked Ottawa sixth in the world for quality of life.
  • Ottawa is a truly bilingual city and it also has significant number of people who speak Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese and Arabic

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