Wedding in Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada and the country's fourth largest city, as well as the second largest city in the province of Ontario. It is located in the Ottawa Valley on the eastern edge of the province of Ontario, 400 kilometres (250 mi) north-east of Toronto and 190 kilometres (120 mi) west of Montreal. Ottawa lies on the banks of the Ottawa River, a major waterway that forms the border between Ontario and Quebec.
There is no federal capital district in Canada. Ottawa is a municipality within the Province of Ontario. Although it does not constitute a separate administrative district, Ottawa is part of the federally-designated National Capital Region, which includes the neighbouring Quebec municipality of Gatineau. As with other national capitals, the word "Ottawa" is also used to refer by metonymy to the country's federal government, especially as opposed to provincial or municipal authorities.
Ottawa is situated on the south bank of the Ottawa River, and contains the mouths of the Rideau River and Rideau Canal. The oldest part of the city (including what remains of Bytown) is known as Lower Town and occupies an area between the canal and the rivers. Across the canal to the west lies Centretown (often just called "downtown"), which is the city's financial and commercial hub. Between here and the Ottawa River, the slight elevation of Parliament Hill is home to many of the capital's landmark government buildings, and is the Legislative seat of Canada.
Across the Ottawa River, which forms the border between Ontario and Quebec, lies the city of Gatineau. Although formally and administratively separate cities in two separate provinces, Ottawa and Gatineau (along with a number of nearby municipalities) collectively constitute the National Capital Region, with a combined population exceeding one million residents, and the area is considered a single metropolitan area. One federal crown corporation (the National Capital Commission, or NCC) has significant land holdings in both cities - including sites of historical and touristic importance. The NCC, through its responsibility for planning and development of these lands, is an important contributor to both cities.
Ottawa is served by VIA Rail passenger service, a number of airlines that fly into Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, and inter-city bus companies such as Greyhound through the Ottawa Bus Central Station.
The capital city of Canada is also served by a network of freeways, the main one being provincial Highway 417 (called The Queensway), Ottawa-Carleton Regional Road 174 (Formerly Provincial Highway 17), and the newly constructed Highway 416 (Veterans' Memorial Highway), connecting Ottawa to the rest of the 400-Series Highway network in Ontario. Highway 417 is also the Ottawa portion of the Trans-Canada Highway. The city also has a few Scenic Parkways (Promenades), such as the Ottawa River Parkway, and has a freeway connection to Quebec Autoroute 5, in Hull. For a complete listing of the parkways and roads in Ottawa, see the List of Ottawa roads.