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, indigenous people of North America

Ottawa (ŏtˈəwə) or Odawa (ōdäˈwə), Native Americans whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). Traditionally of the Eastern Woodlands cultural area (see under Natives, North American), the Ottawa have a well-developed creation myth that states that they were descended from three families: the Michabou, or Great Hare, the Namepich, or Carp, and the Bear's Paw. According to tradition the Ottawa, the Ojibwa, and the Potawatami were originally one family, dwelling N of the Great Lakes; after the separation, some of the Ottawa settled on Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron and along the shores of Georgian Bay.

In 1615, when noted by Samuel de Champlain, many Ottawa lived near the mouth of French River on Georgian Bay. Known as great traders, they claimed the Ottawa River region and controlled trade with the French on that river. They allied themselves with the French and the Huron. Their alliance with the Huron, however, made them the enemies of the Iroquois, who forced the Ottawa to flee to the islands off Green Bay. After a few years some moved on to Keweenaw Bay in Lake Superior, while another section joined the Huron and went to the Mississippi near Lake Pepin. From there the Sioux drove them northward to Chequamegon Bay in N Wisconsin.

Promised protection by the French, the Ottawa returned (1670) to Manitoulin Island, where the mission of St. Simon was established among them. Next they joined the Huron at Mackinac in Michigan, and soon after they dispersed over a wide area. The Ottawa were active in the Indian wars of the Old Northwest; Pontiac was an Ottawan. Eventually part of the Ottawa settled on Walpole Island in Lake St. Clair and part on Manitoulin Island, while others have settled in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Michigan. In 1990 there were close to 8,000 Ottawa in the United States.


See A. S. Blackbird, History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan (1897); M. A. McDonnell, Masters of Empire (2016).


, city, Canada

Ottawa (ŏtˈəwə), city (1991 pop. 313,987), capital of Canada, SE Ont., at the confluence of the Ottawa and Rideau rivers and across the Ottawa from Gatineau, Que. The Rideau Canal separates the city into upper and lower towns; along its banks and those of the rivers are many landscaped drives as well as much of the city's land area, which totals 1,500 acres (607 hectares). Although Ottawa is not primarily an industrial center, it has industries that produce, among other goods, paper and paper products, printed materials, telecommunications equipment, and electronics. The area's industries utilize the hydroelectric power of the Ottawa (Chaudière Falls) and Gatineau valleys. Since 1940, the largest employer in Ottawa has been the federal government. The city is largely bilingual because federal government employees are required to know both English and French.

The National Capital Commission, a developer of public works, has done much to redevelop the core of the city, removing old rail lines and building new parks (Confederation Square) and national buildings (National Arts Centre, Major-General George R. Pearkes Building [the National Defence Headquarters], Bank of Canada Building). In part because of these development projects, tourism has become Ottawa's second largest industry, attracting about 4 million people annually.

Ottawa proper was founded in 1827 by Col. John By, an engineer in charge of construction of the Rideau Canal. At first called Bytown, it was named after the Ottawa, an Algonquian-speaking people, in 1854. In 1858, Ottawa was chosen by Queen Victoria to be the capital of the United Provinces of Canada, and in 1867 it became capital of the Dominion of Canada.

The government buildings, built between 1859 and 1865, were burned in 1916 but were immediately rebuilt on an enlarged scale. Other notable buildings are Rideau Hall, the residence of the governor-general, the Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals, the Bytown Museum, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the National Gallery, the National Arts Centre, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, the Library and Archives Canada, the Canada Science and Technology Museum, the Royal Canadian Mint, and the Rideau Centre complex. Beechwood, the National Cemetery of Canada is the site of the national military cemetery. The Univ. of Ottawa, St. Paul Univ., and Carleton Univ. are in the city. The Canadian Football League's Renegades play in the city; the National Hockey League's Senators in suburban Kanata.


See R. B. Haig, Ottawa (1970); D. B. Knight, A Capital for Canada (1977); J. Taylor, Ottawa: An Illustrated History (1986).


, cities, United States
Ottawa. 1 City (1990 pop. 17,451), seat of La Salle co., N central Ill., at the confluence of the Fox and Illinois rivers, in a fertile farm area; inc. as a city 1853. The city has diversified agriculture and manufactures glass, tools, building materials, and automobile parts. Points of interest include the site of the first Lincoln-Douglas debate (1858) and Fort Johnson (1832). Several state parks are in the area, and scenic attractions along the rivers draw many visitors. 2 City (1990 pop. 10,667), seat of Franklin co., E Kans., on the Marais des Cygnes River; inc. 1867. The rail and industrial center of a farm area, it has a variety of light industries. The city is named for the Ottawa, who moved there (1832) after ceding their Ohio lands to the United States; they were subsequently removed (1867) to Oklahoma. Ottawa Univ. is in the city.


, river, Canada
Ottawa, river, c.700 mi (1,130 km) long, largest tributary of the St. Lawrence River, Canada. It rises in the Laurentian Highlands, SW Que., and flows generally W through La Vérendrye Provincial Park to Lake Timiskaming, then SE forming part of the Quebec-Ontario border, past Ottawa, and into the St. Lawrence River near Montreal. Its lower course has several expansions, known as the Allumetter, Chats, and Deschênes lakes and Lake of the Two Mountains. Among its chief tributaries are the Gatineau, Lièvre and Coulonge rivers. Hydroelectric power stations at La Cave, Des Joachims, Bryson, Chenaux, Chats, Chaudière Falls, and Carillion have a combined generating capacity of about 1.5 million kW. The river is navigable for large vessels as far as Ottawa; it is connected with Lake Ontario by the Rideau Canal system. There is some farming in the valley below Pembroke, but lumbering is the chief industry along the lower river. Samuel de Champlain, the French explorer, was the first European to visit (1613–15) the valley; the river, known then as the Grand River, later became an important highway for fur traders and missionaries.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the capital of Canada; one of the country’s political, cultural, and economic centers. The city proper is located on the Ottawa River and the Rideau Canal, in Ontario Province, at an elevation of 72 m. The climate is moderate continental, with an average January temperature of — 11°C and an average July temperature of 20.3°C. The total annual precipitation is 873 mm. According to the 1971 census, the population of Ottawa is 302,-400 (602,500, including the suburbs). The city is governed by an elected municipal council headed by a mayor, who works under the direct supervision of the central government.

Founded in the 1820’s Ottawa was incorporated as a city in 1854. Since then it has been known by its present name. (It was originally called Bytown.) From 1858 to 1867, Ottawa was the capital of the British colony (province) of Canada. The city became the capital of the Dominion of Canada upon its founding in 1867. Ottawa is a port city and a railroad and highway junction. There is an international airport (Uplands). Approximately 36 percent of the labor force are civil servants; only 12 percent are employed in industry. The leading industries are pulp and paper; printing and publishing; the production of office and electronic equipment, computers, and scientific instruments and devices; and service industries meeting the needs of the capital’s population.

Since 1899, Ottawa has developed according to a general plan. (Originally drawn up by the architect F. Todd, between 1937 and 1959 the plan was elaborated by J. Gréber.) Characteristic of the city are many bodies of water and green areas (134 parks), as well as a checkerboard pattern of streets, which is associated with the development of a system of parkways. The principal business streets run along the river.

Outstanding among the administrative buildings located in the center of the city on the right bank of the Ottawa River are the Gothic style Parliament Buildings, which burned down in 1916 and were rebuilt between 1919 and 1927 (architects J. Pearson and O. Marchand). Most of the industrial enterprises are located in the suburbs, including Eastview and Hull (on the left bank of the Ottawa River, in the province of Quebec). Examples of contemporary architecture are the Uplands airport (1960; architects F. Gilleland and P. Strutt), the National Arts Center (1970, chief architect R. Affleck), and buildings designed by F. Page and H. Steele. There are many monuments (sculptors H. MacCarthy, W. Allword, and P. Hébert, for example).

The city’s two universities are the University of Ottawa and Carleton University (founded in 1942). Also located in Ottawa are the headquarters of the Royal Society of Canada, the National Research Council, the Social Science Research Council, the Canadian research institute on atomic energy, the Geological Survey of Canada, and many other scholarly and scientific institutions. The National Science Library, the National Library, and the Ottawa Public Library are the city’s main libraries. Located in Ottawa are the National Museums of Canada, including the National Museum of Natural Sciences, the Canadian War Museum, the National Museum of Science and Technology, the National Gallery of Canada (collections of Canadian and European art), the National Museum of Man, and the National Museum of Aviation.

As of 1974, the city’s cultural facilities included the National Arts Center, with auditoriums for opera, ballet, drama, and experimental productions; the Little Theater, which has a permanent troupe; the National Arts Center Orchestra; and drama and music groups at Ottawa and Carleton universities.


Davies, B. Ottawa. [Toronto, 1954.]
Corlass, H. Ottawa. London, 1958.



a river in southeastern Canada; a left tributary of the St. Lawrence. The Ottawa River, which originates in the Laurentian Mountains, is 1,120 km long and drains an area of 115,000 sq km. The river flows through several lakes and has rapids in several places. The average annual discharge is about 2,000 cu m per sec in the lower reaches. From December through April the river is frozen. It is navigable from its mouth to the Chaudière Falls. Located along the river are hydroelectric power plants with a total capacity of approximately 1.5 gigawatts. The Rideau Canal links the river with Lake Ontario. The city of Ottawa is located on the river. In the estuary of the Ottawa River there are several islands.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. the capital of Canada, in E Ontario on the Ottawa River: name changed from Bytown to Ottawa in 1854. Pop.: 774 072 (2001)
2. a river in central Canada, rising in W Quebec and flowing west, then southeast to join the St Lawrence River as its chief tributary at Montreal; forms the border between Quebec and Ontario for most of its length. Length: 1120 km (696 miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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