The Ottawa river valley has archaeological sites with arrow heads, pottery, and stone tools.
Three major rivers meet within Ottawa, making it an important trade and travel area for thousands of years.
Its original boundaries were expanded through numerous annexations and were ultimately replaced by a new city incorporation and amalgamation in 2001 which significantly increased its land area.
The city name "Ottawa" was chosen in reference to the Ottawa River, the name of which is derived from the Algonquin Odawa, meaning "to trade".
Secondly, Ottawa was located approximately midway between Toronto and Kingston (in Canada West) and Montreal and Quebec City (in Canada East).
Additionally, despite Ottawa's regional isolation it had seasonal water transportation access to Montreal over the Ottawa River and to Kingston via the Rideau Waterway.
Founded in 1826 as Bytown, and incorporated as Ottawa in 1855, the city has evolved into the political centre of Canada.
By 1854 it also had a modern all season Bytown and Prescott Railway that carried passengers, lumber and supplies the 82-kilometres to Prescott on the Saint Lawrence River and beyond.
The government already owned the land that would eventually become Parliament Hill which they thought would be an ideal location for building the Parliament Buildings.
and is home to a number of post-secondary, research, and cultural institutions, including the National Arts Centre, the National Gallery, and numerous national museums.
Ottawa has the highest standard of living in the nation and low unemployment.