Ottawa  is situated upon the south bank of the Ottawa River, one hundred and twenty miles from its junction with the St. Lawrence at Montreal. The river here forms the splendid Chaudière Falls (two hundred yards wide and forty feet high), above which a suspension bridge spans the river, and which supply the motive-power for the numerous lumber mills, flour mills and factories.

East of the city the River Rideau forms a second fall. The Rideau Canal passes through the center of the city, and connects with the Rideau Lakes, and so with the great lakes beyond. Opposite the city, to the northeast, the Gatineau River joins the Ottawa.

It is a city of stately public buildings, of turfed drives and wooded pleasure grounds, and there is a constant round of social and official events connected with the meetings of Parliament and other public functions. The Grand Trunk system has added to the attractions of the city by building the Chateau Laurier, which enjoys a continent-wide reputation as being in the first rank of famous hotels.

The parliamentary buildings, constructed in the Italian Gothic style after 1860, are on a bluff on the river bank. They include the handsome library building and the Victoria Tower (one hundred and eighty feet). Adjoining buildings on Parliament Hill are devoted to departments of the Dominion government. The residence of the Governor-General—an old fashioned building, called Rideau Hall—is about a mile from the city. The post-office, city hall, banks and telegraph offices are handsomely built of stone.

Ottawa is the place of residence of the bishop of Ontario (Church of England), and of the Roman Catholic bishop of Ottawa, who has a cathedral here. There are a normal school and a collegiate institute, a very large college conducted by the Oblate Fathers, a ladies' college, a musical academy, an art school, a well-equipped geological museum, and the parliamentary library, with three hundred thousand volumes.

The industries of Ottawa are mostly connected with lumber. In the winter thousands of men are engaged in cutting timber and drawing it to the streams, and in the spring the freshets carry the rafts down to the mills. Flour, iron wares, bricks, leather, and matches are also manufactured.

The city was begun in the last years of the eighteenth century by a settler named Wright, of Boston, Massachusetts, who built a residence near the Chaudière, and called the village which he founded Hull. The construction of the Rideau Canal stimulated the settlement, which was called Bytown. In 1854 its name was changed to Ottawa, and the town was created a city. In 1858 Ottawa was chosen as the administrative capital of Canada. The first parliament met here in 1865.