15 things you should know about Ottawa

Photo credit: Ottawa Tourism

In a matter of weeks, the One Young World community will be descending on Ottawa, Canada for the 7th annual One Young World Summit.

Ottawa is the capital of Canada and is known as the administrative seat of the Canadian government, multi-national corporations and NGOs. A new generation of Ottawans are striving to place their city on the world stage by creating opportunities in high-tech industries, arts and culture.

Ottawa's Mayor, Jim Watson, said: "A modern and multicultural city built on old world charm, Ottawa is excited to welcome young leaders and decision makers from around the world as they come together to chart our future. While Canada’s capital gets ready to celebrate the 150th anniversary of our nation in 2017, we know you will play a key role in shaping with us the next 150 years of global leadership."

Here are some facts about our Host City that you should know before your visit:

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1. Best place to live in Canada: Ottawa has been named the Best Place to Live in Canada by MoneySense magazine in 2016. It ranked #1 three years in a row leading up to 2012; and was #2 in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Ottawa also ranked #1 in Best Places for New Canadians this year.




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2. Bicycle friendly: In 2013, Ottawa became the first city in the province of Ontario to receive the gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community Award presented by Share the Road Cycling Coalition. 




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3. Hosts the world's largest skating rink: The Rideau Canal is the province of Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a stellar example of 19th century canal technology and it still operates the same way as it did upon the completion of construction in 1832. Stretching 202 km (126 miles) from Ottawa and the Ottawa River to Kingston and the St. Lawrence River/Lake Ontario, the locks are still opened and closed by hand. In winter, a 7.8-km (4.8-mile) section of the Rideau Canal in downtown Ottawa freezes and becomes the world’s largest ice skating rink. In January and February, people skate to work, kids skate to school and ice conditions are included in local radio traffic reports! 


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4. Amazing drinking water: The City of Ottawa’s seven drinking water systems received a perfect score in drinking water system inspections performed by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) for the review period of 2015-2016. 



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5. Home of Canada's largest ski club: The Nakkertok Nordic Cross-Country Ski Club, founded in 1971 and just 20 minutes’ drive north of downtown Ottawa, is the largest ski club in Canada, with 1,400 members. Nakkertok is an Inuktitut word for “moving swiftly on snow.” 




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6. World class convention centre: In 2014, the Shaw Centre (formerly the Ottawa Convention Centre) tied for second for the title of World’s Best Convention Centre, as named by the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC). 




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7. Eco- friendly buildings: The University of Ottawa Faculty of Social Sciences building contains North America’s largest vertically planted living wall bio-filter. This giant six-storey green feature is connected to the mechanical system and serves to purify return air. 




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8. Canada's first eco-district: The Ottawa Centre Eco-District was established in 2014 and is part of the EcoDistricts movement that started in Portland, Oregon and has spread to cities across North America. EcoDistricts are popping up all over as a way to transform neighbourhoods and make them ecologically, economically, and socially healthier. 




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9. Vibrant markets: The 
ByWard Market neighbourhood is one of Ottawa’s oldest. It is home to a year-round outdoor farmers’ market and also home to over 120 places to eat and drink within a four-block-by-four-block radius.  




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10. Unique conservation areas:  The Mer Bleue Bog in east Ottawa is a 8,648-acre conservation area that has a northern eco-system more typical of the Arctic than Ottawa Valley. This 7,700-year-old bog provides habitat to many species of regionally rare and significant plants, birds and other wildlife. It also supports plants and wildlife populations that are typical of northern boreal bogs. It is one of the most studied bogs in the world and is a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.


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11. Best festival city: Festival & Events Ontario named Ottawa its inaugural Best Festival City Award (for population over 200,000) in 2014.




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12. Culinary marvels: In early 2016, Marc Lépine, the chef-owner of Ottawa’s Atelier restaurant, was crowned Canadian Culinary Champion, beating out 11 other chefs who had each earlier won a regional competition. He also won the national event in 2012 (and was forbidden from entering in the three intervening years). 



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13. Gold label marathons: In 2015, the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon (part of the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend) received gold label status from the International Association of Athletics Federations. The 10K race received the same recognition in 2014, the first Canadian race to be so honoured. 



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14. Top Chefs: René Rodriguez, chef-owner of Navarra restaurant in Ottawa, won Top Chef Canada, season 4 in 2014. 




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15. Cosmopolitan meal options: Ottawa’s Rangoon restaurant is the only Burmese restaurant in Ontario, and one of only two in Canada. 




All facts have been provided by Ottawa Tourism.