Ottawa Valley is the Eastern Ontario valley surrounding the
Ottawa River for the west-east portion
of its path through the Canadian
Shield from Mattawa to Hawkesbury. Because of the surrounding shield, the valley
is narrow at its western end, then becomes increasingly wide
(mainly on the Southern Ontario side of the
river) as it progresses eastward.
The underlying geophysical
structure is the Ottawa-Bonnechere Graben
Approximately 1.3 million people reside in
the valley (and along its tributaries), of these the
majority, around 80%, reside in Ottawa, the
remainder on the north side of the Ottawa river, in Quebec.
Region area has just over 1.4 million inhabitants in both
city of Ottawa, the Ottawa Valley merges with the St. Lawrence Valley to the south to
create a delta of flat farmland stretching unbroken from the Ottawa
River to the Saint
Lawrence River as far east as the island of Montreal, where the
two rivers meet.
This area is sometimes referred to as the
"Lower Ottawa Valley", in contrast with the "Upper Ottawa Valley"
west of Ottawa, but the name is not common, and most people think
of the Ottawa Valley as only the upper portion.
the Canadian Shield comes nearly to the Ottawa River on the north
(Quebec) side of the valley, most settlements and
transportation routes are on the southern Ontario side.
to east, the major Ottawa Valley communities are Mattawa, Deep
River (with nearby Chalk River, the site of Canada's nuclear reactor program),
Petawawa (a major Canadian military base), Pembroke (where Samuel de
Champlain landed briefly), Renfrew, Arnprior, Ottawa (the nation's capital), Rockland, L'Orignal, Hawkesbury and Rigaud.
An Algonquin Family
entire Ottawa Valley is Algonquin traditional
and, like most populated areas of Canada, is
presently under Land Claim
As a relatively recent adaptation resulting from the economic
pressures of the encroachment of non-native settling of the valley,
the Algonquin First Nation
distributed within their territory. A majority of Algonquins reside
on the Quebec side of the border, where all but two Algonquin
communities are located. However, there are many Algonquin
communities and individuals not recognized as such by the
Government of Canada under the Indian
. These individuals are referred to as 'Non-Status Indians'
. Ardoch Algonquin First Nation
is one such community located in the Ottawa Valley fighting for the
return of their land.
After the arrival of European settlers in North America, the first
major industry of the Ottawa Valley was fur
. The valley was part of the major
cross-country route for French-Canadian Voyageurs, who would paddle canoes up the Ottawa
River as far as Mattawa and then portage west through various
rivers and lakes to Georgian
Bay on Lake
the valley's major industry, and it is still important in the far
western part where the valley is narrow and little farmland is
available. Today, the vast majority of the valley's residents live
at its eastern end in Ottawa and its suburbs, where government and
technology are major industries.
are both commonly spoken throughout
the Ottawa Valley on both sides of the river. Regional English
accents are rare in Canada, but because of its isolation (before
the arrival of the railways) and also through the mixture of the
dominant French, Irish and Scottish populations, the valley at one
time developed a distinctive dialect referred to as the Ottawa Valley Twang
. Many traces of it
can still be heard today, especially in the valley's more isolated
Tourism has become one of the main industries of the Ottawa Valley,
after the bust in the timber industry. Pursuits such as skydiving
, tree-to-tree zip lining, whitewater rafting
, hot air ballooning
draw visitors from all over Canada
and abroad. (Source: Canadian Geographic
Among the well-known people who hail from the Ottawa Valley, are
former governor-general and broadcaser Adrienne Clarkson, Alanis
Morissette, Margaret Atwood, Lorne Greene, Bruce Cockburn, Peter
Jennings, Matthew Perry, Dan Aykroyd, Jason Hodgson, Mark Redman,
Tom Green, Rich Little, Paul Anka and Princess Margriet, sister of
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
Many Ottawa natives have excelled in the athletic world,
particularly winter sports. Barbara Ann Scott was world figure
skating champion and won the gold medal at St. Moritz, Switzerland
in 1948. Skier Ann Heggtveit won a gold medal at the 1960 Winter
Olympics in Squaw Valley, California. Elizabeth Manley won the
silver medal for women's figure skating at the Calgary Winter
Olympics in 1988. The Clifford Family has long been associated with
skiing in the Ottawa area.
Linda Thom won Olympic gold at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los
Angeles. Francis Amyott, from the Britannia Club, won the single
canoeing event when it was held for the first time at the Berlin
Olympic Games in 1936.
Two Ontario premiers came from the Ottawa Valley - Premier Howard
Ferguson (Kemptville) in the 1920s and Premier Dalton McGuinty
(Ottawa), who became premier in 2003.
The Ottawa Senators public relations office call Ottawa and the
Valley "hockey country". Indeed it is the home not only of the once
mighty Senators, which folded in 1934 and came back in the 1990s,
but also of such famous NHL builders as Tommy Gorman and Ambrose
O'Brien. With the Senators' arena Scotiabank Place
near Highway 417, which links Ottawa with the Valley, residents of
the Upper Ottawa Valley can easily access the games.
The Ottawa Valley's Renfrew Millionaires, the creation of lumber baron
O'Brien, was a small-town
professional hockey team that won the league championship in 1910.
Ottawa and the valley are also the home of such outstanding players
as Aurel Joliat, Frank "King" Clancy, Frank Boucher and Denis
Potvin; the latter was the star defenceman of the New York
Islanders dynasty of the late 1970s. Ottawa's Brian Kilrea holds
the record as the Ontario Hockey League's longest-serving coach
with a record number of games behind the bench of the Ottawa 67's
junior hockey team. The 67's themselves are something of a legend,
having a loyal following that results in sellout games almost every
time they step on the ice.
The Ottawa Valley covers over 7,645 square kilometres. Some 12,800
years ago, glaciers retreated from what is now the Ottawa Valley
region, leaving the area covered by the by the Champlain Sea
for thousands of years. Ten
thousand years ago the water retreated and land emerged. More than
half of the Ottawa Valley is now wilderness. Renfrew County,
located in the heart of the Ottawa Valley, is the largest county in
(outside of "districts", administrative
regions in Northern Ontario
). There are over 900 lakes
and four major river
systems in the Ottawa Valley. Ottawa itself is at the confluence of
three rivers. These are the Ottawa, Gatineau and Rideau
The Ottawa River is 1,271 kilometres long. Its source is
Lac Capimitchigama in Quebec.
Ottawa River was first navigated and settled by the Huron, Algonquin, Iroquois and Outaouais people.
The Algonquin people called the
Ottawa River "Kitchissippi
means “Great River”. The Algonquin word Kichesippirini means "Big
River People". The name Petawawa comes from the Algonquin language meaning “where
one hears a noise like this.”
The mixture of the accents of the Valley’s French, Irish and
Scottish populations created a regional dialect that came to be
called the Ottawa Valley Twang
still evident among the inhabitants of the Valley.
Flora and Fauna
More than 400 species of animals live in the Ottawa Valley. The
, which grows throughout the
Ottawa Valley, has been Ontario's provincial floral emblem
since 1937. Its white blossom is associated
with peace and hope. White pine
Ontario provincial tree, was the most commercially important tree
during the heyday of the logging industry in the 19th century. It
was exported to Europe and used for building the masts of sailing
ships. Winter was the best season for cutting timber as trees fell
more easily when their sap wasn’t running and ice and snow made it
easier to drag the timber. Spring was the season when the loggers
would “drive” the logs downriver.
Samuel de Champlain
years between 1613 and 1615 traveling the Ottawa River with
Algonquin and Huron guides. In charting the new land Champlain
inaugurated the route that would be used by French fur traders
for the next 200 years.*Between 1847
and 1879 a "horse railway
" was used to
portage passengers from the Ottawa River steamboat
in a horse-drawn car for 5.5 kilometres
along the wooded shore, around the Chats Falls, near Fitzroy
Harbour, to another steamboat to continue their journey
- The Counties of Prescott and
Russell County, in the Ottawa Valley, has the highest
concentration of francophones in Canada, living west of
small town of Perth, located in
Lanark County, has been called one of the 'prettiest towns in
Ontario'and is famous for its crafts and artistic
- The town of Almonte is the hometown of Dr. James Naismith, the
inventor of basketball. It is also the home of renowned
scupltor,Tait MacKenzie. Kent Huskins, who played with the 2007
Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks, is from Almonte. Huskins
brought the Stanley Cup to Almonte in the off-season.