Ottawa is the capital of Canada and the fourth largest city in the country. The city stands on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario. Ottawa borders Gatineau, Quebec, and together they form the National Capital Region (NCR).
Founded in 1826 as Bytown and incorporated as "Ottawa" in 1855, the city has evolved into a political and technological centre of Canada. Its original boundaries were expanded through numerous minor annexations and ultimately replaced by a new city incorporation and major amalgamation in 2001 which significantly increased its land area. The name "Ottawa" is derived from the Algonquin word adawe, meaning "to trade".
Initially an Irish and French Christian settlement, Ottawa has become a multicultural city with a diverse population. The 2011 census had the city's population as 883,391, the census metropolitan area (CMA) population as 1,236,324. The city is known as being among the most educated in Canada and hosts a number of post-secondary, research, and cultural institutions. Ottawa has a high standard of living and low unemployment.
Ottawa is situated on the south bank of the Ottawa River and contains the mouths of the Rideau River and Rideau Canal. The older part of the city is known as Lower Town, and occupies an area between the canal and the rivers. Across the canal to the west lies Centretown and Downtown Ottawa, which is the city's financial and commercial hub. As of 29 June 2007, the Rideau Canal, which stretches 202 km (126 mi) to Kingston, Fort Henry and four Martello towers in the Kingston area was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Influenced by government structures, much of the city's architecture tends to be formalistic and functional. However, the city is also marked by Romantic and Picturesque styles of architecture such as the Parliament Building's gothic revival architecture. Ottawa's domestic architecture is dominated by single family homes. There are also smaller numbers of semi-detached, rowhouses, and apartment buildings. Most domestic buildings are clad in brick, with small numbers covered in wood or stone.