Orientation and quality of life
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, and is located in the province of Ontario. Montreal is the nearest large city, 203 km/129 mi to the northeast.
Ottawa is bordered to the north by the Ottawa River, across which is Gatineau, a city in Quebec province which is easily accessed by Ottawans and vice versa. The capital city is Canada's fourth largest, with more than 900,000 residents. It is 2796 squ km/1800 sq mi, and is home to one international airport and two smaller regional airports.
The Rideau Canal is a focal point of the city, especially in winter when it freezes and supports the many skaters who wish to enjoy the city from a river-level view.
Parks and open spaces enhance the city's roles as the seat of the federal government, and home to international diplomats and large corporations. Parliament Hill is a picturesque landmark that displays Canada's heritage while housing the daily government workings within beautiful architectural treasures.
As the seat of Canada's government, Ottawa's economy has traditionally had as its core the government itself and supportive industries such as hospitality and retail. Not surprisingly, the government is the city's largest employer.
However, it is also home to many companies' national headquarters, and has become known as Silicon Valley North with more than 800 high tech companies in residence.
Other important fields are health and life sciences, telecommunications, environmental technology, and tourism.
Having weathered the recent global recession quite well - with unemployment staying below the national average - federal government budget cuts announced in summer of 2012 mean that thousands of government jobs could be cut.
Ottawa for newcomers
Ranked as a top world city for quality of life, Ottawa is a destination that is well equipped to offer expatriates and their families an excellent experience.
Always a multicultural city, there has been a shift in the origin of Ottawa's foreign residents. Once largely from the U.K. and Italy, the trend in newcomers during the mid-1990s was toward those of Asian descent. The Chinese community in Ottawa grew 43 percent between 1996 and 2001.
The city expects 6000 to 8000 new immigrants per year in the decade to come, requiring a responsive government and business community to maximize the talents of this highly skilled and multicultural workforce.