Muséoparc Vanier

Welcome to the Heart of French Ottawa
This site is a short guide to Ottawa’s Francophone heritage, and an interactive learning tool. You can study the history of the City of Ottawa, interact with the past through texts and pictures and become familiar with milestones in the city’s development. 

The purpose of the site is to help you discover in words and pictures the wealth of Ottawa’s French heritage. It will help you get better acquainted with the history of the City of Ottawa, the people who have played a role in its story, and its historic places. You already know that French culture is not only one of the central components of our history and heritage, but also an invaluable asset. Speaking French is a way of life and a manner of thinking—above all, a cultural experience. 

Ottawa’s buildings, statues and landscapes reflect the importance of our history. 

It is essential to know our origins and forebears and the region’s pioneers. If we know where we have come from, we can better appreciate who we are and celebrate our cultural heritage. We can connect with our heritage at every opportunity—individually, as families or in groups of young people or students. Studying the history of Ottawa’s French-speaking community creates links between past, present and future, and helps us understand the society we live in.  

Together we can actively protect our heritage.

Ottawa: A Unique City
Perched on the banks of the Ottawa River some 200 kilometres west of Montreal and 400 kilometres north-east of Toronto, the City of Ottawa boasts a rich culture and heritage. Even though it is best known as Canada’s capital, Ottawa has a significant place in the Canadian economy and most of its residents enjoy an enviable quality of life.   

Ottawa has continued to evolve over the years and its civic administration has been through many changes since the City was founded in 1855. On January 1, 2001, the new City of Ottawa was born out of the amalgamation of the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton and eleven local municipalities: Cumberland, Gloucester, Goulbourn, Kanata, Nepean, Osgoode, Ottawa, Rideau, Rockcliffe Park, Vanier and West Carleton. 

Ottawa’s varied mixture of old and new neighbourhoods, private business and government, French- and English-speaking communities and numerous other cultural groups adds up to a dynamic city with an unparalleled quality of life. The fourth-largest city in Canada, Ottawa has about 908,000 residents, and its population should reach the one-million mark within a few years. According to the 2009 estimates, there are 138,602 Francophones living in Ottawa.