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Province: Ontario & Quebec

Population: 1.2 million

Climate: Humid Continental, with cold winters and mild summers. 

Overview: Ottawa – Gatineau, or the National Capital Region (NCR) as it is commonly referred to, is an official federal designation for the Canadian capital city Ottawa, and its neighbouring city Gatineau. The National Capital Region also encompasses the surrounding local communities. What is interesting about Ottawa – Gatineau is the two cities are considered part of different provinces, Ontario and Quebec respectively. In addition, Ottawa is almost entirely English speaking and Gatineau speaks French. The Ottawa River separates the two cities.

Both cities are considered very cosmopolitan with many different ethnicities residing in Ottawa - Gatineau. Some of the most popular neighbourhoods with growing populations include Centretown, Lowertown and Byward Market. Bayshore and Lakeview Terasse are suitable areas for families, and are located slightly outside the two cities.

There is a lot to do in the NCR. The region holds several world famous festivals annually, such as the Bluesfest music festival, Winterlude, the Canadian Tulip Festival and the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival. Some of Canada’s most famous buildings and museums are all located in the NCR – including 29 National Historic Sites of Canada and an extensive amount of Gothic architecture.

Transport: The two cities have two separate public transport systems. Ottawa’s transport is run by OC Transpo, which operates a light rail transit system, called the O-Train. OC Transpo also runs buses, including a special door-to-door service for the disabled. Gatineau is served by Société de transport de l'Outaouais (STO), a bus service.

Economy: As the Canadian centre of government and politics, many federal and provincial government offices are located in both Ottawa and Gatineau, and the Public Service is the leading employer in the area. Technology, engineering and healthcare are also large industries in Ottawa, as is defence, due to the National Defence Headquarters being located in the city.

To find out more about the two cities, see the Ottawa city website and the Gatineau city website