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North America > Canada > National Capital Region (Canada)

National Capital Region

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The National Capital Region is an official designation for what used to be called Ottawa/Hull and is now sometimes called Ottawa/Gatineau, effectively one city but on two sides of the Ottawa river and therefore of the Ontario/Quebec border in Canada.


Part of Ottawa seen from the Quebec side
Parliment buildings in centre
Chateau Laurier hotel on left

It has two parts:

Other destinations[edit]

The two cities are on mostly flat land along the river. Many of the region's recreational areas — ski resorts, lakes, hiking or biking trails in summer and cross-country ski trails in winter — are in the Gatineau Hills on the Quebec side.

On the Ontario side are the Rideau Canal and the resort village (skiing in winter, a lake for the summer) of Calabogie.


This is not a separately administered capital region like the US District of Columbia or the Australian Capital Territory. There has been some discussion of giving it that status, but it has not gone anywhere yet and seems unlikely to do so. The two parts are administered separately by their respective municipal and provincial governments.

Federal government buildings pay no municipal taxes, but the federally-funded National Capital Commission (NCC) maintains some of the roads, parks and buildings.

Get in[edit]

Most people will arrive via Ottawa but there is also a good highway (A50) to Montreal running along the Quebec side of the river. There is a bridge across the Ottawa between Hawkesbury and Grenville, so it is possible to switch between Quebec A 50 and Ontario 417 about halfway between Ottawa and Montreal.

Get around[edit]

The municipal bus systems of both Ottawa and Gatineau have a few bus routes which go into the other city. All the Gatineau buses that cross the river run along Rideau Street on the Ottawa side and can be caught near the Rideau Centre shopping mall.

For drivers, there are three bridges connecting the two cities downtown and a fourth bridge upriver to the west of downtown. Traffic on the bridges can be dreadful, especially at rush hours since many people live on one side of the river and work on the other.


As the capital, the region has many museums. Most are in Ottawa but the most popular, the Museum of History, is on the Quebec side opposite the Parliament buildings.




Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

This region article is an extra-hierarchical region, describing a region that does not fit into the hierarchy Wikivoyage uses to organise most articles. These extra articles usually provide only basic information and links to articles in the hierarchy. This article can be expanded if the information is specific to the page; otherwise new text should generally go in the appropriate region or city article.