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Pronunciation Key Indigenous language
AW-dawa Anishinàbemowin
Map location of Ottawa.

Map location of Ottawa, ON

Ottawa River near Ottawa.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, courtesy of Veillg1


Anishnabe aki kak kida abinan Ottawa abiyin. Eh odisemigak “adawe’ anishinàbemowin, awik “ka adawesidjigetc”, ki ija pi-kendagon megwatc kapi meshkodonamadiyatc kegoni meshkot mikidaganin, kina gots sibi kak.


You are on the lands of the Algonquin people when you are in Ottawa. The name likely comes from "adàwe" in Anishinàbemowin, which conveys the idea of "doing commerce" and recognizes the history of trade in the area and along the river.

Another possible origin is that the name could have been bestowed upon the river and the town in order to commemorate the Odawa or Ottawa people, a powerful First Nation, whose home has always been on Manitoulin Island and along the shores of Georgian Bay. Historically, allied to the French, they were noted as seasoned intertribal traders and barterers who, during the latter years (1701-1763) of the reign of New France, claimed exclusive control of the Ottawa River, which was the major trade route to the booming fur trade markets of Montreal.

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