Lieutenant Colonel John By, who gave his name to Ottawa's earlier incarnation, Bytown, is often credited as Ottawa's founder although the settlement predates him. He was responsible for the construction of the Rideau Canal, built between 1826 and 1832 to allow Canadian boats to travel between Montreal and Kingston at a safe distance from the sometimes hostile United States. Queen Victoria's decision in 1857 to make this former sleepy lumber town the permanent capital was largely based on this geography. It was also a classic Canadian compromise between competing claims to the capital by larger cities. After Confederation in 1867, Ottawa took on the role of federal capital.

1999 Richard McGuire

See also: History of Canada's Capital Region


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