|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
© 1999 Richard McGuire
See also: History of Canada's Capital Region