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Languages Spoken in Ottawa

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Languages Spoken in Ottawa

Ottawa is the capital city of Canada and one of the most diverse cities in the world. It is home to people from all over the world, including a large number of immigrants. As a result, there is a rich diversity of languages spoken in Ottawa.The official languages of Canada are English and French, and Ottawa is a bilingual city where both languages are widely spoken. In fact, many government institutions and businesses require bilingual proficiency in their workforces. The Canadian government has been working to promote bilingualism, and as a consequence, French is becoming more dominant in Ottawa.Apart from English and French, other languages are spoken in Ottawa due to the city’s diverse population. According to statistics, the top five non-official languages spoken in Ottawa are Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, and German.


Arabic is the most widely spoken non-official language in Ottawa. There is a large Arabic-speaking community in the city, particularly from countries such as Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. Many of the community members have settled in the south and east ends of the city, creating strong cultural enclaves.In addition to spoken language, Ottawa has a variety of Arabic cultural organizations and events that celebrate the community’s heritage, including the Arabesque Festival and other cultural events organized by the Association of Progressive Muslims of Ontario.


Chinese is the second most widely spoken non-official language in Ottawa, particularly Mandarin and Cantonese. The Chinese community makes up a significant portion of the city’s population, mainly in the west end. The community-run Chinese Community Association and the Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre offer several resources and programs to help the community members integrate into Canadian society.


Spanish is the third most widely spoken non-official language in Ottawa. Many Spanish-speaking people from different countries in Latin America have settled in the city. There are many Spanish-learning courses available in Ottawa, with some of the most popular being the Ottawa Spanish Language Meetup and the Spanish course offered by the University of Ottawa.


Italian is the fourth most widely spoken non-official language in Ottawa. The Italian community has a strong presence with many cultural events throughout the year, such as the annual Ottawa Italian Week Festival. The community is centered in Ottawa’s Little Italy neighborhood in the city center.


German is the fifth most widely spoken non-official language in Ottawa. The German community has a significant presence in the city, particularly in the west end. Ottawa also has two German-language schools, the Ottawa German Language School (Die Deutschen Schule Ottawa) and the Region of Waterloo International German School.


Ottawa’s diversity enables the city to flourish as an international city with so many different cultures and languages intertwined. The bilingual identity creates a unique atmosphere that is a reflection of Canada’s official languages. Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, and German are just some of the many languages spoken in Ottawa’s diverse society, and this richness remains a defining feature of the city. Whether it’s listening to the Bible in Armenian at the Armenian Church or attending the annual BrazilFest multi-day multicultural event, the residents of Ottawa have an abundance of opportunities to celebrate and advance their heritage. Therefore, Ottawa is rightly known for being one of the world’s multicultural, multilingual cities that helps enrich the life of everyone who lives there.

Insider’s Guide to Ottawa: Languages Spoken, Local Attractions, Dining Spots, Cultural Experiences, Local History, and Off-the-Beaten-Path Suggestions

Ottawa is the capital city of Canada and is located in the province of Ontario. It is a bilingual city with English and French as its official languages. The city is rich in culture and history, and there are plenty of attractions and activities to explore. This insider’s guide will provide in-depth information on languages spoken, local attractions, dining spots, cultural experiences, local history, and off-the-beaten-path suggestions for tourists visiting Ottawa.

Languages Spoken in Ottawa

As mentioned, Ottawa is a bilingual city with English and French as its official languages. English is widely spoken by the majority of the population, while French is the first language of about 14% of the residents in the National Capital Region. The most commonly spoken languages other than English and French are Mandarin, Arabic, Spanish, and Italian.

Local Attractions

Ottawa is home to many local attractions that cater to all interests. Some of the top places to visit are:

– Parliament Hill: This is the seat of the Canadian government and a must-see attraction. Visitors can take a guided tour of the Centre Block and see the beautiful architecture and important rooms where decisions are made.

– National Gallery of Canada: This gallery houses an impressive collection of Canadian and international art. The Canadian art collection includes notable works from the Group of Seven.

– ByWard Market: This outdoor market is a popular spot for shopping, eating, and entertainment. It has over 600 businesses, including restaurants, bars, shops, and street performers.

Dining Spots

Ottawa has a diverse food scene, and visitors can find everything from fine dining to street food. Some of the best dining spots are:

– Beckta Dining and Wine: This restaurant features a seasonal menu of contemporary Canadian cuisine using local ingredients.

– Zak’s Diner: This diner is a local favorite and serves classic comfort food such as burgers, poutine, and milkshakes.

– Pili Pili: This restaurant serves authentic African and Caribbean dishes such as jerk chicken, curries, and plantains.

Cultural Experiences

Ottawa has a rich cultural heritage, and visitors can experience it through various cultural activities. Some of the top cultural experiences include:

– Canadian Museum of History: This museum explores the history and culture of Canada and its people, including the Indigenous Peoples, Francophones, and Anglophones.

– National Arts Centre: This performing arts center hosts a variety of shows, including theater, dance, and music performances.

– Ottawa International Writers Festival: This festival celebrates Canadian literature and brings together writers from across the country to discuss their works.

Local History

Ottawa has a significant history, and visitors can learn about it through various historical attractions. Some of the top historical spots are:

– Canadian War Museum: This museum showcases Canada’s military history and the role it played in various world conflicts.

– Rideau Canal: This canal played a significant role in the development of Ottawa and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can take a boat tour or go ice-skating in the winter.

– Laurier House: This former home of Canadian Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier is a National Historic Site and provides a glimpse into the life of an influential Canadian leader.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Suggestions

In addition to its popular attractions, Ottawa has some hidden gems that visitors can discover. Some off-the-beaten-path suggestions are:

– Diefenbunker: This underground bunker was built during the Cold War to protect government officials. It is now a museum and provides a fascinating look at Canada’s nuclear preparedness.

– Dominion Arboretum: This botanical garden is a peaceful oasis in the city and has over 1,700 species of trees and shrubs.

– Gatineau Park: This park is just a short drive from Ottawa and offers hiking trails, scenic vistas, and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Ottawa is a vibrant city that has something for everyone. Whether you are interested in history, culture, or food, there are plenty of attractions and experiences to explore. This insider’s guide provides a starting point for tourists visiting Ottawa and will help you make the most of your trip.

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Languages Spoken in Ottawa

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