This article is over 5 years old and may contain outdated information.


Mapping the future of Canada's capital

As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary, the National Capital Commission is helping to plan how Ottawa will evolve over the next half-century
  • Jun 30, 2017
  • 356 words
  • 2 minutes
The National Capital Commission's plan for Ottawa by 2067 Expand Image

Planning in the National Capital Region — Ottawa, Gatineau and their surroundings — is a unique challenge. The area has a growing population (currently more than 1.3 million), diverse cultures and a dominant employer (the federal government); it straddles two provinces and the confluence of three rivers; finally and foremost, it has the functional and symbolic responsibilities of the national capital.

Against this backdrop, the National Capital Commission (the Crown corporation that oversees federal buildings and lands in the region) has crafted its latest official plan — a blueprint for the next 50 years, culminating with Canada’s bicentennial in 2067.

These maps present an overview of the plan’s major elements. Some are brand new, while others are enhancements to existing features — themselves byproducts of earlier plans by the NCC and its predecessors.

The plan groups its overall objectives and development proposals (17 milestone projects) under three themes. Specifically, it calls for a capital that is “inclusive and meaningful” (milestones one to six), “picturesque and natural” (milestones seven to 11), and “thriving and connected” (milestones 12 to 17).

The 17 milestone projects are the centrepiece. Some, such as the restoration of the east, west and centre blocks of Parliament (milestone one) or the creation of a place of special significance for Indigenous Peoples on Victoria Island (milestone five), are site-specific. Others, such as improving the urban integration of isolated federal employment areas (milestone 14) or completing the Greenbelt Pathway network (milestone 11), are dispersed. Beyond a few exceptions, they are focused in the area of Confederation Boulevard (inset), a ceremonial route created in 1992 that forms a loop running around Parliament Hill.

The plan also emphasizes improving links between developed areas and an ecologically restored riverfront. This reflects contemporary planning sensibilities while paying homage to the local geography that brought Indigenous Peoples, and later European settlers, to the region in the first place. It all sets the stage for an even more vibrant capital. 

Roll your mouse over the points on the maps below to learn more about the NCC’s plans for Ottawa.


Are you passionate about Canadian geography?

You can support Canadian Geographic in 3 ways:

Related Content

Science & Tech

20 Canadian innovations you should know about

Celebrating Canadian Innovation Week 2023 by spotlighting the people and organizations designing a better future 

  • 3327 words
  • 14 minutes


Trans Canada Trail celebrates 30 years of connecting Canadians

The trail started with a vision to link Canada coast to coast to coast. Now fully connected, it’s charting an ambitious course for the future.

  • 1730 words
  • 7 minutes

People & Culture

Losing track: The importance of passenger rail corridors

What does it mean for Canada if we continue to pull up train tracks? 

  • 4438 words
  • 18 minutes


The naturalist and the wonderful, lovable, very bold jay

Canada jays thrive in the cold. The life’s work of one biologist gives us clues as to how they’ll fare in a hotter world. 

  • 3599 words
  • 15 minutes