Sandy Hill

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Sandy Hill is a neighbourhood in Ottawa, Ontario located just east of downtown. The neighbourhood is bordered on the west by the Rideau Canal and on the east by the Rideau River. To the north it stretches to Rideau Street and the Byward Market area while to the south it is bordered by the Queensway highway and Nicholas Street. The area is named for its hilliness, caused by the river, and its sandy soil, which makes it difficult to erect large buildings. Population: 12,630 (2001)

Sandy Hill was, during the nineteenth and early twentieth century, Ottawa's wealthiest neighbourhood. Then a fair distance from downtown, it was home to most of Ottawa's lumber barons and to the Prime Minister who lived at what is now known as Laurier House. It was for this reason that the University of Ottawa located in this region.

The construction of bridges over the canal and the introduction of automobiles and streetcars made the area much closer to downtown, and it began to decline as the very wealthy moved to Rockcliffe Park. The neighbourhood became much denser and more middle class.

The area saw much growth at the end of the Second World War as the baby boom increased the population and the nearby federal government began hiring. Many of the once grand mansions became embassies. Many nations still have their embassies in Sandy Hill, including those of Russia and of many African nations, which are clustered near the Rideau River.

Unusually among modern urban neighbourhoods, the demographics of Sandy Hill change dramatically over just a few blocks. Very wealthy people live near the embassies of the Rideau River, but as you get closer to the university, one finds more students, more senior citizens and more poor people living in boarding houses. The area is mainly English speaking but there is also a large francophone population, and a large community from Somalia. The area is now very close to downtown, especially to the Rideau Centre, Ottawa's premier shopping area. The area is well served by mass transit and the Transitway passes by the university. It is also in an excellent school district.

Sandy Hill is often divided into three areas. Upper Sandy Hill consists of the area north of Laurier Avenue. This part of the neighbourhood is much older with many of its buildings dating from the nineteenth century, however the area is subject to the negative influences of Rideau Street. South of Laurier is Lower Sandy Hill largely built after the Second World War, though there are a number of much older structures. The far south of neighbourhood below Mann Avenue is an area known as Sandy Hill Heights. This area is much smaller geographically than the other two but is densely populated. It consists almost entirely of low-rise apartment buildings that are either subsidised housing or co-operatives. This area was completely redeveloped in the early 1990s.

Population: (approx) 13,000

Notable sites:

The large homes built by the lumber barons are today popular locations for embassies and many countries are represented in the neighbourhood:


See also: List of Ottawa neighbourhoods

External link


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