Discover Orleans, Ontario: A Blend of History and Modernity

Orleans, Ontario, a vibrant community nestled in the city of Ottawa, Canada, is a place where history and modernity coexist. Located in the eastern end of the city along the Ottawa River, Orleans is approximately 16 km (10 mi) from Downtown Ottawa. The Canada 2021 Census recorded Orleans' population at 125,937, making it a bustling hub of activity.

Before its amalgamation into Ottawa in 2001, Orleans spanned two municipal jurisdictions: the eastern portion in the pre-amalgamation City of Cumberland and the western portion in the City of Gloucester. Today, Orleans encompasses the municipal wards of Orleans East-Cumberland, Orleans West-Innes, and Orleans South-Navan. The community is home to a significant francophone population, adding to its cultural diversity.

The History of Orleans, Ontario

The earliest pioneers arrived in the Orleans area in the 1830s. Among the first Francophones were the Dupuis, Besserer, Major, Duford, and Vézina families. A few English-speaking families, such as the Kennys and the McNeelys, also made Orleans their home from the very beginning.

In 1858, the first subdivision plans were registered in the County of Carleton, creating the Village of Saint-Joseph d'Orléans. Orleans was named by Msgr. Ebrard in the late 1850s after the city of the same name in France.

The first church opened its doors in 1885, and in 1922, a second church replaced the first one, which had been destroyed by fire. The same year, Orleans became a semi-autonomous municipality, known as a police village, and more decisions were made locally.

By the 1950s, St-Joseph Boulevard became a major artery, with storefronts multiplying everywhere and new restaurants opening up the length of the thoroughfare. The first major real estate development, Queenswood Heights, began construction in 1958.

The housing and population boom years for Orleans came in the decade from 1981 to 1991, with the population tripling from 24,000 to 70,000 people. In 2001, Orleans was amalgamated into the City of Ottawa, and the country-wide housing boom starting from 2000 saw an extremely large amount of housing and residential areas being developed in the eastern Orleans area.

Orleans, Ontario: A Timeline of Key Events

The history of Orleans, Ontario, is marked by significant events that shaped its growth and development. Some of the key milestones include:

  • 1833: François Dupuis, founder of Orleans, is listed on St. Joseph assessment rolls.
  • 1858: Luc Major draws up the first plan of Orleans.
  • 1860: Postmaster Jean Théodore Besserer gives St-Joseph-d’Orléans its name after his place of birth.
  • 1885: The first church opens its doors in Orleans.
  • 1922: St-Joseph-d’Orléans is incorporated as a semi-autonomous “Police Village” with partial powers.
  • 1958: The first major real estate development, Queenswood Heights, begins construction.
  • 1974: The Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton absorbs Orleans.
  • 1981: The Township of Gloucester is incorporated as a City.
  • 2001: Orleans is absorbed into the City of Ottawa.
  • 2010: Cité Collégiale opens a Trades school – Alphonse-Desjardins.

Recreation and Arts in Orleans, Ontario

Orleans, Ontario, offers a variety of recreational and artistic activities for residents and visitors alike. The Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex, named for figure skater Elizabeth Manley who trained at the facility, houses the Elizabeth Manley Figure Skating Arena, the Roger Sénécal Arena, squash and racquetball courts, and a fitness centre.

The Ray Friel Recreation Complex is the largest and most comprehensive recreation complex in Orleans, featuring three National Hockey League (NHL) size arenas, a fitness centre, a wave pool, whirlpool, sauna, physiotherapy clinic, and more.

The Millennium Sports Park, a 34-hectare sports and recreational complex, is home to a number of youth sporting clubs. Petrie Island, situated along the Ottawa River, offers a nature centre, a marina with canoe and kayak rentals, and hosts annual Canada Day celebrations for the Orleans community.

In 2009, the Shenkman Arts Centre opened, housing two theatres, seven galleries, and 17 studios. The Centre offers a variety of programs and activities, thanks to a unique collaboration with the Centre’s Resident Arts Partners.

Neighbourhoods in Orleans, Ontario

Orleans, Ontario, is made up of several neighbourhoods, each with its unique charm and character. These include Avalon, Bilberry Creek, Cardinal Creek, Chapel Hill North and South, Chaperal, Chateauneuf, Chatelaine Village, Convent Glen and Convent Glen South, Eastridge, Fallingbrook, Hiawatha Park, Notre-Dame-des-Champs, Notting Gate, Orleans Village, Orleans Wood, Queenswood Heights and Village, River Walk, and more.

Population History of Orleans, Ontario

The population of Orleans, Ontario, has seen steady growth over the years. From a population of 6,000 in 1971, it has grown to 116,688 in 2016.

Main Roads and Streets in Orleans, Ontario

Orleans, Ontario, is well-connected with several main roads and streets, including Orleans Blvd., Champlain St., Jeanne-d'Arc Blvd., Des Épinettes Ave., St-Joseph Blvd., Charlemagne Blvd., Innes Road, Tenth Line Road, Trim Road, Portobello Blvd., Brian Coburn Blvd., Mer-Bleue Road, and Place d'Orléans Dr. The main highway linking Orleans to central Ottawa to the west is officially known as Ottawa Regional Road 174 and forms part of the Queensway.

Orleans, Ontario, is a community that beautifully blends history with modernity, offering a rich cultural experience, a variety of recreational activities, and a vibrant community life. Whether you're a resident or a visitor, there's always something to discover in Orleans, Ontario.