How to Pronounce Ottawa

The right way to pronounce Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.

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Ottawa is the capital of Canada. It is also one of the country’s most populous cities, with a population of over 1 million people. Ottawa is located in the province of Ontario, and is the second largest city in the province after Toronto. The city is situated on the Ottawa River, and is home to a number of world-famous attractions, including the Canadian Museum of History, the National Gallery of Canada, and Rideau Canal.

The History of Ottawa’s Name

Ottawa’s name is derived from the Algonquin word ‘adawe’, which means ‘to trade’. The word ‘Ottawa’ first appears in writing in a 1613 report by French explorer Samuel de Champlain. At that time, the Algonquin people were the main inhabitants of the area and Champlain referred to them as the ‘Otawa’.

How to Pronounce Ottawa

The word “Ottawa” is typically pronounced “oh-taw-uh”, though the Canadian city’s name is officially pronounced “oh-tuh-wuh”. While both silences the third syllable, the primary difference lies in how vowel sounds in the first and last syllables are pronounced. “Oh-taw-uh” stretches the first vowel sound, while “oh-tuh-wuh” reduces it. This difference may seem subtle to English speakers outside of Canada, but to residents of the country, it’s a notable distinction.


We hope this article was helpful in teaching you how to correctly pronounce Ottawa. This city’s name is not as difficult as it may seem at first, and once you know how to say it, you’ll be able to impress your friends and family with your newly acquired skills.

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