In focus

100 years later

One hundred years after Confederation, Francophone areas in Ottawa have not really changed. While numerous French-speaking Canadians have already relocated to the suburbs, their distribution in the central neighbourhoods of Ottawa remains roughly the same. A large Francophone contingent still dwells in the LeBreton Flats, while significant concentrations inhabit Sandy Hill and their Lowertown stronghold.  

In 1961, three-quarters of Lowertown inhabitants are French Canadians, 16% British, and 8% of other origins. The proportion of Catholics is 88%. Nearly two-thirds of the neighbourhood’s residents are bilingual, and the percentage of unilingual Anglophones (20%) is only slightly higher than the percentage of unilingual Francophones (16%). Lowertown is still a poor neighbourhood, where the average family wage remains below $5,000 in each of the neighbourhood’s four census tracts. The average for the city as a whole is $6,228. In addition, three-quarters of Lowertown households do not own their homes; they rent. Yet this situation must be put into perspective, if only with respect to material conditions. More than four-fifths of the dwellings have flush toilets, and few have no bath or shower. Almost 50% of the households in the neighbourhood own a car.