Old Ottawa South is situated between two waterways: the Rideau Canal to the North and the Rideau River to the East and South. It is bounded by Bronson Avenue to the West and by Avenue Road to the East. The neighbourhood includes the community of Rideau Gardens.
Old Ottawa South is one of Ottawa’s oldest neighbourhoods; the first settlers arrived in 1814. Its most famous pioneers, Lewis Williams and family, came from Wales in 1818 and bought approximately 111 acres between what is now Main and Bronson. Construction of the Rideau Canal in the late 1820s markedly changed the neighbourhood landscape. In the late 1800’s and early 1900s, land speculation resulted in the growth of Old Ottawa South as a suburb, and the community grew quickly after a streetcar line was established here. At this time, the area north of Sunnyside Avenue was often called “Rideauville”; south of Sunnyside Avenue was called “Sunnyside”. Much of the land was still agricultural, however, and one historian writes of “a cow pound where you could retrieve your wandering cow for a dollar”. The neighbourhood continued to grow, and became filled with low density housing. Today, most of the homes are well preserved; many have heritage status. The neighbourhood is, in the words of one of the residents, “A great example of what city living should be about. It has… a strong sense of community, short walking distances, easily accessible public transportation, as well as proximity to a vibrant main street.”