Founded in 1826 as Bytown, and incorporated as Ottawa in 1855, the city has evolved into the political centre of Canada. Its original boundaries were expanded through numerous annexations and were ultimately replaced by a new city incorporation and amalgamation in 2001 which significantly increased its land area. The city name "Ottawa" was chosen in reference to the Ottawa River, the name of which is derived from the AlgonquinOdawa, meaning "to trade".
While the political capital, Ottawa has always been heavily influenced from the larger cities of Toronto and Montreal. This has held true in architecture, and over its history Ottawa has followed the prevailing architectural trends popular in Canada and North America. The city is thus a mix of different styles, varying considerably based on what era a building or neighbourhood was constructed in. While founded in the early nineteenth century, few buildings survive from that era and the vast majority of the city's structures date from the twentieth century. Much of the downtown was also greatly transformed in the 1960s and 1970s, and the swath of suburbs that surround the city also date from this period.
Camp used by soldiers and labourers of the Rideau Canal, on the south side of the Ottawa River in 1826. The building of the canal attracted many land speculators to the area.
Completed in 1913, the Connaught Building, was constructed in a Gothic Revival style. In the following decades, buildings built for the government would abandon the style, in favour of formal and functional styles.