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Sandy Hill is one of Ottawa's most historical and easily recognized neighbourhoods. Located east of downtown, it is bordered to the west by the Rideau Canal and on the east by the Rideau River. The north side is Rideau Street and the ByWard Market neighbourhood, while the south side is limited by the Queensway and Nicolas Street.
Sandy Hill was first established in the early nineteenth century, and named for its hilliness and sandy soil caused by its proximity to the river, which makes it difficult to erect large buildings. In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, it was clearly Ottawa's wealthiest neighbourhood, home to the most influential dignitaries, politicians and residents.
When bridges were constructed over the canal and transportation improved, the downtown area became closer and the wealthy migrated north to Rockcliffe Park. With the establishment the University of Ottawa, the neighbourhood became more densely populated and middle class. The baby boom at the end of the Second World War catalyzed increased population and rejuvenation, where many of the grand mansions became embassies, and new government hires moved into the neighbourhood.
Since then, many of the large estates have been converted into apartment buildings, designed to accommodate the working class and student population who chose to be within walking distance of the University and downtown.
A dramatic demographic diversity is part of what makes Sandy Hill so unique, where students and boarding houses sit close to the Rideau canal, downtown, and the University on the west side, while the affluent and dignitaries live along the west side, on the banks of the Rideau River.
The area is mainly Anglophone; however there is a substantial Francophone population, encouraged by the university and international population.
With such close proximity to downtown, specifically, the large shopping area, Rideau Centre, it is well served by mass transit with several routes and stations at Rideau and Lees ave. There are also plenty of schools in the area, serving the large population of middle class families and dignitaries.
Several notable buildings and magnificent churches are in the area. All Saints Anglican, St. Alban's Anglican, St. Clement Catholic, St. Paul's Eastern United, and St. Josephs Catholic Church all serve as beautiful landmark and architectural gems of this diverse and eclectic community.