The Vanier neighbourhood is located in the east of Ottawa across the Rideau River from the neighbourhoods of Lowertown and Sandy Hill, and just south of Rockcliffe Park and New Edinburgh. To the east of Vanier are the suburbs of Gloucester. Vanier has a relatively small area with a high population density.
In 1908, the communities of Janeville, Clarkstown and Clandeboye were joined to form the village of Eastview. In 1913, Eastview was incorporated as a town. Originally it was a popular destination for civil servants who wished to live at a distance from downtown. It later saw a large influx of French-Canadians and became the main francophone area in the capital. In 1963 it became a city, and in 1969 was renamed after the recently-deceased Governor General of Canada, Georges Vanier.
Montreal Road is the main thoroughfare of the community. Drugs and prostitution are common on many of the side streets. Despite this, some consider it to be an up-and-coming area today. Vanier offers a wide choice of retail shops, strip malls, eateries, bars, etc. As one of the last relatively inexpensive Ottawa neighbourhoods with a desirable location next to downtown, Vanier is increasingly considered a target for gentrification. Both subsidized and self-financed housing is available here, with several existing and proposed upscale condominiums and infill developments. The population on the western edge of Vanier closer to the Rideau River, esp. the Kingsview Park neighbourhood, is among the more affluent.
Like nearby Lowertown, Ottawa's Vanier neighbourhood is home to a number of French-speaking immigrants from Africa and elsewhere. It is also the site of an urban maple syrup Maple Sugar Festival (Festival des Sucres) held in spring, and home to an outdoor Catholic shrine, the Grotte de Lourdes.
In 2006, the Museoparc Vanier Museopark opened to public. This new local and community museum is part of the Ottawa Museum Network among 10 others. Located in Parc Richelieu, it is a heritage site designated in 1997 by the City of Vanier and protected under the Ontario Heritage Act. As part of the designation document, the 17,5 acres domain include the Maple Forest (Sugar Bush), the Vanier branch of the Ottawa Public Library, statue of Notre-Dame-d'Afrique, and the two remaining pilars of the original gate at the entrance of the park. (More details at www.museoparc.ca)
Vanier is part of the federal riding of Ottawa—Vanier, and the Ottawa—Vanier provincial riding. It is traditionally one of the staunchly Liberal ridings in Canada, having voted for the party consistently since the riding's creation. Federally, it is represented by Mauril Belanger, and provincially by Madeleine Meilleur.
According to the Canada 2001 Census: