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26 Facts You Didn’t Know About U Ottawa

1.    We are the largest bilingual (English-French) university in the world. 30.6% of our student population is francophone.

2.     We were founded in 1848.

3.     Louis-Theodore Besserer donated most of the land the university sits on. This happened after there were some major space problems for the university.

4.     Our founding Father was the Archdiocese of Ottawa, Joseph-Bruno Guise.

5.     We were originally a pontifical university…. AKA we were a university approved by the Pope and heavily into religious studies. After the University of Ottawa was reorganized, Saint Paul University was created.

6.     This explains why our moto is Deus Scientiarum Dominus Est, or if you don’t speak latin: God is the Lord of Knowledge.

7.     Our president is Allan Rock.

8.     There is a suggestion box where you can send comments and complaints to the President and many other higher ups at the University. Click here to check it out. Many English students used this tool to get another course added to the summer semester and it worked!

9.     We are a member of the U15: a group of intense research universities across Canada.

10. Tabaret Hall is not the original main building; the main building was actually destroyed in a fire in 1903. Tabaret is among the first Canadian structures to be a hundred percent fireproof.

11. Women first enrolled in 1919, which means that ladies a hundred years ago we were not allowed to go to school here.

12. During World War 2 there was a training corps on campus. All students had to participate in training, but did not have to enroll in the actual military.

13. The foyer of Tabaret actually has a war memorial plaque dedicated to the 50 students who died in service during WWII. Another plaque is dedicated to all the students who served in any armed conflict, which totals about 1000 students.

14. We have an on campus museum located in Desmarais floor 3. It is full of items from 7th century BC to 7th century AD, and run by the department of Classical and Religious studies.

15. The Living wall in FSS (the thing covered in plants), is the tallest living biofilter wall in North America.

16. In general the University is trying to be very environmentally conscious, with the hope to gain a LEED Gold Certification for the Social Sciences Building. This is given to green building that meet a certain environmental standard.

17. The university is in the process of creating a “living” room. Just imagine studying in a garden… doesn’t sound too bad in the middle of the winter!

18.  We consistently rank in the Top 10 Universities in Canada.

19. Telfer is one of three business schools across ALL of Canada to gain triple accreditation and one of 59 worldwide. Triple Accreditation is when a school is certified by the three largest business accreditation agencies: The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, The Association of MBAs and European Quality Improvement System.

20.  Our CO-OP program started in 1980 and has grown to the second largest in Ontario. If you are on the border of deciding whether or not to do it, the placement success rate is over 98% according to the university.

21. Student life is pretty great with there being over 175 different groups and clubs to join. In the Fall of 2013, 90% of students were satisfied with their experience at UOttawa.

22. The department with the largest enrollment  (circa 2013) is Social Sciences with 24% of enrollees, followed by Arts with 16%.

23. The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is leading the way in heart research. According to their website, “UOHI ranks in the top 2 per cent of worldwide research institutions based on the quality and impact of its scientific publications, according to SIR World Reports 2011, the most comprehensive ranking in this area.” In their selected research highlights they, “identified the strongest genetic risk factor for coronary artery disease and heart attack to date (the 9p21 gene)—the first major risk factor discovered since cholesterol. Presence of this gene increases the risk of heart disease by 40 per cent.” Check out more fun facts here.

24. Ever wonder where Gee-gee comes from? Well, when we started the sports program in 1885 we didn’t have a mascot, so other teams stated calling us the GG’s since the colours our teams wore Grey and Garnet. In fact, officially we were known as the GG’s before anyone suggested that we change it to Gee-gee, which means the lead horse in a race.

25. 1 in 8 students participate in intramurals at the university

26.  We have 167, 224 alumni. Some of our more famous alumni include Pulitzer Prize winner Carol Sheilds, the Governer General of Canada Right Honourable Michelle Jean, former Prime Minister Paul Martin, Chief Justice of Canada Gerald Fauteux, and CEO of Cirque du Coleil Daniel Lamarre.

Photo Credits:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5


It was wonderful to work with Her Campus UOttawa. I am an English student who is interested in politics and economics. I love to travel (I have been to China, Thialand, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland), watch and play sports (Go Leafs Go), play video games (I am currently replaying the Legend of Zelda games for N64), and bake yummy treats (chocolate or lemon flavored). Since leaving HerCampus and UOttawa I have gone on to the University of Saskatchewan and entered into the Collage of Education.