Orléans is bordered by the Ottawa River to the north and, to the south, the Prescott-Russell Trail Link south of Navan Road. The eastern boundary is roughly Trim Road and the western border is a little to the west of Forest Valley Drive and Orléans Boulevard.
A largely rural area for most of its history, Orléans is said to have been named by the first postmaster, Théodore Besserer, for his birthplace, the Île d’Orléans near Quebec City. The area began expanding as a suburban community in the 1960s with the construction of the Queenswood Heights neighbourhood. That expansion has continued ever since, with growth primarily along its eastern and southern borders. Until amalgamation with the City of Ottawa in 2001, Orléans straddled two municipalities: the City of Cumberland and the City of Gloucester.
Commercial development had a major uptick in the 1970s, especially along St. Joseph Boulevard and including Place d’ Orléans shopping mall, built in 1979 and now comprising 180 stores. Over the past few years, Innes Road has seen massive commercial development, with an emphasis on big box stores.
While Orléans was once primarily francophone, that population has fallen to about 30 per cent as the original village and surrounding farmland were transformed into a suburban community. Even so, there are many French elementary and high schools, and the Shenkman Arts Centre offers a suite of francophone events, programmed primarily by Mouvement d’implication francophone d’Orléans (MIFO), which was created in 1979 by francophones determined to preserve their heritage in the face of an anglophone influx.
Claim to fame
Petrie Island in the northeast corner of Orléans is a popular destination year-round, with a vibrant ice fishing community in the winter and two beaches, trails and parkland in the summer. Formed by deposits at the end of the last ice age, it was once a sand and gravel facility but is now owned by the City of Ottawa and contains provincially significant wetlands, wooded areas, an ecological reserve, an interpretative centre, and abundant bird, plant and animal life. The island’s Stuemer Park is named for the Stuemer family, who circumnavigated the world in a 42-foot sailboat from 1997 to 2001, departing from and returning to Petrie Island.
There are many. Key ones include:
- Bilberry Creek
- Cardinal Creek
- Chapel Hill North & South
- Chatelaine Village
- Convent Glen
- Notting Gate
- Orleans Village
- Orleans Wood
- Queenswood Heights
Who’s building where
- Avalon: Minto Communities
- Cardinal Creek Village: Tamarack Homes
- Eastboro: Ashcroft Homes
- Jardin Crossing: Mattamy Homes
- Orléans Village: Caivan Communities
- Petrie’s Landing: Brigil
- Provence: eQ Homes
- Spring Valley Trails: Claridge Homes
- Trailsedge: Richcraft Homes
In the area
Because some neighbourhoods date back over 40 years, Orléans offers a mix of mature and newer neighbourhoods, numerous amenities, modern infrastructure, and appeal to both young families and older residents.
All four major school boards are represented with both elementary and secondary schools found throughout the community.
- English public: Ottawa Carleton District School Board school locator
- English Catholic: Ottawa Catholic School Board school locator
- French public: Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario school locator
- French Catholic: Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est school locator
Alternative schools in Orléans include the Orchardview Montessori School.
Orléans abounds with large chain stores as well as smaller, independent shops and restaurants. Businesses include:
- Chocolats Favoris
- OCCO Kitchen
- St. Martha’s Brasserie
- The Works
- Little Turkish Village
- GoodLife Fitness
- Ruddy Family YMCA-YWCA
- Farm Boy
- Home Depot
Orléans is well-served by amenities. To name just a few:
- Shenkman Arts Centre
- Ciné Star cinema
- Branches of the Ottawa Public Library
- White Sands Golf Course & Practice Area
- François Dupuis Recreation Centre
- Ray Friel Recreation Complex
- Orleans Minor Hockey Association
- Green spaces such as Petrie Island plus dozens of smaller neighbourhood parks. Orléans is also close to the Greenbelt, including the Mer Bleue Bog Trail.
As a thriving community, Orléans has virtually every service needed, with the exception, perhaps, of its own hospital. There are churches of various denominations, medical clinics, veterinarians and more, including a vibrant group of arts organizations and schools at the Shenkman Arts Centre.
Community associations include:
- Cardinal Creek Community Association
- Chapel Hill North Community Association
- Chapel Hill South Community Association
- Convent Glen-Orléans Wood Community Association
- Fallingbrook Community Association
- Greater Avalon Community Association
Service groups include the Rotary Club of Orleans, Orléans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre, Orleans Legion 632 Seniors Club, the Royal Canadian Legion and Bruyère Village facilities for aging.
Orléans is a major hub for OC Transpo, which services multiple Park & Ride locations as well as community routes. Stage two of the LRT system will extend the Confederation line to Orléans, including Place d’Orléans and Trim Road, by 2024.
The Queensway is a primary route to and from Orléans, with Innes Road to Industrial Road, Riverside Drive and Bank Street as a secondary route from Orléans South.
Cycling is also possible, but accessing bike paths is difficult from many areas of Orléans.