Kanata lies to the west of Ottawa's Greenbelt, and is about 22 km (14 miles) west-southwest of downtown Ottawa via the Queenway/417. Kanata has become most notable for being an important hi-tech centre. To the west of Kanata are scenic Ottawa Valley farmland and the town of Stittsville, and to the east is Bells Corners, and to the south of Kanata is the former village Richmond.
Though Bells Corners became a center of hi-tech since the 1950s, as home to Canadian technology icons as Computing Devices Canada (now General Dynamics), it blazed the trail for later defence technology and telecommunications firms in what would later be known as Silicon Valley North, or Kanata.
Kanata was originally part of the Township of March, and was first settled by Europeans in the early 1800s, including nearby Pinhey's Point. The area was largely agricultural until the 1960s when it was sub-divided by Bill Teron, a developer and urban planner who took over 3,000 acres (12 km2) of rural land and created a model community, with a mix of densities and commercial / residential properties. Kanata has since expanded to include the neighbourhoods of Beaverbrook, Glen Cairn, Bridlewood, Katimavik, Hazeldean, Morgan's Grant, and Kanata Lakes.
In 1978, Kanata was incorporated as a city in 1978 (taking land from the Township of March, the Township of Goulbourn, and the Township of Nepean). By 2001, when the province created an amalgamated City of Ottawa, the population of Kanata had grown to 85,000 (now estimated to be over 90,000).
Kanata remains home to many of the major hi-tech employers of Ottawa, including Juniper Networks, Research In Motion, Mitel, March Networks, Alcatel-Lucent, Bridgewater Systems, DragonWave, Solace systems, CounterPath Corporation, Protecode, Dell Canada, HP, Smart Technologies, Norpak, Nortel, MDS Nordion, Breconridge, AMCC, and Cisco Systems, Inc. The hi-tech industry is clustered along March Road, in the Kanata North Business Park and Kanata Research Park, and along Eagleson Road, in the Kanata South Business Park.
Kanata is home to the Ottawa Senators professional ice hockey team. The Senators play at Scotiabank Place (it was the called the Corel Centre when it opened). A women's Ottawa Senators team plays at the Bell Sensplex. The annual Bell Capital Cup youth minor amateur ice hockey tournament is held at the Sensplex during the Christmas holiday break.
The Kanata Stallions junior team plays at the Kanata Recreational Complex. The Kanata Soccer Club is the second largest in Ottawa with close to 4,500 players. The Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club is the largest rhythmic gymnastics club in Ontario, and has been active since 1975.
Kanata is also home to multiple recreational complexes, including sailing and yacht clubs, multiple golf courses, equestrian sports, and a wealth of skiing, hiking and cycling trails.
Arts groups in Kanata include the Kanata Symphony, Kanata Civic Art Gallery and Kanata Theatre.