Located on the Rideau River, just a few kilometres east of Highway 416, Manotick offers full services to the visiting public. The main shopping area is the Manotick Mews shopping centre. A significant point of interest is the Dickinson Square Conservation Area which hosts Watson's Mill (a 19th century grist mill), the F.E Ayers Building and Dickinson House There are a number of restaurants in town. Boaters will find several marinas located a few kilometres south of town.
There are several golf courses located close to Manotick. In addition, the W.A. Taylor Conservation Area, Baxter Conservation Area, and Rideau River Provincial Park are located south of town on the Rideau River.
Manotick was one of the later developed communities along the Rideau. A small community had developed in the 1830s near the Long Island Locks, north of present day Manotick, but no development was done in the Manotick area until the late-1850s. Failures of the control dams near the Long Island Locks since the late 1830s, resulted in the construction, in 1858, of a new weir near the Long Island Locks and a bulkhead across the west branch of the Rideau River. This provided enough water head for a mill and Moss Kent Dickinson and his partner Joseph Currier purchased the water rights. They built a saw mill and a grist mill. Both opened in 1860. This attracted new settlers, including many from the former community on Long Island. It was Dickinson who in 1864 named the new village Manotick after the Ojibwa word for "island in the river" (Long Island). By 1880 the village had grown to a population of 400.
Manotick thrived on the commercial river traffic, and as it declined, so did Manotick. By the early 1950s, the population of Manotick was about 300 - it was a quiet, rural village. Starting in about the 1970, it was realized by some that living near Manotick and working in Ottawa was a good combination. So a new boom of suburban development occurred, much of it on Long Island.
Today the population of the area is about 4,500 people and Manotick is essentially a satellite suburb of Ottawa. This was made official in 2001 with the amalgamation of Manotick into the newly expanded City of Ottawa.