Thousands more Ottawa residents headed to the polls this federal election, as voter turnout soared to 78.4 per cent in the Ottawa area, according to early numbers from Elections Canada.

That's up more than eight percentage points from the regional turnout last election in 2011, and far above this election's national average.

The contest between Liberal Catherine McKenna and high-profile NDP MP Paul Dewar in the riding of Ottawa Centre drew the region's highest proportion of electors. The riding also had the best turnout in 2011, but this time around, 82 per cent of the 91,625 residents who were registered to vote went out to cast ballots. That was one of the highest turnouts in the entire country yesterday. 

Across Canada, unofficial results for this election show voter turnout at 68.5 per cent, the highest level since the 1993 federal election.

In the national capital region, almost every riding exceeded that national voting average, with the exception of the rural Outaouais riding of Argenteuil-La Petite-Nation. 

On the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, voters in Gatineau and the surrounding areas nearly mirrored the national turnout, with an average of 69 per cent of registered electors in the four ridings of Hull-Aylmer, Gatineau, Pontiac and Argenteuil-La Petite-Nation casting ballots.

Figures from Elections Canada for the Oct. 19 election are based on preliminary results, and do not include electors who registered on election day. Local turnout in 2011 was 70.1 per cent, and calculated using Elections Canada data for the ridings of Carleton-Mississippi Mills, Nepean-Carleton, Ottawa Centre, Ottawa South, Ottawa West-Nepean, Ottawa-Orléans and Ottawa-Vanier