Private, unregulated residential care facilities have become an increasingly important component of the continuum of housing and care for frail older adults in Canada. To date, this growing segment of the older population has received very little research attention. This study involved an in-depth examination of the functional/health profile, patterns of service use, and medical/care needs of a representative sample of 178 older adults in residential care facilities in the City of Ottawa. The results indicate great diversity in resident and facility profiles in this setting and confirm earlier impressions that special care units in the residential care sector have become increasingly close to being unlicensed pseudo-nursing homes. Despite the heavy burden of care, the evidence suggests that the care needs of the majority of residents are adequately met in the residential care environment. The results can inform future research, case finding, educational, and policy planning initiatives in this setting.