Police have arrested one Canadian teenager and are on the hunt for two others after an Ottawa business was held up at gunpoint for crypto-currency.

The three men stormed a financial institution on Tuesday (23 January) at 11am and held four people hostage with guns. A fifth person, who the robbers did not see, managed to call the police. The men were forced to flee the scene empty-handed.

Police used "extensive resources" including a K-9 unit to track down the teenager. The 19-year-old has been charged with five counts of robbery with a firearm, five counts of forcible confinement and six other offences.

One of the hostages was hit over the head with a handgun and taken to hospital for treatment. The four hostages were all bound by the robbers. The one robber who was caught by police reportedly did not resist arrest.

Ottawa Police Sgt Fernando Viera said a search was underway for the firearms. "Our command post has a search manager in the office and they gave us a picture of the area and terrain we're going to be searching," Viera told CBC News Ottawa. "At this point there's going to be six officers with me and then we're going to systematically go through the terrain assigned to us."

Paul Holmes, a regular customer of a nearby store, told CBC News Ottawa he was surprised the men attempted the heist in the middle of the day. "It just speaks to how bold the suspects are," Holmes said.

The other charges for the 19-year-old man in custody include pointing a firearm, wearing a disguise, carrying a concealed weapon, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, possessing a firearm and possessing a loaded and regulated firearm.