Ottawa, Canada’s capital city. The greatest city in the world! Well, maybe not exactly, but it has even been named Canada’s best city to live in – 2 years in a row! The picturesque city holds so much history, beautiful parks and trails, the Parliament Buildings, an abundance of restaurants and so much more! If you are thinking of relocating to Ottawa, you are on the right track. Being someone who relocated to Ottawa herself, I am here to tell you that you won’t regret it! Check out these 10 reasons to love Ottawa!
Ottawa is a prosperous government city with a wide variety of departments requiring a wide variety of skills. This means that we are a bit more economically stable because of employment that is not dependent on resources, manufacturing or services (not anymore anyway!). With a population of almost 1,000,000 people and an unemployment rate of 5.1%, its no wonder we have been named one of Canada’s best places to live! The only downside to employment in Ottawa is that if you are not bilingual, you will most likely have a harder time finding a job.
From Gatineau Park to the Rideau Canal to the Canadian Tulip Festival – you won’t be hard pressed to find a beautiful place to take a walk or a bike ride. The city is tranquil and quiet in the most urban of areas which certainly makes Ottawa a special place to live. Major’s Hill Park offers amazing vistas of sunsets over the Parliament Buildings and the Rideau Canal. The Experimental Farm takes up about 4kms of undisturbed green space and farmland – be sure to check out the sunflowers in the summer! Hog’s Back Falls are another beautiful place to enjoy a picnic with your friends. The city features so many charming places to enjoy and we are so close to Gatineau Park on the Quebec side. The huge conservation park offers lots of hiking trails with stellar views of the Ottawa River and hidden waterfalls.
Its so hard to choose a favourite! Learn about Canada’s history at the War & History Museums, or enjoy an interactive experience at the Nature Museum or the Science and Tech Museum. Feeling out of this world? Check out the Aviation and Space museum and explore old planes and helicopters. Since we are a government town, of course we have the Royal Canadian Mint where you can see where specialty coins and bullion coins are created. Speaking of money, we also have the Bank of Canada Museum which offers an interactive experience dedicated to the economy. Looking for something completely different? Check out the Diefenbunker Museum, a former Canadian Military facility. They even have a unique escape room there! There truly is an abundance of museums in the area and many of them are even offered for free! Isn’t learning fun?
Possibly the best part of Ottawa is our low crime rate. We are an incredibly safe city to live in, especially when we are compared to other large cities. This means that you can be a little less cautious while walking to your car alone at night – always handy. Ottawa has one of the lowest crime rates in all large cities in Canada. Last years crime rate per 100,000 population was 3.7%. We can thank the Ottawa police, RCMP and the OPP for keeping our neighbourhoods safe. Canada is a pretty safe country in general. Many of the larger cities in the United States have rates of 6-15% per 100,000 population.
We don’t have a such thing as the Don Valley Parking Lot here in Ottawa. However, you might be late for work because we have been known to have moose on our highway (true story – that photo is NOT Photo-shopped!). If you live and work on opposite ends of the city, you will still have to sit in a little bit of traffic, but it definitely won’t have you waiting for more than an hour. The 417 does pile up in the mornings between 7-9AM and in the afternoon between 3-6PM, but overall, you’re not going to be sitting in traffic for long. It may add another half hour onto your trip, but the people of Ottawa don’t usually live and work on opposite ends. Now if you plan on living in Gatineau and commuting to Ottawa, the traffic over the bridges does get a little crazy during rush hour.
A perfect way to beat that traffic is to just take the bus! Ottawa has some great bus routes that are dedicated to OC Transpo which means no piling up of traffic. There is also the O-Train or LRT – Ottawa’s subway system. The current line runs north and south from Greenboro to Bayview. The second line is still in the process of being built, but once complete, it will extend as far west to Tunney’s Pasture, as far east as Blair Road. It is a bit of a running joke with the people of Ottawa as to when this second line will finally open as it has been pushed back multiple times now. They are in the testing stages now and according to Global News, the LRT may be ready as early as summer!
Though Ottawa doesn’t have a shortage of $1,000,000+ homes, we do have many in the $400-$600K range too (272 of them are on the market right now!). If you are looking for cheaper than that, there are lots of options outside of the city as well. Condos are always an option within the city as well. You can find something decent for between $200-$400K with great amenities. However, if you want a freehold for that price, you may have to live a good 30 min – 1 hour outside of the city. The great thing about the Ottawa housing market is that you will not have to pay millions for a 3 bedroom bungalow like you would in Toronto or Vancouver. The Ottawa housing market has been on a steady incline over the past 20 years and hasn’t declined since 1996. Because we are a government city and our economy is stable, our housing market has been very stable. This means that if you are looking to purchase your home here, chances are that it will be a good investment.
From retail staff, to bartenders, to RCMP, the people here are super nice! The people of Ottawa are accepting and open minded. Even if you are just going for a leisurely walk, chances are that a stranger will say hello and maybe even strike up a conversation. In Ottawa, you feel like a person rather than just a number. The first time I noticed how friendly people are was at the Ottawa Airport. If you are used to Pearson and the way you are treated there – boy are you in for a treat! Firstly, you wonder where all the people are. You may be one of only 20 others in the airport foyer. Once you go through security, the staff are so friendly and genuinely interested in the details of your trip. Another notable moment was when I visited the Parliament buildings and went through security and the x-ray machine picked up my camera filter in my bag. The security officer asked to see it and asked what it did and then asked to see some photos that had been taken with the filter. He then yelled to a co-worker to come and take a look as well because he thought it was so neat. You just don’t get that kind of thing anywhere else!
We briefly touched on the park in an earlier section, but I feel as though it deserves its own point. Gatineau Park offers 361 square kilometres of hiking trails, wildlife, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, scenic lookouts and so much more. Visit Mackenzie King Estate and explore the landscaped grounds. Grab a coffee at the café, or check out the ruins on the property. If ruins interest you, take the Carbide Willson trail and hike to an abandoned mill with a beautiful waterfall that runs through it. The 1km trail passes by stunning Lac Meech and the hike is easy to do and totally worth it. Want another hike with scenic views? Try out the Pink Lake hike all the way around the lake with lots of great lookout points to revel in. I recommend checking this one out in the fall. The colours are breathtaking and you won’t be disappointed!
Do you enjoy food? I know I do! Ottawa’s culinary scene is about as diverse as Canada itself. We have a variety of ethnic restaurants, specialty food trucks, fancy eats with 5-star chefs and stunning views, laidback diners, Beavertail shacks, and more! Check out the Byward Market for a variety of unique dining experiences including Irish Pubs, all you can eat sushi, cute cafes, steakhouses and specialty dessert cafes. Feeling Italian? Check out the abundance of restaurants in Little Italy. Want to share some appetizers with a special someone? There are lots of delicious tapas restaurants too. Looking for a fun and unique night out? Why not play some board games while you enjoy specialty coffees and treats at The Loft Board Game Lounge. You won’t go hungry here!
Did you know that Ottawa has a high school ranked #4 in all of Ontario? We also have an elementary school ranked in the top 20 in all of Ontario! The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board is the seventh largest board by school population in Ontario. Students are based out of a total of 148 schools. With a wide variety of Catholic schools, private schools, and French immersion schools. You won’t have trouble finding the perfect school for your little one to attend!
Want a full list of the top highschools and elementary schools in Ottawa? Check out our blogpost at: