Living in Ottawa

flickr: andy1120willis/ via creative commons

If you’ve never been to Ottawa before, here are some things to note before packing up your moving truck and living in Ottawa.

If you enjoy pristine surroundings and generally like things to be on the quiet side, you will like it in Ottawa. Unlike what you might think of a typical city, Ottawa is not crowded and holds the distinction of being the third cleanest city in the world. Having said that though, Ottawa sits in a known earthquake zone and has hot, humid summers and long, cold winters.

Just like how you would want to live in Arizona if you like playing golf, you will want to live in Ottawa if you’re an avid skier. The Rideau Canal in Ottawa is the world’s largest ice-skating rink in winter.

So those are the broad strokes. Let’s get down to brass tacks.

Where to Work

If “raison d’etre” and “joie de vivre” are phrases you’re familiar with, then you’re in luck! Ottawa is officially a bilingual city and in many government jobs, it is a requirement for the candidates to be bilingual in English and in French. This is crucial as the biggest employer is the federal government which includes the military.

There are a lot of high-tech companies in Ottawa like Bell Canada, IBM, Alcatel Lucent, Shopify, and Adobe. If you’re in that industry, you will thrive in Ottawa.

Where to Live

70% of Ottawa’s residences are houses and the rest are mostly condominium apartments. The average bungalow house is around $405,000 and a condominium apartment would cost around $260,000.

West Carleton-March is a rural area in the far west. It boasts the lowest crime rate in Ottawa and has one of the city’s best secondary schools, West Carleton Secondary School. Here you can live in houses that have lots of space around it.

Kanata North is another place to consider. Two highly rated secondary schools, Earl of March Secondary School and All Saints Catholic School are located there. Aside from the Research Park where Nokia holds office, Research In Motion and Alcatel-Lucent are some of the businesses in Kanata North. You will also find the Centrum Shopping Centre, a large shopping area with cinemas and plenty of free parking here. Lastly, Ottawa’s National Hockey League team, the Senators, is based in Kanata North.

Barrhaven is closer to downtown with plenty of activities for the family in the area with the Walter Baker Sports Centre, Barrhaven Tennis Club, and a variety of parks wihtin close proximity to John McCrae Secondary School. It also has Fallowfield Station, one of Ottawa’s two inter-city train stations.

flickr: bohemlo/ via creative commons

Things to Do in Ottawa

Aside from skiing in the winter, Ottawa is also a cycling enthusiast’s dream come true with more than 112 miles of recreational pathways linking natural areas, parks, gardens and national sites. Whitewater rafting and kayaking on the Ottawa River is also something to try if outdoor recreation is your thing.

If you like shopping by day and partying at night, the Byward Market with its farmers’ market, restaurants and clubs is one place you’ll want to check out.

So there you have it. In a nutshell, if you are fluent in French, skilled in high technology, and enjoy winter sports, you just might like living in Ottawa.

What do you like about living in Ottawa? Share your experiences in the comments below!