100-222 Somerset St. W. Ottawa, ON K2P 0A7

Ottawa Blog

Living in Ottawa

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Ottawa

Play Video

Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Ottawa

Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Ottawa – We’ve all been there before. We’ve moved to a new city, thinking we have everything figured out, only to realize that we made some rookie mistakes. If you’re thinking of moving to Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, then you’ll want to read this first. Here are five things I wish I knew before making the move to Ottawa. But full disclaimer – I was born and raised here. But after helping hundreds of families relocate to our beautiful city and becoming close with them during their home buying search journey I have learned a few things along the way. It’s been refreshing to see things from their perspective.

1. The winters are long and cold. Really cold.

Starting off the Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Ottawa is perhaps one of the most If you’re not used to dealing with sub-zero temperatures and several feet of snow, then you might want to rethink your decision to moving to Ottawa. The winters here are no joke. Only the strong survive! Actually – we all survive but seriously you need to be dressed appropriately! And you have to know that the Winter will kick in around mid-November and run through to the end of March. There are mild phases, heavy snow phases, very cold phases. But on the bright side, if you enjoy winter sports like skiing, snowboarding or outdoor hockey, then you’ll love it here! Just make sure you invest in a good winter coat. Truthfully, the change of seasons is awesome in Ottawa. And the winter has this majestic beautiful atmosphere that brings clear blue skies, fresh crisp air and an enjoyment for all the holidays throughout the season.

2. The summers are short but sweet.

Although the winters can be tough to get through, they’re well worth it when summer finally rolls around. The temperatures rise and the days get longer, making it the perfect time to enjoy all that Ottawa has to offer, from its many parks and green spaces to its bustling open-air markets. Just be sure to make the most of it while you can because summer is over before you know it! It starts to heat up in May and starts to cool down early September. Living in Ottawa is all about making the most of your summers. Summers in Ottawa are beautiful, with long days and warm temperatures that make it the perfect time to enjoy all of the city’s great parks and green spaces. Now keep in mind the Summers in Ottawa can be very humid. But that makes relaxing by the river to swimming at one of the many public beaches even more enjoyable!

3. The people are friendly but reserved.

Ottawans are known for being polite and reserved, which can sometimes be misinterpreted as unfriendly. But once you get to know them, you’ll quickly realize that they’re some of the most warm and down-to-earth people you’ll ever meet. Ottawa is well-known for its friendly citizens. Whether you’re running into someone at the local coffee shop or waiting in line at the grocery store, you’re likely to strike up a conversation with the person next to you. As Ottawa natives will tell you, this feeling of community is one of the things that makes the city such a great place to live. And it’s not just the people – Ottawa’s natural beauty and vibrant cultural scene also contribute to its welcoming atmosphere. So if you’re looking for a place to call home, Ottawa just might be the perfect fit. So don’t be discouraged if it takes a little while to make friends here—it’s worth the effort!

4. The traffic is terrible (but getting better).

If there’s one complaint that everyone who lives in Ottawa has, it’s about the traffic especially public transit. Rush hour here can be a challenge, and finding a parking spot downtown can feel like an impossible task somedays. But luckily, things are slowly but surely improving thanks to new initiatives like light rail transit and bike sharing programs. So if traffic is a deal breaker for you, know that things are slowly but surely getting better. And the traffic is based on your location in the city – if you live in the suburbs and commute downtown for work you have to know when to leave your house in order to avoid bumper to bumper traffic. And if you have children you need to be aware of when the daycare or school drop-off times are in order to time them properly with your work departure time. Otherwise you could be adding stress to your daily commute. But once you get settled in and figure out the timing the traffic is much better than other major Canadian cities. Traffic here is nothing for people relocating from Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal.

5. Ottawa is boring…Not.

One of the best things about living in Ottawa is that there’s always something going on, whether it’s a festival celebrating our diverse culture or a community event supporting a local cause. No matter what time of year it is, there’s always something happening in this city! Unfortunately there is an old believe that Ottawa is a stuffy boring Government town. But the city really has changed in the past 10-15 years as more migration from major cities and immigration bring cultural enhancements to the Nation’s Capital.

I find the crowd that seems to have an issue with Living in Ottawa tend to be between the ages of 17 to 27. Nightlife is somewhat limited when compared against big cities like Toronto and Montreal. But the good thing is there are options and the options tend to be geographically clustered together for convenience. Take for example ByWard Market area with it’s historic buildings mixed with restaurants, bars, clubs and activities. You don’t have to travel far to mix things up. Whereas other cities you might have to drive across town for a different venue. And we are also not small town Canada either. Ottawa is a perfect size for all you want to enjoy. It gives you a little of everything but doesn’t over do it. The big cities across Canada larger than Ottawa do have more abundance of nightlife but Ottawa still serves up plenty of options to keep you going.

Living in Ottawa has its perks – some not found in those other cities. One of those perks is that we get to experience some amazing music festivals and museums throughout the year. From the Ottawa International Children’s Festival, Ottawa Bluesfest, Ottawa Jazz Festival to Canada Day Celebrations, there’s always something going on in our city. And of course, let’s not forget about the world-renowned Winterlude festival, which attracts visitors from all over the world. But it’s not just the festivals that make Ottawa a great place to live. Our museums are also top-notch. The Canadian Museum of Nature, the Canadian War Museum, and the National Gallery of Canada are just a few of the must-see institutions in our capital city. So whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or just looking for a fun day out, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Ottawa.


Moving to a new city can be both exciting and daunting, but if you’re prepared for what’s ahead then you’re sure to have a great experience. Keep these five things in mind if you’re considering making the move to Ottawa and you’ll be sure to enjoy all that this beautiful city has to offer!

If you’re thinking about moving to Ottawa, there’s a lot to consider. The cost of living is increasing (like most other cities) but the city has a diverse range of cultural attractions. However, one of the most important factors to consider is the weather. Ottawa can be bitterly cold in the winter, and the summers can be uncomfortably humid. But if you can handle the extreme temperatures, Ottawa is a great place to live and raise a family. The city is home to a number of festivals and museums, and there’s always something going on. So if you’re looking for variety and a culturally-rich city to call home, Ottawa is definitely worth considering.

Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Ottawa




Looking to relocate to Ottawa?
We Can Help!

Learn More About Living in Ottawa

Privacy Preferences
When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in form of cookies. Here you can change your privacy preferences. Please note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we offer.