Best Pros and Cons of Living in Ottawa
Welcome to Canada’s national capital, the city of Ottawa. Located in Southeastern Ontario, Ottawa sits at the very edge of the province. It’s on the south side of the Ottawa River across from Gatineau, Quebec, which is a major location for pulp and paper manufacturing. Let’s find out more about what makes this city so desirable and dig into the Best Pros and Cons of Living in Ottawa.
Ottawa actually sits on not one body of water, but at the meeting of three rivers: the Ottawa River, the Gatineau River, and the Rideau River. All three rivers come together right here. This convenient spot was chosen strategically by Queen Victoria in1857 as Canada’s capital because it’s the perfect place: it’s centrally located right between Montreal and Toronto.
Today, the city boasts a population of over 1.3 million people. It keeps on growing! If you’re thinking of moving to Ottawa, you’ve made an excellent choice. There’s just about everything here. Museums galore, top-notch restaurants, excellent schools, the world’s largest outdoor skating rink, superb safety ratings, and a wide variety of housing opportunities to choose from including entry-level homes and luxury real estate- Ottawa has it all.
Looking for city life you’ll love? This one’s definitely for you. Check it out!
1) The best place to live in Canada? Best Pros and Cons of Living in Ottawa
Ottawa is an amazing place to live. In 2021, the cloud-based software company Kisi ranked it number one out of 50 cities around the world for best work-life balance. You can’t get much better than that! This city ranked so high because it has good air quality, lots of outdoor spaces, easy access to wellness and fitness activities, and solid healthcare.
Impressively, Ottawa ranked as the top city for work-life balance in all of Canada, and was number six worldwide.
2) A Centre of Learning
When it comes to education, you’ll find what you seek. The University of Pennsylvania listed Ottawa as one of the most educated cities in the world and it’s easy to see why. There are numerous private schools here as well as almost 150 public elementary and secondary schools in the Ottawa-Carleton school board area.
The city is also home to four universities. This includes the world class University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Ottawa University, and Dominican University College.
3) Culture and Art
Looking for arts and entertainment? Ottawa doesn’t disappoint. It has exciting Indigenous events, the joys of the Ottawa Art Gallery, and its own symphony orchestra. It also has theatre and musical shows at the National Arts Centre, dance with the National Ballet of Canada, and the magical wonders of Winterlude. And more.
Obviously, it’s hard to know where to start. And that really just scratches the surface.
In winter, you can watch amazing ice sculptures form before your eyes in live ice-carving competitions and go tubing on family friendly hills in town. In fall, the RBC Bluesfest takes the stage as one of North America’s most popular outdoor music festivals.
4) Crime and Safety
It’s true that Ottawa’s crime rate, like that of the rest of Canada, has risen in recent years but it’s still quite low. About 3,900 crimes happen here for every 100,000 people.
To put it in perspective, University Magazine rated the city as one of the safest in all of Canada in June of 2021. Relocating to Ottawa is still a great move to make.
5) Economic Stability
What about jobs and stability? Because Ottawa centers on two pretty solid sectors, high technology and the federal government, its economy is relatively stable and protected from most large swings on a national scale. Of course, the pandemic was hard on everyone but the city is predicted to rebound soon.
Prior to the pandemic, Ottawa’s economy grew an average of 2.7% over the previous five years. Amazingly, the city is home to over 1,750 knowledge-based companies focused on aerospace, defence, security, and more. One of the many benefits of the Best Pros and Cons of Living in Ottawa.
6) Climate and Environment
Get ready for the extremes! Living in Ottawa means you need to have super-warm winter parkas and also cool clothing for the summer. In winter, temperatures can get down around -14 degrees celsius but it can feel even colder with the wind.
Ottawa gets a good deal of snow, and winter lasts for about three months, so grab your hat, mittens, boots, and wrap up! As some wise person once said, there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing.
In summer, things can rise to about 25 or 30 degrees celsius with warm, humid weather.
7) The Great Outdoors
Like other great cities in Canada, Ottawa is right on the cusp of nature in many ways. It’s part of the Ottawa Valley which has been described as “an outdoor playground for adrenaline junkies, outdoor enthusiasts, and nature lovers alike”. You can go on white water rafting tours down the Ottawa River, indulge in canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, camping, and atv adventures. The best part is, most destinations and activities are within just an hour or two of the city. One of my personal favourites of Living in Ottawa and the Best Pros and Cons of Living in Ottawa.
8) Raising Families
With so much to see and do, a safe environment and great schools, Ottawa is definitely an ideal place to raise a family. It’s the perfect place to establish a home base everyone can enjoy. Some people even go so far as to name it the most-family friendly city in Canada.
9) Proximity to Other Cities
As Queen Victoria noted, Ottawa is conveniently located partway between Toronto and Montreal. It takes just over four hours to drive to Toronto from the capital, two hours to drive to Montreal, and also two hours to drive to Kingston. If you’re going all the way to Quebec City, it’ll take you about four and a half hours. All things considered, Canada’s major cities aren’t right around the corner, but they’re within a reasonable driving distance for a day’s road trip.
10) Ottawa is a Bilingual City
In 2018, Ottawa officially became a bilingual urban center. This makes a lot of sense as it’s home to Canada’s national government and the country has two official languages: French and English. Fun fact: for over 15% of Ottawa’s people, French is their first language spoken at home.
11) A Vibrant History
Surprisingly, Ottawa was first called ‘Bytown’. It only got its current name in 1855. But human history in the Ottawa area goes back much further than that. Ottawa’s name comes from the Algonquin word “adawe”, which means to trade. Some of the earliest evidence of humans living around Ottawa dates all the way back to 6,500 BCE and the location is said to have been home to the Algonquin people for about 8,000 years before Europeans arrived.
It was in the early 1600s that Etienne Brule became the first European to explore the wilds of the Ottawa River. The fur trade then became dominant and by 1650, sadly disease and warfare for control of the fur trade routes caused the Algonquin people to lose control of the precious Ottawa River. Since then, the city of Ottawa has grown to be the global attraction and national hub it is today.
Like all of Canada, Ottawa has free healthcare for people who call it their permanent home. If you are a Canadian citizen or you have immigration status, you qualify. Ottawa is home to four major hospitals including The Ottawa Hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, the Queensway-Carleton Hospital, and Montfort Hospital.
There are so many ways to get around this city. Ottawa has a reliable public bus system, as well as a light rail system called the O-Train. You can even rent one of the public e-scooters placed around the city at certain locations and book it through its accompanying app. Convenience at your fingertips!
14) A Multicultural City
As a diverse city, about 24% of Ottawa’s population was born elsewhere, and visible minorities accounting for about 23% of the total population. Since the 1980s, records show that almost three-quarters of the city’s population growth has been directly credited to people moving in from other cities in Canada and around the world. It’s diverse and it relies on newcomers to continue growing.
Do you love getting active? Moreover, do you love watching others get active? From hockey to basketball, football, curling and more, Ottawa has a team for you to either join or cheer on! The Ottawa Senators haven’t won a Stanley Cup in recent years but the team dominated the professional hockey scene in the early 1900s. They were one of the original members of the now-famous National Hockey League which started way back in 1917.
If solo sports are more your thing, your family will love snow tubing down family-friendly hills in Ottawa’s winter. And you can even skate on the Rideau Canal with thousands of other people.
16) Diversity, Festivals, and Events
Musical festivals, celebrations of culture and food, and Ottawa’s pride festival are among some of the celebrations that hit the city. Ottawa’s annual Greek Festival is famous for taking over the city streets with amazing performances and food every August. Don’t miss it!
17) Employment Opportunities
Because this is Canada’s national capital, a lot of the top-rated employers in the area are federal agencies or nationwide organizations. This includes the Bank of Canada, and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation which both ranked high as top employers in 2021. Software companies also top the list, as well as educational institutions, and who can forget the almighty CBC!
Ottawa’s employment rate has taken a bit of a downturn due to the pandemic. As the world recovers, though, it’s sure to bounce back along with the rest of Canada.
18) Parliament Hill
What list of Ottawa is complete with mentioning Parliament Hill? This is the home of Canada’s federal government! It’s where representatives from across all of Canada convene to communicate and make national laws. Canada’s senate and house of commons are here, all housed in beautiful buildings that date back to the 1870s. They celebrate stunning Gothic Revival architecture and if you don’t work in one, you can still go on a tour to take it all in.
Cinema, live theater, music and dance are all important parts of Ottawa’s entertainment scene. Some of its biggest venues include the Canadian Tire Center, the National Arts Center, and La Nouvelle Scene, the city’s francophone theater near the ByWard market area.
20) People and Quality of Life
This is such a vibrant city your chances of falling in love with it are pretty high. Living in Ottawa is a great choice. The city is an ideal place to live in and raise a family-we guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
So there you have it- Ottawa, Ontario, one of the best places in Canada to relocate your family- or just yourself. If you’re thinking of moving to Ottawa, feel free to reach out to us! Give us a call, shoot us a text, send us an email, we’ve got your back! Moving to Ottawa or anywhere across Canada, each and every week we’re bringing you brand new videos just like this one, so be sure to tap that subscribe button. Until next time, take care!