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Top Small Towns Near Ottawa

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Top Small Towns Near Ottawa

Today we’re going to visit some of the great small towns in the Ottawa area. We’ve talked about rising home prices across Canada in the past two years. Moving to Ottawa may be feeling out of reach.

First-time home buyers have felt the squeeze more than anyone else. It’s difficult to enter the Canadian real estate market with fierce competition for every home. People are worn out and discouraged.

One of the best ways to find an affordable home is to expand your search radius. Ottawa is surrounded by small, mostly historic towns where homes are more affordable. They also offer benefits that you won’t find in big cities.

We’re going to look at eight different towns near Ottawa and tell you why they are great places to live, and great places to buy a home. Living in Ottawa is going to take you on a tour of Living around Ottawa…


Though we usually hang out in Ontario, before we start our top seven we want to give special mention to Aylmer in Quebec. Part of the city of Gatineau, the lovely community has a historic downtown filled with eateries and galleries.

Located on the Ottawa River, you’ll find museums, scenic trails, markets, festivals, and more in Aylmer. This community is larger than the others on our list and has many residential neighborhoods for homebuyers.

Aylmer is a commuter’s dream, only about 15 km from Ottawa centre.


Now let’s head back to Ontario and into Embrun, the largest community in Russell Township. Located 44 kilometres from Ottawa, this small town of around 10,000 residents is in a beautiful, rural setting. Its proximity to the city makes it an excellent place for commuters to find a home.

Embrun has cozy neighborhoods and rural areas, giving homebuyers great options. The area is growing rapidly and is planning for increased development.

Like many areas of Ottawa including the small towns that surround Ottawa – there is a ripple effect taking place. As prices rise in Ottawa due to Buyer Demand and Low Listing Inventory we see buyers head further outside the city in search of affordability. Embrun was a pretty consistent real estate value from 2012 right through until 2020 when the Seller’s Market starting driving prices from a modest low to mid $300,000 to starting to trend over $600,000 in just 2 years….


Next up, the Village of Russell is located near Embrun in the Township of Russell. This village is home to about 5,000 residents and is about 40 km from Ottawa.

Many of Russell’s citizens work in Ottawa, but the village has the services you’ll need close at hand. Groceries, doctors, dentists, libraries, and schools are all right in town.

Homes are more affordable in this small town and its surrounding area than in larger cities. It’s a growing area for families and retirees looking for the friendly feel of a small-town community.  

Just a very short drive down the street we have Russell home prices matching somewhat with Embrun but a little more dramatic increase in the past couple of years. Russell home values had a more steady climb since 2012 then Embrun and mixed with the strong seller’s market across the area Russell at the end of 2021 and into 2022 starting to break over $700,000 median sales price. This is double the median sold price from back in 2018 and 2019…


Our next stop is Rockland. Sitting on the Ottawa River, this town of about 12,000 is about 40 km from the city of Ottawa. Like many river towns, Rockland is a former mill and railway town.

Rapid growth has seen Rockland expand its recreational facilities, city services, and housing opportunities. Home to an ever-growing number of retailers and other conveniences, this community is an excellent choice for first-time homebuyers looking for a suburban atmosphere.


Next up is Smiths Falls, located on the historic Rideau Canal. With a population of around 10,000, Smiths Falls is home to museums, live theatre, heritage festivals, arts and crafts fairs, and a lot of outdoor recreation.

There are opportunities for every member of the family to participate in hockey, skating, baseball, and other sports.  You’ll find bakeries and breweries, nature trails, and the ongoing revitalization of Smiths Falls’ historic downtown.

Smiths Falls has public and private schools, comprehensive health care services, and senior programs and services. At 75 kilometres from Ottawa, this is an ideal place for remote workers and those who need to visit the office on occasion to find a home.

You can find out more about Smiths Falls by checking out our vlog video right here….


As we continue our tour of the Ottawa area, we’ll stop in the historic town of Kemptville. This Rideau River town of about 4,000 is filled with woodland and waterfront nature trails, beaches, and parks.

The downtown area has historic buildings filled with local shops and restaurants. Housing opportunities in Kemptville range from historic homes to brand new neighborhoods.

Kemptville is about 56 km from Ottawa. This village has everyday conveniences from grocery stores to a hospital in a truly charming, historic small-town setting.


Our next stop is Arnprior, located 65 km from Ottawa. This fast-growing town of about 10,000 residents is home to a large number of corporations and employers due to its solid infrastructure and proximity to the city.

This active, friendly town bustles with community events, markets, and a vibrant historic downtown. Arnprior is a growing town with mostly detached single homes.

In fact we did a fun video all about Arnprior – you should check it out right here (of course after you watch this video)…


Our last stop, Carleton Place Ontario is a charming historic town that has been expanding for years. The city planned for growth and invested in the infrastructure to support it.

While prices have gone up over the past couple of years, you still get a lot more, both house and land, for your money here than in the city.

Carleton Place is one of the towns we point to when we talk about small-town living with big city convenience. With 12,000 or so residents, the pace of life is leisurely. Community events and tight-knit neighborhoods connect people and make them feel at home.

Downtown Carleton Place boasts historic homes and other buildings along with great restaurants and boutique shopping. The area is lovely, with plenty of parks, nature trails, and views of the Mississippi River and Lake.

First-time homebuyers and young families will find a lot to do in Carleton Place, from boating, fishing, and swimming to museums and festivals. This former mill town sits just 46 kilometres from downtown Ottawa.

This small town is convenient for commuters, remote workers, and anybody looking for an affordable home and a small-town atmosphere. In fact learn more about Carleton Place by watching our vlog here….

The Ottawa real estate market has been tough on homebuyers for the past few years. Try not to get discouraged. Moving to Ottawa doesn’t necessarily mean living in the city. Try one of these terrific small towns in the Ottawa area. Homes are more affordable and you’ll get the chance to experience the history, beauty, and friendly village vibe of a small community and yet be a small drive from all the city has to offer.


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