Living in Ottawa – Pros and Cons

Ottawa is located in the southern portion of Ontario and borders Gatineau and Quebec. It’s a place with lots of green space between a small town and a big city. It’s often denoted as a “boring” city; however, it does have recreational activities, festivals, and great shopping centers. ‘Boring’ might be another one of those wrong stereotypes.

This is the right place for you if you’re looking for a nice in-between from a small town to a metropolitan city. The weather in Ottawa isn’t that bad, either. It gets freezing in the winter, colder than in Toronto, but Ottawa is usually bright and sunny, which many people enjoy. Learn more about Ottawa and what it’s like to live here so you can figure out for yourself whether Ottawa is the right place.

The History Of Ottawa

Ottawa Street

Ottawa received its name from the Odawa First Nation. However, the city is located in the territory of the Algonquin people. Ottawa remained the territory of indigenous people until 1650 when the Algonquin lost control over the Ottawa River. The first European who arrived was Etienne Brule, who explored the river in 1608.

Ottawa was named the capital of the Province of Canada in 1857 because of how it grew to become an important part of the trading community. This significance gave it national attention.

The Overall Feel Of Ottawa

Ottawa is very outdoors, with tons of access to nature and parks. If you live in the city, you can bike or walk around. If you’re in the suburbs, that will be difficult, but you’re welcome to try.

Although the transportation system could still be improved and doesn’t hold a candle to the transport in bigger cities, it’s not half bad. It’s not as extensive, but you’re able to get around.

Aside from that, there are several activities you can take part in and places to visit, including museums. If you’re looking for a way to spend the day out, you won’t find it too difficult to plan your itinerary.

Ottawa is a French-speaking city, so you’ll have difficulty finding a job if you can’t speak French. Moreover, the weather in Ottawa is not too bad, but winters can get rough. You’ll need to clean your driveway because snowfall can be heavy constantly.

What You Need To Know About Ottawa

Ottawa Canada

Going further, let’s discuss a few things you should factor into your decision.

1. Unemployment Rate

As of April 2022, the unemployment rate was 5.2, and this rate decreased by 0.1% compared to the previous month. This means there was an increase of 14,300 full-time jobs in April compared to the previous month.

This is a big jump and is a great sign for Ottawa. Sectors with increased employment rates and full-time jobs include natural resources, agriculture, healthcare, education, public administration, information, cultural services, and more.

2. Crime Rate

Based on the Crime Severity Index, which measures reported crimes, Ottawa’s number of crimes is well below the Canadian average. It’s also lower than most cities, including Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg.

As for violent crimes such as homicide or assault, the rate is again below the average; there were about 858 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2018. Ottawa is and remains to be the safest city among Canada’s six largest cities.

3. Education

Ottawa is home to quality public and private school systems. Their public schools offer French and English education depending on your or your child’s needs.

Ottawa follows the standard K-12 curriculum with students going through kindergarten, elementary school, and high school. Education in Ottawa is high quality, and students graduating from schools here often score above average in reading, writing, and mathematics compared to other provincial averages.

4. Housing Cost

An average home in Ottawa costs around $754,400. This is cheaper than most cities, including Hamilton and Toronto. There are still cheaper cities, but this is already a good average.

To be specific, residential properties cost an average price of $829,320. Condominium prices cost, on average $473,70, which dropped from the March 2022 average of $479,405.

5. Healthcare

Ottawa has great public hospitals with high-quality care. There are waiting lists that can be long, which is a downside. Moreover, the Ottawa Public Health Program advertises the OHIP or the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, which covers basic medical procedures you can avail of.

You can apply for the OHIP if you are a resident of Ontario or have immigrant status. Visit the Ontario website to learn more about the OHIP. For further information, there’s also the Ottawa Public Health website which features different hospitals so you can get a feel of their healthcare quality.

Let’s Summarize these Stats

Unemployment RateCrime RateEducationHousing CostsHealthcare
Unemployment rate of 5.2%In 2018, there were 858 violent crimes per 100,000 peopleOttawa has both public and private school systemsThe average home in Ottawa costs $754,400Despite the often long waiting lists, Ottawa has great hospitals that offer quality care
An increase of 14,300 full-time jobs compared to the previous monthsOttawa’s number of crimes is well below the Canadian averageStudents graduating from schools in Ottawa often score above average in reading, writing, and mathematicsResidential properties cost an average of $829,320Residents may apply for the OHIP or the Ontario Health Insurance Plan which covers basic medical services including doctor visits and some tests
 Ottawa is the safest city among Canada’s six largest citiesSchools follow the K-12 curriculumCondominiums cost an average of $473,700 

Pros Of Living In Ottawa

Here are the pros you must consider when deciding whether or not to move to Ottawa.

1. It Is A Safe City

Ottawa is a very safe city. You can get around and walk alone during the day without fearing for your life. After all, it has a total number of crimes well below the Canadian average. This is a good sign and shows that Ottawa is suitable for raising families.

2. Plenty Of Access To Outdoor Space And Nature

If you’re a lover of all things nature, you’ll enjoy Ottawa. It has access to tons of parks, outdoor spaces, and nature. There are many walking or biking trails within the city that you can enjoy to immerse yourself in nature.

These hiking trails include Pinhey Forest, Mer Bleue Bog, and more. There are different trails depending on what you want to do. There are long hikes or short ones. The common difference? The scenery on each trail is just stunning.

3. Relatively Affordable Housing

 Ottawa also has affordable housing. There are cheaper housing markets in other cities, but it’s relatively affordable and far cheaper than in big cities. The average home price in Ottawa is a little over $750,000.

Cons Of Living In Ottawa

Here are the cons you should consider and the pros to make a balanced and informed decision.

1. Poor Transportation System

The transportation system in Ottawa does need work. Because some places in Ottawa aren’t walkable such as the suburbs, the transportation system must be vast. Some buses go to and from the suburbs and the city but are not as extensive as one would like. There is still room to improve here.

2. Walkable Distances

If you enjoy walking to and from your destination and your home, you’d want to live in the city. The suburbs are often far and difficult to travel from. Again, the transportation system isn’t that vast just yet so, try to go for living in the city as walkable distances are only found there.

The Final Verdict

Ottawa is a great city offering even better opportunities. The job market isn’t too bad. Homes in Ottawa aren’t too expensive, but they’re not cheap either. If you’re looking for more affordable homes, consider Winnipeg, as they have a far cheaper housing market.

Ottawa has tons of outdoor space for you to immerse yourself in. You have easy access to nature and the great outdoors.

It’s a stunning city with tons of green which we all should be appreciated right now. It’s also very safe, so raising a family would be quite easy here. It might not have quite a nightlife, but it makes up for that through its numerous attractions and fun sports.

There are downsides to living in Ottawa, such as its transportation system that isn’t as vast because it isn’t such a big city yet. Some might not like the climate as well. There are many festivals and activities you can partake in Ottawa.

If you prefer a laidback lifestyle, it might be the right place. But, no matter how many pros there are, there will always be cons that might be deal-breakers. Make sure you’re confident in your final decision and do thorough research.

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