Why Living in Ottawa Should be on your Canadian Bucket List
Living in the capital city comes with many perks. You get to enjoy both English and French culture, and you may even see the Prime Minister at the local grocery store from time to time – that’s quite a celebrity citing for Canada!
14 Reasons to Live in Ottawa
- Ottawa may be Ontario’s most affordable major city. In August, the Ottawa Real Estate Board reported that the average selling price for condominium-class and residential-class properties was $421,966 and $707,712, respectively1. Ottawa is the second largest city centre in Ontario, so how do the housing prices compare to the largest city, Toronto, and the third largest, Hamilton? In Toronto, the average selling price for a condominium-class property was $736,940, while a detached home would average you over $1.6 million2. And in Hamilton? You can expect to pay $465,064 for an apartment-style property and $876,899 for a detached home3. This means that Ottawa’s condos are 10% cheaper than in Hamilton and 74% cheaper than Toronto, while detached homes cost 23% less than in Hamilton and 133% less than in Toronto. Check out homes for sale in Ottawa!
- Ottawa is Canada’s smartest city. In the words of Jim Rohn, “You're the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.” So, doesn’t it make sense to want to hang out with intelligent people? Although Canadians as a whole are educated, when looking at the same age group across all cities, Ottawa is deemed Canada’s smartest city with over 31% of its residents holding a university degree (bachelor or higher)4.
- Ottawa makes politics look good. First off, Parliament Hill is stunning. Built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and looking over the Ottawa River, this beautiful piece of architecture is visited by over 3 million people annually. And we cannot forget the official Canada Day celebrations at Major’s Hill Park, Canadian Museum of History and, of course, Parliament Hill.
- It has a strong rental market. Approximately 1/3 of Ottawa’s residents live in rental housing.5 From 2020 to 2021 supply of rental units grew by 1% while the demand kept pace.6 The vacancy rate remains unchanged since 2020, at 3.4% for purpose-build rentals and 0.8% for condo rentals.7 Considering this data, now is a great time for investors to purchase residential homes and rent them to Ottawa residents. Plus, considering how educated the population is (see point #2), landlords will likely have reliable renters with stable incomes.
- Safety is #1! In addition to its many fine attributes, Ottawa turns out to be among the safest places to live. According to Statistics Canada’s, Ottawa’s crime index is 33% lower than the national average and 12% lower than the provincial average.8 That’s some pretty fine safety statistics!
- Canada’s capital is picture-perfect. Who doesn’t love a good Instagram photo? We sure do. Ottawa is a picturesque city with character-filled buildings, lush parks, and flowing canals to serve as your perfect selfie background. And of course, it is enjoyable even if you aren’t snapping a picture.
- Ottawa is home to an NHL hockey team - the Ottawa Senators! Even though the Sens haven’t taken home the Stanley Cup since 1927, it is still lots of fun to live in a hockey town. Whether you make it to a game to watch the sport, or to just enjoy some popcorn and craft beer, you’ll be having a great time at the good old hockey game!
- And speaking of skating, how does skating on the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink sound? Pretty cool! (Get it?) The Rideau Canal Skateway is almost 8 km long and welcomes nearly one million people annually. It’s a popular place in the winter, for both residents and tourists alike. Plus, you can enjoy a delicious Beaver Tail while you skate. These popular beaver tail-shaped treats were invented in Ottawa in 1978. Yum!
- Access to French culture. Ottawa’s proximity to Quebec makes it the perfect location to enjoy French culture right outside your doorstep. Walk, bike, or drive to Gatineau, Quebec across one of the many bridges that link the two cities together. Bring on the poutine!
- Festivals are in abundance. Everyone loves festivals, especially when there are so many of them throughout the year. Ottawa is home to cultural events, film festivals, pop culture happenings, food and beverage festivals, and everything in between. If we had to choose our top three (so difficult), they would be Winterlude, Canadian Film Festival and, of course, Poutinefest!
- Federal government jobs. Does making an impact in your city and having both Easter Friday and Easter Monday off work sound appealing? If yes, you may increase your odds of having both of these work perks if you live in Ottawa. The largest employer in Ottawa is the federal government9 and nearly 1 out of 3 Canadian federal employees works in Ottawa-Gatineau.10
- Amazing museums for all ages. Ottawa is home to seven of the nine national museums in Canada plus several more, and the walkability between them reminds us of our favourite European cities. Did you know the world’s largest collection of totem poles is at the Canadian Museum of History?
- You can check “being in two places at once” off your bucket list. We all remember the heartwarming scene circa 2002 where Mandy Moore’s character in A Walk to Remember checks “standing in two places at once” off her bucket list. Well guess what, you can too! With Ottawa bordering Quebec, you can stand in two places at once – and get a poutine while you’re at it. (We obviously enjoy poutine at FairSquare!)
- Green space for everyone! Adding to its picture-perfect buildings, Ottawa is home to plenty of green space with one of the highest percentages of parks to residents in Canada. A local favourite is Confederation Park. The park contains ample benches, walking paths, statues and fountains – the perfect spot to relax on a nice day! There are even pop-up bistros from time to time.
Ottawa - it is easy to see why we love you, and why anyone would want to call Canada’s capital city “home”.
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1August 2022 Market Report (OREB)
2August 2022 Market Report (TRREB)
3August 2022 Market Report (RAHB)
4Is Ottawa Canada's smartest city? Capital edges Toronto, Calgary in university-educated population (National Post)
5City of Ottawa Rental Housing Conditions
6CMHC Ontario Rental Market Statistics
7CMHC Rental Market Report
8Statistics Canada Crime Severity Index
9City of Ottawa (CMHC)
10Statistics Canada Government