Why Living in Ottawa Should be on your Canadian Bucket List

April 28, 2020

Living in the capital city comes with many perks. You get to enjoy both English and French culture, and you may even see Trudeau at the local grocery store from time to time – that’s quite a celebrity citing for Canada! Ranked as the third best Canadian city to live in 2019 by Maclean’s magazine1, living in Ottawa is safe, fun, and, shockingly affordable.

14 Reasons to Live in Ottawa

1. Ottawa may be Ontario’s most affordable major city. In March, the Ottawa Real Estate Board reported2 that the average selling price for condominium-class and residential-class properties was $369,311 and $559,739, respectively. 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 $658,791, while a detached home would average you over $1.1 million3. And in Hamilton? You can expect to pay $378,974 for an apartment-style property and $603,497 for a detached home4. This means that Ottawa’s housing prices are 10% cheaper than Hamilton’s and a massive 50% cheaper than the GTA. Check out homes for sale in Ottawa!

2. 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)5.

3. 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.

Fireworks in Ottawa

4. It has a strong rental market. The City of Ottawa6 reports that, “the rental market has grown in supply (number of rental units) by approximately 1% between 2016 and 2018, while over the same period, the population living in rental accommodation has grown by a faster rate of 2.9%.” Considering this data and the low vacancy rate of 1.5%, 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.

5. Crime rate is low. Ottawa is considered Canada’s safest city, both by perception and in reality, according to a 2016 poll7. Who doesn’t want to live in a safe city? What a great place to raise kids, too!

6. 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’s Annual Tulip Festival
Ottawa’s Annual Tulip Festival

7. 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 overpriced beer, you’ll be having a great time at the good old hockey game!

8. 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 to be in the winter, for both residents and tourists alike. Plus, you can enjoy a delicious BeaverTail while you skate. These popular beaver tail-shaped treats were invented in Ottawa in 1978. Yum!

9. 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!

10. Festivals are in abundance. Everyone loves festivals, especially when there is a lot of them throughout the year. Ottawa is home to cultural, film, pop culture, 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!

11. Greater opportunity to work for the federal government. 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 government8 and nearly 1 out of 3 Canadian federal employees works in Ottawa-Gatineau9.

12. 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?

13. 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 Purplebricks)!

14. 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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On December 1, 2021, Purplebricks rebranded to FairSquare Group Realty. Blog articles published before this date were created under the Purplebricks brand but remain the property of FairSquare Group Realty.

In January 2019, ComFree Commonsense Network Brokerage rebranded to Purplebricks.