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Ottawa is a patchwork of different neighbourhoods, each with its own unique style and characteristics. From young professional expats climbing the corporate ladder to those arriving with their children, there are areas and suburbs in Ottawa to suit expats of all kinds.
The decision on where to live in Ottawa plays a central role in allowing expats to settle into their new life in the city. Luckily for new arrivals, Ottawa is very welcoming. Particularly in the more suburban locations, expats will find that the locals are quick to get new residents involved in the community.
Young and hip areas of Ottawa
Most of Ottawa’s nightlife and entertainment can be found in the city’s Downtown area. For young expats with a large disposable income, and for those that want to be in the heart of the city and enjoy socialising, Ottawa has some great living options.
The ByWard Market
ByWard Market lies in the heart of Ottawa’s city centre and is popular with young professionals because of its proximity to most office buildings and entertainment facilities. Most of the accommodation in ByWard Market comes in the form of high-rise apartment complexes.
The area is full of trendy bars and restaurants and much of the city’s nightlife is centred here. Those who enjoy cultural activities will be close to some of Ottawa’s best art galleries and museums in ByWard Market. Residents of this area have the opportunity to spend time relaxing by the river or in one of the city’s green parks.
Most accommodation options in this part of Ottawa are pricey apartments in luxury complexes.
Westboro Village is an up-and-coming area of western Ottawa. The area’s street scene is very lively with boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops and bars opening up every month. Westboro is popular with young professionals and couples.
The range of housing options includes loft apartments and townhouses and many residents in this area will be treated to stunning views of the Gatineau Mountains and the Ottawa River.
Westboro Village is served well by public transport and has two O-Train stops, Westboro and Carlton, in addition to a number of regular bus routes.
Family-friendly suburbs of Ottawa
For expats moving to Ottawa with children, finding a home in close proximity to good schools will be a priority. Expat families will also benefit from being close to others who have been in a similar position and can share their experiences.
Luckily, expats moving to Ottawa will find that there are lots of family-friendly suburbs.
The Glebe, in central Ottawa, is one of the city's wealthiest residential areas. The neighbourhood is mostly populated by families with children. As a result of the area's demographics, expats will find that there are a large number of good schools in close proximity. Furthermore, a good deal of social services in the neighbourhood are geared towards youths.
The range of accommodation in the Glebe is varied, with everything from condominiums and apartments to older single-family homes and townhouses.
Alta Vista is located in southern Ottawa and is a great suburb for expats with children because of the fact that it has lots of open spaces and opportunities for the kids to get involved in outdoor activities. The area is very residential and has strong community ties which focus on local churches, schools and community centres.
Alta Vista is well connected to Ottawa’s city centre with two O-Train stops and a number of bus routes that pass through the suburb. It's also an excellent base for those who need to travel nationally or internationally for work because of its proximity to Ottawa’s international airport.
Luxury living in Ottawa
Property prices in Ottawa are generally reasonable, but Ottawa does have areas that cater to those with a bigger budget.
Expats living in prestigious Rockcliffe Park tend to be ambassadors, diplomatic personnel, politicians or very senior business people.
Properties here tend to be large and luxurious with big gardens, and the area is home to some of the city’s best public, private and international schools. It's therefore not surprising that rent and property prices are incredibly expensive, and more than double what one would expect to pay elsewhere in Ottawa.
The suburb is well connected to other parts of the city by public transport and road links.
►Learn more about the city's property market by checking out Accommodation in Ottawa
Are you an expat living in Ottawa?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Ottawa. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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