ottawa ? would we be a good fit? - Mothering Forums
Canada > ottawa ? would we be a good fit?
*theophane*'s Avatar *theophane* 05:30 PM 01-31-2011

Hi there,

We might have landed a job in Ottawa.


We haven't visited yet, but we are looking for info. We now Montreal pretty well, but not Ottawa. AT ALL.

After looking at all the promotional videos on Youtube, i think it looks very green and outdoorsy, but the rest is hard to assess.


I am a doula and a babywearing educator, might go back to midwifery school someday, we homebirth, we unschool -but feel attracted by Waldorf and Sudbury approaches, we are bilingual with a little preference for a French speaking environment, we love to bike and hike, we need a CSA or something like that, we like the idea of having culture and (affordable?) fine dining not too far, we love thrifting, we love cosmopolitan atmospheres...


would we fit in?


i have been told Gatineau would be an option, too. It is a Quebec suburb of Ottawa or a real town of its own? Isn't it complicated to work in On and live in Qc?


I have been checking on the web for a neighborhood with old houses not too far from the center and it sounds like 2 neighborhoods would be nice, Vanier and Sandy Hill, any info? I have looked on Craigslist, but didn't find much would a 3bed with a yard cost?


Another option would be living outside the city, but we were planning to *not* own a car, and make do with our bikes, any village accessible by bike or situated on bike lanes ?


Thank you very much in advance for ANY information!



star*mora's Avatar star*mora 11:31 PM 02-09-2011

we moved to ottawa from toronto and it is definitely more natural and outdoorsy for a city. vanier is hit and miss, there are some nice streets and some really bad ones. sandy hill is close to ottawa u and some really lovely homes - it is an expensive neighbourhood to buy into.


compared to montreal, house prices in ottawa are higher. for us, moving from toronto, we found it a relative bargain to move here. we went car free for quite some time living in downtown ottawa, but did buy a car that i use for occasional odd hours at work.


depends on where the job is for buying a place. we live within a 15min walk of my dh's job. it's great. and close to the river and bike paths. we were looking for a really eclectic neighbourhood so bought in west centretown, close to lebreton flats. we can walk pretty much anywhere downtown within 30min (including the market).


for close to downtown, and relatively affordable both hintonburg and west centretown offer houses with decent sized backyards. we have a sizeable backyard and views of the gatineau hills and the it.


might be a good fit - so many factors to consider. i find it really good for raising a family, as much as i miss toronto.

star*mora's Avatar star*mora 11:39 PM 02-09-2011

gatineau is a blend of several cities - hull, aylmer, etc. house prices are lower, the "downtown" of hull is a lot of government buildings and some streets that are run down. close to gatineau park, there are some pretty streets, they are at a bit of a premium.


potentially walkable for downtown ottawa - we walk to the museum of civilization a fair bit as we have a membership and it is 30-35min walking from our location in downtown ottawa. bus service really depends on where you live on the gatineau side.

star*mora's Avatar star*mora 11:45 PM 02-09-2011

one more

real estate site

vanier is 34

40 has sandy hill

41 is centretown (there are some really nice streets and some with good yards from lisgar or somerset and south

42 west centretown and hintonburg - a lot of the area is still up and coming so still some decent prices

MOMYS's Avatar MOMYS 07:33 PM 02-10-2011

Something to keep in mind:  homeschooling in Ontario is way easier than in Quebec  :)

limette's Avatar limette 06:50 AM 02-12-2011
I lived in downtown Ottawa for almost 2 years. It was fabulous. If I ever won the lottery I'd have a weekend condo there. Unfortunately dh's job moved and not be able to speak French made it very hard to get a job so we ended up moving.

You can do downtown easily with no car, not sure about the outskirts. Downtown is expensive though.

Three~Little~Birds's Avatar Three~Little~Birds 07:27 AM 02-12-2011

We love living here!  It is a great place to raise a family.  It is much smaller than Montreal, but I believe that it has everything that you are looking for.

In addition to everything that others have said:

Sandy Hill is a good neighbourhood.  There are a lot of apartments there and a lot of student housing mixed amongst older homes. 

Are you looking to buy or rent?  That would determine how much I tell you that a 3 BR pls yard would be.

Lowertown is situated between Sandy Hill and Vanier and East of Coburgh St. to the River is a neat little pocket of houses.

Vanier is the cheapest neighbourhood in the city.  It is a real mix.  It used to be the worst neighbourhood in the city, but now it would be considered 'up and coming'.  Closer to Beechwood Street (and Beechwood Village) is nicer than closer to Montreal Road.  There are some nice streets peppered amongst the area.  There is a free French Waldorf school in Vanier (Trille des Bois sp?) that might be an attraction for you is you decide to public school - otherwise the school district is so-so.

The East end of the city tends to be slightly more French, but I would classify the entire city a bilingual, for sure.

Gatineau would be an option, too.  It is certainly way cheaper but I am not familar enough with neighbourhoods there to comment.  You can certainly work in ON and live in QC.  There is less provincial income tax taken off of your cheque, so the cheaper COL isn't entirely real - you'd have to check into that though.

There are so many places to live here.  Knowing whether you are  buying or renting would be helpful.

There are also areas along the canal (Centretown, Glebe, Old Ottawa South, Old Ottawa East) as well as areas in the West-end that are fabulous (Hintonburg, Wellington Village ($), Westburo ($$), Britania Beach (good option).

*theophane*'s Avatar *theophane* 08:11 PM 02-15-2011

girls, thank you so much for all the nice feedback!

i will be back once i have read thru every bit of info but what i can already say is WE ARE SO VERY EXCITED!!


thank you!

gumshoegirl007's Avatar gumshoegirl007 01:09 PM 02-17-2011

Yup, Ottawa is an awesome place to raise a family.  We live in Overbrook (which borders Vanier and Sandy Hill).  It's a lesser known option, many places are still affordable and certain pockets are better than others.  We live two blocks from the river and the NCC bike paths.  It's a 10 minute drive to the downtown core from our house, and 15-30 minutes on transit.  We're 5 minutes from the 417 and 15 minutes from the Gatineau Hills for hiking.


Are you looking to buy or rent? That would determine housing prices.  Vanier is definitely more Francophone and some areas are still really rough (read: drugs, prostitution and poverty).  Same with the Lower Town area.  Sandy Hill is nice, but it again varies.  If you're closer to the University of Ottawa, it's more student populated, than if you live closer to the river it's more families and very expensive houses and embassies.


You can get a CSA pretty much anywhere in the city.  Most sign ups happen around now through to March.


As Ottawa is a city that amalgamated, I'm not sure you would be able to live outside of the city-proper and bike.  From Kanata in the west to Orleans in the east, it's 45 minutes driving on the highway when traffic is good!  I don't know anyone who really tackles an east-west bike commute (distance and safety).  I have, however, had a number of friends who live in Chelsea (an awesome little town in Quebec about 10-20 minutes from Ottawa) who are regular cycling commuters.  This is inter-provincial living and taxes may be your main concern here.

JessieBird's Avatar JessieBird 11:37 AM 02-25-2011

Ottawa is awesome! So are some parts of Gatineau, it's definitely on the up-and-up as more families move across the river for lower housing prices. If you want to consider being a little bit outside the city, I would suggest the Chelsea/Wakefield area over any small towns on the Ontario side which are more suburban in feel, further away from the core and you'd be stuck in traffic on the commute. Our part of Quebec is super crunchy, farmy, outdoorsy, inclusive, lovely, fun, community-oriented. Commute to Ottawa is easy, with lots of amazing options within 20km. We are in the woods walking distance to a village and only 12km with no traffic to downtown Ottawa. There is a public bus line and lots of ride-sharing. Paradise! Most reports have COL to be roughly the same in Gatineau and Ottawa if you have children. Quebec real estate and property taxes are wayyyy lower, many services like drivers license registration, haircuts and childcare are cheaper, but income tax is higher. Services for kids and families are fantastic and our experience with the health care system in Quebec has been great, despite the horror stories we hear all the time (you can easily go to Ottawa for medical services anyway if need be). Working on one side of the river and living in the other is not an issue, employers and accountants are all very used to it around here and Quebec tax forms take it into account. Good luck with your move! I hope you are very happy where ever you land!