Ottawa is the capital of Canada, and covers over 501 square kilometres in Ontario’s southeastern corner, along the Ontario/Quebec border.
The city’s over 930,000 residents share the Ottawa River with the city of Gatineau, Quebec (on the river’s north shore). Besides Gatineau, Ottawa is situated near the communities of Arnprior, Perth, Smiths Falls, and Cornwall (all of which are in Ontario).
Getting around the city is easy, as there are plenty of transportation options, and the city’s size promotes a variety of entertainment, cultural, and dining establishments.
With housing prices ranging between $250,000 and $500,000, Ottawa can be an affordable place to reside. A wide variety of housing options are available in the northern and central sections of the city, including higher priced single-family homes, smaller and more affordable condos, and side-by-side dwellings. Vacant land comes at a higher price here, and there are commercial spaces available (mostly retail/service). The southern section has a more rural feel and homes tend to be on larger lots. There is plenty of vacant land in this area, but fewer condos and commercial options.
The majority of Ottawa’s condo options are found in the downtown area. Completed projects include SoHo Champagne by Mastercraft Starwood, which is a 20-storey luxury building completed in 2015. The 200 units range in price from $310,000 to $1,200,000 and provide access to amenities such as concierge service, a hot tub and pool, a party room, a bar and lounge, and an onsite library. Also completed in 2015, The Eddy Condominiums by Windmill Development Group Ltd. is a uniquely shaped 6-storey building with 52 units. Prices range from $400,000 to $500,000, and the building offers a shared BBQ area and rooftop terrace, as well as bike storage.
In the Little Italy area of downtown Ottawa, Capital Hall by Ashcroft Homes will offer affordable options ranging from $180,000 to $350,000. The 25-storey building is in the construction stages and will offer 338 units once complete. Residents will be able to enjoy amenities such as an outdoor courtyard area, a lounge and party room, a fitness centre, and a study area. Currently in the preconstruction phase, Parkdale Market Lofts by Surface Developments will be a small, beautifully designed 4-storey building with 25 units starting at $215,000. Features will include a rooftop garden and BBQ terrace.
Ottawa’s unemployment rate has been decreasing over the past few years, hovering between 5% and 6%, which is lower than the national average. Not surprisingly, one of the city’s major employers is the Public Service of Canada, with the national headquarters of a number of government departments located here. Other important industries include technology, healthcare, real estate, finance, defence, insurance, and business. Major employers include Nokia, Hewlett-Packard, Bell Canada, Adobe Systems, 3M, IBM, The Ottawa Hospital, Nortel, and Shopify.
Public transportation in Ottawa consists of buses, bus rapid transit, and light rail transit, all of which are operated by city-owned OC Transpo. Around 145 routes serve over 300,000 passengers throughout the city (and some even into Gatineau) each day. Most stops are within walking distance of residences and businesses, and many routes are serviced at all times of the day. All buses are accessible for those with mobility issues or strollers. Other transportation in the city includes Greyhound (long-distance bus) and the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport.
Ottawa has four public school boards operating primary and secondary schools. They are the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (close to 150 schools), the Ottawa Catholic School Board (close to 90 schools), the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (close to 50 schools), and the Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario (close to 40 schools). There are also many independently operated private schools. The University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Algonquin College, and La Cité collégiale are some of the post-secondary options for residents. Other universities and colleges can be found in nearby Gatineau.
The National Gallery of Canada is a large art gallery featuring contemporary, international, Inuit, and Canadian exhibits in a variety of mediums including paintings, sculptures, photographs, textiles, mixed media, and other forms. The gallery also has onsite dining options and a boutique gift shop. The Parliament Buildings on Parliament Hill are a popular place to explore. Guided tours of the buildings present information about the history of the buildings, the history of government in Canada, and the state of government in Canada today. Many special events are held on Parliament Hill, including an annual Canada Day celebration.