Centretown West is a small, vibrant and multi-cultural community that is conveniently located next to Ottawa, Ontario’s downtown core. This up and coming neighbourhood is known of its fine restaurants, specialty food shops and neighbourly feel.
This small area was first annexed into Ottawa back in 1888 and became an immigration receiving area, happily welcoming Italian and Eastern European immigrants after World War II. The end of the Vietnam War in 1975 saw many Vietnamese refugees creating a new home in Centretown West. Similarly, Chinese immigrants called this area home shortly after Hong Kong’s British rule ended. The diverse history of Centretown West has lead to an intriguing and fascinating community that is built on respect and appreciation for one another.
The diverse culture, friendly atmosphere and proximity to all of Ottawa’s downtown amenities has made this neighbourhood one of the best up and coming places to live in the city.
The large mix of Vietnamese, Chinese and Italian cultures creates a unique vibe to this neighbourhood. Centretown West is an energetic and welcoming community that prides itself on its diversity and friendly atmosphere. You will feel this energy the second you walk through the incredible Royal Arch. This neighbourhood is predominantly comprised of single, young professionals, which brings a certain vibe to the community. The people in the area have a real zest for life and enjoy it to the fullest everyday. It is often difficult to describe the feeling of a neighbourhood, however, once you visit the area, you will quickly understand how vibrant and full of life Centretown West is. You will also quickly realize that this is the perfect neighbourhood for young families and single professionals.
Whilst there is plenty to see and do in Centretown West, you will also have the opportunity to enjoy the festivals and activities in the surrounding areas. This is the beauty of being within walking distance of Little Italy, LeBreton Flats, the Glebe and even the Golden Triangle.
So what does a typical day look like whilst living in this beautifully diverse community? Well, if you feel like spending some relaxing down time in the outdoors, you will probably head to Dows Lake with your dog and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Rideau River and the large area of green space. Although, if you want to mix it up a little, you can head in the opposite direction and take advantage of the numerous walking trails and bike paths located along the Ottawa River. Really, the choice is yours.
After spending some time in the park, you will probably want to grab a bite to eat and there is no shortage of incredible restaurants in Centretown West. There are too many amazing Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants to list. It is best if you just walk down Somerset Street and choose one that you like the look of. Of course, you are only seconds away from Little Italy, which means you have access to the best Italian food in the city. No matter what you are craving, you will easily be able to fill that desire. Whilst it doesn’t happen every day, you will also have the opportunity to partake in a variety of Dragon Dances, Buddhist parades and the amazing Mid-Autumn Festival that occur annually along the popular Somerset Street. Getting the chance to experience a diverse, multi-cultural community such as Centretown West is a great way to open up your mind and create a lifetime of memories. Every day will be an incredible adventure whilst living in this warm and friendly community.
This unique community consists mostly of low and high-rise buildings as well as row homes. In fact, these home styles make up almost 80% of the home types in Centretown West. The other 20% are either single detached or semi-detached homes. The rare detached homes can typically be found on a few of the side streets such as Upper Lorne and Primrose. These smaller homes tend to be situated closer to the street and provide a unique neighbourly feel to the area. As you move down Somerset Street or Bronson Avenue you will easily spot the apartment buildings, town homes and mixed use commercial buildings. These homes provide the perfect spot for people looking to live in the downtown core of Ottawa, yet away from the busy and hectic pace that often comes with downtown living.
Whilst the majority of the community is clean and quiet, you will get some noise pollution along the busier streets such as Somerset Street and Bronson Avenue. As you move into the side streets you will find quaint, quiet neighbourhoods that are perfect for relaxing and enjoying the peaceful sounds of nature.
Over the last 3 years the crime rate in Centretown West has been on the decline. In fact, this rate has decreased by more than 5% since 2012 (source). This is a great sign for a community that has been going through a minor revitalization. There is a strong, tight-knit community in Centretown West that makes for a light and friendly atmosphere. This community bond makes this neighbourhood an enjoyable and safe place to live.
One of the benefits to living in downtown Ottawa is the wide range of schools that your child will be eligible to attend. At elementary school level, you have Centennial Public School which is within walking distance and will provide your child with a strong foundation in both English and French Immersion. There is also the option of sending your child to a great Catholic elementary school that focuses on instilling your child with the proper morals and attitude to be an upstanding citizen. The tag line for St. Anthony Catholic School is “We Help Each Other”, which once again is a testament to the strong community bond in this area. When your child is ready for high school, they will have a very tough decision to make as they will be eligible for two of the finest high schools in Ottawa. They can either attend the Glebe Collegiate Institute or Lisgar Collegiate Institute. The nice thing about this decision is that there is no wrong choice. Both schools provide the finest education with an emphasis on developing open minded, independent thinkers that are prepared for the future. As well, both schools offer French Immersion and other language studies. Living in Centretown West will provide your children with the best opportunity to obtain a high level of education from elementary level right through to high school.
The proximity to the downtown core creates an abundance of public transportation options. The OC Transpo bus route #2 will be your main bus as it connects you to west through Hintoburg, Westboro and stops at the Bayshore Shopping Centre. To the east, this route will take you to the Rideau Shopping Centre and the Byward Market. Similarly, you are only seconds away from catching the 95 which opens up the entire east end of Ottawa, or the number 1 which connects you to the southern section of Ottawa. As well, it is important to note that you are only a few steps away from the future O-Train station along Albert Street. This light rail will also allow easy access to the east and west ends of Ottawa.
The population of Centretown West is comprised mainly of single, young people without kids. However, this is not to say that you can’t raise a family in this community. There are plenty of activities to partake in, great schools in the area and an abundance of parks and trails. In fact, this would be an ideal community to start your family, so if you are thinking of having kids in the near future, take a trip to Centretown West as you will be pleasantly surprised with this diverse and friendly community. Overall, Centretown West is a great neighbourhood that provides the amenities of city living but with a friendly, stress-free atmosphere. As well, the diverse mix of cultures creates a vibrant community that is both intriguing and welcoming.