Living in Ottawa | | I Love Moving

The Ultimate Guide to Living in Ottawa as a US Expat

Posted Country Guides / December 29, 2020
Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

What is living in Ottawa like? This complex question asks for a thorough answer, so we prepared it for all of you who plan on moving abroad here. Coming to this beautiful city in the province of Ontario brings many benefits to all the expats. If you want to raise the quality of your life and you’re hiring an international moving company to relocate here, take a look at our guide.

Anyone who’s considering moving to Ottawa has a lot to learn – from how to immigrate to Canada to the relocation questions to ask employer. To save you from all the research, we’ve put all the essential information in one place. Moving internationally isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard either. Grab a cup of coffee or tea (or beer maybe) and enjoy reading all that you need to know about living in Ottawa, Canada.

Living in Ottawa – How Does It Feel to Live the Canadian Way

It is hard to decide where you will reside when moving to Canada since every place has its charm and beauty. If you’re considering residing in one of the cheapest places to live in Canada that offers an urban lifestyle, plenty of job opportunities, safety, and vibrant neighborhoods, but yet closeness to nature, then living in Ottawa is the perfect choice for you.

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Living in Ottawa Has Pros and Cons

While it might be perfect for some, others might find residing in the Canadian capital boring or slow. Depending on what your preferences and reasons to move are, you’ll get to decide whether you like it or not. Some of the top pros are the economic reasons – O-Town is very economically stable, job offers are plentiful, and everyone has a chance. Safety is also what attracts people who are looking for the best places to live abroad with family. Kids and students can have the finest education here while residing in one of the best places to live in Canada. Cons are there as well – you can expect a slower pace of life than you would have when moving to Toronto or moving to Vancouver. Even though it’s cheaper than in those cities, it can still be expensive for some, so prepare your budget and compare the prices with the place you’re residing in now. The weather here can also be challenging for someone who used to spend time in a warmer climate, so brace yourself for the cold winter. Still, with all of its flaws, O-Town is a beautiful place to reside in, and you’re coming to one of the friendliest countries in the world. Watch the following video to see more pros and cons of living in Ottawa.

Is Living in Ottawa Expensive?

One of the most important questions when moving overseas is will you be able to afford it. Adjusting to a new country is hard enough, but it gets even tougher when you lack money for the basic necessities. That is why you need to do a good calculation of how much you will spend per month, and what your salary will be. According to Numbeo, the website that compares costs from all around the world, the cost of living in Ottawa is lower than the Toronto cost of living, and the cost of living in Vancouver. This is one of the main reasons why expats choose to hire international Ottawa movers and come here. Two places that have similar costs of living are Montreal and Calgary.

What Is a Good Salary in Ottawa?

When we look at the basic costs, a family of four would need $3,200 per month, without counting in the rent costs. In case you’re moving abroad alone or moving to another country for love, keep in mind that one adult needs around $900 monthly, also without the rent, which can be anywhere from $1,200 to $2,100 depending on the size of the apartment and location. Currently, the average monthly salary in O-Town is $3,000, which is perfect for any kind of lifestyle. If this is more than you spend currently, start saving money so that you can afford everything before getting a highly paid job.

Where Should You Look for Employment in the Capital of Canada?

O-Town is known as a very prosperous city with high-paying jobs. One of the main employers in O-Town is the city itself and the Government, but there’s a trick – you might have to be bilingual. French is an official language here along with English, so try some tips for learning a new language in case you don’t speak French well or consider learning a language abroad. Still, breaking the language barrier is not that crucial for other occupations because everyone speaks English. Information and communications technology are highly present fields, and high technology is generally very well developed here. Startups and multinational companies are thriving, but keep in mind that many well-educated people will be your competition. A lot of companies are hiring, so try to find work before hiring an overseas moving company and get ready for employee relocation.

Find the Area That Suits You Best

Ottawa neighborhoods and suburbs are plentiful, and you should choose the one that has all you need. The areas are clean, fitness-friendly, and vibrant, so other parameters will decide what is the perfect fit for you.

Suburbs are excellent for those who come with kids – it’s quiet, safe, and there are great schools nearby. Living overseas in the Glebe or Alta Vista will be free of stress, you’ll get to enjoy the open space and strong community sense. You will feel small-town vibes, and yet, you’ll be half an hour away from Downtown.

What Are the Best Places for Living in Ottawa, Canada, if You’re Young and Outgoing?

If you love spending time outside with your new friends, going to the restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, consider finding an apartment at Sandy Hill or Westboro Village. Both are popular with young professionals, couples, and singles because of the nightlife and fun events. They are close to Downtown, well served by public transportation, and they’re full of parks and open-air events. Students choose Sandy Hill because the University of Ottawa is there. We guarantee you’ll have fun, and all the positive quotes about moving will start making sense.

Expats Should Also Know Where Not to Live

The low cost of rent can attract you and you might be tempted to hire an overseas shipping company to come there. The problem is that it may be one of the bad neighborhoods here. Try to avoid the following areas due to a higher crime level:

  • Vanier,
  • Heron,
  • Walkley.

You Won’t Have to Travel Anywhere to Experience the Four-Season Climate

Everyday weather is one of the things that will impact your activities and mood, so it’s important to know what temperature you can expect. It’s colder than in Toronto, but every summer still gets pretty warm – that is because O-Town isn’t on the shores of Lake Ontario. Months without snow are from May to September, while April and October have only a couple of snowy days on average. From March to September, you can expect more than five hours of sunshine, which is a lot for this cold capital. The warmest period is from June to September, while the coldest months are January, February, March, and December. The weather is generally humid, regardless of the season.

How Can You Commute Here?

Once you’re done with shipping overseas your belongings, you’ll have to get to know the public transportation system of O-Town. Of course, you can walk or ride a bike anywhere you want, but it’s also useful to get a hold of the bus lines of the OC Transpo. Some are even operating 24 hours a day. A one-way ticket is $2.76, while a monthly pass is $90. There’s also a light-train system called the O-Train, while people with disabilities can contact Para Transpo if they need any kind of additional assistance. You don’t actually need a car, but it’s good to have one if you plan on going for some weekend getaways. Since many residents drive and there are construction works in the city, Ottawa’s traffic can get congested, but it’s far less bad than if you were living in Vancouver. Taxis are another option – a start costs $2.95, and a one-mile ride is $2.29.

Is Living in Ottawa Boring?

Has somebody told you that there are no fun things to do in Ottawa and that it’s a boring Government city? Sure, it’s not like moving to Paris or moving to Berlin, but it’s far from being boring. The food scene is fantastic and you’ll never struggle to find a good restaurant. There are Chinatown and Little Italy here for those who enjoy those cuisines. Bars and coffee shops are also plentiful, and the nightlife is active as well, especially on the weekends. Don’t miss Ottawa’s oldest pub called The Chateau Lafayette. Festivals are a big thing here – Winterlude, Irish Week, Bluesfest, Folkfest, Canada Day – you name it. A lot of happenings are organized on open-air such as music venues or skating on the frozen Rideau Canal. All of you who enjoy culture will love residing here. Many museums, art galleries, street art, and much more are waiting for you, and there’s always something new to see.

If You Love Spending Time in the Markets, Welcome to One of the Most Popular in the World

Have you heard already about ByWard Market? It’s one of Canadian oldest public markets and one of the largest ones. The vendors are outside 363 days a year, and they don’t work only for Christmas and New Year’s Day. This is mainly a tourist attraction, but locals enjoy it as well – there’s shopping, arts, dinning, and entertainment. If you plan to travel abroad during Covid-19 here, don’t worry. Most businesses are reopened and everybody follows public health guidelines.

Is Ottawa, Ontario, a Good Place to Live?

Since it’s constantly voted as one of the top cities to reside in Canada, and it’s also one of the places with the highest livability, we can confidently say that it’s a great city to reside in. Overseas shipping of your belongings will be smooth work if you hire a professional company. Getting international moving services, packing services that would entail all the boxes and moving supplies and other stuff, and overseas vehicle shipping takes some time, so make sure you book your move on time. It would be good to schedule a free home estimate before getting international moving by air and ordering custom crating for all the delicate things. In case you don’t find an apartment in O-Town right away, you can leave them in a storage unit until you start renting. Once you relocate, you will notice that the quality of your life starts changing for the better and we can guarantee that you’ve made the right decision.

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