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 Post subject: Pros and cons of living in Ottawa
PostPosted: October 25th, 2006, 11:52 am 
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Joined: August 23rd, 2005, 11:52 am
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Location: Summerside
Just wondering if anyone here has happened to live in Ottawa at all. My fiancee and I are strongly considering moving up there next year to look for work. I was there last winter, but it was only for a few days and I basically only saw downtown. I know it's a really nice city, and it's damn cold in winter. But can anyone tell any other pros or cons about living there? Is it an expensive city to live in? Stuff like that. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of living in Ottawa
PostPosted: October 25th, 2006, 12:42 pm 
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craiger wrote:
Just wondering if anyone here has happened to live in Ottawa at all. My fiancee and I are strongly considering moving up there next year to look for work. I was there last winter, but it was only for a few days and I basically only saw downtown. I know it's a really nice city, and it's damn cold in winter. But can anyone tell any other pros or cons about living there? Is it an expensive city to live in? Stuff like that. Thanks!


damn cold? thats a plus!

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PostPosted: October 25th, 2006, 12:44 pm 
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Joined: August 31st, 2005, 9:29 pm
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Location: Almost an Islander? My ancestors were on the Island about 170 years before jmweb ever existed.
I lived in Ottawa for ten years, 1985 – 95, and thought it was great. Because it was eleven years ago, some of my info is dated.

The city itself is well laid out, and it is fairly easy to find your way around. The transit system is second to none; I used it for five years. If you can get a place close to work, the commute time is reasonable. Once I purchased a car, however, the commute time dropped from 30+ minutes to around six minutes!

It took me awhile to find friends. Unlike out west, every second person you meet isn’t from the Maritimes. People are nice, but they don’t say hi to strangers (or even look at them) and will be distant to you for a long time. Who you are doesn’t matter nearly as much as what you do and where you work. The citizens are very class oriented.

The night life is pretty good; from the grungiest of seedy bars to the lofty heights of high class opera, there is often a place to spend your money and get what you want. Unless you live right downtown, expect to travel to get to the interesting places. Traveling by car for at least a half hour to one location is common.

When I was there finding work was fairly easy, although initially the wages were not high. I worked my way up from job to job, and ended up doing research at Nortel. The cost of apartments in Ottawa eleven years ago was about as expensive as Charlottetown is today. My real surprise came when I discovered the cost of everything else such as food, cable, electricity, and more was much higher in PEI than the cost in Ottawa.

I was always wondering, though, when I was going to be able to move home. The opportunity came in 1995, and I have been home ever since.


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 Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of living in Ottawa
PostPosted: October 25th, 2006, 12:45 pm 
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craiger wrote:
Is it an expensive city to live in?


I don't know about day to day living - but you can expect to pay a good chunk of change to rent even a bachelor apartment.

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 Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of living in Ottawa
PostPosted: October 25th, 2006, 12:57 pm 
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Joined: August 23rd, 2005, 11:52 am
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Location: Summerside
Armetis wrote:
craiger wrote:
Is it an expensive city to live in?


I don't know about day to day living - but you can expect to pay a good chunk of change to rent even a bachelor apartment.

That's what I figured. D'oh! Although there will be 2 of us at least, so that'll make it more manageable, providing we both find jobs!


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 Post subject: Re: Pros and cons of living in Ottawa
PostPosted: October 25th, 2006, 1:01 pm 
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Armetis wrote:
craiger wrote:
Is it an expensive city to live in?


I don't know about day to day living - but you can expect to pay a good chunk of change to rent even a bachelor apartment.


It's the cheapest major city in North America to live in.

I lived in Ottawa for 4 months during Summer 2005 and I loved it. Great food, easy to get around, the weather was decent. Yes it does get cold there in the winter, but the summer was quite long... a lot longer than PEI's summer.

I liked the paved bike trails. The city is just so well planned that everything works well together. Well maintained, too... a small army decends on the downtown every night to clean it up. It's amazing. I'd move back in a second.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 25th, 2006, 1:02 pm 
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Yeah - and the cost of parking is alot too.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 25th, 2006, 1:22 pm 
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stayed at a friend of one the guys i went to school with while we both where on ojt from school.. they paid over a grand a month for a 2 bedroom. it wasn't a great part of town. but didn't seem to bad to me. but they said it was a cheaper place to live.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 25th, 2006, 1:24 pm 
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Location: Charlottetown
Pro's: More women.
Con's: More women.

Guys will know what I mean :)

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PostPosted: October 25th, 2006, 2:53 pm 
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Is it true that 90% of the jobs in that city are with the Federal government? Sounds liek a rather silly number...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 25th, 2006, 3:57 pm 
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Joined: March 24th, 2006, 11:57 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Seattle(formerly PEI)
Hi Craiger,
This is my first posting on here....so forgive me if it doesn't look right..haha. I am originally from the island....lived there until I was 31. Then moved to Ottawa and lived there for 6 years. I am now in Seattle, Wa.
First off...there is no place like the island....planning on moving back in 3-4 years. That being said, Ottawa is a great city. I was nervous when I moved there...but as people have previosly posted...it is very easy to get around, bus system is great, and very clean place to live.
I lived just outside the city in Kanata, but Ottawa has a number of smaller communities that are great. To name a few...Nepean, Kanata, Orleans, Manotick, Stittsville.
The rents seem high...I was shocked at first. We had a 3 bedroom town house and paid $1050/month. Then I actually lived closer to downtown and had a 2 bedroom apartment for $1066/month. Word of caution, just take your time and look around.
The cost of living for other things is a bit cheaper, which can make up for some of the higher rent. Food, clothes, utilities.
There is always something to do in Ottawa as well. Museums, shows, nightlife, festivals, tons of stuff. It is a very muticultural city, and tons of great restaurants to show for it.
On the down side...cold winters, hot humid summers(get an air conditioner), harder to meet people so join as many things as you can, bilinguilism is getting more important all the time, 15 hour drive to the island, but that is about it.
For anyone wanting a change, I would definitely say Ottawa is the best city to move to. You are only 4 hours away from Toronto, and 2 hours from Montreal.
Oh, and the jobs are plentiful for anyone that wants to work. It is a big hitech city, and people moving in and out all the time.
With whatever choice you make...good luck!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 25th, 2006, 4:07 pm 
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From Away

Joined: September 26th, 2006, 12:00 pm
Posts: 50
Location: Charlottetown
I lived in Ottawa for High School and after I finished university. I found it extremely difficult to meet new people, even though I went to high school there and had a little bit of a base. It is a government and university town, and unless you are in one of those, it is tough to break in. There are some great restaurants, and the cultural side of things is growing all the time.

There are some great neighbourhoods to live outside of downtown. The downtown business area is dead after 5pm, and the market is great to visit, but you do not really want to live there. The Elgin Street area was quite popular when I was there, and I enjoyed living there, but I imagine it is very expensive by now. Westboro is amazing, and you can luck out on some cheaper apartments if you are patient and/or persistant or lucky. Still much more then here, but cheap for the area.

The winters are COLD, but much different from here. I found a day like today much less pleasant than a day in February in Ottawa. It is not damp there at all, and there is not the relentless wind we have here. It is Damn cold, don't get me wrong, but bundling up works, and there are lots of fun things to do in the winter there. Summers are becoming unbearably hot in Ottawa though, so make sure you get a place with air conditioning.

The thing I find the most different about Ottawa compared to here is that no one looks you in the eye there. My mother comes here to visit (She lives in Ottawa still) and cannot understand why everyone is always looking at her. I have to explain that they are just seeing if the know you or not!

I would not move back to Ottawa myself, I find it much to cold (and I am not talking about the temperature). I do enjoy visiting, and it does have a good mixture of big city and not too big of a city feeling. Not sure of the prices these days as i haven't lived there in a bit. Hope that helps!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 25th, 2006, 5:53 pm 
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Joined: May 20th, 2004, 3:11 pm
Posts: 778
The job market in Ottawa took a major hit when the tech bubble burst at the start of the decade, but I gather it's pretty good there now. Interesting place -- great museums, art galleries, performing arts centres. Terrific outdoor music festivals in the summer. Fun club life for you crazy youngsters, although the downtown is much quieter than other cities after dark. Damn fine food to be had! And one thing about Ontario is it's micro-brewery heaven (if you like beer).

The surrounding countryside is lovely. There's Gatineau with its mountains, and the smaller towns like Perth, Ontario, are very quaint and sophisticated at the same time. You can ski in the mountains of Quebec and go white-water rafting up river. Awesome fishing, canoeing, camping, and cross-country skiing.

And a driving tour on the mainland is quite the thing (you don't keep running into the ocean :lol: ). In no time you're at gorgeous Georgian Bay or the Thousand Islands. And people swim and canoe in all those lakes in southern Ontario and Quebec from May to October.

A note of caution: the economists have just determined that growth of Ontario's economy has essentially ground to a standstill -- not a recession, but it's still a cause for concern. Whatever you decide, best of luck!


Last edited by Buddee on October 26th, 2006, 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 25th, 2006, 9:01 pm 
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From Away

Joined: November 15th, 2005, 7:31 pm
Posts: 57
I lived there for 10 years and found it to be a great city. Lots of things to do no matter what your interests are. Everything from bars to museums. If you get really bored visit the hill and watch MPs at sleep.It's free.
Rent can be expensive but that seems to be a problem in most places.
Lots of jobs there besides government ones. Check some Ottawa papers for jobs.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 25th, 2006, 10:36 pm 
I lived in Ottawa a couple of times.
Great city. Definately not overly expensive by "city" standards.
It can be a little tight, as in rolling up the sidewalks at midnight, but you are only a bridge away from Hull where you can party all night.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 26th, 2006, 6:23 am 
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Location: Brackley Beach PE / Lake Wales FL
I "commuted" (flew home every couple of weekends) to and from Ottawa for a couple of years in the mid-nineties while working on a project. I was paying $750 for a bachelor apartment in the Elgin street area.

A couple of people have mentioned that they found the people of Ottawa to be "cold" or stand-offish. My experience was the exact opposite ... in fact, I was made to feel more welcome than I was when I moved to PEI.

If we had to live somewhere in Canada other than PEI, Ottawa would be our first choice ... for all the reasons that others have mentioned.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 26th, 2006, 6:31 am 
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Ottawa, If you want or need to live in a biggish city, Ottawa is it. I lived there for 5 years in the 90's. Absolutely loved it. Lived in the then suburb of Orleans.

Mass transit was excellent, I would have preferred to use it vs taking my car downtown but I had no choice, needed the car for business during the day. Parking is expensive but it was company paid.

The only thing I found expensive about living there was the housing. My property taxes were near $3000/year. The cost of living except housing was lower than PEI. Potatoes were cheaper and of better quality as were most foodstuffs. Entertainment; after paying the mortgage all we could afford as a young family was taking in the many, many, free festivals and visiting the many, many museums. Example, Science Center, Civilization, Natural History, Currency, Postal etc etc.. All practically free

Unlike Islanders big city folk consider a 30-45-60 minute commute to work the norm. Find a place on the fringe of the city. If I 'were a young feller' on a budget moving there I would live on the Quebec side of the river in Gatineau. Rents and house prices are significantly lower and you are about 10 minutes or less (without traffic) to Parliament Hill.

All in all Ottawa is the most livable 'big city' in Canada.

Calico


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 26th, 2006, 8:19 am 
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True Islander

Joined: August 23rd, 2005, 11:52 am
Posts: 11991
Location: Summerside
Thanks for the suggestions folks. It sounds like Ottawa is everything I thought it would be. I'm gonna seriously consider moving their next year depending on how things work out with my job here, and how things work out with the fiancee here too. Thanks for the tips!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: October 26th, 2006, 10:10 pm 
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I'm heading to Ottawa for Christmas! I just found out.

It's true... Ottawa is extremely livable. I'd move back in a second.


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