Ottawa has been my home since 2018, and I find this city to be extremely beautiful and charming. I’ll always say good things about it. However, no person, no thing, no country or city is perfect, and Ottawa is no exception.
So, in this post I’m going to list the things that aren’t so good about Ottawa, based on what most of the people think about it.
And they say…
1. Ottawa has a terrible weather and it’s so cold!
Yes, Ottawa is cold, no question about that. In the middle of the winter. the temperature can drop to -20 or -27 degrees Celsius, which feels like -37 C with the windchill.
Ottawa is colder than Toronto, and as cold as Montreal, but at least it’s way less cold than other cities such as Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary or Edmonton, where the temperature can drop easily to -40 C.
And Ottawa has very peculiar weather. No day is similar to the next one, neither in temperature, nor in metereological conditions. In the very same day you can have snow, hail, freezing rain… and sun.
The good thing is that one can adjust to this kind of weather and I’m living proof of that. Can you imagine that back home the lowest temperatures I had to endure in winter were 14 or 15 degrees Celsius? But I have gotten used to Ottawa’s cold.
Actually I find Ottawa’s whimsical weather pretty interesting and exciting. Where I come from it doesn’t rain, it doesn’t snow, and there’re no rainstorms with lightening and thunder. It really does seem to me that the weather in my hometown Lima is pretty boring compared to that in Ottawa.
I love to see the snow flakes falling through my window. I love to wake up in the morning with the sound of the rain and I love those wild summer rainstorms with torrential rains, winds, and lots of thunder and lightning! What an amazing spectacle of Mother Nature, it seems to me!
2. Ottawa doesn’t have an exciting nightlife
It’s true. For a city of its size (about one million people) Ottawa could have a wider variety of options for where to go dancing, or to go bar hopping, or to pubs and nightclubs. Its main area for nightlife is the Byward Market, the most touristic place in the city. And it’s not that big, so the locals complain that they always go to the same places and run into the same people.
That’s why many young people consider Ottawa to be a boring city. As for me, a mother of a family with three kids, it doesn’t really affect me if the only place to go out at night is the Byward Market.
The few times that I have been there at night, I found a very cool atmosphere, with crowded bars, young people forming lines to enter a disco, music everywhere, and families with kids walking around.
3. Ottawa’s transit system is bad
Years ago, people in Ottawa complained about its transit system of buses run by OC Transpo. They said that there weren’t enough buses, that the buses were not on time, and all the hopes for the future were focused on the light rail system that was being built.
The Light Rail Transit (LRT) started its operations on September 2019 but soon after that it proved to be a bit of a disaster. Since its operations started there have seemingly been few days without some kind of problems with the trains or the infrastructure.
Power and electrical problems, stuck doors, trains stalled because of too much snow, or too much rain. It seems that the LRT doesn’t always fit in with Ottawa’s weather. Things have gotten so bad that some people started demanding the return of the buses.
And all the massive complaints against the LRT only stopped when the Covid-19 pandemic started. But there remain many issues to resolve to fix the problems of the LRT.
4. The reserved nature of Ottawans
This is something that is not a really common complain about Ottawa but something I have noticed about the locals. I found that Ottawa natives are very friendly and polite people but reserved and not very keen on opening up to strangers.
It’s considered, for example, that people from Quebec are more open than anglophones Canadians, and among the anglophones apparently Ottawans are even more reserved.
I noticed that reserved nature when I met some parents at my daughter’s school. The typical anglophone Canadians didn’t show much interest in engaging in conversations with others parents, other than about the weather and other general topics.
That’s why for people who come to Ottawa from other places, the reserved nature of the locals could be something difficult to overcome. It’s like an invisible wall that takes time to breach, and if you don’t have friends here you could feel alone.
There are probably more things that some people would mention when talking about the not-so-good things in Ottawa, but these four are the most noticeable for me. Being an Ottawa lover myself, I didn’t expect to have a long list of negatives about Canada’s capital.
I really believe that Ottawa has many more good things than bad ones. What about you? What do you think are the less attractive things about Ottawa? What are the good ones? Leave your comments, I would very much like to hear your opinions. Take care.