I moved to Ottawa almost three years ago with my Canadian husband after living together in Peru for 17 years. He had become homesick and at the same time, we thought moving would be a great thing for our three children.
The truth is that we were not sure we would like the drastic change in our lives (See: https://ottawaisnotboring.com/2020/08/25/my-biggest-fears-when-moving-to-canada/ but thought that we could at least give it a try for a year or two. What happened is that very soon after moving to Ottawa we decided to stay indefinitely.
I really liked Ottawa. It seemed to me like a great place to raise my family, a great place where my kids could have a very good education and future, and a place to enjoy a high quality of life.
What are the reasons that weighted the most in our decision to stay in Canada?
1. The sense of security
This is the top reason why I love to live in Canada. The fact that I don’t fear being robbed while walking on the street, or while doing the grocery shopping inside the store, like what can happen in my home country.
Also, the fact that I can sleep feeling safe that thieves are not going to break into my house at night. I remember I had to activate the alarm every night before going to bed in my house in Lima.
That was after my house was robbed in 2015, an experience that left us so upset and disturbed that we decided to install an alarm and cameras outside the house to feel more secure.
You can understand now why I feel so good living in Ottawa. That sense of security is priceless!
2. A better balance work-family
Life in my hometown Lima has become really stressful. People work more than 8 hours a day, usually 10 or 12 hours per day, and after that they have to face the horrendous traffic and with some luck get home an hour or more later. Well, that was the scenario pre Covid-19.
There was no space to have family time. Many parents came home when their children were already asleep. And the next day they had to leave home early to avoid getting stuck in traffic.
It’s so different in Canada. People work hard but not to the point of missing or losing family time. It surprised me when I found out that the rush hour in Ottawa is between 4 and 5pm while in my hometown it was between 6 and 9 pm.
So people in Canada leave work earlier, and still have many hours to spend time with family, take the kids to the park, and in the summer take them to the beach.
3. Respect for the rules
It feels very good when people follow the rules, and don’t look to mess up things by flaunting the law. I witnessed that during Covid-19, as having people obey the rules meant that Ottawa could flatten the curve and almost reduce the cases to zero, well at least during the first wave.
It was a little different in Peru where the disobedience was massive and the result was almost one million Covid cases. People were trying to get their way all the time, not listening to the authorities.
4. Manageable traffic
This is one of the main things that I loved about Ottawa. I don’t miss driving in my hometown. The traffic there can be a horror movie. It is not for nothing that Lima is the 7th worst city in the world for traffic.
No doubt there can be bad traffic in Canada, but it is in the big cities like Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal. Ottawa’s traffic is pretty low compare with the big metropolises, and that is something that I really like.
I’ve never felt as badly stressed while driving in Ottawa as I felt in Lima, so that contributes to my feeling of living a better life here.
5. Respect for women
I found out that there is a very good attitude towards women in Canada. For example, there’s no harassment of women on the streets, and if there’s some, it is minimal.
The presence of women in the workplace is encouraged and their role as mothers is respected. My husband told me that a few times he saw female colleagues with their babies in a work meeting and nobody felt that they were not welcome.
Moreover, it’s very common in Canada that the male partner shares domestic responsibilities and in some cases, he stays home, taking care of the children while his partner goes to work.
So it seems to be a better place for women. And having daughters, I think Canada is a good place to raise them.
6. Great cities
Canadian cities rank in the top spots in the world when talking about quality of life. They are clean, organized and neat. Usually the focus is on Vancouver, usually the highest ranked Canadian city.
In the case of Ottawa, I will say that this city is among the cleanest cities I’ve ever visited.
If you want to see a world ranking of the most livable cities, check out this link. https://mobilityexchange.mercer.com/Insights/quality-of-living-rankings
7. Closeness to nature
In general, Canadian cities were designed in a very smart way that allows their inhabitants to have vast green spaces and nice outdoor areas to enjoy, and that is a very good thing.
In the case of Ottawa, we’re privileged that the city and nature are so well situated that its never difficult to enjoy a hike, or have a picnic in the forest, or go canoeing in a lake.
And last but not least, Canada is a stable country with a strong economy and very stable politics, unlike other countries which periodically or from time to time go through periods of political unrest or turbulence, like my home country.
So these were the reasons why I stayed in Canada, how about you? What are yours? Take care.