In the past few years, Ottawa has caught the attention of many people as an interesting place to move to, in part due to good job opportunities, and because of relatively affordable housing.

That’s why Ottawa has grown a lot in recent years, and many of its residents are people who have arrived from other places in Canada.

This post aims to answer the questions that people who don’t know Ottawa might have about the capital city.

If you’re wondering what it’s like living in Ottawa, check this out.

So what exactly is winter like in Ottawa?

Winters are harsh, but Ottawa winters are not the worst in Canada. The temperature in winter ranges normally between zero to -29. Sometimes the windchill factor can make it feel like almost -40 C. And it snows a lot, actually Ottawa is a very snowy city.

Read here how my family and I dealt with our first winter:

Snowstorm in Ottawa

Do I need to speak French to work in Ottawa?

No, you can work with only English, but you will increase your job opportunities if you also speak French, especially if you try to get a job with the government, which is the main source of employment in Ottawa.

How much is the average price for a house in Ottawa?

In November the average price for a freehold house was $602,892. (All figures are in  Canadian dollars.) That was an an increase of 20.3% over the same month last year.


How much is the rent for a small apartment?

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Ottawa is $1,620, and for one outside the city center it is $1,267.

Do I need a car in Ottawa?

Not really. Ottawa is connected through a bus network, run by OC Transpo, which was recently joined by the Light Rail Transit system. The second phase of the LRT is under construction. It’ll connect the west end and the east end and it’s expected to be finished by 2024.

LRT station

What’s the population of Ottawa?

Between Ottawa and Gatineau, which together form the National Capital Region, the population is 1.4 million inhabitants.

What is the profile of Ottawa residents?

One third of Ottawa’s population is between the ages of 20 and 39.  An estimated 43.7% of the population has a university degree. That is why Ottawa’s population is considered to be highly-educated. An estimated 23.8% of the total population is made up of immigrants.

Among those immigrant groups, 45% come from Asia and the Middle East, 26% from Europe, 14% from Africa, 11% from Central and South America, and 4% from the United States, according to the 2016 census.

How is the job market in Ottawa?

Ottawa has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada. Certainly, the COVID pandemic had a negative effect on the job market, but probably it was not any worse than in any other major Canadian city.

The latest statistics show that Ottawa’s unemployment rate was 8.7% in September, while Toronto was at 12.8%; Montreal at 10.7%; Vancouver at 11.1%, and Calgary and Edmonton at 12.6%.


What are the main industries in Ottawa?

The main job-generating industries in Ottawa are the Federal Government and the high-tech information sector.

What is the average household and family income in Ottawa?

Ottawa has one of the highest average household incomes in Canada. Among the six largest cities, Ottawa in 2016 had the third highest number of high-income households with after-tax earnings of over $100,000, behind only Calgary and Edmonton.

Is Ottawa a safe city?

Yes, Ottawa is a safe city. According to Statistics Canada, Ottawa has the lowest rate of violent crime among the six largest Canadian cities: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. Moreover, Ottawa has one of the lowest “Crime Severity Index”  values, which is a measure of the volume and seriousness of crime reported to the police.

Is Ottawa a family friendly city?

Yes, it’s well known that Ottawa is an ideal city to raise kids, It has vast green areas, varied amenities and services, and lots of options to enjoy the outdoors all-year round.

Britannia beach

How much is the cost of childcare in Ottawa?

Childcare is expensive in all of the province of Ontario, and in Ottawa. The average monthly payment for childcare is approximately $1,100.

How is education system in Ottawa?

Ottawa has very good schools. There are four school boards in the city: the English public Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB); the English Catholic, Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB); the French Catholic, Conseil des Ecoles Catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE), and the French public system, the Conseil des Ecoles Publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario (CEPEO).

More about schools:

Are there good universities and colleges in Ottawa?

Yes, the University of Ottawa and Carleton University are the most important post-secondary education institutions in the capital city. The University of Ottawa ranks number 7 in Canada and it’s the largest bilingual (English/French) university in the world. Carleton University ranks 20th in the country.

Algonquin College is also a well-known institution and very popular among international students.

How are health services in Ottawa?

They are good hospitals in Ottawa. The main ones are the Ottawa Hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Queensway-Carleton Hospital, and Montfort Hospital.

There are also specialized hospitals and walk-in clinics for prompt medical care, or in the case that you don’t have a family doctor.

What are the main tourist attractions in Ottawa?

The main tourist landmark in Ottawa is the Parliament, the center of political power in Canada. It’s a neo-gothic building with a 98-meter tower that lays over a hill facing the Ottawa river.

Another landmark is the Rideau Canal, declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2007. In winter the canal freezes and turns into the largest skating rink in the world.

Rideau Canal

Is Ottawa boring?

It depends on your lifestyle. If you like a wild nightlife and a city that never sleeps, you might find Ottawa boring and lame. If you are active, you love outdoors, and you are keen on sports all year round, Ottawa is going to seem like a paradise to you.

I hope you find this information helpful. If you have a question about Ottawa that is not here, please feel free to ask it in the comments. Take care.

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