I often hear a question from people interested in moving to Ottawa: where are the nicest neighborhoods in Canada’s capital? For people who live in Ottawa it’s kind of difficult to answer that question, not because of a lack of nice neighborhoods, but because practically all neighborhoods in Ottawa are really nice.
So, my reply is: what are you looking for in a neighborhood? Closeness to downtown? Parks and amenities? Access to the waterways? Close to good schools? Good public transport system connections? Predominant English speaking? or a francophone community?
Like I said, Ottawa is full of nice neighborhoods: quiet, clean, with beautiful parks, and access to bike paths. But I noticed one thing that people with families especially look for is access to good schools.
And let me tell you there’s one neighborhood in Ottawa that is very well-known for the reputation of its schools: Beacon Hill, in the east of Ottawa.
Where’s Beacon Hill? Not many people, especially newcomers, have heard about this neighborhood. Well, it belongs to Gloucester, and it’s located between the 174 highway, to the South, Blair Road to the West, the Greenbelt to the East, and the Ottawa river to the north.
It’s a residential neighborhood built in the 60’s and 70’s which consists of two parts: Beacon Hill North and Beacon Hill South separated by Montreal Road. It’s the first one, Beacon Hill North, that is known for its great concentration of well-known schools.
Did you know that the best high school in Ottawa is located in Beacon Hill North?
Let’s check the schools in this neighborhood.
Colonel By Secondary School
This school belongs to the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB, English public) and it’s the best high school in Ottawa and one of the top in the whole province of Ontario. It offers the International Baccalaureate, which is a very demanding pre-university program for grades 11 and 12.
Only two public English secondary schools in Ottawa offer the International Baccalaureate: Colonel By and Merivale High School, in Nepean, which was authorized in 2019 to offer this program.
Le Phare Elementary School
This school belongs to the OCDSB, which is the English public-school board, and it’s well known for having been the first Canadian school to introduce a French immersion program. It serves students from kindergarten to Grade 5.
Robert Hopkins Public School
This is an elementary school which also belongs to the OCDSB. It has more than 250 students from kindergarten to grade 5. It offers an early French immersion program. In 2000, it was awarded with a large Canadian flag from the Peace Tower of the Parliament buildings, which is proudly exhibited in the gym.
Henry Munroe Middle School
This OCDSB school serves students from Grade 6 to 8. It offers early French immersion. It has won the Diamond Award given by the California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance for several consecutive years for its outstanding achievement in physical education and athletics.
Thomas D’Arcy McGee Catholic School
This elementary school belongs to the Ottawa Catholic School Board (English). It serves children from kindergarten to Grade 6. It offers an early French immersion program for junior and senior kindergarten, and French immersion beginning grade 4.
École élémentaire catholique La Vérendrye
This is an elementary school that belongs to the French catholic school board, Conseil des Écoles Catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE).
École élémentaire publique Séraphin-Marion
This one is a French public elementary school which belongs to the Conseil des Ecoles Publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario (CEPEO).
Brother Andre Catholic School
This is an elementary school that belongs to the English Catholic school board. It’s located in Beacon Hill South.
Gloucester High School
This school belongs to the OCDSB and it’s located in Beacon Hill South. It has a population of 1045 students. Many of its former students are well known Rhodes Scholars, Olympians, Journalists, Television Broadcasters, and Professional Athletes.
The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and one of the most prestigious international scholarship programs, which enables outstanding students from around the world to study at the University of Oxford.
Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School
This school belongs to the English catholic school board and it’s located in Beacon Hill South. It serves students from grade 7 to grade 12.
While Beacon Hill is attractive due to the reputation of its schools, it is also close to downtown. It only takes a 15-minute drive to be in the core of downtown.
It is characterized by its beautiful surroundings; its streets have lots of leafy trees and parks. Usually, the houses in this neighborhood have above average backyards with mature trees.
Saint Laurent Shopping Centre, with some 195 stores, is a short distance away, as well as Gloucester Centre featuring Walmart, Loblaws, Chapters, and a Cineplex theatre (Scotiabank theatre). The new Costco is also nearby.
Residents of Beacon Hill have the Trillium Recreation Complex which includes the Wave Pool, and the Earl Armstrong Arena, a seasonal arena used for ice hockey practices.
During the winter the residents enjoy three sledding hills in the area: Green’s Creek, Ski Hill Park and Loyola Park.
Hollywood actor Tom Cruise, and Canadian singer Bryan Adams lived in Beacon Hill in the 70s. Cruise attended Robert Hopkins elementary school and Henry Munroe Middle school, while Adams went to Colonel By.
Have you heard about Beacon Hill before? Do you know the neighborhood? I hope this information is helpful for you. If you want to know more about good schools in Ottawa, check out these posts: