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Living in Ottawa?

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Alberto Mendez

Living in Canada, from Spain

"When I started my new business in Ottawa, I found several contacts in expat circles due to the InterNations Ottawa community."

Mireille Auffret

Living in Canada, from Cameroon

"In a big city like Ottawa, it was great to get some tips from fellow expats on how to find a good real-estate agant and a new appartment."

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Ottawa at a Glance

Living in Ottawa

Famed for Jazz festivals, ice skating, and majestic views shooting out towards nearby Quebec, the Canadian city Ottawa is one of the world's most enthralling destinations. When it comes to having a day out in Ottawa, there is no end to the number of activities at your disposal. Check them out in this guide!

Not only Ottawa is this capital city laced with culture and tradition stretching back hundreds of years, but recent times have also borne witness to large-scale regeneration, meaning that not just expats are deciding to pick up sticks and relocate, joining Ottawa's existing population of almost a million.

Culture and Leisure in Ottawa

When it comes to having a day out in Ottawa, there is no end to the number of activities at your disposal. Those attuned to the arts can spend their first few days in the city wandering around the National Gallery of Canada for a mix of Middle Age and contemporary art, before carrying on to the National Arts Centre and taking in a play or delighting at the harmonious sounds of a world-renowned orchestra. Added to this, Ottawa's cultural bow is also blessed with the Canadian War Museum, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, and the Canadian Museum of Nature, giving citizens, both old and new, a reminder of what makes Canada the great country it is today.

Ottawa is a sporting city, from soccer and football to, of course, hockey. The city's treasured hockey team, the Ottawa Senators, play their games at the famous Canadian Tire Centre. This venue represents Ottawa's entertainment hub, and although it is mainly synonymous with the country's beloved hockey, many NFL games also grace the center's field. Adding to the sporting spectacles are the many concerts that come to the venue, meaning that if something of musical or sporting significance is happening, it is likely to be happening at the Tire Centre. This 19,153 capacity venue has seen a host of world famous acts showcase their talents, including Elton John, Lady Gaga and Bon Jovi, to name but a few.

No city would be complete without a bustling nightlife, and fortunately for Ottawans, their city is very much complete. For those expatriates in search of a weekend blowout, the place to be is the ByWard Market district - Ottawa's renowned fresh produce market by day, and nightlife hub by night. In keeping with the city's diverse and fresh approach to, well, everything, 'the Market' puts beer thirsty Ottawans in amongst farmers, bakers and shop owners, making for a very unique atmosphere as the sun sets at the end of the day. If you can't find a bar, entertainment venue, or refined restaurant to suit your needs here, then bars, entertainment venues and restaurants simply aren't your thing.

Fashion lovers living in Ottawa can head to the Rideau Centre, with hundreds of shops offering everything from household appliances to designer high-end fashion, while the Casino du Lac-Leamy is conveniently, or not so conveniently, located around 10 minutes from the heart of Ottawa. This is where to come if you have had a very bad week, with its Vegas-like atmosphere luring residents dangerously close to the tables.

Ottawa's province of Ontario is famous for wide open spaces and parks, as well as mountains of perfect white snow falling in the winter. White water rafting, whale watching, skiing, mountain biking, and many more sports are at the fingertips of expats living Ottawa, while stunning beaches are also just a stone's throw from the city. 

Transportation in Ottawa

Getting around the city of Ottawa is far from a daunting task. A comprehensive bus service can be found running through the city, while for those wishing to speed things up, in no city is it easier, or faster, to find a taxi. If water transport is more your thing, an environmentally friendly water taxi service also runs 7 days a week from May to October and can be boarded at the Casino du Lac Leamy, the Canadian Museum of History and the Ottawa locks. 

Education in Ottawa

For many expatriates, relocating also includes bringing their children, and so the education aspect is always one worth examining. Unlike many cities, Ottawa has an enriching blend of French and English, with educational institutes including Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, Algonquin College, and La Cité collégiale. Both French and English school systems coexist, and while French schools are much scarcer than English schools, they nevertheless offer students an incredibly high educative experience. Another tip is to take a look at Catholic schools, which children can attend even if they themselves are not Catholic. 

InterNations Expat Magazine