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Ottawa City Guide

Updated: November 23rd, 2023

Nestled along the scenic banks of the Ottawa River, Canada's capital city, Ottawa, is a vibrant blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Home to iconic landmarks like Parliament Hill and the Rideau Canal, it offers a dynamic tapestry of museums, festivals, and outdoor adventures.

About Ottawa

About Ottawa

Interestingly, the city's name, Ottawa, originates from an Algonquin word meaning "to trade," reflecting the indigenous tribe's prominence in the local fur trade. The strategic Ottawa River played a crucial role during the Napoleonic Wars, prompting the diversion of traffic up the river, Chaudière Falls, and back down to Kingston amid the War of 1812. This ingenious transportation route idea significantly influences the city's development today.

Ottawa stands as the dynamic Canadian capital city, boasting a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty. Home to iconic landmarks such as Parliament Hill and the Rideau Canal, the city continues to captivate with its diverse offerings. In 2023, Ottawa's population is estimated at 1,010,391.

Where is Ottawa on the Map?

As the capital city of Canada, Ottawa is located in southeastern Ontario on the south bank of the iconic Ottawa River. The city offers its unique blend of culture and style, which makes it a must-see Canadian tourist destination. As the fourth largest city in Canada, it is also the political and technological hub of the country while boasting a low crime rate and low unemployment rate with rapid technological advancements.

Where is Ottawa on the map?

This spectacular city borders Quebec and Gatineau while forming the country's Capital Region. Ottawa is mainly an urban area with unique villages and countryside, offering an amalgamation of housing, industry and recreation.

Climate and Weather in Ottawa

If you travel in and around Ottawa, you can expect warm and partly cloudy long summer days, and in winter, you will experience extreme cold, snowy and mostly cloudy days. According to Weather Spark, the temperature may range from -14°C to 27°C and is rarely below -13°F (-25°C) or above (31°C).

During the winter, some areas in Ottawa, such as the Rideau Canal, transform into a winter wonderland, becoming the world's largest skating rink. Meanwhile, other areas become snow playgrounds, showcasing sculptures and other winter activities citizens can enjoy.

While Ottawa is fantastic to visit during the winter, the city is equally great to explore when temperatures start to rise between March and May, with special events taking the forefront of the city.

Work and Jobs in Ottawa

It's one thing targeting jobs in Canada that are in demand, but it's a whole new ball game ensuring that you target jobs specific to the city or province you choose to settle in. According to Canada Job Bank, and Indeed, below are the current in-demand jobs in Ottawa:

Job Title Annual Salary Range in CAD
Administrative Assistant 52,380
Tour Operator 38,800 to 58,200
Baker 38,800 to 46,560
Room Attendant 38,800 to 42,680
Community and Social Services Worker 50,000 to 55,000
Land Survey Technician 81,725
Driver (FedEx Express Canada) 40,819
Waste Collection Operator (City of Ottawa) 113,070
Registered Early Childhood Educator (Ottawa-Carleton District School Board) 42,394.80 to 55,505
Stationary Engineer (The Ottawa Hospital) 76,016
Registered Nurse (The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre) 73,789.20 to 105,557

If you would like guidance about how to immigrate after securing your job offer, simply contact our immigration experts to advise you throughout the process. Note that our immigration experts do not assist in finding jobs but can advise you throughout the immigration process.

Cost of Living in Ottawa

Cost of Living Ottawa

If you plan to live in Ottawa, you must plan your budget and get an idea of your expenses. As per the data on Numbeo, we break down the factors that will summarize the cost of living in Ottawa. Below is an overview of the cost of living in Ottawa, Canada. Bear in mind that the values below are subject to change since the economy constantly evolves, influencing living expenses.

Category Average monthly costs
A family of four estimated monthly costs. 4,508.06 excluding rent.
A single person's estimated monthly costs Approximately 1,240.64, excluding rent.
Mortgage Interest Rate Yearly, for 20 years fixed-rate: 4.93%
Apartment (one bedroom) in City Centre 1,700.00 and apartment (one bedroom) outside of Centre: 1,347.06
Childcare - Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, monthly for one child 1,311.11
International Primary School, yearly for one child 19,250.00
Basic utilities (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment 162.68

Neighborhoods in Ottawa

West Carleton-March

This rural area is located in the far western regions of Ottawa and comprises scattered small villages and communities. It is precisely in this region that you can settle into a peaceful life and own a house on a large plot of land far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. With the lowest crime rate in Ottawa, West Carleton March is the ideal place to settle with your family as it also has an exceptional secondary school to enroll your children into.

Little Italy

Situated in Centretown West and the ethnic centre of Ottawa's Italian community, this vibrant neighborhood is rich in culture. Home to a large community of Italians, this neighborhood coined its name due to the large influx of immigrants who settled here following World War II.

This vibrant business and residential area has local dining, shopping and entertainment venues influenced by cultures from all over the world, including Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Philippino, Spanish, Lebanese, French and Middle Eastern.

Kanata North

If the previous neighborhood was rural, this one is the opposite. Kanata is a fast-growing suburban area that houses a few 4 million square feet of commercial space on 556 acres. In Kanata, you'll find many large corporations and a large shopping centre with many other entertainment venues. Though downtown traffic may be a little thick and commuting takes an hour, Kanata is a commercial hub and central to access the CBD.

Byward Market

The Byward Market is the ultimate tourist destination to visit in Ottawa. Found in a district in Lower Town Ottawa, the population in this area was recorded to be 3,063 in the last census. Byward Market is filled with many eclectic shops, restaurants and boutiques to shop for on-trend purchases on your travels. The market also has a fresh goods, flowers, and outdoor artisan section where you can revel in authentic Canadian produce.

Transportation in Ottawa

Whether you're traveling or settling in Ottawa, understanding the city's transportation options is crucial for maximizing your experience. Ottawa boasts a diverse range of transportation methods to facilitate convenient and efficient travel.

O-Train Rail

Ottawa's O-Train rail system comprises two lines:

  • Confederation Line: An electric light rail line providing frequent downtown service, seamlessly connecting to the Trillium Line at Bayview station.
  • Trillium Line: A diesel-run line operating north-south between Greenboro and Bayview, offering less frequent service than the Confederation line.

Complementing the rail service are various types of buses, operating 24/7 throughout the week. These buses, categorized into Rapid Routes, Frequent Routes, Local Routes, and Connexion Routes, ensure extensive coverage and cater to different travel needs.

Para Transpo

For individuals with disabilities, Ottawa provides the Para Transpo service—a shared-ride service that conveniently picks passengers up directly from their homes. Users can utilize their monthly transit pass to pay for this specialized service, ensuring inclusive and accessible transportation options for all.

Things to do in Ottawa

From the largest ice rink in the world, where the Rideau Canal transforms into a winter wonderland, to the Haunted Walk of Ottawa, where spooky thrills await the unwary, Ottawa boasts a wealth of fun things to do. In addition, Ottawa is home to Parliament Hill- the beautiful Gothic-style structures overlook the Ottawa River. So if visiting Canada is on your bucket list, explore the scenic city.

Skate on the Largest Skating Rink

Be immersed in the winter activities and enjoy the Rideau Canal, which transforms into the largest outdoor skating rink during the frosty winter. Skating through the heart of Ottawa is a fun activity enjoyed by families and couples, plus it's a unique way to explore the city. Don't miss out on this seasonal activity that promises loads of fun.

Shop to your Heart's Content

Indulge all your senses at one destination when you visit the ByWard Market. The market is every foodie's dream come true. You can eat at the best restaurants, which offer a variety of cuisines to choose from. You may even be lucky enough to be entertained by an up-and-coming band while you dine. You can also purchase the freshest foods and baked goods Ottawa offers. The market will always be alive with activity whether you go during the day or night.

Get Spooked

The Haunted Walk of Ottawa is not your typical walking tour. Instead, the 90-minute tour of your choice leads you to Ottawa's most haunted buildings, like the old Carleton County Jail or the spooky Bytown Museum.

The tour guide will share some chilling ghost stories with your group, and you will also receive a special limited edition Haunted Walk flashlight for the event.

Explore Canadian Fauna and Flora under one Roof

As the second largest country in the world, Canada doesn't have a shortage of animals and plants. To ensure you don't miss out on the natural world of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Nature houses an expansive nature art collection, zoology collection, fossil collection and a geological collection.

The interactive design of the Museum will make you feel like you've entered the animal kingdom. Walk amongst live butterflies, travel back to the dinosaur age and see a real whale skeleton. Whatever you can imagine, the Canadian Museum of Nature has it!

Celebrate Winter- Canadian Style

The first three weekends of February in Ottawa are marked for winter fun. The Winterlude festival is the biggest winter festival in Ottawa, and people from all walks of life partake in the celebrations each year.

What to expect? Dragon boat races, ice skating on Rideau Canal, winter playground, fantastic ice carvings from artists worldwide, Winterlude mascots and delicious frozen Maple syrup candy, to mention a few.

Education in Ottawa

Education in Ottawa

Elementary education in Ottawa is marked by a diverse range of public and private schools, fostering a nurturing environment for young learners. With a focus on foundational skills and holistic development, elementary schools in the city aim to instill a love for learning and critical thinking.

Transitioning to primary education, Ottawa offers a robust curriculum that balances academics and extracurricular activities. Primary schools emphasize core subjects while encouraging creativity, curiosity, and social skills development, laying the groundwork for future academic success.

High schools in Ottawa provide a comprehensive and varied educational experience, offering a range of courses, extracurricular activities, and support services. Students can choose from specialized programs, preparing them for post-secondary education or entry into the workforce.

University of Ottawa

The University of Ottawa, commonly known as UOttawa, is the world's largest bilingual (English-French) university. With achievements in many faculties, such as social sciences, health, science and the humanities, UOttawa is a dynamic space for you to learn and grow. In addition, this university has the largest Law school in Canada and offers $60 million per year in student scholarships and bursaries.

Unique Immigration Visas to Ottawa

Let's look at the most commonly preferred immigration pathways that aim to accommodate individuals' various needs and circumstances.

Express Entry System

This is a points-driven system designed to manage immigration applications. The system is known for yielding quick immigration results and comprises three versatile immigration programs under the Express Entry umbrella. These are as follows:

  • 1. Canadian Experience Class
  • 2. Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • 3. Federal Skilled Trades Program

For more information on the Express Entry system, find our resource on how you can get the most out of your Express Entry profile.

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

This province-driven program for skilled workers enables you to apply as a skilled worker or international student who wants to live and work in Canada. The province allows you to target a province that falls short of your skills and apply for a job in that province. Skilled workers may have to obtain an LMIA from their Canadian employees.

Feel free to learn more about the Provincial Nominee Program here. Alternatively, see how you can go from temporary resident (TR) to permanent resident (PR).

Move to Ottawa, Canada - The Application Process

All immigration programs will require you to follow these steps if you are applying for permanent residence in Canada:

  • Step 1: Check if you meet the program criteria (and the job requirements) - you can do this with our eligibility assessment.
  • Step 2: Check your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Score - under the Express Entry system or other points-driven programs
  • Step 3: Gather your documents beforehand and have them ready
  • Step 4: Create your online Express Entry profile
  • Step 5: Apply to the most suitable program, pay the application fees and submit your application

Feel free to contact our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) to assist and advise you throughout your immigration applications and journey.

Pros and Cons of Living in Ottawa

Pros Cons
High average salaries Competitive job market
Abundance of job opportunities Weather can be challenging
Plenty of neighborhoods to choose from Some jobs require candidates to be bilingual
Great outdoor activities to enjoy


What is the Easiest Program to Migrate to Canada?

The Express Entry system is well-renowned for yielding quick immigration results. Its three highly versatile immigration programs, Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Program and Federal Skilled Trades Program, accommodate individuals' various needs and circumstances. The Provincial Nomination Program (PNP), however, is ideal for skilled workers looking to immigrate to a Canadian province with a skill shortage. We advise that immigrants conduct the necessary research on a Canadian province before settling.

Is Ottawa good for immigrants?

Different people have different needs, so Ottawa can be the ideal place depending on what you're looking for in a province or city. With a strong economy and decent salary income, you can set yourself up for a long-term sustainable lifestyle in Ottawa.

Do I need to speak French to live in Ottawa?

Speaking French is not a requirement. However, you must take the International English Language Training System (IELTS) in either English or French and ensure you meet the necessary language requirements. Find out more here.

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