The runner up – Ottawa (Part 2 of 3)

Hi guys! Last week I shared with you that we were moving to Calgary. This week my post will be about Ottawa, our second choice.  For whatever reason Ottawa is not considered a sexy city. In fact, some people go as far as to call it “dull”; however, I think if you look a bit closer you will come to realize Ottawa is awesome and should be on your list!

So how did Ottawa come into our radar? Well,  we have had a bit of an obsession with Montreal for the past few months. The food; the culture; the language — it was all very alluring to us, and if we could, we would move there in a heartbeat. However, Montreal is in the province of Quebec, and Quebec’s immigration system is separate from the rest of Canada’s. This means that if you want to immigrate directly to Quebec you must apply directly through the province.  Since we did not apply to Quebec we would not be allowed to “land” in Montreal, and this is were Ottawa comes in. Ottawa is located in the province of Ontario, but it runs right up against the city of Gatineau, in the Quebec side, and for all practical purposes Ottawa and Gatineau are considered one big metropolitan area. This makes Ottawa a gateway to the Francophone world, where about half of the population speaks French and 37% consider themselves bilingual.

So, if exploring a different culture and learning a new language is top on your list, Ottawa might be the place for you. With that in mind, below are my rankings for this unique city.

Ottawa, Ontario

  • Urban Location: 4 out of 5
    This is the smallest city of the list with a population of just under 1 million, but it gets extra points for being the capital. Also, it is within driving distance to other major cities like Toronto and Montreal!
  • Jobs & Economy: 4 out of 5
    Ottawa has a growing economy with government and tech firms being the largest employers.  Ottawa has one of the highest standards of living in Canada and has the 3rd largest gross income of all major Canadian cities. Unfortunately for us, however, we are neither techies nor qualified to work in government, since many government jobs require you to speak both English and French. However, if you have experience in the Tech industry this should be a 5 out of 5 for you.
  • Affordability: 5 out of 5 
    There are plenty of apartments downtown listed on Craigslist for under $1,000 CAD a month.
  • Beauty: 3 out of 5 
    As the capital of Canada, Ottawa has many beautiful buildings, parks and museums. It is clean and perfectly lovely. However, it just doesn’t have the same appeal as Vancouver or Montreal.
  • Je ne sais quoi : 3 out of 5
    As I have already mentioned, one of the biggest draws for us is how bilingual it is. We are both very eager to learn French and we think Ottawa could be a great way to ease ourselves into the francophone world. We also really like its central location!
  • Weather: 3 out of 5 
    Hot and humid summers, severe and snowy winters.

Fun Fact: Ottawa is the most educated city in Canada. Check this out:

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