My love for Ottawa runs pretty deep. I consider myself pretty damn fortunate to live here, and I chalk that up to the decisions my parents’ made when they were starting out.
My parents immigrated to Canada in the late 70s in search of a better life. They lived in London, England for years and loved it, but there wasn’t much in the way of great jobs and life opportunities. When my Dad was offered a job by Atomic Energy of Canada in Kanata, ON, he packed up everything (including my Mom) and made the big move.
It was a huge shock for them. They arrived in Ottawa in the winter and they were SHOCKED. It was freezing and snow was knee-deep. They simultaneously marveled at the Canadian winter wonderland and mused if they would be able to survive the cold. Funnily enough, they have been living in Canada for over 30 years, and still haven’t gotten used to the winter. That’s understandable though, as Ottawa is one of the coldest cities in the world. SIGH.
I was talking to my Dad recently and he doesn’t regret moving to Ottawa one bit. I always wondered why they didn’t consider super cool Toronto or chilled-out Vancouver, but now I see why…
Ottawa is a government town with lots of opportunity. There is a wealth of high-paying jobs and housing is still affordable. It also has one of the highest percentages of Canadians with a Bachelor’s degree or above. I see this everywhere as I’m surrounded by impressive professionals. In addition, Ottawa is young! Most of its population is under 35.
Ottawa has a reputation for being uptight and stuffy thanks to it being the home of Parliament and most of its residents being federal government workers. That is so not the case though! Ottawa is vibrant and beautiful, with a ton of culture!! Ottawa is known as “Festival City” with well-loved events like the Tulip Festival, Ribfest, The Ottawa Jazz Festival and Bluesfest. Then there are amazing restaurants (The Pomeroy House and Riviera being favourites), stellar museums and galleries, and a growing fashion scene. Ottawa real estate has quite a variety of properties on offer too.
My two sisters are millennials and we speak often about where they would like to settle down. Erika moved to Toronto as she wanted to go into acting. I did a little research into Toronto to see what millennials thought of “Little New York”. I found a great site which ranked the Top Millenial Hotspots in Canada in 2018 and was surprised to find that Toronto ranked #24 out of a list of 85 cities! I guess this makes sense as Toronto real estate is one of the most expensive in North America. It sure is cool though.
The top cities that millennials gravitated towards are Quebec City (the culture! the food!), Victoria, BC (gorgeous and warm), Guelph, ON (I’m personally surprised!), Halifax, NS (salt of the earth people) and Ottawa (YAY!).
Funnily enough, none of Canada’s biggest cities (Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, Calgary) made the top three. I’m floored by this, especially by Montréal which is one of my favourite cities on Earth.
My two sisters really want to settle down in a place that offers great jobs, nice people, beautiful locales and most importantly, low crime rates and an affordable housing market. Things are so different from when my parents moved to Canada and bought their first home for under $35,000. That most certainly is no longer the case. I now see why young people are gravitating towards cities like Halifax and Guelph which are more manageable financially while still being fun and cultured.
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