BEST OF OTTAWA: Neighbourhoods
With 20-years writing about Ottawa life we think we have
a pretty good idea of the best of what this city has to offer.
In this new weekly summer series we’ll share it with you.
From our top picks of hotels, live music venues, local brews,
bands and more, check, share and discuss
#OLMBest every Monday!
Calm, cool and collected may be the very definition of the Glebe. Close to the downtown area and university campuses while still maintaining some distance, it strikes a rare balance between creating a relaxed vibe and still featuring a bustling main strip of Bank Street running right down the middle. The lucrative combination of urban and residential makes it a great fit for just about everyone. The area’s highlight event of the year comes in the form of the famous Great Glebe Garage Sale, a mecca for antiques collectors and kids looking to spend their allowances alike.
Bordered by Fisher Avenue and Meadowlands Drive, this small but tight-knit section of Carleton Heights can stand all on its own. According to a recent survey, the neighborhood is currently one of the top real estate markets in the city. The recent increase in interest may have been peaked by its close distance to Carleton University, creating a high number of student rental homes in the area. It’s young and trendy and maintains easy access to the downtown area, Mooney’s Bay and Dynes Park.
Centretown / Golden Triangle
Literally the center of everything, Centretown is a prime location for those looking to be in the middle of the action with the downtown core, the Rideau centre, the NAC and Parliament all within reasonable walking distance. An even split of residential and commercial, it’s comprised a mix of houses, condos and apartments among the office buildings, restaurants, shops, cafes and bars. On its edge is the Golden Triangle, so named due to the shape created by its borders – Elgin Street and the Rideau Canal. This spot is also ideal in that it’s close to both the numerous festivals on Sparks Street as well as the year-round recreation mecca of the Canal.
Kanata Lakes / Marchwood-Lakeside
Kanata Lakes is another suburb in the west end of Ottawa, close to the Queensway and Terry Fox Drive. The Kanata of today was originally developed as a model garden-style community, but has since expanded even further. The area is well-known for the plethora of sports associations and athletic/leisure activities available, including multiple large golf clubs, a sailing club and a biking club. There also are plenty of nearby options for entertainment, including the biggest movie theatre in the city, Landmark Kanata Theatres.
The ByWard Market is where everything is happening in Ottawa. By day, the area features a farmer’s market, buskers and various craft stalls selling everything from hand-knitted mittens to crispy fall apples to hanging baskets of flora and fauna, all surrounded by local shops and cafes. By dark, the cultural centre of the city has the best night life around. The smorgasbord of clubs, bars and restaurants provide for endless options for an entertaining night on the town. It’s mostly urban and the vibe is young and trendy, making it a great fit for students and young professionals.
The name of Orléans can be attributed to the historical French ties of its founder, Théodore Besserer, and substantial francophone population. Once mainly rural, the eastern suburb started to be developed in the 60s and has maintained constant growth ever since. The expansion of many local commercial areas and the Place d’Orléans shopping mall has led to a boost in the construction of new condos and homes. Orléans is also the location of many recreational facilities, including multiple skating rinks and community centres, nature trails and Petrie Island.
Sandy Hill is considered by many to be a student neighborhood, given its proximity to Ottawa U, mixed with a spattering of families and seniors. There is also a large francophone population. It’s mostly residential, but is also home to many of the city’s embassies, as well as Laurier House, the Ottawa outpost of Cordon Bleu and the beautiful Strathcona Park. The disproportionate number of hills and the sandy soil gave the area its name, but are also the reason that the neighborhood lacks many tall office buildings or condos, giving it a cozier feel.
Centretown West / Little Italy / China Town
Strong neighborly comradery and cultural respect are staple features of Centretown West, Little Italy and Chinatown. These traits are evident in everything from the way people great each other on the street to the different languages being spoken between friends to the presence of some of the city’s best restaurants. But hometown pride is taken to a whole new level when this diversity is celebrated through the large number of festivals in the area throughout the year. From Italian Week to the Asian Night Markets, they offer you a taste of Ottawa’s multicultural community.
Located in the west end of the city between Island Park and the Ottawa River, Westboro is chic and upscale. The expansive selection of boutiques, coffee shops and funky restaurants off Richmond Road have everything you could ever need, from activewear to home goods. Many commercial buildings are decorated with murals. Mostly made up of individual homes, it’s a great choice for families. The neighborhood is clean and well-kept, close to several schools and a stone’s throw away from McKellar park. You can even see the Gatineau Hills in the distance.
New Edinburgh is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone and people are actually close with their neighbors. This up and coming neighborhood was once mainly residential, but the recent addition of a fair share of newly built condos has drawn more businesses (both local and larger) to the main drag of Beechwood. Located in the far east of the city, it is mostly composed of single family homes and quaint streets, and offers plenty of neighborhood wide events. It also includes the residences of the Governor General and the Prime Minister. Plus, its proximity to the river makes for lots of green space.