Mistakes to avoid when moving to Ottawa
There’s a lot to consider when moving to a new city. Below are just a few mistakes to avoid if you’re thinking of relocating to Ottawa.
Overspending on accommodation
The average rent for a one bedroom apartment in Ottawa is roughly $1450. This is cheaper than Toronto (the average of which is currently $1800) or Vancouver (the average of which is $1950).
Looking to buy property? The average home sells for about $717k. While this might sound like a lot (it’s a whopping 27% increase from last year!) property prices in the Canadian capital are still relatively cheaper than many other cities across the country. As this infographic from 2018 shows, you can get a 4 bedroom property in Ottawa for the same amount as a 2 bedroom property in Richmond Hill or Vancouver.
With this in mind, don’t let yourself get ripped off when moving to Ottawa – while you can expect to pay more in this city for accommodation than you would in a small rural town, there are still many bargains to be had compared to other cities. Avoid areas like Ottawa Central, Ottawa West and Ottawa West Centretown if you’re not looking to spend huge amounts. Orleans, Barrhaven and Nepean are the neighborhoods with some of the cheapest property prices.
Not organizing all the necessary documentation when travelling from abroad
In recent years, Ottawa has become a more popular destination for expats wanting to move to Canada. It has cheaper prices than many larger cities in Canada while also sporting more opportunities than many other cities of its size.
While Canada is known for having a more relaxed immigration policy compared to some countries, many migrants can still underestimate what is required to move to Canada. You’ll firstly need a passport and you’ll need the right visa.
A Canada eTA is all that is needed if you’re planning on staying for less than six months. A business eTA or working visa is necessary if you plan to work. For those wanting to stay more than six months or take up permanent residence, you should expect a more rigorous application process. Skilled workers can usually apply faster and more easily via a system called Express Entry. You’re more likely to gain residence if you speak English or French and don’t have a criminal record.
Underestimating how cold Ottawa gets in the winter
Ottawa has some pretty cold winters. In fact, it can regularly reach temperatures as low as -14° in January/February time. This could be a shock for people moving from Victoria or Halifax (or another country).
On top of investing in some warm clothing, it’s worth choosing a property that’s going to keep you warm without costing you huge amounts. Look into things like insulation and heating efficiency – it could make a big impact on your heating bills.
Underestimating how warm Ottawa gets in the summer
Ottawa temperatures can still get as high as 27° in the summer. With this in mind, it’s worth also preparing for the heat.
A lot of properties in Ottawa have air conditioning – but not all of them. Consider whether this could be a need for the warmer months. Having a decent yard or a balcony could also be nice for the summer.
Moving on the wrong date
When planning your moving date to Ottawa, consider what might be going on in the city during that day. A common mistake people make when moving to a city is not considering what events may be going on. This could affect traffic and ultimately make your move a lot slower and more challenging.
There are a lot of festivals held each year in Ottawa. Make sure that you haven’t planned your moving date on one of these days – especially if your property is located near to one of the festivals. Public holidays could also be busy and so you may want to avoid moving on one of these dates too.
Not getting a Presto card
Like any city, traffic can get a bit wild during rush hour. Using public transport tends to be more efficient for people than driving a car during these hours. Public transport can also be useful if you’re going somewhere and drinking.
Ottawa has decent public transport links. You can buy daily tickets, however if you’re going to be using public transport regularly, it may make more sense to buy a Presto card. These can be preloaded with money, which can save you having to buy tickets all the time. You can also pay for a monthly pass, which allows you to travel as much as you like per month without having to buy tickets (useful if you’re commuting).
Overlooking the range of attractions Ottawa has to offer
To residents of other Canadian cities, Ottawa can sometimes get a reputation as being slightly boring. It may not have the sightseeing opportunities and wild nightlife of Toronto or the hip trendy restaurants and shopping experiences of Montreal, however there’s still a lot going for Ottawa.
The city has a lot of history – you can take tours down the Rideau canal and go for ghost walks to learn about this. It has a diverse range of galleries and museums from the Canada Aviation and Space Museum to the National Gallery of Canada. It’s also got a lot of opportunities for foodies and it is a growing beer capital. On top of this, there are many festivals throughout the year that attract people from all around.
It’s a great city for families looking to settle down – there are many attractions targeted towards families. That said, there are still opportunities for young people including a good range of bars and a lot of social clubs. It’s location between Toronto and Montreal also makes it possible to enjoy weekends away in either city.
Photo: OLM Staff