Watch my life unravel...



Top Canadian Blogs - Top Blogs

Local Directory for Ottawa, ON


Ask Me Anything #9: What do you like about Ottawa?

Cara asks “What do you like most about Ottawa?”

I’ve lived my whole adult life, as well as portions of my childhood, in Ottawa. The resulting sense of familiarity is intimately tied into everything I like about Ottawa, as well as everything I don’t like.

I like that whenever I walk around Centretown, I am entertained by a lifetime of memories. I spent a lot of time on McLeod Street, Lisgar Street, and Bank Street. I stayed up all night playing board games in a little apartment on Bronson, I partied in Dundonald Park, I met my son’s father in the alley behind Hartman’s, I lost my virginity on Park Avenue.  I remember when Irene’s Pub was Cap’n Pinky’s, CCOC was the Alex Hotel, Roger’s was The Gilmour, Bridgehead was the Voyageur Restaurant and Venus Envy was my laundromat. There’s not a street in Centretown that doesn’t stir up memories.

But apart from Ottawa being home to my own personal history, here are some of the other things I like about it.

One of the things I’ve always liked is that it’s easy to get out of Ottawa. It doesn’t go on and on forever like Toronto does. In half an hour you can be up in the Gatineau Hills, hiking a trail, or in a little village in the Ottawa Valley, eating ice cream. Even if you can’t get out of the city, there are plenty of places you can pretend you’re not in the city: the Experimental Farm, the Arboretum, Mud Lake, Mer Bleue, the Rideau River, the Ottawa River, Shirleys Bay, Stony Swamp, etc.

What else? I love the cat sanctuary on Parliament Hill, the National Art Gallery, all the little galleries, the Great Glebe Garage Sale, Art in the Park, and Canada Geese. I’m not crazy about the weather, but I love the way our seasons change so dramatically. I like that we all kind of hibernate in the winter and emerge in the spring. I love all the music, art, culture and festivals that we cram into every summer. I like that you can get by in this city without a car. I like that the crime rate is low and I feel pretty safe.

Thank you for your question, Cara. I’m probably going to keep remembering things I love about Ottawa, which should make for a pretty happy day.

Let’s fill up the comments with things we love about Ottawa. Then we can meet back here in February, when Ottawa sucks, and cheer ourselves up.

6 comments to Ask Me Anything #9: What do you like about Ottawa?

  • Beverley

    I love this topic! I was born in Ottawa (and moved away), lived in Ottawa as a teenager (and moved away), and now I’m back with my spousal unit. We love almost everything about Ottawa. We moved here from Vancouver (5 years ago) and find it eminently liveable. We still marvel about driving to a restaurant and having parking karma right in front of the restaurant. And as you mentioned first, we can drive 15 minutes and be in the countryside. There’s so much to do here and Ottawans are so active!

    For a start: I love the bike paths, boat tours on the Rideau Canal system, paddle boating on Dow’s Lake, the understated food culture, the myriad of farmers markets, the food tours of Byward Market, Hull, and Wellington St/Hintonburg, Doors Open and Jane Jacobs walks, how approachable local mystery authors are (Peggy Blair, CB Forrest, Mary Jane Maffini), and the many many spring used book sales.

  • I’m originally from Toronto but have spent the last 25 years in Vancouver but like Beverly, am moving to Ottawa in the spring of 2013(well, Hull, as that’s where we bought a duplex, but I hope to work in Ottawa and spend most of my time there). My partner’s family lives in Gatineau (mine in Guelph) and he grew up there so he has built in friends. I’ve always loved visiting Ottawa but am a bit apprehensive about finding work without speaking French, and also making new friends. I’m pretty outgoing but as we get older we tend to stick with our comfortable peeps. I will take comfort in your post about all the great things I’ll find (I do miss the fall) and be open to everything. Thanks for the glimpse into my future.

  • Leanne

    I love that there’s nature right in the city. I used to live near the Arboretum, and regularly saw turtles, racoons, porcupines, groundhogs and other assorted beasties. I now live near the Rideau River, and see a wide variety of water birds, turtles, and occasionally a beaver. I once saw a deer on the side of the road on the way to the airport.

  • I love how liveable Ottawa is and I think it’s the perfect city to raise a family. It’s big enough to have everything, but small enough that you can get anywhere in 20 minutes. And since it’s the capital, we have the extra bonus of the national museums and festivals. Love it here.

  • lucy

    I like Dow’s Lake, Commissioner’s Park (not just the tulips; I actually prefer the later part of the spring and summer and the variety of other flowers that they plant there), the Man with Two Hats, and the Arboretum.

  • Chris

    To the casual visitor, Toronto can seem to go on forever, but from downtown you’re just minutes away from the Beaches, a cottage-like village; minutes away from the Islands which range from the almost Caribbean communities on Wards to the family park at Centre Island, to the big green space and nude beach of Hanlon’s. Then there’s High Park just a tad west of downtown — acres of trails and forest, a zoo, rolling hills, etc. The Ashburyish Trinity Bellwoods park right smack in the city. And then there are the dozens of little ethnic villages within the city and the dozens of quirky, vibrant neighbourhoods. And the food!! But ya, you pretty much have to live here for a while to get to know and appreciate everything the city has to offer — just like how you’ve come to intimately know and love Ottawa. Just thought I’d put that out there because poor old Toronto always gets a bad rap.