Cost of living - Ottawa

Moving to Ottawa from the US: Is it right for you?

Moving to Ottawa offers year-round outdoor activities and vibrant neighborhoods. Located in the southern portion of Ontario, it boasts a population of 1,017,449. It serves as a hub for government and politics. However, its climate is characterized by cold winters and warm summers with regular snowfall. 

Whether Ottawa is the right fit for you still depends on your preferences, career aspirations, and lifestyle priorities. Read this article to find out some interesting facts about Ottawa and to know if it’s right for you to move there from the US.

Statistics Canada (2021)

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Ottawa is the capital of Canada

Ottawa, the capital of Canada, presents unique opportunities in politics, public service, and government-related careers. With its status as the political center, Ottawa offers stable job prospects and economic growth through government institutions and related industries. This attracts individuals from diverse backgrounds, enriching the city’s cultural fabric and fostering opportunities for cultural exchange. 

Ottawa’s attractions, including Parliament Hill and national museums like the Canadian Museum of History, offer educational experiences and showcase the nation’s heritage. The UNESCO-designated Rideau Canal provides recreational activities amidst scenic views, while abundant green spaces offer opportunities for outdoor relaxation.

The city’s vibrant culinary scene features global cuisines and local specialties. Despite its subdued nightlife, Ottawa’s vibrant culture and status as Canada’s capital offer numerous advantages for those considering a move from the USA.


Ottawa has a various job opportunities with the federal government

Ottawa has various job opportunities with the government because it serves as the epicenter of the federal government. The city hosts numerous institutions, departments, and agencies responsible for policy making, regulation, and administration at the national level.

This concentration of government entities generates a significant demand for skilled professionals across various fields, including public administration, policy analysis, law, economics, finance, information technology, and communications.

Additionally, Ottawa is home to headquarters of several organizations like the Government of Canada and Statistics Canada. The city’s robust economy and stable political environment make it an attractive destination for individuals seeking careers in public service, government affairs and those who want to make an impact in public administration and policy making.


Ottawa is quite a bilingual city 

Ottawa’s bilingualism originates from its status as Canada’s capital, with English and French as official languages. This linguistic diversity, entrenched in Canada’s constitution, underscores the nation’s dedication to inclusivity and linguistic pluralism. As the seat of the federal government, Ottawa accommodates bilingualism in institutions like the Parliament of Canada, where legislative affairs unfold in both languages.

The city’s bilingualism permeates daily life, evident in government services, education, and cultural events. Overall, Ottawa’s bilingual character symbolizes Canada’s commitment to linguistic diversity, fostering unity between English and French-speaking communities. This reflects national values but also enhances Ottawa’s inclusiveness.


Ottawa has access to quality education

Ottawa is known for its exceptional education offerings, making it an ideal destination for students seeking top-notch programs, internship opportunities, and an excellent quality of life. With top-ranking institutions like the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Algonquin College, Saint Paul University, and Dominican University College, Ottawa stands as a hub for quality education in Canada, competing globally with other universities.

Ottawa’s bilingual status offers students the chance to improve their proficiency in both English and French, enhancing their job prospects. For those studying political science, Ottawa’s status as Canada’s capital provides access to government institutions. Moreover, the city’s universities offer international exchange programs, study abroad opportunities, and global partnerships, enriching the educational experience.


Temperatures often drop below freezing, and snow accumulation is common from December to March

Ottawa’s location in a continental climate zone leads to frequent drops below freezing and typical snow accumulation from December to March. The city experiences cold winters marked by sub-zero temperatures and regular snowfall. Influenced by proximity to the Great Lakes and its inland position, Ottawa receives cold air masses from the Arctic during winter, with additional cold air funneled down from the north along the Ottawa River. 

The city usually receives a significant amount of snow during this period, accompanied by cold temperatures, creating an ideal winter wonderland atmosphere. With the cold season lasting approximately 3.3 months, from December 2 to March 10, and average daily high temperatures below 33°F, Ottawa’s winters provide ample opportunities for enjoying traditional winter activities amidst the snowy landscape.

Weather Spark (Apr 2024)


Homes in Ottawa have stunning architecture, but tend to come with a higher price tag

Homes in Ottawa boast stunning architecture and convenient locations, but come with a higher price tag due to factors like desirable neighborhoods, proximity to amenities, and limited availability in prime areas. Furthermore, Ottawa’s reputation as the capital increases demand for prominent houses, driving up costs. 

The city offers a wide range of housing options, including traditional single-family dwellings, condos, semi-detached homes, townhouses, and more unique solutions. Ottawa’s diverse architectural styles reflect its history, with beautiful houses from every era. Despite a 17% increase in the cost of living and a 53% rise in home prices as of March 2024, the average property price for residential houses in Ottawa sits at $682,078, marking a 5.1% increase from the previous year.

CREA (March 2024) & CTV News (Feb 2024)


Car break ins are frequent in Ottawa

Despite efforts by the Ottawa police, car thefts remain rampant in the city, with an alarming rate of five vehicles disappearing daily in 2023. As of November 2023, there were incidents of organized vehicle thefts year to date, totaling 1,239

While around half of the stolen vehicles were recovered, authorities acknowledge that proactive measures like patrols and arrests have not curbed the surge. Particularly, Barrhaven stands out as a hot spot for auto theft, attributed partly to its location near highways and its appeal as a “target-rich environment” for thieves.

The prevalence of car break-ins among the unhoused population in Ottawa is concerning and stems from various factors. Desperation for essentials like money and food drives some to resort to theft, while others seek shelter in parked cars during inclement weather. 

Ottawa Police Service (Nov 2023)CBC News (Jan 2024) & CBC News (Mar 2024)



Moving to Ottawa from the USA presents both pros and cons, along with numerous advantages. As Canada’s capital, Ottawa’s number one advantage is the access to government institutions and agencies. Overall, relocating to Ottawa offers the opportunity to experience a dynamic and culturally rich city with plenty of chances for personal and professional growth. Whether skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway in winter or enjoying festivals and events year-round, Ottawa provides a vibrant and welcoming environment for residents.

To learn more about the best neighborhoods to live in Ottawa, check out this article: Moving To Ottawa – Where Should I Live? – 2024

Are you planning to move, soon? Check the best long-distance movers in Ottawa.


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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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