Thursday, February 13, 2014
Advice for Living in Ottawa
Start searching for a rental in Ottawa as soon as possible. It isn't overly difficult to find a place in Ottawa, but there is competition and you will have to put in some work going over ads on the MLIS forum, looking over ads in Kijiji and Craigslist, etc. Because Ottawa is a university town and landlords are accustomed to interns, 4 to 8 month sublets are common. Summer rentals will be the easiest to locate, as is January – April. For September – December rentals, you will be competing with students from U of O and Carleton, so it's best to start your housing hunt as soon as possible.
The central Byward Market area is generally the most expensive, but the Bank Street and Hintonburg areas can be much cheaper and offer neighbourhoods full of cafes, galleries and things to do. If the suburbs are your thing, there are a few Ottawa Transit options outside of the main hub if you don't have a vehicle, but not very many options.
Ottawa is a very pedestrian-friendly city, and you can save a lot of money on transportation if you can manage on foot or bike. A cross-town walk from Hintonburg (West End) across Parliament to Byward takes as little as 20 minutes. Ottawa transit is good for a city this size, but it's not great and the routes are often inflexible (as in it's sometimes quicker to walk a few kilometers in Ottawa than take a bus). Rentals in Gatineau are even cheaper, although it would be advisable to know French as many landlords deal in French and prefer French tenants.
Ottawa has several good thrift stores to find household items for cheap. Giant Tigers in Ottawa are outstanding compared to most cities, and often have a decent selection of grocery and produce. There are several library tours offered through CLA and other student groups. Ask around at your co-op for any pointers. Remember to bring your skates if you're in Ottawa during the winter months.
~Matthew, Winter Co-op