A New Life in Ottawa

A New Life in Ottawa

Have you been thinking about relocating? Maybe you are from a small town and want a thriving urban metropolis, but something unique and a bit exotic in cultural terms. Perhaps you are a city person through and through and want to stay that way. You are in a technological field and need a less competitive environment than Northern California. Finally, you may be tired of bland new-construction suburbia where no one has roots.

If any of these scenarios describes you, Ottawa could be your ideal choice for a major move. Why Canada? First of all, most people speak English, certainly in Ontario. Over 80% of the population in the entire country is conversant in the language. Next comes climate. While you might be imagining frigid temps and your kids skiing to school, the warm summers and cold winters are a nice contrast for those who enjoy real seasons of the year. (Californians and Floridians may want to undertake a reverse migration from hot to cold.) Given the many business and recreational opportunities, and the rich cultural heritage, air temperature should not be much of a factor. The city gears up well for the semi-continental climate; and if you love snow, you will be in heaven.

Next consider lifestyle. As the city offers great employment options with the Canadian and municipal governments, unemployment is less threatening than in certain areas of the US. Furthermore, there is a multi-cultural vibe to the area that attracts and welcomes ethic groups. The technological realm competes favorably with Silicon Valley in California with growth companies alongside blue chips like Hewlett Packard, 3M, Adobe Systems, and Bell Canada. You can live urban or rural and get the most for you money in upcoming neighborhoods. All the amenities are there for anything from a quaint, turn-of-the-century stone house to modern high-rise condos. You can even opt for a cozy apartment to a sprawling country estate.

Public transportation is great in Ottawa and can take you around to colorful neighborhoods like Spark Street Village, Beechwood Village, Glebe, Preston Street/Little Italy, Quartier Vanier (for Francophiles), Wellington Village, and Somerset Village, among others. Select a residential area that feels right. Businesses, shops, and services abound. Stroll or bike through the streets among landmark heritage buildings, pubs, and restaurants. The magic of Ottawa can be yours.

Beyond the job and home of your dreams, Canada offers political diversity: voting patterns in the city reflect liberal and conservative bents. It is first a foremost a democratic society with a parliamentary style of government. Entertainment and nightlife abound as well as family adventures and wholesome outdoor fun. For those who relish variety, sophistication yet earthiness, historical roots, and an open-minded warmth, Ottawa is a destination of choice for relocation.

Surprise Destination: Ottawa

Rideau Canal in Ottawa

If you tell people your next vacation stop is Ottawa, they make look at you with some surprise. It is only because they don’t know what is there. The city is actually a big draw for tourists. Whether you enjoy outdoor activities, scenic vistas, walks on the beach, historical tours, or Indian culture, it is all there in one place. There is more than meets the eye to this capital city of Canada, and the third largest in the country. It offers everything from the regional and the quaint to the sophistication of an urban environment. There may be some aspects of the city you don’t know.

Mixed Culture

Some of the less well-known aspects of Ottawa include its unique history starting with the tribe that arrived on the shores of Lake Huron as far back as 1400 after which the city is named (originally called Bytown). Other tribes like the Iroquois causes relocation of some members (some of whom returned) and an infusion of a different culture into the region—the Europeans of the fur trade. The French heritage enriched the native origins. Now it is a multi-cultural city with a diverse population. At a point midway between Toronto and Quebec City, it is the ideal location for the country’s capital.

Political and Technological Center of Canada

Once a town of sawmills and a thriving lumber industry, Ottawa is now the political and technological center of Canada. The downtown area houses the Parliament and the Supreme Court of Canada. Many buildings are done in the Gothic revival style such as the noted Peace Tower. It is a metropolitan area that incorporates Gatineau, home to national and international business. While politically diverse, the city has been known to favor the Liberal Party while certain regions generally vote Conservative or New Democratic.

Boasting the third highest income of Canadian cities, Ottawa attracts entrepreneurs to what is called “the Silicon Valley of the north.” Telecommunications, software development, and environmental technology dominate with companies like Hewlett Packard, Bell Canada, 3M, and Adobe Systems. Furthermore, the government is a major employer of the citizenry. All in all, it makes for great opportunities and an appealing and affluent life style.

Tourist Mecca

Tourism is big business in Ottawa. It is no surprise considering the wealth of attractions and historic sites such as Parliament Hills, Victoria Island, and Rideau Canal, the oldest continuously operating canal in North America. There is a wealth of festivals such as Winterlude and Canada Day held on Parliament Hill in addition to sites such as Confederation Square, the Château Laurier, and the Central Experimental Farm.

Sports lovers have plenty to do what with all the parks, beaches, hiking and cycling trails. Art lovers can gravitate indoors to the art galleries and museums such as the superb National Gallery of Canada. Foodies have more than they can digest with anything from world-class restaurants to local ethnic eateries.

In sum, Ottawa is a great destination for families, business people, and world travelers. Children love Calypso Waterpark loaded with slides and pools, while adults flock to the Casino du Lac-Leamy and its fine dining venue Le Baccara. Once visited, it will surprise no more and became a staple on your list of to which places to return.

Outstanding Eating in Ottawa

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As a major city in Canada (the sixth largest), Ottawa–the capital of the country–attracts visitors year-round. They are always on the hunt for great eateries after a day touring landmark buildings, the beauty of the river and parks, and the rich culture presented in museums and exhibitions. Ontario residents alike are eager to find great places to relax and enjoy a great meal in the best Canadian style. As it turns, out they have ample choices.

Each neighborhood (such as Preston, Wellington West, and ByWard Market) in the capital city is unique and is ripe for exploration of its varied ethnic food scene. Local markets are part of epicurean walking tours that also includes Chinatown, Eddy Street, and the Glebe area. Food artisans, chefs, and culinary hunters populate colorful districts like Little Italy. A nice treat can be found at the maple syrup production facility called Fulton’s. Families and kids have their own special places.
Some restaurants stand out, however, for their innovative and tantalizing cuisine. Signatures at Le Cordon Bleu, for example, tops many lists with critical accolades galore. It is part of the famed school that trains top chefs of the world.

Furthermore, for gourmet French delights, Le Baccara in the Casino du Lac-Leamy is a must. The incomparable food will please the most discriminating palate, not to mention wine aficionado (its cellar boats 13,000 personally-selected bottles!). Why not combine nightlife and fine dining in one venue.

While international fare is within easy reach (you want French, Italian, Chinese, steaks or seafood? You got it!), for Canadian specialties, there are many restaurants of note. Some serve the regional dish “poutine” of Quebecois origins that features French fries topped with gravy and cheese curds, a local favorite. (There is also a stuffed potato dumpling version called “poutine râpée.”) Chocolate lovers will gravitate to A Thing for Chocolate on Wellington West for their proprietary gianduja spread. Highly recommended!

Every taste can be accommodated in Ottawa with a bit of research. Word-of-mouth says that patrons love the Empire Grill (sexy door with chic martinis), Shore Club (succulent prime Alberta beef), Perspectives (local ingredients only!), the Fish Market (a nautical delight), Social (playful and experimental, Murray Street Kitchen Wine & Charcuterie (strictly regional and seasonal), Restaurant E18hteen (classy, funky, and trendy), Courtyard (contemporary flair), among many more. You won’t run out of options in this sophisticated and worldly city. Bonuses are the microbreweries for diehard beer enthusiasts. Stop in enjoy local flavour magic. In addition, the Ottawa Specialty Foods Association offers food markets during the year and keeps on top of local vendors.

With so much to offer, it is no wonder that people in the know consider Ottawa a true world-class culinary destination. The city is working on a program called Savour Ottawa to inform locals and visitors of the rich traditions of the city. Soon everyone will know that it is a secret foodie paradise available to all adventurous gourmets.

A Tourist Day Trip in Ottawa

A Tourist Day Trip in Ottawa

People are familiar Montreal and Toronto, but fewer know that Ottawa is the capital of Canada, located in the province of Ontario in the southern region. It is a picturesque city, located on the banks of the Ottawa River, beaconing visitors to enjoy its many treasures. Not to miss are many historic buildings and landmarks as well as the exciting city center. It is easy to spend a day taking in the local culture, fine eateries, and the scenic beauty of Victoria Island.

Tops on any tourist list is Parliament Hill, the seat of the federal government. The reconstructed Gothic structures (built after the fire of 1916), including the Peace Tower, dominate the city and reflect the solidity of the country’s democratic principles. The grounds feature Canadian art and the famed Changing of the Guard ceremony. The evening Sound and Light show is any visitor’s entrée into the splendor of this heart of the city.

For another important government building, the Supreme Court of Canada is the next stop, just west of the Parliament. Architecture lovers will enjoy the Grand Hall, part of the design by Ernest Cormier. It is loaded with gracious marble and two elegant candelabra-style metal lamps. Lavish, exotic woods adorn the courtrooms. Along with the outdoor fountain and terrace, it is a feast for the eye and the mind.

While landmark buildings attest to Canada’s rich political life, other venues speak of local heritage and historic lore. The MacKenzie King Estate, a one-time refuge for a long-time Prime Minister, is a romantic paean to the historic resident. Rideau Hall, the governor’s official home, is open to the public. If you like Victorian, the Laurier House is a perfect example, located in the downtown area of Sandy Hill.

For scenic tours, the Rideau Canal that travels to Lake Ontario dates back to 1832 and is still an engineering tour de force today. Numerous parks and trails along its edges are home to hikers, picnic enthusiasts, and cyclists. Outdoor attractions also include Upper Canada Village, Ottawa Gardens, the Ottawa River rapids, and the Algonquin site called Aboriginal Experiences on Victoria Island. Here you can imagine their venerable ancestors trading, celebrating rites with dancing and powwows, and sharing story-telling with the tribe.

Of course, you can’t do it all in one day and also expect to taste the culinary delights and unique shopping of the region. There are special events galore, gallery and museum exhibits, a casino, and more. Choosing what to do is never a problem in this engaging city. In addition to the waterways and greenery, sports opportunities abound. You can swim in Gatineau Park or spend an afternoon at one of the many fine beaches, not to mention golf, a water park, and bungee jumping.

It is clear that Ottawa is a singular city with ample attractions and festive festivals. If you have never visited, your first experience will be one to remember. You will want to return again by train, car, or air, and explore more of what the best of Canada has to offer.