So, You’re Posted To is a new section by Laura Keller designed to give readers the inside scoop on the places they will go. It’s tried and true advice from people who have recently made the move – the information that’s NOT in the MFRC package.
So, You’re Posted to Ottawa …
People in Ottawa seem to love their neighbourhoods, but the current consensus is to go west. With the future relocation of NDHQ, it will be more convenient to reside in Stittsville, Kanata or Barrhaven. The Queensway can be a bit of a nightmare at rush hour and Ottawa City Transpo get great marks with commuters.
That said, those Orleans folks really love it! And if you don’t mind a bit of a drive, there are some really lovely villages on the outskirts of the National Capital Region. Sadly, no one has anything nice to say about the PMQ’s in Uplands … hopefully, that’s not your only option.
If you are coming from Eastern Canada or the US, you are in for a shock in terms of the cost of things. If you’re coming from Alberta or Europe, your shock will be much more pleasant! Kids’ sports are pricey in comparison to other parts of the country, but groceries seem to be quite reasonable. And you get to enjoy the abundance of fresh produce that Ontario offers. If you are coming to Ontario for the first time, you may find the taxes high, both property and income.
Some people have difficulty finding a doctor, particularly in the west end, so you might want to get all of your check-ups done before you get here, in case it takes a while. Doctors seem a bit easier to come by in Orleans. Folks seem to have no trouble finding dentists, vets or other healthcare providers though.
One of the big hurdles some spouses face is language. If you have the luxury of time, take advantage of second-language training if you need it. Also, your kids may have to play language catch-up depending on where you are coming from, because children in the English system take Core French right from Junior Kindergarten. If your kids have been in French Immersion or Francophone school, there are an abundance of choices. In terms of employment, language seems to be a factor for most people, but not everyone – there is hope!
Everyone agrees that Ottawa is safe and clean, with loads of fun things to do. MoneySense magazine ranks it as the #1 place to live in Canada! Take advantage of all of the cultural offerings and festivals. Canada Day on Parliament Hill is not to be missed! And sharpen your skates for a day on the Rideau Canal next winter!
We all know that no CF member actually wants to be posted to Ottawa (or so they say), but the quality of life there can be wonderful! Good luck!
Laura Keller spent 17 years married to a military man, who has recently retired from the CF. They live in Guelph, Ontario with their three kids and dog. Laura also writes her own blog at www.HappyCanadianHome.com.