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Old 06-17-2011, 07:11 PM
 
1,143 posts, read 1,982,759 times
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For so many years, MoneySense consistently ranks Ottawa-Gatineau as the best place to live in Canada. I would like to people's opinion here if they agree with the ranking.

I also have some questions regarding the Ottawa-Gatineau area:

1. How is the economy and job outlook of the tech industry? I know it used to be Silicon Valley North, but after Nortel collapsed, how is the tech industry there doing?

2. Will you consider Ottawa or Gatineau an ideal place to start a small business?

3. Are the English elementary and high schools in Gatineau comparable in quality as those of Ottawa?

4. How is the quality of Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Thai) restaurants in Ottawa? (Note: am not in the restaurant business, just want to live in a city with a decent selection)

5. Do you consider the western neighborhoods (Kanata, Barrhaven) better or the eastern side (Gloucester, Orleans) to be better for families with elementary school children? Is Beacon Hill safe? Is it difficult to live in the eastern side if one doesn't speak French?

6. For Canadian immigration, Quebec has a separate process from the rest of Canada. If one intends to work or start a business in Gatineau but live in Ottawa, should one go through the federal or Quebec immigration? Or better not consider this scenario? Since I would like my children to go to English schools (as none of us speak French), living in Quebec is not an option for the short-term.

Thank you very much for those who can give some insights.
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Old 06-18-2011, 06:47 AM
 
518 posts, read 1,347,024 times
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Don't believe all the propaganda, it's friggin' cold there. As almost everywhere in Canada, except for British Columbia (but that one is expensive and salaries are low). If I were to do it again, I would go directly with US or some warm countries in Europe (Malta, Gibraltar, Isle of Man).
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Old 06-18-2011, 07:33 AM
 
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East Ottawa has a large French-speaking population, too. I would go for West Ottawa if you speak no French, and probably wouldn't attempt to open a business in Gatineau if you speak no French. Your kids will still have to take French in school no matter what area you move to. Ottawa can be rediculously cold in the winter due to the 'wind chill factor', but otherwise it is a great city.
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Old 06-18-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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Short answer is no.
If Ottawa were indeed that "livable", it would have a much larger population.
I know many would claim Ottawa has "a lot to offer" etc (as they would say to all cities), but really compared with a real big city, its offerings are limited.
Plus, the weather itself makes it much less livable.
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Old 06-18-2011, 07:46 PM
 
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Thanks for the feedback. Any other insights aside from Ottawa being cold?

I forgot to mention that I have visited Ottawa before as a tourist on a snowy day. Just an overnight stay on the way to Montreal though. I know that it's cold but it's Canada after all. If one learns to accept the climate as it is, how does Ottawa rate?
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:42 AM
 
Location: GTA
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I will answer the question on immigration. If you intend to live in Ottawa, strictly speaking, you must go through the federal application. The immigration application forms don't ask you where you intend to work. If you were to apply to Quebec immigration, you need to sign a declaration stating that you intend to live in Quebec.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:55 AM
 
364 posts, read 1,118,729 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenTiger View Post
If one learns to accept the climate as it is, how does Ottawa rate?
Do you have any specific questions?
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Old 06-20-2011, 05:28 PM
 
1,143 posts, read 1,982,759 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luhts View Post
Do you have any specific questions?
The most important question is the first one I posted above: How is the economy in Ottawa (especially that of the private sector)? Are most companies hiring? Or laying off people? Are there any new companies setting up shop? Or moving away? I am also specifically interested on how the tech companies there are doing.

When one looks at the Canadian economy as a whole, it seems doing really well during the recession. But am aware that the economies of the Prairie provinces are in much better shape nowadays and Ontario might not be doing that well. When one looks at Ottawa, the government jobs probably skew it a lot, so I would like a local's perspective on how the private sector is doing there.

I think one of the most important things for a city to be a good place to live is the balance between income levels and costs of living. I find it absurd that Vancouver is rated as one of the best cities to live in the world while Seattle is oftentimes not even ranked. The Stanley Cup riot and both the strikes of Canada Post and Air Canada do make immigration to Canada less appealing.
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:13 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
25,444 posts, read 33,151,949 times
Reputation: 10558
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenTiger View Post
For so many years, MoneySense consistently ranks Ottawa-Gatineau as the best place to live in Canada. I would like to people's opinion here if they agree with the ranking.

I also have some questions regarding the Ottawa-Gatineau area:

1. How is the economy and job outlook of the tech industry? I know it used to be Silicon Valley North, but after Nortel collapsed, how is the tech industry there doing?

2. Will you consider Ottawa or Gatineau an ideal place to start a small business?

3. Are the English elementary and high schools in Gatineau comparable in quality as those of Ottawa?

4. How is the quality of Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Thai) restaurants in Ottawa? (Note: am not in the restaurant business, just want to live in a city with a decent selection)

5. Do you consider the western neighborhoods (Kanata, Barrhaven) better or the eastern side (Gloucester, Orleans) to be better for families with elementary school children? Is Beacon Hill safe? Is it difficult to live in the eastern side if one doesn't speak French?

6. For Canadian immigration, Quebec has a separate process from the rest of Canada. If one intends to work or start a business in Gatineau but live in Ottawa, should one go through the federal or Quebec immigration? Or better not consider this scenario? Since I would like my children to go to English schools (as none of us speak French), living in Quebec is not an option for the short-term.

Thank you very much for those who can give some insights.
1. The economy in Ottawa-Gatineau is generally very good. It always has one of the lowest jobless rates in the country because of the government presence. It does not grow spectacularly like some other places can (Calgary) but then again it never crashes either. It is strong and steady. Note that the federal government (now a Conservative majority, and saddled with a big deficit) will likely be making some cuts to the public service in the next few years. But it should not be too damaging.

2. It really depends on the type of business you are considering. Generally, the business climate here is pretty good.

3. There are many schools in Ottawa, some good some bad. There are only one or two English high schools in Gatineau, and a handful of elementaries (five or six?). My impression is that the English schools in Gatineau are "middling". This is especially true of the high schools. The two best high schools in Gatineau are French and are private. Most of the best students in the city go there. There is also the question of accessing public English schools in Quebec. If you are a native "English Canadian" then you would probably be ok. If you are not Canadian... it isn't likely you can get in. Living in Gatineau your kids cannot go to public schools in Ottawa. They CAN go to private schools in Ottawa, but you are talking $$$$ - $15,000 to $30,000 per year for the most part.

4. The selection is decent. It won't blow you away like Vancouver or San Francisco, but there is certainly a *decent* selection here. You won't starve!

5. Both the eastern and western sides of Ottawa are good places to raise families. Beacon Hill is safe, no worries there. Also, the eastern part of Ottawa is only about 20% French-speaking. It is considered the "French" part of town because it is more French than the west which is less than 5% French-speaking. But if you go in restaurants, grocery stores, buses in the east end of Ottawa most people are still speaking in English. It is not like Gatineau which is 85% French-speaking and really functions in French. The percentage of French speakers in eastern Ottawa also varies: Beacon Hill, Carson Grove, Alta Vista are not so French, Vanier (inner city, working class) is about 40% French-speaking. This is the highest percentage. Orleans (eastern suburb) is about 30% French-speaking. But even in Orleans and Vanier people speak mostly English in shops, restaurants, etc.

6. There are no restrictions on owning a business in Ottawa and living in Gatineau, or vice versa.
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
25,444 posts, read 33,151,949 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luhts View Post
East Ottawa has a large French-speaking population, too. I would go for West Ottawa if you speak no French, and probably wouldn't attempt to open a business in Gatineau if you speak no French. Your kids will still have to take French in school no matter what area you move to. Ottawa can be rediculously cold in the winter due to the 'wind chill factor', but otherwise it is a great city.
No French is not a significant barrier in east end Ottawa. Most businesses there operate in English only and serve customers in English only. Though it is appreciated and a nice touch (even a business plus) if you can offer service in French as well.

Running a business in Gatineau (or anywhere in Quebec in fact) you are actually legally required to be able to serve customers in French.

Re education French is taught as a second language in most public schools in Ottawa. It is a pretty high level of French though, so most kids get a decent base.
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