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Old 08-01-2012, 10:27 PM
 
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I have all of the threads about Ottawa neighborhoods in this forum and I learned about the schools, cost of living, employment of the residents, languages spoken and the time it takes to commute by car or bus to downtown Ottawa. How are the neighborhoods in terms of walkability? Can you ride your bike from your neighborhood to downtown? Are there unique features of each neighborhood - bookstores, artists, restaurants, cafes, markets, YMCA?
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Old 08-02-2012, 09:48 AM
 
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Some of the close to downtown neighborhoods have a big city feel to them in as much as you can drive your bicycle around or walk to the the butcher the baker etc, but as you start drifting out to the suburbs toward Orleans to the East or Kanata to the west or Manotic to the south it becomes rather generic vast tracts of bungalows interspersed with shopping centers usually anchored by a big box store (Walmart),bicycle riding can be done in your immediate neighborhood but as a means of transportation can be dangerous as suburbs tend to be designed around the Automobile.
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
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Jambo has it right. Central neighbourhoods like Centretown, West Wellington, Westboro, the Glebe, Sandy Hill, New Edinburgh are all nice and walkable. Of course they are all very expensive and you pay a lot for houses which are not always in optimal condition. This is similar to the situation in many cities I suppose.

The suburbs are much like jambo described, although they do have excellent peak hour transit service to and from downtown. (Using busways - often faster than driving.)

It is also entirely possible and even pleasant to cycle from the suburbs to work downtown. Ottawa has a very extensive bike path network: http://www.canadascapital.gc.ca/site...-2011-2012.pdf

But for doing your everyday errands in the suburbs of Ottawa you will certainly be driving.
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Old 08-03-2012, 08:05 PM
 
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The best thing about the central Ottawa neighbourhoods is that they are walkable; they all seem to have a "main drag" with plenty of shops and so on. Chinatown is along Somerset West; Centretown and the Glebe have Bank Street; Wellington West is another great walkable neighbourhood, so is Westboro. You pay for convenience, though, and these areas are gentrified, all the older homes being renovated and sold for a lot of bucks. Unless you are in the further suburbs, like Kanata, Barrhaven or Orleans, you are well within bike/bus/or walking range of amenities. A good Website to compare neighbourhoods is the entertainment blog www.Apt613.com, it has a menu link to neighbourhood profiles and information. They have an annual neighbourhood versus neighbourhood voting war too, that's a good read.
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Old 08-05-2012, 09:59 AM
 
Location: Ottawa, ON
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I live in New Edinburgh...one of the urban neighbourhoods in the city. I'd say it is extremely walkable:

* I can get from my house to the Market/downtown in 20 mins by foot and 5-10 minutes by bike.
* There are some wonderful restaurants/shops both nearby on Beechwood as well as in the Market (with Beechwood being no more than a 5-10 min walk from anywhere in New Edinburgh).

In terms of the other neighbourhoods:

* I would say the Glebe/Old Ottawa South & Sandy Hill are similar to New Edinburgh in terms of proximity to unique neighbourhood items as well as distance to CBD/Market. However, Westboro/Hintonburg are not really walking distance to/from Market (30 mins +) but have lots of great shops/restaurants within walking distance ...and are a short bike ride away.
* Other walkable neighbourhoods that are not quite as urban but still bikeable would be Alta Vista, Rockcliffe Park, Civic Hospital, Manor Park.
* Even further out, there are neighbourhoods like Blackburn Hamlet and Beacon Hill that are walkable to local shops but these shops are more like drug stores, grocery chains, & 7-11s...but they are a good 20-30 min bike ride to downtown.

If you must have a large, modern home and don't want to spend upwards of 1.5M, then you'll need to go to the suburbs where...it is like most suburbs in any major city...sprawling and not hugely walkable. There is the network of bike paths into the city but you typically have to bike across many large 4 lane+ arterial roads to get to them...
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
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Another thing about biking to work in Ottawa is that it is only a realistic (and safe) option from about April to November. You need to find another solution during the colder winter months.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Fort Myers FL/ Ottawa ON
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As far as distance to downtown, that's no big attraction. Rideau street and Bank north of Queensway leans seedy, and Elgin St. is more for young singles.

The key trendy strips with family and condo housing walkable are

1) Bank between Queensway and Rideau River
2) all of Wellington West now, starting at the Somerset street kink, and west to Richmond Road up to where the Byron park begins

Wellington west has Hintonburg and Mechanicsville bordering, which are homesteading areas, but it is walkable from Civic Hospital neighborhood, and there is the Parkdale farmers market. Another benefit of east Civic Hospital is walkable to Little Italy, Preston Street, and Dows Lake restaurants, or be brave and homestead in Little Italy or buy in one of the many condo towers going up there.

A cool West Westboro area is around Churchill at the river...with Westboro beach walking distance that has a bar on the beach.

Last edited by kroeran; 08-07-2012 at 09:24 PM..
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
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The Glebe and Sandy Hill are the two closest "real" neighbourhoods to downtown, and therefore are the best investment choices as the price of oil increases. Sandy Hill, in fact, has some incredible real estate opportunities, priced below the Glebe, but much better proximity to downtown. Clearly the neighbourhood with the best potential, especially those houses close to beautiful Strathcona Park. We've been trying to get in but good houses seem to go in about a day.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Fort Myers FL/ Ottawa ON
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingevanescence View Post
The Glebe and Sandy Hill are the two closest "real" neighbourhoods to downtown, and therefore are the best investment choices as the price of oil increases. Sandy Hill, in fact, has some incredible real estate opportunities, priced below the Glebe, but much better proximity to downtown. Clearly the neighbourhood with the best potential, especially those houses close to beautiful Strathcona Park. We've been trying to get in but good houses seem to go in about a day.
With Sandy Hill, the only caveat is to pay attention to the presence of homeless shelters at the northwest corner, the highschool for single moms at the southeast corner, low income housing along the southern edge and student housing throughout. Also, the Glebe, which does not have any of this sort of thing, has a much higher end retail strip through the middle, as opposed to Sandy Hill which has a lower end retail strip along one edge.

That being said, Sandy Hill has much more interesting architecture and is closer to cosmopolitan interests. I would say Glebe and Sunnyside area is for raising kids and Sandy Hill is better for all the permutations of kid free lifestyles. I suspect the school situation for Sandy Hill might be pretty scary. New Edinborough and Lindenlea is for Rockcliff wannabes willing to overpay for small ugly houses. Manor Park and West Westboro (Nepean Highschool), as well as Civic Hospital, are the gold standard for safe family neighbourhoods.

A current homesteading area (On the rise) apart from Hintonburg/Mechanicsville would be Vanier and Preston Street zones, including the Di Rienzo zone across the O-train tracks.

outside of these central pre-50s areas, you then have the more affordable band of mid century homes (east of St.Laurent, South of Sunnyside area across the Rideau river, then hit and miss West of Island Park Drive,... then the Greenbelt, then the world beyond the Greenbelt.

Hopefully soon, Ottawa builders will discover New Urbanism and start building on navigable grids around a classic walkable Mainstreet (the Glebe is a perfect representation of "old urbanism"), which started with Seaside Florida, but reached its best expression with Baldwin Park Orlando.
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:49 PM
 
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
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Default Sandy Hill is catchment for great schools

Great comments. However, we've been researching neighbourhoods and Sandy Hill schools are far from scary--we've learned it's the Lisgar High School catchment area (and Rockcliffe Park School for French immersion). In fact other people we've been talking to are also seeking out Sandy Hill homes so their kids can benefit from this catchment.

Also of note is that Rideau St. is being completely redone without hydro poles (like Bank in the Glebe) and is becoming a shopping/condo destination street as it develops eastward. The nice thing about Rideau is that it's not the only way in/out of the neighbourhood which is what Bank feels like to me. Access to the Queensway is easy, unlike the south side of the Glebe.

Finally, we are convinced Sandy Hill is much better value--nicer architecture like you say, plus a less crowded feeling amongst the houses on the nice streets near Strathcona Park and the Rideau River. Prices seem to be much more affordable, meaning more house for less money for us. It seems like an obvious choice and that the Glebe is a bit overrated (no offence to anyone who lives in that neighbourhood). Anyway, it's the direction we're leaning.
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