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Old 05-23-2008, 02:04 PM
 
Location: Western Canada
39 posts, read 280,100 times
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We're moving to Ottawa in August and are looking at buying a home (detached or freehold townhouse). Which Ottawa neighbourhoods are good for families, schools, less traffic congestion? What are the average commute times during rush hour to the downtown area from Nepean? Kanata? Orleans? Do many people who work in Ottawa live in Rockland, and if so, what's the commute like? Is Rockland a reasonable alternative to living in the city? As far as the city itself, we would like to avoid the cookie-cutter townhouse ghettoes that we've seen erupting in various Edmonton neighbourhoods lately. It's difficult to tell, never having been in the Ottawa 'burbs, which areas are just generic row upon row of townhouses and which have a mix of different types of housing. Also, how the the real estate market in Ottawa in terms of rate of transactions? For example, if we were to fly in, do a house-hunting blitz and buy, would it be reasonable to expect to be able to move into our new home within 2 months or is the average a little slower than that?

Any info would be much appreciated!
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Old 05-23-2008, 02:43 PM
 
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This might sound terribly obvious, k8swirl, but have you considered interent searching Ottawa real estate agencies, picking a couple of well-known agencies, and then getting them to send you a relocation package?

Before you make the trip to Ottawa, you could also contact an Ottawa agent of your choice, ask your questions, give them your criteria, and ask them if they could make arrangements to show you some properties when you're in town.

Good luck.
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Old 05-26-2008, 07:58 AM
 
65 posts, read 418,220 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k8swirl View Post
We're moving to Ottawa in August and are looking at buying a home (detached or freehold townhouse). Which Ottawa neighbourhoods are good for families, schools, less traffic congestion? What are the average commute times during rush hour to the downtown area from Nepean? Kanata? Orleans? Do many people who work in Ottawa live in Rockland, and if so, what's the commute like? Is Rockland a reasonable alternative to living in the city?

Average commute time, via car, from Kanata to the CBD would be about 45 minutes in the morning rush. Rockland is commuter heaven (or hell) IIRC....it has grown like a weed with many people living there for more house for the buck...but travelling a long way to work. Rockland is probably 75% francophone with more french school choices than english. It is also heavy in terms of RCMP/DND/Federal Gov't employees.
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Old 05-26-2008, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
25,662 posts, read 33,622,002 times
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Rockland, despite the name and the fact it is Ontario, is majority French-speaking, though the anglo community there is growing fast because of its proximity to Ottawa. If current growth trends continue, anglos will probably form a majority there within about 10 years or so. (Similar to what happened to Orleans.)

Because of the population make-up, there are more French schools than English ones, though there is the full range of education in English available in Rockland as well.

And in spite of the demographics, I’d say almost 100% of the French speakers you’d meet there would speak English as well, so you would rarely if ever run into people who can’t speak to you in English.

Note also that Rockland is about 40 km from downtown Ottawa, half of which is along a two-lane highway which widens to four divided lanes at Orleans, which is the biggest suburb on the eastern side of Ottawa (pop. 100,000 approx.). Public transit from Rockland into Ottawa is quite limited though not quite non-existent. Public transit from Orleans to points west is actually pretty good.

If you’re not scared of the future price of gas, Eastern Ontario communities east of Ottawa along the 417 (four lanes divided) offer easier commutes than Rockland even though they are further away from the city in kilometres. The closest places would be those in Russell Township, about 50 km from CBD I’d say. The Township of Russell has two main towns: Russell and Embrun. Both are smaller than Rockland. Russell is predominantly anglo whereas Embrun is majority French-speaking with a fast growing anglo population as well. A couple of new homebuilders are quite active in Embrun, though I don’t know if there are English schools in the town or if the anglo kids are bused to Russell (not that far actually).

There is a significant difference in traffic volume on the 417 (as opposed to the 174 to Orleans and Rockland), as there are no large suburbs along the 417. Most days you can sail right into Ottawa up to the St. Laurent exit (only 2 or 3 km from downtown) before you hit any traffic, whereas traffic on the Orleans-Rockland can sometimes jam 20 or 25 km from downtown.

Note that shopping, services and transit are very limited (but slowly growing of course) out Russell and Embrun way, however, and a lot of stuff you’ll have to drive into the city for.
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Old 05-26-2008, 12:51 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
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So you can compare with what Clynnog said about commute times, depending on where you are in the respective communities, homes in Orleans are on average between 5 and 10 km closer to CBD than those in Kanata. Traffic from both places would be about the same: pretty congested and slow in peak periods but not quite hellish (yet).

Keep in mind also that Kanata with its hi-tech base has much, much more local employment than Orleans does, so the odds of finding a good job close to home would be far better in Kanata.

Bottom line: about a 35 min. drive to/from Orleans-CBD most days.
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Old 05-26-2008, 07:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by clynnog View Post
Rockland is probably 75% francophone with more french school choices than english. It is also heavy in terms of RCMP/DND/Federal Gov't employees.
Historically, the east of Ottawa has tended to be some combination of Francophone, transient (e.g. military personnel), and mostly Federal Government employees. The west, as someone noted above (especially Kanata) is much more high-tech based, a lower proportion of government employees, though still substantial.

You mention you don't want 'cookie-cutter' new housing developments. You might want to look at older neighborhoods, especially in Nepean then.

The other area of the city you don't yet seem to have considered is the south, be it Barrhaven (southern Nepean), Gloucester (east of the river, probably a little cheaper), or even a place like Manotick (very nice but more expensive).

Some years back Nepean had the highest proportion of PhD's in Canada; I've no idea if that's still true. It was my sense that they had a generally strong school system there. I'd guess the schools in Bells' Corners, Barrhaven, Manotick, and much of Kanata would all still be fairly good.

I'm afraid I can't give you great current advice on schools, but I do urge you to look south as well as east/west.

-Holmes
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Old 05-27-2008, 08:30 AM
 
Location: Western Canada
39 posts, read 280,100 times
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Thanks so much, this is very helpful!
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Old 09-03-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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k8swirl, what is your experience so far and where have you been looking? I am another Albertan going through the same thing later this year. I am not sure where to start. From the comment so far, I think I will focus on Kanata.
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:43 PM
 
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I am English and live in Orleans and LOVE it. It is closer to the city than Kanata (comparable geographically to Nepean) and the traffic is not as bad, especially when there is a hockey game or big event at the Corel Centre and the traffic is backed up for miles. Many where I work who live in Kanata arrange to leave early often for these events. The schools are wonderful, neighborhoods generally safe as opposed to much gang activity in the news in Kanata lately. Also Orleans has Petrie Island, the nicest and biggest free playground in the Ottawa area, not to mention anything else you could possibly need. If you worked in Orleans, you would never have to leave and the bus system to downtown is excellent. My husband grew up in the West of Ottawa and says he'll never go back. We both work downtown.
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:48 PM
 
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oh and also statistically there are more English people in Orleans than french. People get confused because there are more french people in Orleans than Kanata, but NOT more than English.
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