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Ottawa - yay/nay?

Discussion in 'TRIBE Main Forum' started by nikki.classics, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. nikki.classics

    nikki.classics TRIBE Member

    I might be relocating to Ottawa for work. Can anybody give me some info on what it's like living there? I know there's another Ottawa thread kicking around, but it's from like 2007 and I'd like some current advice.

    Basically I want to know if I will be bored out of my skull there. I'm 25, single and wouldn't really know anyone before moving. To me it kind of seems like the place where people go when they get married and settled down (or to university). yes, no? I like going out and I'm pretty social...are people friendly there? Decent nightlife or non-existent? Shopping?
  2. the_fornicator

    the_fornicator TRIBE Member

    I'll be the first.

  3. graham

    graham Well-Known TRIBEr

    photo pls
  4. coleridge

    coleridge TRIBE Member

    I grew up in Ottawa. It was a great place to be until I became a teenager, then it got pretty boring. But I returned on/off through my university years and it was okay mostly because of the growing underground scene there during that time.

    If you're in to outdoor activity Ottawa's an amazing place to live. Great bike trail and park system that's supported by federal money. Gatineau park is right across the river in Quebec and it has biking, hiking, lakes and skiing.

    My understanding is that good nightlife has really died there. Back in the late 90s Ottawa had some amazing stuff going on. They had the legendary Sweet parties that grew into the opening of Atomic nightclub. It was truly worldclass stuff. But sadly the nightlife culture has crawled back to being mostly top-40.

    Ottawa also has some great museums like the museum of civilization and the new war museum. Ottawa has the National Art Gallery as well.

    But if you love the size of Toronto and all the stuff there is to do here, you're going to find Ottawa boring.

    People are nicer than Toronto people and they generally show up on time for things. When people in Ottawa say they are meeting at a certain time, they really mean that time not 20min later like Toronto people.
  5. The Watcher

    The Watcher TRIBE Member

    Ottawa is a beautiful city, very well maintained with lots of greenery. If you like to go out the Bytown market is pretty happening with tons of people out every evening in the weekend, but all the bars cater to the college crowd or the upscale crowd. But as for clubbing,... it's pretty much ancient history. On the bright side, Montreal is less than 2 hours away should you need to till morning. People are friendly, certainly more so than in Toronto... Once you make a few friends in whatever scene you may find you'll end up at house parties where all the bedroom DJ's will show you how behind music really is there. There's tons to do if you're a nature lover, great skiing/snowboarding within a 40 minute drive from downtown.
  6. videotronic

    videotronic TRIBE Member

    its also motherfucking cold

    i used to laugh at my friends who moved away when they'd come home for christmas and complain about the cold

    "hah" id say..."fucking pansies"

    now that i have been gone from there/montreal for 4 years i say fuck that place in in the winter. its completely inhospitable.

    ottawa also has a public transit system thats easily one of the worst in canada, and its very very pricey now too.
  7. Persephone

    Persephone TRIBE Member

    Coleridge and The Watcher summed it up well. I have only these points to add:

    1) if you hate the cold, prepare yourself to experience -40C. It only happens for about 2 weeks out of every winter, but its damn cold!
    2) Yes - nightlife is pretty bland in Ottawa. If you love pubs, then you will have a wide selection.
    3) Be prepared for the surprisingly prominent homeless population in the downtown. I lived downtown, and wasn't expecting it given the small size of the city relative to Toronto.
    4) Live art performances (ie theatre, dance, symphonies) tend to appear in Ottawa about 2 years after Toronto.
    5) All of downtown does not remain active after business hours. Very few people work later than 5 pm (cushy government jobs!) and some areas of the core become near ghost-towns after that time. However, other areas like the Byward Market, continue to thrive after business hours.
    6) There's an awesome downtown farmer's market.
    7) Unique fashion/clothing shops are few and far between. You'll be mostly limited to standard chains for your attire, unless you make regular trips to Montreal.
  8. Rage

    Rage TRIBE Member

    Worse than here??????? Come on
  9. coleridge

    coleridge TRIBE Member

    Yeah I'll echo the cold thing as well. In Toronto a soon as the temp drops below -10 we consider it cold. In Ottawa that number is -20. -15C is a regular winter day there. I can remember as a kid walking a neighbour's dog over Christmas one year at it was below -30 every morning for the week. Also in Toronto when it snows more than 5cm we consider that a major accumulation. That's a normal day in Ottawa winter, a proper snowfall is 15-20cm.

    But it should be reiterated that Ottawa is a very beautiful city. The Rideau canal is awesomel. The way the parlament buildings perch above the Ottawa river is stunning. The byward market is full of old buildings and a plethora of good patios in the summer. Imagine a Black Bull patio on every corner and you get the idea.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
  10. coleridge

    coleridge TRIBE Member

    Ottawa's transit system is miles worse than here. Fair price is higher than Toronto's as well.
  11. The Watcher

    The Watcher TRIBE Member


    Toronto only gets "Winter" 1 out of 5 years, the rest of the time it's barely -5'C

    Ottawa on the other hand can go all the way to -38'C is the dead of Winter with 10foot high snowbanks.... but for the most part people actually know how to drive there.

    I miss [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
  12. coleridge

    coleridge TRIBE Member

    Yeah me too.

    Montreal had Soma and Toronto had Industry, but you always felt like they should have clubs that great since they were such big cities.

    But Ottawa had Atomic an equally great afterhours that existed in such a small city. There was such a sense of community in there. I always felt when being at Atomic that it didn't matter where you went in the world at that moment you wouldn't be able to find something better.
  13. videotronic

    videotronic TRIBE Member

    that was the mitsis and doves talking, you sentimental bastard you...


    i might move back there at some point when im old and boring, but i doubt it. the weather is just fucking brutal.

    its great if you *want* winter (ie you're a hardcore skier) but for the average person its a challenge
  14. nikki.classics

    nikki.classics TRIBE Member

    haha i always feel that way when i'm afterhours on too much e though!

    well, you guys aren't really selling me on ottawa! maybe i'll get lucky and the montreal position will come through. or maybe i will learn to snowboard and love winter? i'm not into partying hardcore, and i'm not a total music head, but it would be nice to know there's a place for me to go dance or lounge that isn't a pub filled with uni kids. i do like the sounds of this marketplace.

    i guess at the very least i will finally be cooler than other people? maybe? sigh. some day.
  15. Mephisto

    Mephisto TRIBE Member

    ottawa is le bore. whenever people say "it's good access to outdoorsy stuff" i think banff...without the mountains. seriously there's not a lot to do(aside from touristy things) unless you have a dog to walk. when i'm there i usually blow all my expenses on snooty coffee in the glebe and try and get in on some hardcourt bike polo
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
  16. Sal De Ban

    Sal De Ban TRIBE Member

    i hear better things about montreal all the time, but never much about ottawa. Its a conservative town with most people working/studying at the universities, or working in government.

    edit: it is a lot more suburban-feeling than toronto or montreal
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
  17. nikki.classics

    nikki.classics TRIBE Member

    I had a friend in university who went to school in Ottawa and she used to go to Surface a lot...is it still there, and is it super sketchy?
    I think she used to go to Helsinki too?
  18. dstarr

    dstarr TRIBE Member

    In terms of nightlife, Ottawa isn't that bad but I guess it depends on what you like.

    I think a place called Ritual is now where Atomic used to be and I've never been but I supposed that place is a bit here and there... maybe more progressive house but Farina played there recently.

    If you're into house like I am, then Mercury Lounge has Lance Baptiste on Friday nights and Trevor Walker on Saturday. Both guys are really solid djs with awesome music collections and both like to mix it up a little as well. Mercury also brings in guests often as well and I just really like the vibe and the staff there. Phono Jones are from here so I'm sure they know more what is going on that me as they are close to the scene so to speak.

    Although not a club and it has no dancefloor, Social has house starting at like 10:30 when the dinner crowd thins out.

    There is some late night afterhours stuff that goes on but I have never been so I don't know what it's like.

    All I can say that I lived in Toronto for a long time, just lived in Vancouver for a while and am now back in Ottawa. I'm in the mid thirties (gasp) but frankly, I'm happy to be back here and this city is pretty sweet.

    But I guess it might be rough being in your twenties... that is what I think Toronto is for...

    However I suppose I would recommend getting out and seeing who you can meet.

    You can always PM me when you get here if you want and we could have a beer and chat as well.
  19. DoubleDown

    DoubleDown TRIBE Member

    Remember Liquid Monkey!?

    first time I ever heard 'Daft Punk - Da Funk' in a club was at the LM afterhours.

    +1 On the Atomic Comments

  20. Jeffsus

    Jeffsus TRIBE Member

    I will be moving to Ottawa before the end of 2011.
    At that time, I assure you it will become a more lively place.

    One of my greatest adventures of all time unfolded in Ottawa. Unfortunately, precisely because I am moving there, I can no longer relate that, or any other, serious adventure.

    le sigh.

  21. erika

    erika TRIBE Member

    - It's INSANELY cold
    - It's small
    + It's close to Montreal
  22. nikki.classics

    nikki.classics TRIBE Member

    Thanks for the positivity!
    I love Toronto, but I'm in a rut and could really use a change. Plus my lease is up in a few months and my roomate is moving so I need to leave my awesome apartment anyway. But the move is all hinging on whether or not I land the job I've interviewed for. Second interview is lined up for Monday morning, so hopefully I'll find out soon.
    If I move, I'm definitely taking you up on drinks!
    And maybe Jeffsus will share some of his crazy stories?
  23. KillaLadY

    KillaLadY TRIBE Member

    Friendly people, clean city, beautiful architecture, good lebanese food... other than that, boring as fuck.
    We have friends that we try to visit regularly there and after two days, we really run out of things to do that we haven't done already.
  24. Booty Bits

    Booty Bits TRIBE Member

    the singles scene in ottawa is kinda weak. i find that people kinda stick to their friends and it can be hard to meet new people. at the end of the day, most people in ottawa work for the feds or in IT, so it's not a city full of Type A people!

    however, if you are sporty and/or outdoorsy, you should be fine.

    if you get the job and move there, definitely get yourself a bike. ottawa is a zillion times more bike-friendly than toronto. that is something that i definitely miss about it.
  25. Bumbaclat

    Bumbaclat TRIBE Member

    It should probably also be reiterated that it is a boring city.

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