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1. West Carleton-March

West Carleton-March is in Ottawa’s far west. It’s a rural area, made up of scattered small villages and communities. Its total population is about 23,055.

West Carleton-March has the lowest crime rate in Ottawa.

It also has one of the city’s best secondary schoolsWest Carleton Secondary School, which is rated very highly by the Fraser Institute, both for its raw academic results and for ‘adding value,’ achieving better results than expected.

If you’ll be working in Kanata, West Carleton-March is an easy drive.

If you’re working in downtown Ottawa, West Carleton-March is less convenient. It’s about a 30 to 60 minute drive in normal traffic, depending where you live, but at rush hour you could add about 25 minutes or so to your commute time.

Bus travel from West Carleton-March to downtown isn’t possible – you would need to drive to Kanata first and take a bus from there.

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2. Kanata North

Kanata North is a family oriented suburban area with a population of about 35,000. It lies just south of West Carleton-March.

Kanata North has one of Ottawa’s fastest growing populations, growing by 30 percent between the censuses of 2006 and 2011, with a large number of new homes built.

Crime rates are a little higher than West Carleton-March, but are still comfortably below Ottawa’s average.

Two secondary schools in Katana North were rated very highly by the Fraser Institute: Earl of March Secondary School and All Saints Catholic High School.

Kanata Research Park has 4 million square feet of commercial accommodation in 556 acres.
Enterprises such as Bridgewater Systems Corp, CIBC World Markets Inc., Computer Science Canada Inc., Deloitte Touche, JDS Uniphase Inc., Nokia Products Ltd, Pfizer, and Tyco International Ltd have bases there.

In addition to the Research Park, a large number of businesses, such as Research in Motion and Alcatel-Lucent are also located in Kanata North. You can see some of them by taking a virtual drive along March Road in the Google Streetview on the right.

The Centrum Shopping Centre is a large shopping area with cinemas and plenty of large, free parking lots.

Ottawa’s National Hockey League team, the Senators, is based in Kanata North.

Driving downtown in rush hour will take about 50 minutes; the bus journey takes a similar time.

More Information on Kanata

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3. Barrhaven

Barrhaven lies on the west side of Ottawa. It’s closer to downtown Ottawa than West Carleton-March is, but still lies beyond the greenbelt. Its population is about 72,324.

Barrhaven is a family oriented suburban area; it enjoys some of Ottawa’s lowest crime rates and best secondary schools.

Three of Barrhaven’s secondary schools were rated very highly by the Fraser Institute: John McCrae Secondary SchoolSt Joseph High School (catholic), and Mother Teresa High School(catholic).

There are plenty of family activities in the area, with the Walter Baker Sports Centre, Barrhaven Tennis Club, and a variety of parks all close to John McCrae Secondary School.

In the South, you can take a drive along Market Place avenue, a large shopping area, with plenty of large, free car parking lots.

One of Ottawa’s two inter-city train stations, Fallowfield Station, is located in Barrhaven. (The other is near downtown.) All Ottawa-Toronto trains stop at Fallowfield.

Next to the railway station is OC Transpo’s FallowField Bus Station and a park and ride lot – you can reserve a parking space for $57 per month.

Travel time between Fallowfield and downtown by bus is about 35 minutes during the rush hours, while driving will take about 45 minutes.

More information on Barrhaven

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4. Nepean

This is a large area in western Ottawa. It’s so large that its outer parts would probably have fitted better on our earlier page, which looks at outer-suburbs/rural living in Ottawa.

Some parts of Nepean are urban, some suburban, some border the green belt.

‘Nepean’ can have a number of historical meanings in Ottawa; the area we’re considering sits within the catchment areas of two highly rated high schools – Sir Robert Borden High School, which is about 12 km from downtown, and Merivale High School, which is about 9 km from downtown.

Sir Robert Borden High School is in the western part and Merivale High School in the eastern part of the area; broadly speaking, the western neighbourhoods are more affluent than the eastern neighbourhoods.

This area is close to the Airport and is home to Algonquin College, Centrepointe Park and Ben Franklin Park. It is also adjacent to the city’s greenbelt, so there are plenty of walking/cycling/skiing trails to keep you active.

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Westboro is closer to downtown than the other areas we’ve looked at so far and has become popular with younger professional people.

It’s a gentrified urban area, popular with families who hanker after more of a ‘coffee shop’ city feel than they’d find in more suburban areas like Barrhaven or Kanata. Despite this, in addition to condominiums, there are also plenty of detached houses in leafy streets.

This area is within the catchment/attendance boundaries of Nepean High School, a high school awarded a very high rating by the Fraser Institute.

Westoboro has a beach by the river and Dovercourt Recreation Centre is a great facility for families with a pool, sauna, baby pool, water slide, aerobics studio, dance studio, internet café, tennis courts, play structures, etc.

During rush hour, you can drive downtown from Westboro in about 20 minutes, while the bus will take about 30 minutes.

More information on Westboro

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6.Centretown – Byward Market – Sandy Hill – New Edinburgh

Heart of the city.

Lisgar Collegiate Institute was awarded a very high rating by the Fraser Institute.

As a consequence of living close to downtown, it’s not possible to find neighbourhoods with crime as low as the other areas we’ve considered so far on this page, and farther out.

Centretown, Byward Market, and Sandy Hill are within Ottawa’s Somerset and Rideau-Vanier Wards, which are the two highest crime rate wards in Ottawa.

New Edinburgh is within the Rideau-Rockcliffe Ward, which has the third highest crime rate in Ottawa, still significantly lower than Somerset and Rideau-Vanier.

They are the most convenient places to live for Ottawa’s downtown, nightlife and restaurants.

Sandy Hill is where you’ll find the University of Ottawa.

Its population is about 12,490.

It’s a very diverse area economically, with a cosmopolitan range of people living there including wealthy professionals, university staff, students, and homeless people in shelters.

ByWard Market is home to over 600 unique shops, restaurants, personal services, professional services, and so much more. This is the heart of Ottawa!

Byward Market is one of the city’s biggest tourist draws; it’s busy and vibrant, there are great restaurants, cafés, bistros, bars, clubs, a great market, and also more of Ottawa’s downsides than you’ll see in other areas, such as homeless people and drunkenness.

It’s not the best neighbourhood for a family; it’s better for young singles and couples.

New Edinburgh is a quieter, more affluent area and slightly farther from downtown than the others in this section, but handy for the nightlife of Byward Market.

More information on Centretown

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7.Beacon Hill North

Beacon Hill North is much closer to downtown than the areas we’ve already looked at, about 8 or 9 km north east of Parliament Hill. Its population is about 18,0050.

The main thing the area has to recommend it, in addition to better proximity to downtown, is Ottawa’s (probably) best public high school, Colonel By Secondary School. In 2015 Colonel By was ranked as the fourth best academic school in Ontario by The Fraser Institute.

In the Beacon Hill area, you’ll find the headquarters of Canada’s National Research Council and its large scientific research campus.

You won’t find many shops or restaurants in Beacon Hill North.

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8.Glebe – Dows Lake

The Glebe is handy for downtown, sitting just south of Centretown.

It’s slightly farther from downtown, which means it has a lower crime rate than Centretown – Byward Market – Sandy Hill.

The Glebe is a wealthy part of Ottawa, with well-educated people, large expensive houses, and a strong sense of community.

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