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There are all encompassing threads for postings to Winnipeg, Cold Lake, Petawawa, but I'm surprised there is nothing for Ottawa...so here we go (Mods, if my search skills have failed and there is an Ottawa thread please move this and feel free to kick me out).

I've finally been sucked in by the Ottawa vortex and will be moving the family there this summer. Working downtown initially but expect to relocate to the Carling Campus as part of the Phase II move (whenever that happens); so we're looking primarily in Kanata, with Barrhaven and Riverside South as other options. Looking in all three areas is a bit daunting so we want to rank some of the schools in order to narrow down our search.

So looking for advice from those who live/have lived in the aforementioned areas: any comments on french-immersion elementary schools? I've read the Fraser Institutes rankings but feel they only tell half the story; what are the teachers like? What kind of extracurriculars do they have (my oldest wants to start competing in track and field)? How is the school culture? Etc...

Thanks in advance!
 

dapaterson

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Lots of Qs come to mind - what age are the kids?  (Because kids outgrow schools almost as fast as they outgrow shoes).  What interests outside school do they have?  What sort of amenities do you & your significant other feel are important to have close by (recreation etc)?  Does your SO have a career that has to be considered?

What do you consider to be a reasonable commute?  What sort of commute do you prefer - driving, transit, biking, jogging, etc?

I know nothing of schools, but there are other pieces to the puzzle as well - a perfect school in an area you hate with nothing else going for it is probably not as good an option as an acceptable school in an areas you'll enjoy living.

Finally, the move to the Carling Campus is going to disrupt some of the traditional military neighbourhoods (Hello, Orleans, I'm talking to you) and the associated availability of houses from other military families that are posted out, so there may not be as much availability on the areas you want, due to competition from other military movers.  Be ready for some frustration.
 

IceBlue

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Rumour is that I am going there this summer too, so I'll be watching this thread.


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OttCap

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Life long Ottawa resident here, starting with the CF next week, I most certainly will not be posted to Ottawa but perhaps I can answer a few questions about the city.

I live in Kanata, the commute to downtown is brutal during the winter (over an hour on average). In the summer for some reason, it's under 45 mins and pretty good. Kanata and Stittsville are poorly serviced by bus if you don't have a car. Barrhaven has better bus service.

I used to live in Greely which is south of Riverside south, both are fairly easy commutes to downtown, about 30 mins, but limited in other nearby things.

If you get moved to Carling campus, Kanata and Stittsville are great areas to move to. Lots of parks, amenities, but a typical suburban area with lots of retail and commuting by car.
 

IceBlue

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How about bus services and retail in Kemptville? Is there anything there or is that looking too far out?
 

Pusser

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Kemptville is not part of Ottawa and a little too far out for my taste.  There are folks who commute from there, but it's at least 45 minute on the 416 before you hit the Ottawa city limits (which are big).  OC Transpo does not go to Kemptville, so you would likely be driving to a Park'n'Ride on the outskirts and then busing it to get downtown.  Carling is reported to have good parking though.

Stittsville appears to be taking over as the community of choice for military folks in Ottawa.  Barrhaven has a lot as well.  The PMQs are located on the old Uplands site (near the airport).

Ottawa South (Hunt Club/Riverside area) has excellent bus service to downtown and we're presuming eventually to Carling.
 

IceBlue

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I have heard that getting into the PMQs is near impossible. The biggest issue my wife and I are having in deciding where to live is that I will be starting my posting in NDHQ downtown then moving out to the campus sometime between 2018 and the year 3000  :p
 

George Wallace

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Kemptville is exploding in size.  It has good access to the Carling complex.  It is a very short drive into Ottawa.  Worth your time to have a look see.
 

Remius

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Riverside south is a pretty good spot and you are literally the same distance to every thing.  East, west, North, South.  With the Vimy Bridge that opened a few years ago you have access to everything in Barhaven and can make an easy commute to Carling.  Close to the airport etc etc.  Clsoe to Manotick.  Heck Manotick is awesome. 
 

Old Sweat

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Big Spoon said:
How about bus services and retail in Kemptville? Is there anything there or is that looking too far out?

I retired 22 years ago, but was and am still living in Kemptville. It is, as Pusser noted, 45 minutes out via 416, but is relatively convenient. Check the veteran's licence plates, for example.

For day to day retail, it has four supermarkets, Canadian Tire, Rona, Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, Marks, Staples, The Source, LCBO and Beer Store, etc. Schools are pretty good and the Catholic High School is rated as one of the best in Ontario. The hospital is small but very good. People come from Ottawa, especially the west end, to use the ER, as it is generally quicker including the drive than the ones in the city. Gas prices usually are lower than in the city.
 

IceBlue

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This is all great information, gives me a lot to think about. There is an old saying about assuming but I will tempt fate and do just that, I assume that you need to be catholic to go to the catholic high school.
 

George Wallace

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All those areas mentioned do have their pros and cons.  No one mentioned PRICE.  You may be able to find a place in Kemptville, for example, that will be $40K less than the same home in Riverside South or Barrhaven and Stittsville.  Kanata always seemed to have higher costs for homes.

Light Rail is supposed to go from Trim Road out to Moodie in a couple of years, so Orleans (PMQ East) may still be an option.
 

lohocard

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Inverted said:
There are all encompassing threads for postings to Winnipeg, Cold Lake, Petawawa, but I'm surprised there is nothing for Ottawa...so here we go (Mods, if my search skills have failed and there is an Ottawa thread please move this and feel free to kick me out).

I've finally been sucked in by the Ottawa vortex and will be moving the family there this summer. Working downtown initially but expect to relocate to the Carling Campus as part of the Phase II move (whenever that happens); so we're looking primarily in Kanata, with Barrhaven and Riverside South as other options. Looking in all three areas is a bit daunting so we want to rank some of the schools in order to narrow down our search.

So looking for advice from those who live/have lived in the aforementioned areas: any comments on french-immersion elementary schools? I've read the Fraser Institutes rankings but feel they only tell half the story; what are the teachers like? What kind of extracurriculars do they have (my oldest wants to start competing in track and field)? How is the school culture? Etc...

Thanks in advance!
Born and raised in Ottawa here. What trade are you that got you posted to Ottawa by any chance?

I live in Nepean, which is pretty much a 20ish minute drive to any sub part of town (Kanata, Barrhaven, Riverside South). MANY kids I knew grew up in Riverside south as it's a very nice area for pretty much everything. They got a new high school there about 5 ish years ago and it's doing well. Other than that, I don't really recommend Kanata. Hard getting in and out there on the highways during rush hour. My sister moved to Barrhaven this year and loves it. Everything is also close by, but I hear it's a bit pricey.

Good luck!


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OttCap

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Pusser said:
Kemptville is not part of Ottawa and a little too far out for my taste.  There are folks who commute from there, but it's at least 45 minute on the 416 before you hit the Ottawa city limits (which are big).  OC Transpo does not go to Kemptville, so you would likely be driving to a Park'n'Ride on the outskirts and then busing it to get downtown.  Carling is reported to have good parking though.

Stittsville appears to be taking over as the community of choice for military folks in Ottawa.  Barrhaven has a lot as well.  The PMQs are located on the old Uplands site (near the airport).

Ottawa South (Hunt Club/Riverside area) has excellent bus service to downtown and we're presuming eventually to Carling.

Kemptville isn't that far. About 45 mins from Ottawa on a good day. You're only 10 mins to the most southern city boundary of Ottawa, but still quite rural. 45-50 mins from Ottawa itself. It'd be about 30 mins to Carling campus.

Kemptville is right beside the highway so it isn't a bad trip into Ottawa or south to brockville. Kemptville has most stores you'd need, Walmart, groceries, LCBO, beer, the source, staples, etc. Living in greely, it's where I went for nearly everything to avoid the traffic in Ottawa.

Housing prices are cheaper than Ottawa although they are creeping up. Property taxes are still much cheaper than Ottawa though.

As for Ottawa suburbs, Kanata is probably the most expensive, barrhaven being #2. Orleans is cheaper for similar homes just because they have limited roadways. Commutes from Orleans to downtown are shorter but it is heavily congested. The total distance is only about 15-20km but it can take 45-60 mins because the east end of Ottawa was forgotten about for many years for road infrastructure. A lot of people commute by transit from Orleans because driving is awful. That being said, Orleans is better served by transit because of this, vs. Kanata.

Parking downtown will run $200+ a month as well. The closer to the downtown core will be creeping on $300. So keep that in mind as well. I'd imagine parking costs won't be an issue are Carling campus though.
 

OttCap

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Big Spoon said:
How about bus services and retail in Kemptville? Is there anything there or is that looking too far out?

Kemptville has just about all the retail you'd need. As far as bus services, there is absolutely none. Ottawa transit (OC Transpo) does have park & rides in most suburbs, that you could drive to and ride from there though. A friend of mine drives from kemptville for 30 mins to Moodie Dr. And catches a bus downtown from there to save on parking costs.
 

sailorprivateer

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What about the mid-20s people, where do they usually live? As much as I would like to live near my prospective workplace in the airport area, but the downtown is kind of appealing to me -- the coffee shops, lively, creative vibes, and etc. Which areas in Ottawa where young professionals, post-uni/college peeps live where you can score some fine Conservative staffer? You know like the Ottawa's version of Toronto's Liberty Village, Trinity-Bellwoods, and etc, you know where I'm going at  [:D

 

dapaterson

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Golden Triangle,  the Glebe, Beechwood are all that sort of place.  There's also Westboro and Hintonburg.

Are you looking to buy or rent?
 

sailorprivateer

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dapaterson said:
Golden Triangle,  the Glebe, Beechwood are all that sort of place.  There's also Westboro and Hintonburg.

Are you looking to buy or rent?
Thanks for your reply! I will most likely rent, 1 bedroom apartment or a loft. Either way, not picking which at this point in time. It's more of a plan for me just in case I get posted there in distant future.
 

Pusser

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Big Spoon said:
I have heard that getting into the PMQs is near impossible. The biggest issue my wife and I are having in deciding where to live is that I will be starting my posting in NDHQ downtown then moving out to the campus sometime between 2018 and the year 3000  :p

Everytime I drive through the PMQ patch, there seem to be a lot of empty ones. 

Orleans may be enticing but that may be foreshadowing of a coming crash.  With DND moving west, Orleans is becoming less desirable.  In fact a lot of folks (mostly civilian DND employees) were really upset with Carling choice because of the commute they foresaw.  The outcry was enough that their MP actually engaged the government on the issue.  Right now though, Orleans is better served by OC Transpo than Kanata, Barrhaven and other western suburbs.  However, I suspect that will change as more folks move to the west end.  Most military folks moving into Ottawa seem to be looking more to Barrhaven and Stittsville.
 
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