Neighbourhoods

Where To Buy Now: ALTA VISTA

Where: Transitway, Pleasant Park Road, Alta Vista Drive, Smyth Road, green space east of Lynda Lane Park, Walkley Road, Heron Road, Bank Street
OREB code: 3604, 3605, 3606, 3607, 3608, 3609
Price range early 2015: $164,000 to $2,000,000
By the numbers:
Screen shot 2015-05-21 at 2.16.24 PM
If you like mid-century-modern bungalows and split-levels, Alta Vista is a treasure trove. Most of the area’s houses were built in the 1950s and 1960s by a mix of developers and individual homeowners. The result is a pleasing mélange of housing styles on big lots shaded by mature trees — all within a short drive of hospitals, the Rideau River, shopping, and downtown.

So why here, why now? Many of the original owners are selling, and prices are starting to rise as shoppers with deep pockets buy properties for the land value alone and replace existing houses with McMansions.

Also, the neighbourhood is about to undergo an extensive construction project on its northern edge to connect the Transitway to the Ottawa Hospital campus. In the short term, the construction chaos may dissuade some potential buyers from checking out the neighbourhood, decreasing competition.

In the long term, the improved Transitway access may make the area even more desirable. But in the very long term, this project may be the first step in the long-planned, highly controversial use of the Alta Vista Transportation Corridor for additional roads, rail, or Transitway routes. Stay tuned.

What’s There:

Nature

Pleasant Park Woods
Off Lynda Lane, south of Pleasant Park Road

Even though a number of dead ash trees and invasive buckthorns were removed, the city and a band of keen volunteers planted 2,500 new trees in 2014. As a result, Pleasant Park Woods still lives up to its name as an enjoyable place for a stroll. It’s home to some 42 wildlife species and 175 plant species.

Schools

Lycée Claudel
1635 Riverside Dr.
Riverview Alternative School
260 Knox Cres.
Canterbury High School
900 Canterbury Ave.
These three schools are slightly outside the boundaries of the neighbourhood, but all are a quick drive (or walk) away. The private Lycée Claudel offers the preschool to secondary program of the French Ministry of National Education to students from some 45 countries. The public Riverview Alternative School focuses on child-centred co-operative learning. The arts program at Canterbury High School draws students from across the city.

Museums

Billings estate
Photography: City of Ottawa

Billings Estate Museum
2100 Cabot St.
Completed in 1829, the Billings Estate is Ottawa’s oldest residence. A museum since 1975, this National Historic Site offers kid-friendly activities and exhibitions on Ottawa’s past. Feeling Downton Abbey-ish? From mid-May until late August, enjoy high tea on the lawn.