Neighbourhoods

Where to Buy Now: 5 best neighbourhood if cost is no issue

The theme of this section is pretty self-explanatory: these are the ’hoods to consider if your budget runs deep enough to buy all the ensuite bathrooms, granite countertops, and home theatres your heart desires. You might pay a premium for a central location and old-money neighbours (Rockcliffe, the Glebe) or for a mid-century-modern house straight out of Architectural Digest (Rothwell Heights). Perhaps a sleek modern mansion in the city (Alta Vista) or on a country acreage (Manotick) is more your style. Or maybe you just want to dream about what you would do with all that Lotto 6/49 money. Whatever floats your yacht, read on for ideas.

ALTA VISTA
Close to four hospitals and the cluster of medical associations near Alta Vista Drive and Smyth Road, Alta Vista is a popular choice for health professionals. Of her clients in this neighbourhood, Anneke Cundasawmy, a sales representative with RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Group, Brokerage, says, “I can’t even think of the last time somebody wasn’t in the med biz.” The priciest properties are usually large new houses that have slowly replaced some of the neighbourhood’s post-war bungalows. This is a ’hood for people who enjoy their peace and quiet, but big-box shopping, gyms, and entertainment (Trainyards, Lansdowne Park, South Keys) are a relatively short drive away.

Borders: Bank Street, Riverside Drive, Smythe Road, Lynda Lane, Grasshopper Hill Park, Kilborn Avenue
Condo prices (monthly average): N/A
Condos sold last year: 0
Non-condo prices (monthly average): $499,900 to $1,495,000
Non-condos sold last year: 56
People who go to work by car: 68%

Alta Vista boasts big lots, mature trees, a mix of architectural styles. Photo by RuivoBrown

THE GLEBE
Before the Tilley-hatted hordes rise up as one to yell, “There’s more to the Glebe than mansions,” we’ll concede that there are still some relatively modest row houses dotted throughout the area. However, it can’t be disputed that the ’hood is also home to many lovingly restored heritage houses and sleek infill properties. On top of that, it offers easy access to cute boutiques, quirky restaurants (I’m looking at you, JAM Cereal), more coffee shops than you can shake a latte at, and the Rideau Canal. You can walk to Lansdowne Park, see a game or movie, pick up something for dinner at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market or Ottawa’s only Whole Foods Market, and catch some live music at Irene’s Pub on the way home. Plus, you can easily walk or cycle downtown. All this leads to some eye-popping prices.

Borders: Bronson Avenue, the Queensway, the Rideau Canal
Condo prices (monthly average): $387,450 to $994,633
Condos sold last year: 36
Non-condo prices (monthly average): $650,000 to $1,289,500
Non-condos sold last year: 75
People who go to work by car: 48%

Access to nature and Bank Street shops, as well as an abundance of heritage home, draw many people to The Glebe. Photo by RuivoBrown

MANOTICK
If you want to spend your money on green space and fresh air, Manotick is a great place to look. Hidden away at the end of artfully landscaped drives, you’ll find some of the region’s largest houses, some backing onto the Rideau River. Many are new: 20 per cent of the area’s housing stock has sprung up since 2006. Manotick offers a rare combination of all mod cons and historical charm: Watson’s Mill, built in 1860, is one of the few remaining operating grist mills in Canada, and heritage buildings near it are home to a florist, a gingerbread bakery, and other fun shops. More growth for Manotick is on the horizon: last October, Ottawa City Council gave Minto the green light to add 897 more houses to its Mahogany subdivision, which will provide more customers for local shops and services but might also increase the existing 40-minute drive to downtown Ottawa in rush hour.

Borders: Village of Manotick and immediately adjacent rural areas
Condo prices (monthly average): N/A
Condos sold last year: 0
Non-condo prices (monthly average): $702,575 to $1,197,723
Non-condos sold last year: 130
People who go to work by car: 93%

ROTHWELL HEIGHTS
Just because you have a lot of money to spend doesn’t mean you want to spend it on a historic stone mansion built by a lumber baron or a brand new McMansion where the paint is still drying. Those whose tastes run to Danish modern furniture and abstract art may find themselves drawn to Rothwell Heights. Even smaller than Rockcliffe, with just 490 houses, it also has a lower profile: most people driving past the National Research Council’s campus on Montreal Road wouldn’t even think to turn north and check it out.

Borders: Blair Road, Ottawa River, Kaymar Drive, Delong Drive, Rothwell Drive, Cedar Road, Beckenham Lane, Montreal Road
Condo prices (monthly average): N/A
Condos sold last year: 0
Non-condo prices (monthly average): $965,760 to $2,222,000
Non-condos sold last year: 19
People who go to work by car: 85%

Meet the neighbours in Rothwell Heights:
Shauna and Mathieu are health care professionals who moved to Rothwell Heights in 2013.
We talked to them about why they moved to Rothwell Heights, and why they love their ‘hood.

Shauna and Mathieu with their children in their Rothwell Heights home. Photo by RuivoBrown

Our street: Our street, Kaymar Drive, is at the junction of Rothwell Heights and Beacon Hill. In the old days of Rothwell, it was a marshy area due to the low elevation. The area still has a bit of that cottage feel due to the lack of sidewalks and streetlights, and the wildlife. 

Previous residences: Prior to moving here, Mat lived in a semi-detached house in the Orleans area of Bradley Estates and Shauna lived in a two-bedroom condo in the Civic Hospital neighbourhood.

Prime motivators: We both grew up outside of the city — Mat in a village outside of Ottawa and Shauna on a farm — so we were used to a little more backyard space. We like modern houses and wanted a space that would fit our active lifestyle, but it seemed that many of the new modern houses were on tiny lots. One evening, they visited Rothwell Heights. It was dusk, the air was really fresh. The house was not what attracted us, but we were in the backyard, surrounded by the lovely old trees in this wonderful green space, when we saw the potential of the place. 

Favourite places in the ’hood: We are avid runners and cyclists, and we love the pathway down by the Ottawa River. We also have kayaks and like to drive up to Victoria Island and kayak downstream to our house. Our family loves biking to the marina, the Canada Space and Aviation Museum, and to parks. And we bike to our favourite places in New Edinburgh — Red Door Provisions and Sundae School. Dominion City Brewery is a favourite haunt year-round.

Also in this series: 
Where to Buy Now: 5 best neighbourhoods for first-time buyers
Where to Buy Now: 5 best neighbourhoods for growing families
Where to Buy Now: 5 best neighbourhoods for retirees

ROCKCLIFFE
Shady, secluded Rockcliffe — surrounded by the city but, until 2001, not part of it — has the elegance to which other upscale enclaves aspire. It’s defined by what it has (two private schools, ambassadors’ homes, and its own lake), as well as by what it doesn’t have (sidewalks, retailers, and through traffic). When outsiders think of Rockcliffe, they often picture century-old houses, but the ’hood has its fair share of modern places, many built by high-tech millionaires or developers. The Cowpland’s posh modern pad on Perley Court, with its 10,000 square feet of glassy opulence, regularly tops lists of Ottawa’s most expensive properties and was assessed at $14 million in 2016. With just 1,932 people living in roughly 700 houses, Rockcliffe doesn’t have a lot of turnover, but you can afford the time to consider your options: properties in this ’hood have been known to stay on the market for a year or more.

Borders: Lisgar Road (with sidetrack onto Princess Avenue), Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway, Acacia Avenue, Sandridge Road, Birch Avenue, Hemlock Road, Beechwood Avenue, Maple Lane
Condo prices (monthly average): $770,000 to $1,030,000
Condos sold last year: 2|
Non-condo prices (monthly average): $1,037,450 to $2,800,111
Non-condos sold last year: 25
People who go to work by car: 78%

This new build in Rockcliffe was recently listed for $3.88 million. Photo by Urszula Muntean