The Ultimate Neighbourhood Rankings
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Every year more sleek condos and infill houses replace small houses in Hintonburg - Mechanicsville. As a result, the ’hood has experienced more resident turnover than some others on this list: 54.5 per cent of locals have moved in the past five years versus the city-wide average of 39.6 per cent. With easy access to both the Tunney’s Pasture and Bayview LRT stations, residents of Hintonburg are almost twice as likely as the average Ottawan to walk, cycle, or take transit to work. There’s no shortage of coffee shops, as well as community hubs such as the Great Canadian Theatre Company and the Parkdale Market.
This hood includes the ’60s-era apartments and townhomes that circle around Bayshore Park, as well as the former cottage community of Belltown, where family homes and lowrises line the leafy side streets. There’s no shortage of retail: Bayshore Shopping Centre predominates, but there is also a large selection of take-out options. Those small, specialized grocery stores on Carling Avenue place Bayshore – Belltown on par with downtown areas in this category. The ’hood overlaps Andrew Hayden Park, — where the Ron Kolbus Centre offers weekend events, tennis courts and a community centre — as well as summer fun at Britannia Beach.
Here’s a neighbourhood where car commuting is relatively uncommon, as three-quarters of residents walk, cycle, or take transit to work. A surge of apartment construction has added lots of new housing stock to this neighbourhood recently: one in six housing units in Centretown has been built since 2000 and one in three since 1980. Attracted by the wide selection of retail and restaurants, parks, gyms, and museums, many of the people in those new apartments are millennials, who make up 45.3 per cent of the ’hood’s population.
This ’hood offers a huge range of local events, including block parties and a backyard youth Shakespearean theatre company. Though only 16.3 per cent commute by transit, compared with the city-wide average of 20.6 per cent, roughly a third walk or bike to work — perhaps making use of recreational paths along the Rideau Canal and Rideau River. New multi-unit developments are in the works beside Southminster United Church and on Bank Street between Aylmer and Euclid avenues. Those new residents will live a stone’s throw from the Sunnyside branch of the Ottawa Public Library, the Ottawa South Community Centre, as well as plenty of cafes and restaurants.
This neighbourhood is known for its heritage houses and sleek infill properties, as well as the cute boutiques, specialty shops, and cafes of Bank Street. The Rideau Canal pathways attract people year-round and connect the area to downtown, while Lansdowne Park offers sporting events and movies, Whole Foods, and the Ottawa Farmers’ Market. Its proximity to downtown means that residents are less likely to commute by car (46.5 per cent vs. city score of 68.4 per cent). It’s also a relatively bilingual neighborhood, with 45.7 per cent speaking both English and French (compared to the city score of 37.7 per cent).
This area includes Chinatown and Little Italy, so there’s plenty of commercial activity on the main streets of Preston and Somerset — and lots of diversity when it comes to housing. Developers are building big condos and small infill buildings, but there are still plenty of older homes (43 per cent of houses were built before 1960, compared to the city score of 17.6 per cent). With quiet side streets and a network of bike paths, 35.3 per cent of Centretown residents walk or bike to work (compared with the city score of 10 per cent).
Island Park - Wellington West
This area includes areas north and south of Wellington Street West/Richmond Road, as well as Hampton Park and residential areas around Tunney’s Pasture. Tree-lined streets and large lots have helped to turn this area into a trendy area that attracts growing families. Older homes are also a draw: nearly 70 per cent of dwellings were built before 1960 (compared to the city score of 17.6 per cent). Newer condominium developments complement those original homes, which are increasingly being renovated or knocked down and rebuilt. An array of food and shopping options mean that 98.2 per cent of residents within a 15-minute walk to an establishment that is open late and serves alcohol.
This neighbourhood ranks near the top of all Ottawa ’hoods when it comes to walkability, coffee shops, and grocery stores. It’s one of the most transient communities: 58.9 per cent of residents have moved within the past five years (compared with city score of 39.6). Proximity to Global Affairs Canada and Parliament Hill explain why the Market has one of the lowest proportions of driving commuters in the city (28.9 per cent) and one of the highest percentages of people who walk to work (46.1 per cent).
Located east of King Edward and south of Rideau Street, Lowertown sits on the banks of the Rideau River. Riverside Bordeleau Park attracts tennis players and dog walkers, and connects the ’hood to the Rideau River pathways, and MacDonald Gardens Park offers a quiet oasis from the bustle of Rideau. There’s lots of housing and amenities aimed at students of nearby University of Ottawa, and it’s a fairly transient area — over 50 per cent of the residents have moved in the past five years (compared with city score of 39.6). Lowertown is one of the more bilingual neighborhoods, with 48.4 per cent of the population speaking English and French (compared with city score of 37.7).
Laurentian encompasses parts of Carlingwood, Laurentian View, McKellar Park, and Highland Park. It attracts families with amenities such as the Dovercourt Recreation Centre and the McKellar Park tennis courts, and the stretch of Carling Avenue near Carlingwood Shopping Centre is popular with seniors. Older homes are also a draw: 51 per cent of dwellings were built before 1960 (compared with city score of 17.6 per cent) With good access to bike paths and transit routes, residents are more likely to walk, bike, or take transit to work (38 per cent compared with city score of 30.6 per cent).
This neighbourhood features a mix of condo towers, modern infill housing, and post-war homes: 64.7 per cent of homes were built before 1980, while 24.5 per cent have sprung up in the past 20 years. Greenspaces include the paths along the Sir John A. Macdonald and Westboro Beach, as well as leafy Hampton Park. The main commercial strip of Richmond Road offers a village vibe, with plenty of restaurants, shops, services, and grocery stores, while the area near Carling Avenue offers another grocery store and more take-out options.
Carlingwood West features a relatively large stock of older houses, as well as apartment towers in the northwest corner and new builds in the southeast corner. Everyone in Carlingwood West lives within a 15-minute walk of a grocery store, and Carling Avenue takeout options are a draw. Pathways along the Ottawa River offer greenspace, and the YMCA-YWCA inside nearby Carlingwood Mall offers a pool and programs for all ages. When Stage 2 of LRT construction wraps up, the neighbourhood will have one station within its borders and two just beyond its edges.
Bordered by cute Beechwood Avenue, busy Montreal Road, and two large cemeteries, Vanier North is marked by its quaint residential streets lined with older homes (68.5 per cent of dwellings were built before 1980, compared with the city score of 48.2 per cent). A cluster of apartment towers near the Rideau River Parkway, and new condos on Beechwood Avenue, add to the mix. Nearly 100 per cent of residents live within a walking distance to a coffee shop, a grocery store, and specialty shop; those walks are made more interesting by historical landmarks sprinkled throughout, while the Rideau River offers walking paths and green space.
This slice of Vanier sits between Montreal Road and McArthur Avenue, both of which offer shops, services, grocery stores, and eateries. The dwellings are mainly of one-storey houses and apartment buildings; over 75 per cent were built before 1980. Greenspace near the Rideau River attracts dog walkers, families, and baseball players, and the new footbridge in nearby Overbrook makes connecting to the city easier. On the other side of the ’hood, near St. Laurent Boulevard, the St. Laurent Park has been earmarked for a renewal project with the City.
Over half the houses in Lindenlea - New Edinburgh were built before 1950, making this ’hood a favourite with homebuyers seeking vintage charm. Beechwood Avenue, the main commercial thoroughfare, is within easy walking distance and offers plenty of shops and service. Nearby Rideau River and Ottawa River parklands are popular green spaces, as are the grounds around the Rockliffe Park pavilion and the Governor General’s residence, Rideau Hall . When it comes to commuting, 18.2 per cent of residents get to work on foot or by bike (compared with the city score of 10 per cent) and three bus routes provide frequent service to the rest of the city.
With Innes Road on one side and St. Joseph Boulevard on the other, this east-end neighbourhood offers residents plenty of restaurants and specialty shops, plus there are two grocery stores and a few cafes within its boundaries. Sprinkled with small parks and close to notable destinations such as the Shenkman Arts Centre, Landmark Cinemas Orleans, and Mer Bleue Conservation Area, Orléans Village - Chateauneuf attracts growing families and is one of the most bilingual neighbourhoods in the city, with 55.9 per cent of residents speaking both English and French (versus the city score of 37.7 per cent).
In Sandy Hill, every block or two seems to bring a change in vibe. On the western edge, there are condos, the Ottawa Mission, rooming houses, University of Ottawa buildings, and student housing. (Its high student population means 31.5 per cent of residents have moved within the past year, compared with 13.5 per cent for the city.) To the north, mansions built by Victorian VIPs line narrow streets. In the section south of Laurier Avenue East and east of King Edward Avenue, houses generally increase in grandeur. Sandy Hill residents are drawn to the shops and restaurants along Laurier Avenue East, the amenities at the university, and Strathcona Park on the Rideau River.
Bordered by Algonquin College on Woodroffe Avenue and the commercial strip of Merivale Avenue, within this neighbourhood are many small parks — 100 per cent of residents are within a 15 minute walk of a baseball diamond or soccer field. People are drawn to the older homes — nearly 75 per cent of dwellings were built before 1980 — as well as the shops on Woodroffe and Merivale that offer grocery stores, restaurants, and shops of all kinds.
Considered part of Elmvale Acres, this neighbourhood is bounded by Lancaster Road on the north and east, Walkley Road on the south, and St-Laurent Boulevard to the west. While there is little commercial activity around the homes, the majority of which were built in the 1960s and 1970s, three grocery stores and plenty of shops and services sit just outside the ‘hood. Hawthorne Meadows - Sheffield Glen is also very close to the recently renovated Canada Science and Technology Museum, St. Laurent Shopping Centre, and the huge international grocery store Mid-East Food Centre. Confederation House on Walkley Road offers programs for all ages and acts as a community hub.
Stretching from Carlingwood Mall to Cineplex on Carling Avenue, this large neighbourhood was first developed in the 1950s, and nearly 70 per cent of the dwellings were built before 1980. Residents are close to IKEA and the other big box retail near the intersection of Pinecrest and Greenbank, as well as the specialty shops of Carling. The greenspace surrounding the transitway offers a splash pad, pedestrian pathways, and an overall buffer to the busier thoroughfares. That transitway also helps people get around — over 30 per cent of Whitehaven residents take public transit to work, which is comparable with downtown neighbourhoods such as Lowertown and Vanier.
This east-end ’hood is close to the Queensway and Rideau River, where the new Adawe footbridge makes it easier for bikers and walkers to connect to the rest of downtown. Several low-rise condo developments have sprung up recently, adding to the mix of veterans’ houses, mid-century homes, and infill projects (72.9 per cent of dwellings were built before 1980). Commercial areas on McArthur Avenue and St. Laurent Boulevard mean that 95.3 per cent of residents are within a 15-minute walk of a grocery store (compared with the city score of 60.3 per cent), and the St. Laurent Shopping Centre offers mall staples such as fashion boutiques and fast-food.
Aside from commercial development along Bank Street and Hunt Club Road, this area is almost completely residential. Residents are attracted by the older housing stock and relative proximity to downtown — transit commuting stands at 29.2 per cent, well above the city average of 20.6 per cent, and bike paths connect well to the rest of the city. Plus, when the LRT Trillium Line Stage 2 extensions to the airport and Riverside South open, the area will have two LRT stations (Greenboro and South Keys) and rail access to additional parts of the city.
Since the days it attracted thousands of visitors to Britannia Beach, this area has had a cottagey feel. City pathways cross through Andrew Hayden Park, and much of the hood is taken up by greenspace surrounding Mud Lake and Britannia Bay. The quiet streets that circle Mud Lake are primarily from the 1960s and 70s. Commercial hubs include the Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre — where an OC Transpo station helps 34 per cent of residents commute — and an array of services and take-out on Carling Avenue.
We scored each neighbourhood in 10 categories:
(normalizing the results into ranges from 0 to 100)
- Walkability Using WalkScore, this indicator gives top marks to areas that do not require a car to do daily errands, while the lowest scores indicate an area where almost all errands require a car.
- Coffee Shops Resident access to a coffee shop within a 15-minute walk.
- Grocery stores Resident access to a grocery store within a 15-minute walk.
- Public transit Use of public transit for commuting between home and work.
- Housing mobility Proportion of the population who moved in the past year, relative to population size
- Housing suitability Proportion of residents living in suitable accommodations according to the National Occupancy Standard, which calls for a dwelling to have enough bedrooms for the size and composition of the household.
- Children The number of residents aged 0 - 14, proportional to the population size.
- Diversity Proportion of residents who identify as a visible minority, as described by Statistics Canada
- Parks Resident access to a summer outdoor sport area such as a baseball diamond, skateboard park, or school yard within a 15-minute walk.
- Commute times Proportion of residents whose commute to work is less than 15 minutes