• $500   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $1242   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $1965   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of  Canada)

Most errands require a car. 5
Gothic government, 24-hour skating rink
dog friendly, public transit, winter recreation, snow sports 6
rich folks, useless highway, sketchington estates, rich italians, party beach, great place to do shrooms, great donuts, complainersville, dog owners heaven, best brunch in canada, haitianville, best ice cream in town, french side of ottawa, I cannot speak the english land, techtown, every retired person lives here, and scarborough-on-the-Rideau are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Ottawa roommate rundown:

Ottawa is the capital of Canada, and the headquarters of the Canadian government. Many stately federal buildings feature very formal architecture, including Gothic revival. The rest of the city remains under building height restrictions so all of Ottawa can appreciate their Gothic Government from a variety of outdoor angles.

And if you'd like to appreciate from indoors, you can schedule yourself a free tour.

The government is their largest employer. You are required to be a Canadian citizen or obtain a work visa to work in Ottawa. Most jobs with the government require speaking both English and French.

Ottawa also hosts the National Defence Headquarters, including the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence. You can also watch the Ceremonial Guard changeover in summer.

And in winter, downtown becomes a wonderland of pedestrian friendly streets, many pedestrian only, including pedestrian malls. All downtown is better explored on foot than by car, and most walking lanes welcome dogs too.

Bicyclers are also welcomed with protected lanes downtown, bike paths along the Rideau canal, around the lakes, and through Gatineau Park. They also cross the city. There are even free basic bike repair stations along paths and at several public libraries.

And snow will not slow the snacks. You'll see carts for taffy on snow (freshly boiled maple syrup on snow), BeaverTails (hand-stretched fried dough served hot, with cinnamon sugar to cheesecake to "bananarama" toppings), and various fried foods including corn dogs, sausage-in-a-bun, and poutine.

Poutine? It's as popular here as elsewhere in Canada - french fries or tater tots served with cheese curds and gravy on top. Then on top of that, maybe:   bacon, butter chicken, buffalo wings, caramelized onion, cheddar cheese, chili, chipotle pulled pork, flat-iron steak, grilled chicken, ground beef, fried cauliflower, fried chicken, guacamole, jalapenos, Korean BBQ sauce, mushrooms, onion rings, Philly Cheesesteak, ranch dressing, red peppers, sambal, smoked meat, sour cream, sriracha, peas . . . or pierogies!

In other striking scenery, the Rideau Canal that hosts boats in summer becomes the world's largest skating rink in winter! If not the first day of winter, after 30 centimeters of solid ice has formed, requiring 2 weeks of consecutive temps lower than -10 degrees Celsius.

And when it's open, it's open 24 hours a day for free. You can skate, sleigh, or ice tricycle along its seven plus kilometers. (The more casually athletic can walk along the connected pathways.) There are rest areas with public bathrooms, heated changing rooms, fire pits, and picnic tables.

You and your roommates should avoid recently snow-plowed and snow-crusty unsafe edges, and warm up at one of the heated stations whenever you feel the chill through your bottom layer. Hats, gloves, hockey or ski helmets, plus wrist guards are recommended for everyone. If you visit at night, take care any maintenance crews operating equipment can definitely see you too.

Unlike most of the rest of outdoor Ottawa, you can't hit the Rideau Canal Skateway with non-service dogs, bicycles, skis, or snowshoes.

Alcoholic beverages are also not allowed, although with several retail stations serving the coffee that is . . . we're not sure who would object if something from a flask found its way into your coffee cup?

However, there is a Skate Patrol. With a hotline.

So chill on . . . whatever. Because if an Ottawan summons skate patrollers because you're obviously drunk as a skunk?    Yet skating?

That'll be awkward for everyone.

The rest of the Ottawa roommate lowdown:

  • along the Ottawa River at the Ontario-Quebec border
  • city population approximately 1 million, greater metro almost 1.5 million
  • Ottawa's winter climate is more severe than most of eastern Canada due to their distance from water. Snow and ice are often on the ground from November-April. Remind roommates from warmer cities they will need to bundle up, more than they probably imagine, including covering most exposed skin. In addition to a serious winter coat, they'll need a hat and gloves, probably a scarf and heavier boots too.
  • Despite the northern location, summer temperatures still run high and mosquitoes are a problem near water.
  • In addition to the federal government, about 130 embassies or diplomatic missions are also nearby.
  • Most Ottawans speak English, about 15% speak French natively.
  • home to Algonquin College, Carleton University, College La Cite, Dominican University College, Saint Paul University, Universite du Quebec, and the University of Ottawa
  • also hosts a lot of hospitals, medical education, and medical associations
  • Ottawa is generally pretty safe. Some robbery and assault are periodically reported around depopulated train and bus stations late at night, so take extra care or avoid areas with fewer people, whenever possible. (But this advice also applies to all other cities on this list with late night public transport stations.)
  • Yes, with all that ice, all forms of hockey are popular. Ottawa 67's (OHL), Ottawa Senators (NHL), and Ottawa 67's junior ice hockey are popular too.
  • Along with hockey and the usual winter sports, Ottawa has winter extras like outdoor ice skating (various) and ice fishing. Extras because these outdoor sports require many consecutive days below certain temps. Otherwise, even if a local body of water looks frozen, it can't be certified sufficiently solid for safety.

After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Ottawa's:

  • Parliament Hill: Canada's centre of democracy, Gothic revival style. There are a few free guided tours you and your roommates could experience. So large something is often closed for renovation, but that usually leaves other blocks or chambers available, and they tour separately anyway. Even though free, you'll need to reserve your ticket at least an hour ahead of time. Tours happen only at limited times for a limited number, so sometimes book up in advance.
  • Ottawa Art Gallery: You and your roommates could go on a guided group tour, or if it's the last Thursday of the month, learn sketching techniques at Sketchy Thursdays. Or there's a monthly Happy Hour, with cocktails, snacks prepared by their culinary team, and live music from local musicians.
  • Ottawa Chamberfest: Since 1994, their two-week long festival is one of the longest chamber music concert series in the world.
  • Bluesfest: Largest blues festival in Canada. Also rock and pop, plus audience from the US.
  • Trans Canada Trail: This is the longest network of recreational trails in the world. It joins with Ottawa along the Ottawa River then crosses over into Quebec, into Gatineau Park and beyond.

Here's the city of Ottawa's cycling maps with route planners, with filtering options for unsafe roads, sidewalks, damp areas, dark alleys, and stoplights, along with other bike activism community resources.


1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.

2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.

3.   From zumper.com.

5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.

6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.

7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.