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Old 04-11-2012, 12:02 AM   #1
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Opinion on Kanata, Ottawa

Apologies if there's a better subforum for this; VOT traffic is useful and I need to make a decision quick.

I'm a new grad contemplating moving to Kanata, Ottawa for a full time position. I've lived in Vancouver my whole life, and have always enjoyed the city type life. I was in Waterloo a few weeks ago for an interview and didn't really enjoy that small town feel. Would Kanata be similar? Anyone have experience living there? Cost, housing, entertainment, transportation etc? I'll be working in the high-tech area in Kanata.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:36 AM   #2
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I have family that live in Kanata, Ottawa and when I visited there, it seemed like a medium sized type town. Its not a small sized area so there are attractions and commercial/retail stores for easy transition comparing to Vancouver.

Its definitely difficult for some ppl when changing from large to medium or even small areas, but there are many cultures so meeting new ppl is easy. Many years ago, my aunt and uncle would tell me how bad their snowstorms were and snow would be up to their knees as the norm. But recently they have retired and started travelling so their daily lives arent in Kanata.

There are more asian supermarkets and restaurants now compared to years ago when I visited and there were only 2 dimsum restaurants, so choices were limited. Not sure if thats important to you but food for thought. Seeking western styled food would be easy as there are more selections.

Not sure about housing prices, best to check with local realtor or their MLS listing sites. One of my cousins purchased a duplex, but I will ask how much she paid and reply back later. But if you already have a good job ready then shouldnt be any worries.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:18 AM   #3
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it really depends on yourself. it's important to find a good work-life balance and it all depends on your priorities.

kanata is pretty much a suburb of ottawa right?

ottawa has a T&T now so if you are asian, you can get asian groceries there. bigger city with more people... it's really fun in the summer due to tons of tourists... it's got a nice vibe. but winter is dreary... oh gawd


i'm in waterloo right now and it has it's ups and downs.
only about an hour drive from toronto which has everything you need.

waterloo is like a ghetto version of the silicon valley of canada. lots of tech companies and even small start up business in the tech sector. of course, you have RIM (let's not get into that)

not sure about the tech market in kanata but i assume if you are more focused on your career, waterloo is a better choice?

but i agree, waterloo is really small and it doesn't offer much. lol
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:22 AM   #4
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Kanata is the western suburban outskirts of Ottawa. It is filled with box stores. It is getting developed like crazy. One reason for this is the fact it is much cheaper than Ottawa itself. Townhouses will range from $230,000 up, and obviously prices increase from there(all never cookie cutter homes, think Calgary...). Obviously the weather is much colder than BC in the winter, but a hell of a lot warmed in the summer. Ottawa itself is a brilliant city. So very clean, and downtown is a lot of fun in the summer. Social life is boring in the winter, so I hope you have some hobbies. If your working in Kanata, you don't really have to live out there. Easy acccess to Barrhaven, or even Ottawa itself is easy as long as you will be going against the flow of traffic.

Good luck. I lived in Ottawa for a year and decided to move back to BC as my job is flexible, but Ottawa itself is a great city.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:44 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the response.

I should have clarified and said rental cost rather than housing cost, as I clearly won't be able to afford a place . I've looked around on Craigslist and kijiji and it's been difficult finding a 1BR/1BA as almost everything is either shared-room or an entire housing rental. I heard the tech market was bigger in Kanata than Waterloo as Waterloo only really has RIM (from my personal experience) whereas Ottawa has RIM, Cisco, IBM, etc.

Asian market plays a factor! I was very sad when I only saw one Asian market in Waterloo/Kitchener. It's good to hear that there is a T&t, albeit in downtown Ottawa. How many months of the year does it snow in Ottawa? I'm planning to rely on public transport as I don't want to buy a car until I have some stability with the company and the city.

I'm currently debating if I should live by the high-tech companies (walking distance), or live closer to downtown Ottawa and bus to work on a daily basis. Any opinions?
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:38 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the response.

I should have clarified and said rental cost rather than housing cost, as I clearly won't be able to afford a place . I've looked around on Craigslist and kijiji and it's been difficult finding a 1BR/1BA as almost everything is either shared-room or an entire housing rental. I heard the tech market was bigger in Kanata than Waterloo as Waterloo only really has RIM (from my personal experience) whereas Ottawa has RIM, Cisco, IBM, etc.

Asian market plays a factor! I was very sad when I only saw one Asian market in Waterloo/Kitchener. It's good to hear that there is a T&t, albeit in downtown Ottawa. How many months of the year does it snow in Ottawa? I'm planning to rely on public transport as I don't want to buy a car until I have some stability with the company and the city.

I'm currently debating if I should live by the high-tech companies (walking distance), or live closer to downtown Ottawa and bus to work on a daily basis. Any opinions?
T&T is near the airport.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:02 AM   #7
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I'm a new grad contemplating moving to Kanata, Ottawa for a full time position. I've lived in Vancouver my whole life, and have always enjoyed the city type life. I was in Waterloo a few weeks ago for an interview and didn't really enjoy that small town feel. Would Kanata be similar? Anyone have experience living there? Cost, housing, entertainment, transportation etc? I'll be working in the high-tech area in Kanata.
Have you spent any time around Kanata or Ottawa? It's a gorgeous area but I still get that small town feel outside of, and often even in the downtown core. Outside of Toronto, life moves slower in Ontario. Local public transportation is good year-round and it's easy to hop on the Greyhound or Via to Montreal or Toronto (either of which where you certainly can get your city fix). I admit I never really missed "the city" in Waterloo because I would go in to Toronto most weekends, and that was never more than a 1:20 bus ride or 1 hour drive away.

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I should have clarified and said rental cost rather than housing cost, as I clearly won't be able to afford a place . I've looked around on Craigslist and kijiji and it's been difficult finding a 1BR/1BA as almost everything is either shared-room or an entire housing rental. I heard the tech market was bigger in Kanata than Waterloo as Waterloo only really has RIM (from my personal experience) whereas Ottawa has RIM, Cisco, IBM, etc.

Asian market plays a factor! I was very sad when I only saw one Asian market in Waterloo/Kitchener. It's good to hear that there is a T&t, albeit in downtown Ottawa. How many months of the year does it snow in Ottawa? I'm planning to rely on public transport as I don't want to buy a car until I have some stability with the company and the city.

I'm currently debating if I should live by the high-tech companies (walking distance), or live closer to downtown Ottawa and bus to work on a daily basis. Any opinions?
There are more tech companies in both Waterloo and Toronto than Ottawa actually. More of the jobs in Waterloo are software based (sounds like you're looking more at hardware) although there are a sprinkling of just about every type of company around the region. Regarding snow, don't worry so much about the snow. Worry about the cold. The sidewalks in Ontario are cleared of snow better than the main roads in Vancouver. You'll be amazed. The biggest thing to adapt to is the cold. Last time I was in Ottawa it was -25. I went skiing in Chelsea, QC (a short drive away) and at the hill it was something like -32 before the windchill. Buy lots of layers.

My personal suggestion for living arrangements would be to find a few grad students or other young professionals to live with there, at least for the first 8 months or so. It'll be cheaper, you'll get to know some more people there right away and get to know the town and area. If you live for 4 months each, once downtown and once closer to your work, you'll have a much better idea of where you want to be permanently. I spent a summer downtown and I loved it but easy access to the bars isn't necessarily worth it compared to travel time to work and back.

edit: also, post 666
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:12 AM   #8
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Have you spent any time around Kanata or Ottawa? It's a gorgeous area but I still get that small town feel outside of, and often even in the downtown core. Outside of Toronto, life moves slower in Ontario. Local public transportation is good year-round and it's easy to hop on the Greyhound or Via to Montreal or Toronto (either of which where you certainly can get your city fix). I admit I never really missed "the city" in Waterloo because I would go in to Toronto most weekends, and that was never more than a 1:20 bus ride or 1 hour drive away.



There are more tech companies in both Waterloo and Toronto than Ottawa actually. More of the jobs in Waterloo are software based (sounds like you're looking more at hardware) although there are a sprinkling of just about every type of company around the region. Regarding snow, don't worry so much about the snow. Worry about the cold. The sidewalks in Ontario are cleared of snow better than the main roads in Vancouver. You'll be amazed. The biggest thing to adapt to is the cold. Last time I was in Ottawa it was -25. I went skiing in Chelsea, QC (a short drive away) and at the hill it was something like -32 before the windchill. Buy lots of layers.

My personal suggestion for living arrangements would be to find a few grad students or other young professionals to live with there, at least for the first 8 months or so. It'll be cheaper, you'll get to know some more people there right away and get to know the town and area. If you live for 4 months each, once downtown and once closer to your work, you'll have a much better idea of where you want to be permanently. I spent a summer downtown and I loved it but easy access to the bars isn't necessarily worth it compared to travel time to work and back.
Thanks! I have not personally lived in Ottawa. In fact, it was my first time in Waterloo as well and it was a huge shock for me! I prefer the bustling lifestyle of Hong Kong and Vancouver (to an extent).

It's great to hear that the snow gets cleared up fast... but I've personally never experienced the sub 20 temperature. How many months do you expect to have sub 20 temperature?
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:13 AM   #9
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I use to live in Kanata Lakes. Have you looked at the two huge orange high rises? they always have vacancy from what i could remember it was on Campeau drive and Kanata Ave right across from centrum plaza. The weather is shit in ottawa so be prepared.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:21 AM   #10
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If you've lived in Vancouver all your life, I'd say the biggest challenges / changes aren't so much related Kanata itself. As others have already pointed out, Kanata is right next to Ottawa, and I personally find Ottawa to have a very similar feel compared to Vancouver.

For me at least, the #1 difference is the climate. Ontario weather sucks. It's true that it doesn't rain nearly as much as we do here, but it is still too hot in the summer, too frickin cold and way too frickin dry in the winter. Autumn is incredible, and you'd never understand why our national flag has a big red maple leaf in the center until you've spent an autumn in the East Coast. But when the weather is only agreeable for 2 months out of the whole year, that's something I would personally take into account.

Another major difference is the pace. Ottawa is already a lot better than Toronto, but people on the East Coast just seem to have a completely different pace to life than us West Coasters. We are generally very laid back and relaxed here. Not so in the East Coast. But I can totally understand how some people think we are too slow and relaxed here. I respect that.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:21 AM   #11
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My friend moved to Ottawa to attend Carleton in the 90's and I used to visit regularly. It's a nice area other than the snow storms and very hot summers. He's a family man now and finds it great to raise a family as the housing is affordable and there are good amenities.

He had a good time as a young professional there too though but it's not like he was out hitting the nightclubs and all - he's a sports journalist.

If you're the quiet type, enjoy nature and friendly people I think you'll like Kanata/Ottawa. I moved to Victoria 2 1/2 years ago and it's a lot like Ottawa and I love it here.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:26 AM   #12
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Ottawa as a city IS pretty nice, despite being the home of Parliament. Kanata would probably be the equivalent to... I dunno, Abbotsford, suburb-wise? If you like hockey, it's the home of Scotiabank Place, so you could actually catch the Canucks once every couple years (or even become a Sens fan).
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:31 AM   #13
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Thanks! I have not personally lived in Ottawa. In fact, it was my first time in Waterloo as well and it was a huge shock for me! I prefer the bustling lifestyle of Hong Kong and Vancouver (to an extent).

It's great to hear that the snow gets cleared up fast... but I've personally never experienced the sub 20 temperature. How many months do you expect to have sub 20 temperature?
To be fair, it doesn't get that cold all the time. You'll probably get 3 cold spells throughout a winter where you'll have a few days or a week going down to -20. Looks like the average winter high is -5 or so.
Check out the stats here: Statistics: Kanata, Ontario - The Weather Network

The Ottawa region is nice because it has many of the outdoors perks of living in Vancouver, just on a smaller scale. Skiing/boarding in Quebec (no Whistler of course [not really even even Hemlock] but at least it's something). Awesome lakes and rivers for activities as well and your proximity to Algonquin park for all types of recreation (there's something awesome about the novelty of having a picture taken in the same spot, once with a dogsled team, and once in a kayak). A couple of pics from the area that I have on hand (kayaking off Bate Island during the summer and last ski trip, not even one run yet and my face was already burning from the cold):
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:34 AM   #14
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(or even become a Sens fan).
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:03 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the feedback.

Canucks jersey is coming along for the ride.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:52 AM   #16
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if i had to live in ottawa it be kanata lol
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:24 PM   #17
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if i had to live in ottawa it be kanata lol
Could you elaborate more, or is it for the reasons stated above?

In addition, do you guys know of any affordable services I could use to ship things from Vancouver to Ottawa? I don't have much to bring, but I would like to bring my computer, monitor, etc. It seems costly to bring extra packages with me on the plane.
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:46 PM   #18
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Ok so my cousin purchased a new duplex, only one side and approx. Size was 1300sqft for 2 levels, 2 bdrms for $280,000.

But if you are looking to rent, then never mind lol...
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:55 PM   #19
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How good is the job? I'd personally try and find something in the GTA if possible. Lots more going on there. I took a day trip down to Ottawa and my impression was that it felt very small-town, almost as much so as Waterloo. If Waterloo wasn't just an hour away from Toronto I probably would've become severely depressed over the last year

Edit: actually supafamous nailed it - Ottawa feels just like Victoria. I was in the busiest parts of downtown that day too so I can only imagine Kanata would be something like Kitchener / Waterloo kinda thing.

Regarding climate, I wouldn't worry about it. I drove my s2k all through the winter and never had an issue. They're insanely good at clearing the snow and work through the night. It's not even as cold as everyone says it is, I walked outside in a t-shirt and sandals in the middle of winter a couple times - granted not for more than a few minutes at a time but I survived =). Worst it got was about comparable to a windy night at the peak of Cypress. Summer is fking terrible though, growing up on the west coast I've never had to deal with the really humid hot conditions. Definitely nothing compared to HK though, so to you it'll probably be nothing.
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:59 PM   #20
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It depends on your lifestyle. I like Ottawa more than Toronto, especially if you like outdoorsy things... it is also close to Montreal and the US. It is nice in the fall. Living expenses like groceries etc are cheaper in the East just because of the economy of scale.

I highly recommend you share housing with grad students too. However there are a lot of transients gov workers... diplomats etc. who comes back for just 1 year then will be posted else where again. So transit / bikes etc are actually quite doable.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:16 PM   #21
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Ok so my cousin purchased a new duplex, only one side and approx. Size was 1300sqft for 2 levels, 2 bdrms for $280,000.

But if you are looking to rent, then never mind lol...
Haha, I just graduated, so no $$. Furthermore, I want to visit live in Ottawa for a few years before committing to a place there.

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How good is the job? I'd personally try and find something in the GTA if possible. Lots more going on there. I took a day trip down to Ottawa and my impression was that it felt very small-town, almost as much so as Waterloo. If Waterloo wasn't just an hour away from Toronto I probably would've become severely depressed over the last year

Edit: actually supafamous nailed it - Ottawa feels just like Victoria. I was only ever downtown that day too so I can only imagine Kanata would be something like Kitchener / Waterloo kinda thing.

Regarding climate, I wouldn't worry about it. I drove my s2k all through the winter and never had an issue. They're insanely good at clearing the snow and work through the night. It's not even as cold as everyone says it is, I walked outside in a t-shirt and sandals in the middle of winter a couple times - granted not for more than a few minutes at a time but I survived =). Summer is fking terrible though, growing up on the west coast I've never had to deal with the really humid hot conditions. Definitely nothing compared to HK though, so to you it'll probably be nothing.
I would say the job is very competitive in terms of pay and opportunity; Fortune 500 company, exceeds average pay for an engineer, signing bonus, stock options, etc. but most importantly, my ability to pursue a P. eng (primary reason I chose to start my career in Canada vs. US)
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:28 PM   #22
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Hmm my understanding was that you only had to have one of those years of experience in Canada to be eligible to get your P.Eng.

Yeah hard to pass something like that up though, and you definitely don't have to stay there forever. Maybe it's worth just going for then. They'll at least fly you down for an on-site interview right? You'll still have a chance to say no to them if it's THAT bad when you show up =)
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:50 PM   #23
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I received the offer but didn't get to go for an on-site interview; They were worried I was going to be poached by RIM so I did a webconference and teleprescence interview instead. Because of this, I don't know what Kanata is like, hence why I came to the boards to find out other member's experience!

I'm not sure about the P. Eng one year experience thing.
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