Best place to live in Ottawa for a single woman in her fifties?
January 27, 2010 6:19 PM   Subscribe

Where is the best place in Ottawa for a single woman in her fifties to rent an appartment?

Which neighbourhood(s) do you recommend for a single woman 50-59 years old who is moving to Ottawa?

She would be renting an appartment, looking for something relatively inexpensive (is under $800/mo reasonable?). She would not live with a roommate or rent a room. She has a car, so being close to transit is not necessary. It needs to be a safe area.

The location may be central or in the west of Ottawa (including suburbs), but not in the east. Living in Quebec (Gatineau/Hull) is not desirable.
posted by Simon Barclay to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
More information is needed, I think. Does she want a bustling or quiet area? Does she want to be near parks? Supermarkets? Shopping centres? What?

$800/month is reasonable for the suburbs, for downtown maybe. Paying for a parking spot may or may not be an issue to consider. I always had lots in the places I lived in in Ottawa, so I'm not sure about street parking (though keep in mind the amount of snowfall in the winter makes street parking a major pain). Sometimes renting a space in a building can add quite a bit to your rental costs, but sometimes it's free.
posted by hiteleven at 6:27 PM on January 27, 2010

Response by poster: Does she want a bustling or quiet area? Does she want to be near parks? Supermarkets? Shopping centres? What?

It's not particularly important, as long as the other requirements are met.

$800/month is reasonable for the suburbs, for downtown maybe.

Any specific suggestions of where - which area?
posted by Simon Barclay at 8:25 PM on January 27, 2010

Sure. Ottawa's a safe city, but there are certain sections that kind of sketchy, and definitely worth avoiding if you can help it.

Basically settling on the centre to west area, as you've done, is the way to do. Find a map of Ottawa, and I'll trace out the general boundaries of where you'd want to look.

First, start with Parliament Hill, where the Rideau Canal meets the Ottawa River. This is your general northeast boundary. The only place you'd want to live east of here is perhaps Sandy Hill, but it's hit and miss and might not fit your price range. There's also New Edinburgh further east, but that's probably too far east for you.

Anyway, follow the Canal south until you get to the 417. Anything west of here is fine. From here, jump a tough southeast to St. Paul University. This is the Old Ottawa East neighbourhood, which is quite nice (though avoid the Lees apartment buildings close by).

From here follow the Ottawa River (east of St. Paul's) as it turns southwest. This is your southern boundary, for now. Once you get to Bronson (near Carleton University), go north until you reach Carling.

At this point, turn west. Carling is now your southern boundary from here on out. Definitely avoid anything south of it --- the Baseline-Fisher-Meadowlands area is particularly bad. Now, I think your safe north of Carling up to the Carlingwood mall, and probably even past that...but my knowledge of that part of Ottawa (formerly the city of Nepean) is a bit hazy.

Anyway, inside that polygon, you're pretty much good anywhere. The one exception is the area known as Hintonburg, just west of downtown. This was quite slummish for a while, but it's rapidly (I mean rapidly) gentrifying. So don't write it off completely.

As far as nice neighbourhoods, people really like Westboro these days, which is actually just west of Hintonburg. I'm not sure about rents, but they're probably climbing. Another nice area is Old Ottawa South, which is east of Bronson in between the Canal and the River. To avoid the Carleton Students, though, you might want to try going east of Bank.

The thing about Ottawa is that it's such a small place that you can find nice places and sketchy places practically beside one another. Just make sure you get a good look at any apartment you want to rent, and get a look at the surrounding neighbourhood as well. Bars tend to be close to residential areas, spilling out drunks and noise, particularly along Elgin St and parts of Bank. Really, I'd start in Westboro (or further west) and Old Ottawa South, and work your way inward.

Good luck!
posted by hiteleven at 8:59 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sorry, one edit to my post...the Rideau River is east of St. Paul's, not the Ottawa. The Ottawa is the big one that forms the northern border of the city, as I'm sure you've figured out by now.
posted by hiteleven at 9:03 PM on January 27, 2010

hiteleven, the OP's profile indicates he lives in Ottawa, so perhaps he know much of this already.

For what it's worth, I live in Centretown in a building that meets this description, and there is at least one vacancy. Memail for details, iffen ya like.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:00 AM on January 28, 2010

Westboro has definitely become a desirable area. There's some new condos, but the bulk is older housing, and for a 1-bdrm apt it's in the price range, although some landlords think their property is worth more, just look around. Not a bad thing being older, if you want someplace with some character, and don't mind some of the things that come with older buildings. Pretty much everything is within 5-10 minutes walking range, shopping and the river. That's all assuming being close to Richmond and Churchill. If working, there's easy and quick access to the transitway, Ottawa river parkway, and the 417 highway.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 12:08 AM on January 28, 2010

I'd look at the Golden Triangle, as well as the already mentioned Old Ottawa South. I suggest those based on my impression of where other single women in their fifties sort of concentrate; I can't tell you how accurate my perceptions are, but...
posted by kmennie at 5:38 AM on January 28, 2010

I wouldn't consider New Edinborough too far east, especially if you're on Stanley Avenue (I rented on Stanley for 4 years). The market is about a 15 minute walk away, you have bus service on Crighton and the Vanier Parkway starts up at Beechwood. It always felt like a safe neighbourhood to me.
posted by smcniven at 5:57 AM on January 28, 2010

oops, make that New Edinburgh..
posted by smcniven at 5:58 AM on January 28, 2010

I would recommend the area now known as Wellington Village, on Wellington between Parkdale and Island Park Drive. In this area there are lots of book and coffee shops, grocery stores, etc, and it is safe because there are usually people walking around. This may also afford opportunities to get out and interact with people, if that is what she'd be looking for. The neighbourhood has also had its main street redone, so it is quite nice, these days.

I wouldn't go looking in the area between Parkdale and Preston up to Gladstone on the south and Albert on the north (this is Mechanicsville/Hintonburg) - I live there and it is kind of sketchy (albeit, better than it used to be, but there are still prostitutes every now and then) and the demographic is more young people in their first apartments or families who seem to have lived in the area for awhile; there isn't much in the way of convenience in this area either. I would also avoid the section bounded by Preston, Somerset, Carling and Bronson, as this is a notoriously bad area.

Golden Triangle would also be a good bet.

My boyfriend's parents (in their 60s) owned a condo in Westboro and HATED it, because it was all outdoor stores and stuff like that, so despite how much I (a woman in my late 20s) like the area (although I wouldn't live there either - too many yuppies), this might help to inform her decision.

I would also avoid Sandy Hill, as this is mostly students and can be loud.
posted by urbanlenny at 6:42 AM on January 28, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks so far, keep 'em coming. I'm digesting your answers.

If I may add onto my original question, where is the best place to look for appartments to rent (ie: newspaper, Craigslist, etc.)?

BTW, yes I do live in Ottawa, but I haven't lived here long so I don't know the neighbourhoods well at all -- their locations or whether they're any good. I do know that there are some areas that are quite sketchy, so if you know of ones that are NO GO zones for a single woman, feel free to mention those too.
posted by Simon Barclay at 4:12 PM on January 28, 2010

Well, I think you might want to cross out the aforementioned Hintonburg, unless it has gotten massively less scary than it was two years ago. Vanier and most of Gloucester are right out. You've already said the Quebec side is not desirable; I'd say anything on l'Île de Hull is right out (unless she enjoys going to sleep to the sound of drunks yelling); places around St-Joseph aren't much better. The Plateau might work, but it's way too far.

I used craigslist, and found my apartment there. My brother and I also hunted by car, looking for ads on buildings and calling.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 9:40 PM on January 28, 2010

It's a tough question to answer. The nicer neighborhoods for sub-seniors are lacking apartments, especially in that price range. There's pockets that apply, as the previously mentioned Westboro.

For areas I'd avoid:
Anything near Carling Ave
Wellington east of Parkdale
Above-mentioned Sandy Hill area (unless she's into house party's)
Byward Market
Never been fond of anything east of the canal

Good areas may include (finding an apartment excluded):
Brittania (west that is, yes it's mostly Carling but there's some nice neighborhoods)
Consider also Carlton Place, Arnprior, and other areas a short drive away.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 2:51 PM on January 29, 2010

Response by poster: I've seen a number of places for rent within budget in Carlington, just west of the experimental farm and east of Merivale. It's outside hiteleven's demarcation zone, but is that a nice area? It looks nice on google street view...
posted by Simon Barclay at 6:10 PM on June 16, 2010

Response by poster: Never mind, I went to check it out and Carlington is definitely not a viable option.
posted by Simon Barclay at 5:55 PM on June 19, 2010

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