Seeking an apartment in Ottawa
July 14, 2007 7:02 PM   Subscribe

A few weeks ago, I asked MeFites about the best parts of Ottawa to live in. Now that I have moved to the city, I am looking for an actual place to stay. Any inside information from Ottawa residents would be much appreciated.

The kind of place I have in mind is a single or bachelor apartment in Centretown, Sandy Hill, the Byward Market, or possibly Gatineau. I prefer houses on streets to apartment blocks, but am open to either. I am willing to consider living with flatmates, if I can find some who I get along with. I cannot really spend more than $1000 a month, including heat, hydro, and high speed internet.

I am in Ottawa on a one year contract with the federal government. There is some chance I will stay beyond that, but also a reasonable chance I will leave. As such, I prefer somewhere that is furnished. Also, I would prefer a place where I can rent by the month, rather than committing to a one year lease. Places that smell like pets or tobacco smoke are dramatically less appealing; hardwood floors are appreciated. I would be much happier with a small nice place than a larger less nice one.

Here is a list of places I have gone so far, with some comments.
posted by sindark to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
I moved out of your one 'visited, unfurnished' listing a couple of months ago.

I recommend the building -- mail's in profile if you're seriously considering -- but not the neighbourhood. Centretown's been going downhill for years now. Bums, drugs, litter, graffiti...

If I haven't put you off, go a block south on Metcalfe and have a look at The Duncannon.

If I were you, I'd really think about scrapping the downtown core and heading off to Westboro, New Edinborough, Ottawa South, somewhere on the perimeter of the city centre like that that's not the city centre. It's not like the current mayor is doing anything but letting the downtown rot.'re not me. Check out the little Facebook group Centretown Represent for some idea of it. See also for an idea of how many restos & bars you'll be near. And you also got enough warning in your first Ottawa q. I'll shut up about the Centretown problems. They're not that bad so long as you keep clear of the obviously bad -- if it's dirty in the daytime, it's a shithole at night. The further away you are from the Centretown part of Bank St, the better, so consider east of Elgin, nearer to the Canal; hard to go wrong there. Sorry about repeating so much of the answers to your first question...

And I do like Metcalfe St. I lived right on Elgin once; too loud, but Metcalfe's got a dog-walking residential 'vibe.' Right off it, on Cooper, and nice: The Shefford. (Says no vacancies, but worth double-checking.)

Finally: Commvesco Levinson-Viner = slumlords. Avoid their ill-kempt buildings with the big blue OH PLEASE PLEASE RENT ME signs, as though the desperate signage wasn't warning enough. And Ottawa's not, I don't think, great with the 'furnished apartment' concept; consider buying cheap/used and just Freecycling it at the end of the year. It's worth peeking at the Ottawa Citizen's apartment listings, but best to go around where you like on foot looking for signs.
posted by kmennie at 7:36 PM on July 14, 2007

I just moved to Sandy Hill, and you may want to take a walk or drive around the area if you're able to, and jot down some phone numbers - I've noticed a few "for rent, furnished" (or similar) signs just posted out front of decent-looking buildings and houses.
posted by drycleanonly at 9:38 PM on July 14, 2007

Oops: "New Edinborough" = New Edinburgh!

In today's paper: Toronto columnist slams Ottawa as ‘rotting at the core’. I wish I had nicer things to say about the downtown -- I did live there for years and years -- but its current state was a big part of my fleeing for the countryside. I used to love Sandy Hill, but don't know what to make of stuff like this with "some angry Sandy Hill residents are tired of finding condoms and crack pipes on their lawns." The Market may hold the most promise out of your three just because of all the new condos that've popped up there.

Scanning Craigslist, it doesn't look like landlords read the paper; a 1bdrm in a notorious building on Bell Street, where beer bottles rain from the sky, is $710. Similarly priced is this 1bdrm in Westboro. The Glebe is not looking as overpriced as it once did.

Have you considered Hull, something very close to the bridge?
posted by kmennie at 8:44 AM on July 15, 2007

Response by poster: kmennie,

I had a look at The Duncannon. The outside looks nice, but they have no vacancies as of yesterday.

Regarding 196 Metcalfe St, I looked at five different apartments. They varied a lot in terms of the state of repair and level of noise from the streets below. The best one was on the third floor and is the front runner among places I have looked at so far.

Hull and Gatineau are not ruled out, but I have yet to find any listings there that look interesting and plausible.


Driving around and calling people is how I got many of the prospects on my list (which is growing longer by the hour). Unfortunately, people have been quite slow to call back or email.
posted by sindark at 9:33 AM on July 15, 2007

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