Toronto vs. Ottawa: Choosing the Right City for You

Contemplating a switch from the glittering metropolis of Toronto to Canada’s capital city, Ottawa? You’re likely yearning for a shift in gears. Toronto and Ottawa, Canada’s two biggest cities, offer vastly different experiences. Moving to Ottawa from Toronto can be a significant lifestyle change, and this guide will help you navigate the pros and cons to determine if Ottawa is the right fit for you.

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Is Ottawa the Right Move for You? A Comparison for Toronto Residents Considering a Change

So, you’re tired of battling Toronto’s sky-high rent and endless traffic jams? Or maybe the bustling nightlife scene has lost its charm, and you crave a quieter pace of life. Ottawa, with its government charm, historical sites, and abundance of green spaces, might be calling your name. But before you pack your bags, weighing the pros and cons of moving from Toronto to Ottawa is crucial.

Pros of Ottawa

  • Affordability: Let’s face it, Toronto housing prices are brutal. Ottawa offers a much more affordable housing market, allowing you to stretch your dollar further and potentially snag a house with a backyard – a luxury in Toronto.
  • Quieter Pace of Life: Craving a break from the constant hustle and bustle? Ottawa boasts a relaxed atmosphere, perfect for those seeking a slower pace. Think shorter commutes, less crowded streets, and a more laid-back vibe.
  • Nature at Your Doorstep: Outdoor enthusiasts rejoice! Ottawa boasts a plethora of parks, trails, and green spaces within easy reach. Gatineau Park, just across the Ottawa River in Quebec, offers stunning natural beauty and a haven for hiking, biking, and skiing.
  • Safety: Ottawa consistently ranks as one of Canada’s safest cities. While crime exists everywhere, you’ll likely feel a greater sense of security in Ottawa compared to Toronto.
  • Family-Friendly: Ottawa is consistently ranked as one of the best places to raise a family in Canada.  With excellent schools, a strong sense of community, and plenty of family-oriented activities, Ottawa is an ideal place to raise a family.
  • Government City: Ottawa is the political heart of Canada. If you’re interested in government, politics, or international affairs, living in the capital offers a unique perspective and potential career opportunities.

Cons of Ottawa

    • Limited Nightlife: Toronto’s diverse nightlife scene is unparalleled in Canada. Ottawa offers a decent selection of bars and clubs, but it pales in comparison to the vibrant options in Toronto.
    • Fewer Job Opportunities: While Ottawa has a growing economy, Toronto boasts a wider range of industries and job opportunities, particularly in tech and finance sectors.
    • Weather Woes: Brace yourself for colder winters! Ottawa winters are longer and tend to be frostier than Toronto’s. Bundle up!
    • Public Transit: While Ottawa has a public transit system (OC Transpo), it’s not as extensive or convenient as Toronto’s TTC. Owning a car is more practical in Ottawa, especially if you live further out.
    • Limited Cultural Scene: Toronto’s world-class museums, art galleries, and theatres are unmatched across Canada. Ottawa’s cultural scene, while improving, might feel limited for those accustomed to Toronto’s offerings.
    • Diversity: While Ottawa boasts a multicultural scene, Toronto offers a wider variety of ethnic restaurants and shops.
    • French Factor: While not essential, fluency in French can be advantageous in Ottawa, a bilingual city. Don’t worry, you’ll get by just fine in English, but learning some basic French phrases can’t hurt.

Toronto in a Nutshell

Pros of Toronto

  • Thriving cultural scene: World-class museums, art galleries, theaters, and a diverse range of restaurants.
  • Bustling nightlife: From rooftop bars to underground clubs, Toronto offers something for everyone.
  • Career opportunities: A hub for finance, technology, and media, Toronto attracts ambitious professionals.
  • Public transportation: Extensive network makes it easy to get around without a car.
  • Cosmopolitan atmosphere: A vibrant, multicultural city with a fast-paced energy.

Cons of Toronto

  • High cost of living: Housing, food, and transportation are all significantly more expensive than Ottawa.
  • Traffic congestion: Getting around by car can be frustrating, especially during rush hour.
  • Competitive job market: Finding employment can be challenging, particularly in competitive fields.
  • Fast-paced lifestyle: The city’s energy can be overwhelming for those seeking a slower pace.

Additional Factors to Consider

  • Commute: If you’re planning to work in downtown Ottawa, living close by is ideal. However, the city is spread out, so factor in commute times if considering suburbs.
  • Schools: Research school rankings and catchment areas if you have children. Both Ottawa and Toronto offer excellent public and private school options.
  • Hobbies & Interests: Does Ottawa cater to your hobbies and interests? Research sports clubs, art classes, or community groups to ensure the city aligns with your lifestyle.
  • Family & Friends: How close are you to family and friends in Toronto? Moving away can be isolating, so consider your support network in each city.

What’s Great About Ottawa?

Beyond the practicalities, Ottawa offers a unique charm. Here are a few reasons you might love calling Ottawa home:

  • Festival City: Throughout the year, Ottawa comes alive with vibrant festivals celebrating everything from winter wonderlands to tulips in bloom.
  • Historic Charm: Parliament Hill, museums, and historic architecture offer a glimpse into Canada’s rich history.
  • Small-Town Feel: Ottawa offers a sense of community, with friendly locals and a slower pace that allows you to connect with your neighbors.
  • Day Trips: Montreal, a bustling metropolis with European flair, is just a short train ride away. The Thousand Islands and beautiful Ontario countryside are also within easy reach.

Ottawa offers a welcome respite from the frenetic pace of Toronto. Here, life revolves around a healthy work-life balance. Think affordable housing, a slower pace, and ample green space – perfect for unwinding after a day’s work.  Government jobs are plentiful, providing stability and attractive benefits.  Ottawa consistently ranks as one of Canada’s safest cities, making it a haven for families.  Kids will love the excellent schools and plethora of outdoor activities, from skating on the Rideau Canal in winter to exploring the natural wonders of Gatineau Park.

Making the Move: A Decision for You

However, the decision to move from Toronto to Ottawa hinges on your priorities. If affordability, a tranquil lifestyle, and easy access to nature are calling your name, Ottawa might be your perfect match. Craving a city that never sleeps, with a diverse cultural scene and electric nightlife? Toronto might be a better fit. If you need an affordable moving company in Toronto, consider calling us at +1 (647) 564 60 40.


  • Is Ottawa cheaper than Toronto? Generally, yes. Housing and overall cost of living are significantly lower in Ottawa.
  • Is Ottawa safe? Yes, Ottawa boasts lower crime rates than Toronto.
  • Do I need to speak French in Ottawa? No, English is widely spoken. However, some basic French can be helpful, especially when dealing with government services.
  • How’s the public transit in Ottawa? Functional, but not as extensive as Toronto’s. Consider using a car for unplanned trips.
  • Is Ottawa good for families? Absolutely! Ottawa prioritizes families, with excellent schools, parks, and a slower pace of life.
  • Is Ottawa boring? Not necessarily! Ottawa offers a relaxed pace, but there’s always something to do if you seek it out. Explore museums, attend festivals, or get active outdoors.
  • How’s the food scene in Ottawa? While not as vast as Toronto’s, Ottawa offers a delicious culinary scene. From award-winning restaurants to hidden gem ethnic eateries, there’s something to tempt every palate.
  • Is Ottawa expensive? Compared to Toronto, Ottawa is significantly more affordable. Housing is a major difference, with more options for your budget.
  • What are winters like in Ottawa? Colder and longer than Toronto’s. Embrace the winter wonderland and enjoy winter sports!
  • What are some fun things to do in Ottawa? Visit Parliament Hill, explore the Canadian War Museum, skate on the Rideau Canal, hike in Gatineau Park, or catch a concert at the Canadian Tire Centre.
  • How’s the job market in Ottawa? The job market is stable, with a strong focus on government positions. However, it may not be as diverse as Toronto’s.

About Us

Six Movers offers convenient and fast residential moving service for you and your family. Our movers will transport your furniture and belongings with great care.


Nort York, Toronto, Canada


+1 (647) 564 60 40