Life in Ottawa

The City of Ottawa honours the peoples and land of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation. The City of Ottawa honours all First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and their valuable past and present contributions to this land. See the City of Ottawa’s Reconciliation Action Plan

A student-friendly city full of opportunities

Ottawa is ranked within the world’s top 50 best cities for students – with students valuing: friendliness and tolerance, a multicultural and bilingual environment, a student-centred culture, and opportunities to gain experience in government as well as other sectors.
(QS Best Student Cities)

The capital of Canada is cultured, diverse and educated – ranking #11 in Educational Attainment.
(The World’s 100 Best Cities 2021)

Ottawa provides rich opportunities for those looking for work experience or a career after graduation.

Inside and outside the classroom, students benefit from Carleton’s connections to Canada’s federal government, and the region’s many knowledge-based businesses in sectors such as clean technology, digital media, aerospace and software.

A large percentage of Canada’s major medical, clinical and life sciences research centres are located in the Ottawa area, as well as a technology industry with over 1,900 companies.

Companies such as Shopify, Corel and Mitel got their start in Ottawa, and multinational companies such as Nokia and IBM also have offices in Ottawa.

Ottawa is also home to over 130 embassies and high commissions from around the world, as well as some of Canada’s most influential government and non-governmental organizations.

Photo: Students working at Shopify – part of the DevDegree program 

Natural beauty and lots to do!

Ottawa is also one of the most beautiful capitals in the world, with many neighbourhood parks and tranquil green spaces, waterways that wind through the city, and historical and architectural landmarks.

The magnificent Gatineau Park (pictured), which features 165 kilometres of hiking trails, is located just across the river in Quebec.

Photo: lezumbalaberenjena CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The historic Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, runs through the city, where residents run, walk, cycle, cruise, paddle, and skate, enjoying the canal all year long.

Along with popular spots like Parliament Hill and the Byward Market, Ottawa also offers endless bike paths that weave through a city with many hidden gems to explore – such as the Arboretum, Major Hill’s Park and Hogsback Falls.


Ottawa is also known for its bustling farmers markets, boutiques, galleries, and unique neighbourhoods with diverse restaurants, cosy cafes and thriving nightlife.

Students can also explore Canada’s national museums – often for free!

The city also hosts annual events and festivals such as Winterlude, the Canadian Tulip Festival, Bluesfest and more!

Be sure to sample unique Canadian cuisine (beavertails!) as well as local cuisines from around the world – from food trucks to fine dining, food festivals, and much loved ice cream shops.

Photo: Michel Rathwell cc-by-2.0

Travel to Ottawa

As the capital of Canada, Ottawa is well connected locally, nationally and internationally. Ottawa is home to an international airport, a train station and is serviced by local public transit. Ottawa is in Ontario, with Quebec just on the other side of the Ottawa River, and is a 2 hour drive (or train ride) from Montreal, 4.5 hour drive from Toronto and a 1 hour drive to the state of New York.

You can also use our resources to find a great place to stay during your visit.

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