Ottawa, Canada's best place to live?

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Originally posted by ohara:
[b]An Ottawa original for the best egg rolls and wonton soup in North America is the Golden Palace on Carling Ave. This place has not changed one iota since it opened in the early 60s. Its like stepping into a time machine. Same owners and waiters.[/b]

ohara, where on Carling is Golden Palace? Carling goes on for a long time, and I'd like to know if getting there is a huge trek. I rode my bike along Carling one time looking for Canadian Tire in the summer heat, and it felt like the longest ride of my life! I'm now wary of the distance travelled down that street. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]


Corner Carling and Woodroffe....Golden Palace Chow mein and House special chow mein too mmmmmmmmmmmm

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

In the old days I used to cruise on Carling with the gang. There used to be a Fat Alberts sub joint, and a Lady Jane donut shop where we'd hang out. Both are gone now, I reckon. Over on Richmond Street a few blocks over, there was a Royal Burger, not far from CKOY as I recall.


Mmmmm, I'm all about local doughnut shops because there is nothing like a doughnut made fresh in the back of one of those places and delivered straight to my mouth. In Halifax, we used to have The Donut Machine, which I guess was technically in Dartmouth now that I think about it, and they had the best range of different doughnut flavors hand-made in small batches in their own kitchen. The owner proudly told me that all their ingredients were natural and preservative free. Sadly, they found they coudln't compete with the demand for Tim's and went out of business last year.

I would love to find an independent dougnut shop in Ottawa, with fresh, home-made-ish doughnuts. But first, I'm heading down to the Golden Palace to try some egg rolls. Thanks ohara!

[ 13 May 2007: Message edited by: M.Gregus ]

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I haven't eaten a donut in years, since I was told my cholesterol level was above normal. It's been a while since I was last in Ottawa, and the number of donut shops seems to have gone down, thankfully. The old "Mr. Donut" at the Billings Bridge that we used to frequent is now a MacDonald's I think. Generally, I find the change in fast food joints in Ottawa, at least the last time I was there, to be very disappointing - all the good places are long gone - and I include among them that Mr. Donut at the BB mall, the Fat Freddy's submarine places at various locations, the Harvey's on Rideau near King Edward (now a pizza joint), and the original Royal Burger drive-ins (Bank Street, and Richmond Road). I guess the next thing to change will be the Ottawa 'Ex' at Landsowne Park, which I always liked going to, back in the old days.


Hey, I'm going to move this to out and about.


I loved the Royal Burger, their special sauce still remains the best...if we are talking eateries lets not forget the Diamond Bar-B-Q on Bank St and the Canton Inn on Albert both gone for the EX Tiny Tim Donuts and the double ferris wheel brings back great memories

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'm 57 now but I'd still love to go back to the Ex and rekindle some memories. As for Tiny Tim donuts in the Food Building, gosh, every day there was a line-up to get those tiny donuts, and then have them plain, or sprinkled with sugar or cinnamon. Then there was the evening concerts with the Beach Boys, but I last saw them around 1972 when I worked for the feds. Is the Ex still on every summer? I'd love to return just for the Ex.


Attn: ITunes users!

Download the latest podcast from “Sound Like Canada.” It’s on exactly this topic. Shelagh Rogers opens up the show with quite the introduction, talking of her hometown of Ottawa, and her ambivalence to it. She says she misses the “grit” of other capital cities, calling Ottawa the “city that went to bed right after the National,” not the “city that never sleeps.” She even makes the joke “What’s the best part of Ottawa?” “Hull!” Hull, Quebec is another topic all on its own!

This episode is a response to an [url= by writer Andrew Cohen, who was also one of my profs at Carleton. The Ottawa Citizen published an excerpt from his newest book The Unfinished Canadian, in a chapter called The Capital Canadian.

Cohen’s arguments are these: Rideau St. has become a prestige of tattoo parlors and shwarma shops. Bank St. and Sparks St. are both failures, becoming home to lousy souvenir shops and indifferent restaurants. He calls it a city that lacks energy and imagination, calling the typical “capital Canadian” unlike the typical Canadian, because far more energy is being released in other big cities. People are content in Ottawa and accept things like job-security and other benefits as they are. He even goes on to call the city the “Standing Ovation Capital of the World,” meaning that no matter how horrible, or average a show at the National Arts Centre is, it will always receive an ovation, because Ottawans are easily contented.

This of course led to a response. The Citizen published an [url= by Julian Armour, who defends his city. He argues that there is something interesting about the quiet, and unassuming Ottawans, who are looking for solutions "in their own thoughtful way." He argues that there is a huge resurgence in the arts in Ottawa, which I would absolutely agree with. Per capita arts funding is even growing!

I could keep writing for hours, and basically transcribe the entire segment, but I urge everyone to listen to it. It sheds light on what is expected of a nation's capital. Do children who travel to Ottawa as a school trip, learn as much, or take as much away as they would from a trip to Washington? Cohen's argument is no. It cites the old Ottawa train station and the National Portrait Gallery as two major failures, but I would argue that the museum and arts community of Ottawa is continuously being elevated.


I know this thread has been dead for a while, but I just wanted to say hello to Ottawa! My wife and I are moving there from Chicago in less than 3 months. I am Canadian and she is American. This thread is making us even more excited for our move to the capital. We hope to settle down and start a family there. Good times.


Ottawa - "The City that Fun Forgot."

Food Picks:

Best Steak - Hy's on Albert (Queen, maybe?) at Bank. (best cheap steak et frites is Vinyards in the Market (great mussels, too)

Best Indian - Taj on Carling and Kempster (some people swear by Haveli, but I don't) or Bombay Masala on Eagleson (Kanata)

Best German - Dorfkrug on Industrial (Lindenhof OK, too)

Best East European - New Dubrovnik on Carling at Churchill

Best Chinese - Chu Sing - Somerset W near Bronson (honorable mention - Yang Sheng on Somerset W on other side of Bronson)

Best Pizza - Gabriel's ANYWHERE

Best Italian - Ciccio Caffe on Preston south of Queensway

Roast Beef - Friday's on Elgin and Laurier or the Mill on the Parkway

Best kept secret (no longer) - small riverside park with awesome view behind Supreme Court bldg on Wellington

Ottawa's one of my favorite Canadian cities, but it is getting waaaaaaaay too congested and expensive, now. If you like Irish or English Pubs, there's one on every corner, though.

Not the greatest nightlife or counterculture, but if you have a young family, you'll be in HEAVEN!!! Great bicycle trails from Kanata to Downtown (and beyond), Gatineau Park and a kazillion little beaches on a gazillion little lakes, there are so many interesting little towns and villages less than an hour away, INCREDIBLE amount of greenspace for a city of ~1 million, Vincent Massey Park, two pretty good yacht clubs (Brittania and Andrew Haydon)...

Like to ski? Gatineau Park again, or Mont Ste. Marie, or Edelweiss, Fortune, Vorlage, Calabogie Peaks (hahahahaha...PEAKS!)...not to mention 1.5 hours to (IntraWest bastardized) Mont Tremblant...lots of places to ski-doo, ice fish, play hockey, etc...Softball at the RA Centre EVERY NIGHT (about 10 diamonds or so) or at Nortel Carling...

TulipFest, JazzFest, BluesFest, Winterlude, Italian Festival down Corso Italia (Preston St.)in July, GreekFest on Prince of Wales in Aug, Chineswe NewYear on Somerset W. (ChinaTown)...

Like I said - if you have a young family, you will be in HEAVEN (if heaven includes a huge mortgage and extortionate taxes...)!!!

[ 08 June 2007: Message edited by: Atavist ]


You did a better job than Ottawa's tourism bureau, Atavist [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

BTW, I like The Mongolian Village restaurant. There is one in Glouceste Centre.

Wilf Day


Originally posted by M.Gregus:
[b]I can think of at least 3 friends (and their respective partners) who are currently eyeballing Ottawa as their preferred location for settling down to raise their families. All roads lead to Ottawa! [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img] [/b]

Or nearby. Lot's of summer spots in The Valley.

Anyone been to Cedar Cove Resort? Or anywhere else in the Carleton Place/Arnprior area? Handy enough to Ottawa to make a day trip in to the city on a rainy day, but still cottage country.


I've never been out that way for a long enough period of time, just driven through, but it seems like there are some great little spots around that area.



Originally posted by Wilf Day:
[b]Anyone been to Cedar Cove Resort? Or anywhere else in the Carleton Place/Arnprior area? Handy enough to Ottawa to make a day trip in to the city on a rainy day, but still cottage country.[/b]

I used to live about five minutes walk from downtown Arnprior, about 200 feet or so from the railway tracks. I'm a light sleeper, and it took me a while to get used to the train horns blairing at all hours of the morning. And the old converted railway building used to vibrate somewhat when trains passed through town. The move to Arnprior was smart for me then because it cut out what was sometimes an hour-long but still gruelling drive in winter from Ottawa to work every morning before the four lane was upgraded. Jeez I miss that place, Wes' Fries on Madawaska in summer - shopping at the Giant Tiger - the farmer's market - and the everyday people in my building. I stop in every now and then.


I'm glad this thread was bumped back up! Anything new in Ottawa these days?



Originally posted by Atavist:
[b] two pretty good yacht clubs (Brittania and Andrew Haydon)...[/b]

A friend brought me in to Brittania a few times. Some interesting people congregate there. I had to watch my pint of beer, and me, didn't slide off that irregular shaped bar. And some of them have boats, too. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]



Originally posted by Atavist:
[b]Ottawa - "The City that Fun Forgot."

Best German - Dorfkrug on Industrial (Lindenhof OK, too)

[ 08 June 2007: Message edited by: Atavist ][/b]

Hate to break it to you, but the Dorfkrug's no longer there. It's been gone for a couple of years now. It's too bad, it's only a couple of blocks away, and my family would go there often for special occaisons.


Been to Ottawa,not what I would expect from a Capital City.

Read this article recently,not sure if I would go back.


Canada's capital city is a national disgrace.

That's the only conclusion I can come to after visiting my son, who attends university in Ottawa.

It used to be a joy to visit that city, with its great galleries, museums and lovely restaurants. But the place has gone downhill rapidly over the past three years.

The city's downtown core is infested with crack addicts. At an intersection just a few blocks from Canada's beautiful Parliament buildings, I saw dozens of drug deals happening in broad daylight. I saw countless people sitting around smoking crack.

We had dinner at a posh restaurant in the trendy Byward Market. It was a beautiful evening, so we sat out on the patio. Imagine our shock when numerous addicts interrupted our meal, begging for cash.


We went to the Art Gallery and the Canadian Museum of Nature on McLeod Street.My sister who lives there said not to go down Rideau Street after dark.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Compared to Vancouver? Or here in Toronto (still nothing compared to Vancouver)? Or Montreal? Or Halifax?

C'mon - Ottawa has no drug problem whatsoever.

The family spends at least a couple of days in Ottawa every year. And we enjoy every minute there.


I can't say I ever thought of Ottawa in any of the ways that were described in that article, when it comes to homelessness and drug problems. Not to say they don't exist, and like most major cities, there is work to be done ([url=]espe... when the city's mayor refers to the homeless as "pigeons"[/url]) but I can't replicate any instances like that in my memory of five years there. I've actually always been surprised of the lack of visable poverty in Ottawa, because I know it does exist.


Funny how conservatives push for policies that increase inequality and then complain about the results. [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 24 July 2007: Message edited by: Doug ]


Ottawa has some homeless people. Yes it does. Someone close to me had dinner with the mayor a few months ago. Apparently he thinks everyone in Ottawa should live in a condo downtown, like he can afford with his millions made in high tech. O'Bat boy, as babbler Paul Gross once referred to him, is apparently clueless as to how to run a city. But other than that, he's an all around swell person.

I've paid for parking just so I could walk through the Byward Market dozens of times. I absolutely adore it. Downtown Ottawa is so beautiful in the summer. For someone who grew up in N. Ontario, it's a wonderful place. I have family roots in the Ottawa valley and P.Q. that I'm only just learning about now, and so it's a magical place for me.



Originally posted by Frisko:
[b]Been to Ottawa,not what I would expect from a Capital City.

Read this article recently,not sure if I would go back.

[Edited by Michelle to remove link that was causing sidescroll.]

We went to the Art Gallery and the Canadian Museum of Nature on McLeod Street.My sister who lives there said not to go down Rideau Street after dark.[/b]

Well, I can't speak for the east end of Rideau Street, the west end's fairly safe after dark. Of course, most people tend to be intoxicated at that point, but I haven't seen much in the way of trouble.

[ 28 July 2007: Message edited by: Michelle ]


It really surprises me how much response that Sun article received in local Ottawa media, in talk radio and the like, when the Globe ran a much more damning feature story about [url="Canada's cracked-out capital"[/url] a few months ago that didn't get much attention at all. I suspect that columns like the one from the Sun are reverberations from a growing awareness of Ottawa's drug problems, which unfortunately are not unique to Ottawa among Canadian cities.


what the hell is wrong with the page?

Wilf Day


Originally posted by jrose:
[b]it seems like there are some great little spots around that area.[/b]

Yes, Burnstown has some very artistic little shops, and Arnprior is a very friendly town (defined as a place where the A & P clerk says "Yes, these are fresh corn, but you want to go to the farmer's stand across the road, theirs are much fresher than ours"). And the Castlegarth Restaurant in White Lake Village has a menu you wouldn't expect (but with prices to match [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img] -- still, I expect they'd be even higher in Ottawa.)

All of which is to say -- I'm back. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]


It's too bad the little German cafe in Burnstown closed a few years ago. They made really good potato soup and apple strudel.


very sad to see AAA baseball Lynx leaving town ... beautiful stadium right off the highway, great sightlines at park, too

really too bad

[img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]


Wilf reminds me of the times our family spent on the Big Rideau out near Westport. Chafe's Locks, Lake Opinikon, really wwere untouched by crass commercialism and while it was abit from Toronto it was worth the drive. Lucky Ottawans only a 70 minute drive!!


There was a wonderful little [url= on OMNI[/url] last night, called One of the Last. It traced the roots of the Rideau Bakery (with locations on Rideau and Bank. St. in Ottawa) from 100 years ago in Ukraine, to it's existence in Ottawa in the 1930s, to present day. It was a beautiful one-hour documentary on the four generations of the Kardish family who have owned, and operated the business. It was incredibly interesting.


Here's a [url=]NYT article[/url] which calls Ottawa Eastern Canada's SanFran. Never having been to SF, I can't really comment there, but the article does make O-Town sound pretty damn good.


Nothing compares to Vancouver however, I finally made it to Ottawa and I was very impressed with the city. I really liked their transit system and all of their outdoor markets. The people were friendly and helpful and I heard all kinds of languages spoken around me. I must say I am very proud of our capital city.



Originally posted by Summer:
[b]Here's a [url=]NYT article[/url] which calls Ottawa Eastern Canada's SanFran. Never having been to SF, I can't really comment there, but the article does make O-Town sound pretty damn good.[/b]

I like Ottawa, visited recently, but when I saw that headline, said: sheesh, what a silly thing to write

to compare Montreal to San Francisco, OK, but Ottawa ??
-- for crying out loud, the place has less than a million people and is a tomb on weekends ...

fine, as this writer says:
[...]beneath Ottawa's buttoned-up, civil-servant demeanor lies a surprisingly vibrant community, with enough green space, trails and water within city limits to satisfy the most hyperactive of travelers. [...]

that does not make it SanFran.

[ 28 August 2007: Message edited by: Geneva ]



Ottawa Xpress has released its annual "Best Of Ottawa" list.

[url=]Take A Look![/url]


Apparently not!

[url=]Reader's Digest ranks the "nicest" cities.[/url]


Toronto came in ninth with 60 per cent. Saskatoon and Ottawa scored the worst with 57 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively.

Accidental Altruist

I'm born n' raised in O-town. Currently living in the middle of a triangle formed by The Glebe, Little Italy and Chinatown. Lucky, lucky me! I can bike or walk to work, or to any of the following gems:

[b][url=]Aunt Olive's[/url][/b]
Cafй n' retro clothing store

[b][url=]Shanghai Restaurant[/url][/b]
Funkadelic hotspot for art, music, disco bingo and famous karaoke nights with China Doll. Great potstickers too!

[b][url=]Pub Italia[/url][/b]
200 different beers in what might be the world's *only* Italian pub

[b][url=]The Whalesbone[/url]

[url=]Venus Envy[/url]

[url=]The Wellington Gastropub[/url]

[url= Bath[/url][/b]

PLUS we've got:

Spins and Needles
Guerrilla Gay Fare
Spa Nordik

....and all those other great amenities already mentioned.


The folks at Venus Envy are the most sex-positive, friendly, wonderful people in the world.

Accidental Altruist

I agree with you jrose.

And I was reminded by some of CMOT Dibbler's YouTube tidbits of this cool dance company:


... and I'd say Dave Scrimshaw's blog is another cool thing about Ottawa. He was bloggin' before they called 'em blogs.

Wilf Day

Awesome photo, Wilf.


Wilf, that is utterly beautiful. I've seen that vista many times, cycling to the city centre (I have relatives near the little spot Boom Boom describes, and also in Gatineau - old Hull and Aylmer).

There are a lot of lovely things about Ottawa, but there is altogether too much sprawl, and a city that side needs proper public transport - it is as big as Toronto and Montreal were when the subway and mйtro were built.

The area where the new War Museum lies should have become a dense housing area with a mix of private and social housing, and neighbourhood amenities. And yes, the War Museum needed a new home for its collections, but the design is too horizontal and sprawling - there are many such museums that are higher and less spread out, and every bit as impressive.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'd return to Ottawa in a heartbeat if: a) I could afford to; and, b) if my new place has a/c, because I'm both heat and humidty intolerant. Fortunately it [i]rarely[/i] gets over 80F here on Quebec's Lower North Shore. On the other hand, our winters are usually five months long. [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]


Of course this thread pops up the day after I return from Ottawa, filled with self-pity for ever moving away in the first place! That picture is absolutely beautiful, Wilf. Ottawa was lively this weekend, with everyone out enjoying the beautiful weather (and I’ve got the sunburn to prove it!)

Wilf Day


Originally posted by lagatta:
[b]Wilf, that is utterly beautiful.[/b]


Originally posted by jrose:
[b]That picture is absolutely beautiful, Wilf.[/b]

Caroline appreciates the fan mail.[url=] More on her photoblog site here.[/url]


Great! Thanks, Wilf.



Originally posted by jrose:
[b]The Citizen published an [url= by Julian Armour, who defends his city. He argues that there is something interesting about the quiet, and unassuming Ottawans, who are looking for solutions "in their own thoughtful way." [/b]

Julian Armour, son of Prof. Leslie Armour, OttawaU, best professor I have ever had. Gave me the best mark of my life: an A+++ in second year metaphysics, for a paper attacking one of his own theories. Then he gave me an incomplete for the course, for reasons that were unclear -- natch! So I went to Brazil. I remember running into him at the public library before I left and he was trying to convince me to go back to school. Pretty cool for a guy like that, preeminent scholar and everything, to care about some random undergrad. His son sounds like an excellent guy too.

I lived in Ottawa for seven years. For the first few years I was in school, living first on Florence (downtown, west of Bank) then on McClaren I think it was called? Corner of Elgin, across from the old Museum of Man, between the Iraqi and Iranian embassies -- we used to get RCMP coming to the door telling us to stay away from the windows when there were bomb threats. I worked part-time for an architect on Queen and at lunchtime I would ride my bike through the park trails over to Westboro beach. Would be pretty well deserted, nothing but the birds and me. That was idyllic. Then in winter though I remember wearing two parkas walking to work. One time I volunteered for Winterlude and they had to cancel the program because the propane tanks froze. It sure gets cold there alright.

The last few years I was there (after Brazil) I was living out in the west end, hanging around mainly low-income people. My impression is that there's not quite as much out and out long-term homelessness there simply because of how cold it gets, a lot of people end up hitching to TO or Vancouver.

Is the NCC still pumping in the federal money for the landscaping budget?

Is the National Gallery still leaking? That place is just awesome.

Is the jazz festival still the best outdoor festival in Canada bar none?

Best part of Ottawa: proximity to PQ.

[ 29 April 2008: Message edited by: triciamarie ]


This is heartbreaking:

[url= rips through Centretown cafe[/url]

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'm an Ottawa native now on Quebec's coast, and I've never heard of that place before, but it sounds like it was wonderful, and I'm sorry to hear it went up in flames.

Speaking of Ottawa and restaurants, friends of mine just returned here from a holiday in Ottawa, and came back raving about how much they loved dining at Mother Tucker's in the ByWard Market area. Isn't that just another chain? (I've never been inside, although I've walked past it several times...)


Boom Boom, I'm replying to your response [url=]here.[/url]

Closing this up for length.


Topic locked