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OTTAWA /GATINEAU RENT


Allbert

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I will begin my PhD at Carleton in Ottawa and I find rent prices in this city too expensive for a bachelor/1-bedroon apt. Is is feasable to rent /live in Gatineau? The prices are incredibly cheaper.

Thank you

Albert

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It is possible, however, there are some challenges that are not super obvious unless you know the region. For a bit of context: I've lived in Ottawa and worked in Gatineau, and have friends living in Gatineau and working in Ottawa.  The challenge everyone commuting from Ontario to Quebec will face is the bridge traffic.  It can be terrible - even if the commute is theoretically a two minute drive or 10 minute bus ride expect to take 30-45minutes (or longer) during peak times. Drivers are frequently cut off trying to navigate the traffic during peak times, and if you cannot get on a bus immediately it may take you longer to get to your destination.

Another flag for transportation is that Gatineau and Ottawa have two separate bus services.  If you plan on using public transportation be aware that STO and OC Transpo run separate systems, separate routes, and getting across the National Capital Region (NCR) can be more difficult than it first seems.  Really this is to emphasize that STO and OC buses are (almost) always full going between Quebec and Ontario, and you will likely have to transfer from STO to OC at one point or another.  Once you are acclimatized to the routes and transfers its not too bad, just require some planning. 

This article outlines a few other considerations - https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/to-rent-in-ottawa-or-gatineau-heres-what-you-need-to-know -  Quebec does have higher income tax due to the services they offer (some are amazing), depending on where you are living you will have to consider your level of comfort with French, etc.   

I will also note that Ottawa has a strange apartment market  compared to other cities I've been in because sometimes there is more available than what it shown online.  The turnover with students, government workers, and political staff means that some landlords in specific areas find they can still put out a sign and fill empty spaces easily. 

With the new LRT system and bus routes being adjusted it may be feasible to look outside of Centre Town (Ottawa) to other neighbourhoods and take the LRT to O-Train, or LRT to a Carleton Bus in a reasonable time too. Moving out of centre town would likely reduce rental costs.  :)

Finally, I would consider where your network will be (if you know by now).  I have friends who have moved to Gatineau to begin with and found it very isolating for their first year. They were consistently trying to get back into downtown Ottawa throughout the day to meet people, work, etc.   

Best of luck!

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