With the huge number of great employers in the National Capital Region, NCR, many people debate whether or not this is a good move on their part. Should they relocate to Ottawa and if so, why choose this city as opposed to Gatineau that is also considered to be part of the NCR. If you are weighing the pros and cons of choosing Ottawa when looking for a home in this region of Ontario or Quebec, here are some very good reasons to opt for Ottawa.
A Bit about the Geography
The first thing to consider is the fact that, as mentioned, Gatineau is in the province of Quebec while Ottawa is in Ontario. This may not seem significant at first because they are two cities literally side by side, connected only by the Ottawa River, but as you will see, there are some fairly major issues involved. Together the two cities comprise what is known as the National Capital Region but they are almost as different as night and day in some respects.
Real Estate – Ottawa vs. Gatineau
Although the taxes may be a bit higher, you need to take into consideration the availability of housing. Since Ottawa has a population of over a half-million while Gatineau only records less than 200,000, there is much more new development on the Ottawa side of the river. Besides the fact that Ottawa is actually the nation’s capital and there is more activity here, the number of condos for sale Ottawa has to offer far outnumbers those listed in Gatineau. Why a condo? Simply because they are mainly located near urban areas where the best employers are located – a simple fact.
Now then, one of the biggest issues is the fact that most of us are not happy about the amount of taxes the government takes out of our pay each year. Here is, perhaps, what is the biggest advantage of choosing Ottawa over Gatineau, and that is the lower amount of income tax assessed. Bear in mind that even though both are a vital part of the NCR, residents must answer to their government’s tax laws and it is no doubt that Ontario charges far less income tax than Quebec. As a matter of fact, just by reading the blogs and message boards around the internet you will see just how many Quebecers are totally disenchanted with the amount of taxes they pay.
There are other considerations as well, including the official language spoken at work. In Gatineau, Quebec the official language is French while in Ottawa it is English. If you are an English-speaking professional looking for a high paying job with little to no conversational fluency in French, you would need to opt for Ottawa for employment and probably for housing as well. The one detail that families with children need to take into consideration is the fact that Ottawa has little to offer in terms of childcare stipends while Gatineau does offer a minimal subsidy but then again, subsidized childcare is extremely difficult to find.
In the end, both have their attractions but if you are looking for both employment and housing in an English speaking area with lower taxes and greater availability of both homes and jobs, Ottawa would be your logical choice.