How Much Does It Cost to Live in Ottawa

Ottawa is the federal capital city of Canada. It was established in 1826 by the name of Bytown but incorporated as Ottawa by 1855. It is situated at the south bank of the Ottawa River in the province of Ontario. It has an area of over 2790 km2 with a population of 1,393,000. The capital was selected by the Queen Victoria of England herself as the capital and stands as an important center for trade. It is the world’s 7th coldest capital and contains over 14 museums. Among them is the famous Canadian Museum of Civilization. The city celebrates 35 major festivals throughout the year. The Rideau Canal is truly a plus-value to living in this city. You can skate to commute during the winter.

Housing and Utilities Cost in Ottawa

Given below is a table that lists down the average prices of different types of apartments, their rents, and their costs in three primary zones of the city of Ottawa:

City Districts

Bachelor

1 Bedroom 

2 Bedroom

3 Bedroom +

Former city of Ottawa (Zones 1-9)

$935

$1178

$1438

$1954

Gloucester/Eastern Areas (Zones 11-12)

$866

$1061

$1233

$1376

Nepean/North Grenville/Western Areas (Zones 13-15)

$1095

$1357

$1496

$1531

Average Cost of Utilities

As Ottawa is located in the eastern part of southern Ontario, the average rate of electricity is the same as for the whole province i.e. 12.5¢/kWh. If your apartment or house is averagely consuming around 1000kWh, your electric bill will come around $125.

For an 85m2 apartment, the collective bill of all the utilities is averaged around $130 which includes electricity, heating, cooling, garbage, water, etc. As for monthly home insurance rates, throughout the state of Ontario, it is determined by the value of the home. If you are living in a rented apartment or house, you will be paying around $20-$25 as your home insurance. But if you own property, consult the table below for the rates of insurance:

Property Value

Average Home Insurance Rate

<100K

$45

100-300K

$72

300-700K

$77

700k-1.5M

$117

1.5-5M

$174

Cost of Public Transport and Parking Rates in Ottawa

Public transport in Ottawa is operated by OC Transpo by means of buses and O-Train (Ottawa’s light rail train). The tickets and day pass for the bus service can be purchased on the bus with cash whereas, for the O-Train, the passes can be purchased at the train stations, selected pharmacies, and grocery stores with cash as well as a credit card. Children under the age of 5 are allowed to ride for free.

For per trip:

Passenger

Presto and ParaPay

Cash or ticket machine

Adults and students
13 years +

$ 3.55

$ 3.60

Seniors
65 years +

$ 2.65

$ 2.70

Children
6 to 12 years old

$ 1.80

$ 1.85

EquiPass

$ 1.75

n / a

Day Pass:

1 day

$ 10.75

3 days

$ 26.50

5 days

$ 42.25

7 days

$ 50.2

Per Month:

Passenger

Presto and ParaPay

Adults (20 years +)

$ 119.50

Youth (19 and under(

$ 92.25

Seniors (65 years +)

$ 45.50

EquiPass

$ 58.25

Community

$ 43.25

Access (for OC Transpo routes)

$ 43.25

Cost of The Public Bicycle Sharing System:

Unlike Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, there is no public bicycle sharing system.

Car Parking Rates:

When it comes to car parking rates, the federal capital does stand out from the rest. The car parking rates in the city of Ottawa are as following:

Day 

Duration 

Rates

Monday to Friday

8:30 am to 6 pm

$2 per 30 min, $18 max 

Monday to Friday

6 pm to 9 pm

$1 per 30 min, $4 max

Monday to Friday

9 pm to 8:30 am

Free

Saturday, Sunday, & Holidays

All-day

Free

Monthly

$255

Car Insurance Rates:

Annual car insurance rates in the province of Ontario is around $1528, which is the second-highest of all the provinces of Canada, with British Columbia being on the top of the list. 

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Entertainment

It is not all that difficult to search for entertainment while you are in Ottawa. It’s the price that hits you hard to stay entertained while having a fun time out with friends and/or family. Considering the essentials only, the average cost of entertainment around the city of Ottawa includes:

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: $20
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course: $80
  • Domestic Beer (0.5-liter draught): $2.67
  • 2 tickets to the cinema: $28
  • Taxi trip on a business day, basic cost, 8 km. (5 miles): $21
  • Cocktail drink in the pub: $12

Considering at average cost, if you have had 4 beers, 1 restaurant visit with friends, visited the cinema 2 times, and have had 4 regular restaurant meals per month, that can cost you about: $200.

Grocery Cost in Ottawa

Grocery includes items such as fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, milk, and others. Cost for some regular groceries that may averagely be purchased include:

Items 

Prices

Milk (1 liter)

$2.52

Loaf of bread

$3.02

Rice 1kg

$3.21

Eggs 12

$3.25

Local Cheese 1kg

$11.95

Chicken fillet 1kg

$12.53

Beef round 1kg

$19.68

Apple 1kg

$3.73

Banana 1kg

$1.44

Orange 1kg

$3.85

Tomato 1kg

$3.89

Potato 1kg

$2.41

Onion 1kg

$1.90

Lettuce 1 head

$2.20

Water bottle 1.5l

$1.74

Cigarette 20 Pack

$16

Phone and Internet

There are plenty of internet service providers in Ottawa (over 80) with an internet plan for everyone. If you are looking to get a connection at (or over) 60Mbps with unlimited data, it will cost you around $65. Whereas for mobile plans, there are service providers that provide packages with unlimited calls along with substantial data with prices averaging around $40.

Fitness and Personal Care

In terms of fitness and personal care, a one-month fitness club fee averages around 55-60 $ per month. As for healthcare, you are covered with Canada universal healthcare. Having personal insurance is still highly recommended for other personal care services such as the dentist and the optometrist.

Provincial Taxes (Sales, city, and Income taxes)

There are three types of sales taxes in Canada. In the province of Ontario, they have HST which is set at about 13%. Applicable tax on the taxable income includes:

  • 5.05% on the first $43,906 of taxable income.
  • 9.15% on the next $43,907 and over.
  • 11.16% on the next $62,187 and over.
  • 12.16% on the next $70,000 and over.
  • 13.16 % on the amount over $220,000.

One may argue that the taxes in some provinces are higher in comparison to others, but due to the additional services that are offered to the residents by the provincial government.

Conclusion

And there you have it, the average cost of living in the federal capital Ottawa can be calculated by using the provided table and selecting the rates along with respective items. The total sum will vary from one person to another.

Average Monthly Cost of living in Ottawa

Category

Description

Cost

Housing

Average rent price for a 2 bedroom apartment + Insurance + Average utility cost

$1233 + $25 + $130

Transportation 

Transit rider: Transit Monthly pass option

$120

Food

Regular grocery basket

$300

Phone

Internet + mobile plan

$70

Entertainment

Average entertainment cost

$200

Health and Fitness

The average cost of a Fitness membership

$60

Total

Sum

$2138

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