Introducing Canada’s capital city: Ottawa.
Located right on the border between Ontario and Quebec, and about a 1.5 hour drive from the Canada-U.S. border, Ottawa was incorporated into Canada in 1855 and has since become the country’s fourth most populous city and a major political and technological centre.
The home of current Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, as well as the famous Rideau Canal (a UNESCO World Heritage Site which, during the winter, becomes the world’s largest skating rink!), Ottawa is a Canadian metropolis you ought not to miss during your au pair placement in Canada!
With the help of Ottawa Tourism, we’ve come up with a list of the top reasons to do your au pair placement in Ottawa. Those reasons are:
1. The Canadian winter experience
From skating on the Rideau Canal and the Rink of Dreams, to skiing and mountain-biking at Camp Fortune, cross-country skiing at Gatineau Park in the winter on 200 kilometers’ worth of trails, and to Winterlude, one of the largest celebrations of winter in North America to top it all off, Ottawa is perfect for the winterphile!
Embrace the cold and get lost out on the slopes or atop frozen-over bodies of water, just like a true Canadian 😉
2. The city of green
Ottawa may be a dense capital city with just under a million residents, but it is fortunately laden with dozens of public parks and hundreds of kilometers of walking paths along both the Rideau Canal and the Ottawa River.
The entrance to the aforementioned Gatineau Park is just four kilometers from downtown, making it an easy escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
3. The youth culture
Nearly half of the population of Ottawa is under 35, making it one of the youngest cities in Canada and just the atmosphere a prospective au pair might need as they embark upon what just might be their first time living apart from their families!
Not only that, it has often ranked as the most educated city in the country, boasting five universities and two colleges in total. You’re sure to run into some of Canada’s best and brightest while doing your placement in Ottawa.
To top it off, there are a number of attractions that are fun for the whole family, such as the Eco-Odyssee Park, which should make it that much easier to keep your host siblings entertained!
4. The international crossroads
For those of you who are eager to take advantage of your time in Canada to travel, Ottawa is the perfect home-base for you.
Montreal, Quebec’s largest city, is an easy two hour transit to the east, if you’re feeling like you need some authentic poutine on your day off, while Toronto is about five hours to the west, if you feel like catching a Toronto Raptors game on your first weekend off-duty!
For a more international weekend (if not, for an extended vacation!) consider New York City or Boston, both just under a 1.5 hour flight away and culturally-rich American metropolitan centres.
There are so many things about Ottawa that make it such a quintessentially Canadian city.
Firstly, it is bilingual, which is not at all surprising given that it is right on the Quebec border.
Secondly, Ottawans are proud to be the home of the Ottawa Senators, a professional ice hockey team that has qualified for 15 of the last 19 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Let’s face it, can you really call yourself a true Canadian if hockey isn’t a sport you love?
Lastly, but certainly not least, Ottawa boasts a plethora of cultural attractions that are bound to make you feel a sense of Canadian pride: the Parliament of Canada, the Canadian Museum of History, and 24 Sussex Drive (yes, that’s where Justin and Sophie live!).
So, if you chose Canada as the country you want to become an au pair in because you want to immerse yourself in Canadian culture, it doesn’t get more Canadian than Ottawa!