Living in Ottawa: 10 tips and tricks

Being a student isn’t always easy – especially in a new city. Whether you’re new to Ottawa or native, Glue would like to share some capital knowledge on how to improve your post-secondary experience outside the institution.

1)    Educate and entertain yourself for free. The Museum of Nature, the War Museum and the National Gallery of Canada all offer free admission on Thursday evenings. Also look into some of the smaller museums; they usually have a free admission time slot.

2)    Take a safe, warm walk through the Rideau Centre. The mall is open late and you can walk through it to get from Rideau Street to Mackenzie King station. But beware: avoid the McDonalds on Rideau — it’s a shady area.

3)    There are places to eat on the cheap: Summerhayes Grill on Baseline Road, Fathers and Sons near U of O, Perfection Satisfaction Promise on Laurier Street and Saigon Boy on Somerset Street, to name a few.

4)    Consider renting an apartment in Gatineau or Vanier. The rent is cheaper,

5)    Don’t bother owning a car. You can’t buy parking permits in certain areas of the city. If you live downtown or near campus it’s in your best financial interest to buy a monthly bus pass or use the U-pass if you have access to it.

6)    Don’t stand in line for an hour at OC Transpo.  Buy your monthly bus pass at Shopper’s Drug Mart, Quickie and other convenience stores that sell them.

7)    Always ask for the student discount. Stocking up on groceries? Bulk Barn has a student discount on Wednesdays and Loblaws and Metro on Rideau Street offer 10 per cent student discount on Tuesdays. In the mood for some theatre? The National Arts Centre will give students a 50 per cent discount on NAC productions.

8)    Do yoga for free. In the summer, there is free yoga three days a week: on Tabaret lawn at the University of Ottawa, in front of City Hall and on Parliament Hill.

9)    OC Transpo can be user friendly. The bus drivers are usually flexible and will sometimes take pity on a cold student with change to pay, even if it’s not the full fare. Also, not that we’re endorsing this, but when the back doors of the bus open, no one will stop you from just getting on. But you run the risk of being caught on the bus without proof of purchase and paying a $150 fine.

10) Winterize your wardrobe. Ottawa is a very cold city with lots of precipitation, so be prepared to spend money on good, warm, waterproof boots. It’s also very windy, so favour a coat or parka that extends below your butt. Short ski jackets are not the most suitable for Ottawa’s icy gales.