Popular with students on a tight budget
Vanier is a densely populated neighbourhood in the east end, just 10 minutes from downtown Ottawa. It is Ottawa's oldest francophone community, and many streets have French names. Historically this area had a majority francophone population, but that has dropped in recent years to less than half of residents. However, French culture is still alive and well in Vanier.
Although the area was initially settled in the late 1800's, most homes were built in the 1950's and 1960's. Vanier is one of the last neighbourhoods in Ottawa to offer housing that's affordable even for lower-income households, both for buyers and renters, and there are also some subsidized developments in the area.
Despite it's proximity to downtown, rents in older dwellings remain significantly less than in other parts of the city. And while the crime rate has traditionally been higher in Vanier than many other areas in Ottawa, the efforts of residents committed to a safer community have started to bring that rate down.
Attempts to gentrify Vanier have met with some resistance, with the central argument being that altering the neighbourhood by tearing down old houses and building new ones-- and constructing luxury condos-- ends up displacing low-income families and small businesses that can't afford the increased property values. However, the neighbourhood is already undergoing change, including some new construction on urban infill. As a result, renters have a wide selection of options, ranging from house rentals to apartments for rent in triplexes, high-rises, and upscale condos. Rentals pop up all the time in Vanier, so you’re bound to find a rental that satisfies you on your rental search here.
Life & Style
Vanier offers a wide selection of retail shops, strip malls, and restaurants. The third largest shopping centre in Ottawa, the St. Laurent mall, is also nearby, just up St. Laurent Boulevard, where there is also an OC Transpo bus station and access to Highway 417.
The Vanier Community Association is quite active and comprised of residents who represent an eclectic, bilingual community. The group promotes the positive initiatives and contributions of Vanier residents, and provides a voice in matters affecting community affairs.
A similar group which existed in the early 2000's, Action Vanier, is responsible for the creation of The Vanier Museopark, which is the only francophone museum in Ottawa. It is located in Richelieu Park, which boasts over seven acres of green space. The Richelieu-Vanier Community Center, a branch of the Ottawa Public Library, and an urban sugar shack are also located in Richelieu Park.
There are two other popular parks in Vanier. Riverain Park is nestled by the Rideau River, and has bike paths, a play structure, and nice fields for picnics. Dogs are welcome in Riverain Park provided they stay on-leash. Nault Park is fun for kids, with its play structure and splash pad.
Students can get to both the University of Ottawa and La Cité collégiale quite quickly, as both schools are just a 10 minute drive from Vanier. La Cité collégiale is the largest French-language college in Ontario, and the University of Ottawa offers many academic programs in French. Another institution just outside Vanier that offers services in French, the Montfort Hospital, is Ontario’s only francophone academic hospital, in partnership with the University of Ottawa and La Cité collégiale.