Ottawa Young People

How well-equipped is this city for those raising infants/toddlers? Specifically, are there public places to change diapers, maintained playgrounds, etc?

Ottawa is very family oriented. Playgrounds are well maintained by the city using tax payers’ dollars. There are numerous activities and programs geared toward raising infants and toddlers and providing a social opportunity for parents.

Shopping centres, major department stores, and large retail chains offer changing facilities within the washrooms, and may offer areas for feeding and diaper disposal, and family parking.
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Where can I get a list of reliable childcare providers/nannies?

A list of the foregoing is readily available:

  • In the phone book/yellow pages

  • By word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and co-workers.

  • From classified advertisements in local newspapers.

  • In government publications for child care providers in your ward/community.

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Discuss any safety issues for children in this city.

Ottawa is a very safe city, but it is always best to exercise caution and be aware of what children are up to.
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What are the most popular kid-friendly attractions in the area?

Ottawa is considered a wonderful city for families. The variety of parks, museums and activities provide a multitude of things to do for kids of all ages.

A few examples are:

  • The Canadian Science and Technology Museum—a hands-on exploratory museum _ complete with exhibits for astronomy, marine and land transportation, space and computer technology.

  • The Canadian Museum of Nature—set in an early twentieth Century "castle." This look at the world around is fun for children of all ages. With exhibits on mammals, fossils, birds and the environment, plus an interactive discovery zone (this is one not to be missed).

  • Cosmic Adventures—Ottawa's largest indoor playground caters to children from infant to 12 years and features ball pits, slides, tunnels, mazes, obstacle courses and more.

  • Kanata Wave Pool—an indoor wave pool complete with water slides, whirlpools, and a kiddie pool for younger children.

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What are the most popular activities for kids after school or on weekends?

Children in Ottawa do basically the same things children in other countries do, including:

  • Playing sports in the neighbourhood or on a local community team.

  • Joining a varsity or afterschool team or activity (football, soccer, chess, music, etc.).

  • Going to the movies/theatres.

  • Playing computer games and watching television.

There are also many private groups and clubs that focus on specific interests such as: martial arts, sports, music, language instruction, dance, religion, and the arts, among many others. These are fee-based and not associated with the school system.
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What's it like to be a teenager in this city? Are there any particular challenges I should be aware of as a parent?

Ontario's legal drinking age is 19. Young adults must show proof of age wherever alcohol is served. There are however, some bars and night clubs that allow teenagers under the legal drinking age on designated nights called "all ages." These events give teenagers a non-alcoholic place to hang out, listen to music and dance.

Cigarettes are not sold to minors under 19 years of age and gambling is prohibited for those under the age of 18.

A permit to drive, while accompanied by an adult, may be obtained at age 16. The government has drug, alcohol, gambling, smoking and gang awareness programs available for teenagers as well as informational brochures available for parents.
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Are there any organizations/social groups in the area that cater exclusively to young people ages 12-17?

The Ottawa school system offers many after-school activities and clubs that students can join or participate in. Most of these activities are funded by taxpayers’ dollars, and as such require no additional costs. Clubs can include sports, math, science, computers, languages, Chess and community service.
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I want my child to get the most out of our stay in this country. Are there any specific opportunities to teach young people about the local culture?

Being the capital city of Canada, Ottawa is a great place to learn about the culture of Canada. Festivals are a great way to experience Ottawa, especially Canada Day (Canada's birthday, July 1st) on Parliament Hill; and Winterlude, a celebration of winter in Canada, held every February.
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