Decide on a place to live and food choices
Finding a place to live, one where you enjoy being and feel good—alone or with your friends— is a big piece of the puzzle when you set off for university. Eating well, another important factor, helps keep you healthy and counters some of the stress of student life. This page provides you with resources to help you find a place to live and decide on a meal plan.
A place to live
Located on campus and in the surrounding neighbourhood, our residences allow you to live with other students at the University of Ottawa, many of them living away from home for the first time. Residence living means you’re close to your classes, other academic activities and the excitement of downtown Ottawa. Residence living also offers the benefit of residence life counsellors, who are available to provide you with any help or advice you may want.
Typically, residences are reserved for first-year students.
Find out more about residence living by visiting the Housing Service website.
Most students live off campus following their first year. A number of residential neighbourhoods surround the University of Ottawa, including Sandy Hill, and because we’re on the main transit lines, you can easily live further away from campus…even at home!
Housing Service offers a student housing billboard for off campus housing. You can post your own ad or go over ads others have placed. Another option for finding a place to live is the classified section of local newspapers or websites such as Kijiji.
This may be your first move or the third or fourth since your first year at the University. Regardless of your situation, we have some tips to help you stay on the right track.
Living in residence?
More than 3,000 people move in and out of residence each year. But don’t worry—there’ll be hundreds of volunteers here to help ensure things go smoothly for you. The University will assign you a specific date and time for moving into residence and provide other details about moving in. Please be sure to stick to your time slot so we can keep traffic congestion on campus to a minimum over the move-in weekend.
Before you arrive, take some time to read about moving in to residence. You’ll find out when move-in weekend is, what to bring, what to do ahead of time, how to reach residence counsellors and when the general meeting for your residence is.
Living off campus?
You’re responsible for organizing your own move, of course. If you’re planning on using movers or renting a truck, keep in mind that the weekend prior to the start of classes is the busiest. Do your research, plan ahead and set aside time in advance to coordinate everything you need to do or get for your move.
We recommend waiting until you’re in your new place before making any major purchases. You might find that your roommate has brought something you were thinking of buying. And once you’ve had a chance to spend a few days in your new place and get into your new routine, you might feel that some pieces of furniture work well while others do not.
- IKEA: During the first week of September, the SFUO organizes a shuttle bus to IKEA, which holds a student-only student madness event. It’s the perfect opportunity to pick up those few things you’re missing.
- Kijiji: You can find furniture or other used items (some are even new!) on this classified site.
- Free Store: As the name suggests, everything is free! If you have something you don’t need, drop it off. Need something? It’s yours…for free!
There are lots of choices available to you. You can take advantage of a meal plan (included in some residence fees), do your own shopping and make your own meals or combine the two—not to mention take advantage of the many restaurants close by. Give yourself even more choices by joining a community garden or collective kitchen. Read on!
Meal plan funds are loaded on your uOttawa card, which you then use like a debit card. Each plan includes a tax-exempt amount for meals and an amount for all other purchases (Flex Dollars).
As of September 2015, a 24-hour dining room is open seven days a week on campus. Therefore, residence fees for students in Stanton, Thompson, Marchand, Leblanc and 90 University include a basic food plan.
The grocery stores closest to the campus are listed below. Be sure to check if the stores offer student discounts on particular days of the week.
- Loblaws: 363 Rideau Street (at Nelson)
- Catch the shuttle bus that runs between Thompson residence and Loblaws every Tuesday afternoon and evening. Make sure you show your student ID to the cashier to get 10% off your grocery bill.
- Metro: 245 Rideau Street (between Cumberland and King Edward streets)
- La Botegga Nicastro: 64 George Street (in the ByWard Market)
If you find yourself short on food and money, be sure to visit the SFUO food bank. The Student Federation's food bank provides food to students in need. You can get an emergency food basket with enough food for three days.
Ottawa boasts many dining and culinary destinations, so be sure to try out the hottest restaurants in the Market and downtown Ottawa and Gatineau. Check out the recommendations of our regional mentors!
- Café Alt (Simard basement)
- Tim Hortons (SITE, 800 King Edward)
- Café Nostalgica (in front of Morisset)
- Starbucks (Desmarais)
Close to campus
- Father and Sons (Osgoode St.)
- Second Cup (Laurier Ave.)
- Royal Oak Pub (Laurier Ave.)
- Perfection Satisfaction Promise (Laurier Ave.) delicious vegetarian food!
- Subway (Laurier Ave., near Desmarais)
- Freshii (Laurier Ave., near Desmarais)
- Rideau Centre plenty of choice in the Dining Hall
- Shawarma Palace (Rideau St.)
- Ahora (Dalhousie St.) Mexican food
- Shafali (Dalhousie St.) Indian food
- Lone Star Texas Grill (Dalhousie St.)
- Sushi Village (Rideau St.)
- Hokkaido Sushi (Dalhousie St.)
- Zak’s Diner (Byward Market Square)
You can also find many coffee shops in the Market area:
- Planet Coffee (York St.)
- Second Cup (Rideau St.)
- Starbucks (Rideau St., in Chapters)
- Bridgehead (Dalhousie St.) fairly traded and organic!
Growing your own food is very rewarding. And it is environmentally responsible, reduces your environmental footprint and is conducive to sustainable development on campus. Find out how you can get involved in the University of Ottawa's community gardens.