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Everything You Need To Know About Rural Living In Ottawa

When people from other places talk about Ottawa, most conversations are usually just about downtown. However, the City of Ottawa expands much, much further than just its metropolitan core, and in our opinion, many incredible places to live in Ottawa aren’t found downtown either.

There are so many wonderful, charming, and highly liveable neighbourhoods and communities just a short way away from downtown Ottawa in some of the city’s more rural areas. Being a team of local Realtors®, we’re more than familiar with these rural communities, but we’re also aware that they don’t necessarily get the attention they deserve sometimes.

So, whether you’re planning on moving to the Ottawa area soon or are looking to escape from the city’s busy downtown core, let this guide to Ottawa’s most beautiful rural communities guide you on your upcoming journey.

Rural Homes Work Differently

The first thing you need to know if you’re moving to any rural area for the first time is that the homes work a little differently out here. No, you won’t have to use an outhouse or hang your clothes out on a line to dry (although many country dwellers swear by it!), but rural living does take some getting used to, and it’s well worth your time and effort to learn about how rural homes function before thinking about buying one.

Most homes in rural Ottawa receive their water supply from wells, and chances are you’ve probably already been inside a home with a well water system and not ever noticed it.

It’s always our first piece of advice that you speak to a local professional about the current condition of a well for a home you are interested in buying.  They’ll be able to check the water levels and purity of the water quite easily so that you can make sure your home will have an adequate supply of clean water before you move in.

Another important thing to investigate is the accompanying equipment such as water softeners, iron and sulphur filters, UV filters, and more. While these aren’t required on all properties, your inspector can tell you what will be needed and can ensure any existing equipment is functioning. They’ll also be able to tell you if your well or the accompanying water treatment might need upgrading or replacing anytime soon.

Getting your well tested isn’t the only type of inspection you should be prepared to do ahead of your rural home purchase. Learn more about what you should be watching out for by reading our related blog, Home Inspections In Ottawa: What You Need To Know.

Some Of Our Favourite Neighbourhoods

Once you’ve ventured into rural Ottawa, it won’t take long for you to learn that not every town or community is the same — and that’s one of the reasons why we love it here so much. Each area has its own unique features and amenities to suit the different needs of its residents.


One of our favourite rural communities in Ottawa is Merrickville, which is located less than an hour south of Ottawa’s city centre. Sitting just south of a scenic stretch of the Rideau River, Merrickville is a rural community that is surrounded by breathtaking natural landscapes. However, that’s not all there is to know about Merrickville.

Over the past few decades, the community has seen a huge surge in economic growth, becoming a popular tourist and visitor destination because of its vast collection of 18th-century heritage buildings and thriving community of artisans and local businesses.

We love stopping in for a coffee and quick lunch on the run at the Village Bean between showings, or a visit to the Yellow Canoe Café when we have more time to spend in the area.

Learn about what it’s like to live in Merrickville by reading our Merrickville Community Guide here.

Burritt’s Rapids

We also love the rural community of Burritt’s Rapids, a small village just northeast of Merrickville and it’s also situated along the Rideau River. This community also has a rich history dating back to the 18th-century and is similarly known for its natural beauty.

As the community straddles over both sides of the Rideau River, attractions such as the Burritts Rapids Bridge and other local landmark sites mean this rural town welcomes many visitors every year as well.

Additionally, The Wright Family lived in Burritt’s Rapids when James Wright, our founder, started his career in real estate and eventually moved to Manotick when his daughters Sarah and Jessica were very young.

So many of Ottawa’s most beautiful rural communities are set against scenic waterways like the Rideau River. Ahead of your next move, you can expand your knowledge on The Different Types Of Waterfront Properties In Ottawa here!


Of course, you couldn’t mention rural Ottawa without also talking about Osgoode, which is only about a half-hour drive from Ottawa’s downtown core. While this is definitely one of rural Ottawa’s larger, more populous communities, it still retains its tight-knit community spirit and small-town feel.

Those adapting to rural life coming from larger cities will take comfort in knowing Osgoode has many well-developed amenities such as a local mall, community centre, and hockey arena supplemented by a selection of locally owned and operated small businesses and restaurants. For those reasons, Osgoode is a wonderful place for families to live and grow up in.

Learn about what it’s like to live in Osgoode by reading our Osgoode Community Guide here.


Just a few minutes south of Osgoode is the community of Kemptville, which also sits just off of the Rideau River. Back in the 19th-century, the town of Kemptville was known for its impressive lumber mill, which the community as a whole prospered from and grew around. Today, Kemptville is a much more vibrant and diverse community, though locals are still very proud of their community’s roots and beautiful historic core.

Residents can easily find everything they need in Kemptville as a surge of new businesses, specialty shops, and restaurants have recently opened here, which perfectly complement the area’s many large public parks and conservation areas. Not only that but Kemptville is also serviced by four public schools and two high schools!

Learn about what it’s like to live in Kemptville by reading our Kemptville Community Guide here.

Expanding With The City

As time goes by, the development of Ottawa’s downtown core seems to expand further and further outward. These smaller rural communities have benefitted from the city’s expansion by increasing their proximity to amenities while maintaining their small-town charm and tight-knit sense of community. These communities have been especially coveted in the past year and a half, as home buyers have increasingly desired homes with sprawling outdoor space.

As previously mentioned, the local development of Merrickville has done wonders for the town’s tourism industry and is now one of the most popular places for people from all across Ontario to come and visit. Similarly, Kemptville’s recent development has seen an increasing amount of new residents join the rural community, adding new energy and exuberance to the neighbourhood.

Of course, neighbouring communities like Manotick are almost at the point where they can’t be classified as rural anymore as their growth in population and local development have been extraordinary in recent years. Now with access to public transit routes and the inclusion of more schools, big box stores, and recreational facilities, it feels more like a suburb now than ever before.

Ottawa’s rural communities are often some of the best places for families to live in. To find out which ones we think are the most family-friendly, get our advice on The Best Neighbourhoods In Ottawa To Raise A Family here.

Commuting To Downtown

If you were feeling apprehensive at all about adjusting to a more rural lifestyle in Ottawa, you’ll take a lot of comfort in knowing that you’re never really far away from the city centre.

If your new rural neighbourhood is situated near some of Ottawa’s main highways and roadways like the 416 Highway or 417 Highway, for example, you’ll only ever be a maximum of 30 minutes to an hour away from Ottawa’s downtown core — if that!

And, the best part is, you won’t really ever have to worry about bumper-to-bumper traffic in rural Ottawa either — that’s best left to the city dwellers to worry about.

Do you have your heart set on a move to rural Ottawa? We help clients and families relocate here all the time. Find out how we can help you enjoy a smooth transition into rural Ottawa living below, then check out our latest listings to see if your dream home is already up for sale.