Ottawa is a city that could be described as a sports lover’s dream, where a wide variety of sports are available to all. Playing team sports in a new city is a fantastic way to find like-minded people after moving to Canada, so push yourself to get out and meet new people as much as possible. If you know of any more options concerning sports and recreation in Ottawa, please get in touch and we will add them to this page.
Hockey is without a doubt the biggest sport in Ottawa and Canada, with the Ottawa Senators being the most popular team in the capital. The pinnacle of the Senators was reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2006, and the city’s main thoroughfare of Elgin Street has been unofficially titled “Senators’ Mile” ever since.
The National Hockey League (NHL) runs all throughout the winter. Senators games are a must-see. The atmosphere in pubs and restaurants on game nights can be electric, especially when playing rivals Montreal or Toronto. Of course, nothing beats the real thing — information on tickets is on the Canadian Tire Centre website. The stadium is located in Kanata, about 25 minutes from downtown, but traffic can be heavy on game nights. Buses run directly to the stadium, and some pubs offer dinner and a shuttle to the game from close by.
Ottawa Fury is the local professional soccer team, and Tipperary native Richie Ryan was recently named as team captain. The team competes in the North American Soccer League (NASL) — the second tier of professional soccer in North America.
Sports and recreation in Ottawa: Team sports
Ottawa Hurling Club
Ottawa Hurling Club is a relatively new club, set up two years ago, but it is growing at a rapid pace. Welcoming experienced hurlers and newcomers alike, the club’s main aim is the promotion of hurling throughout the city, where lacrosse and hockey skills prove helpful in taking a grasp of the camán and sliotar.
In their first year, Ottawa’s team managed to romp to victory in the May Montreal tournament. They also travelled throughout Eastern Canada to compete against other enthusiastic teams. Another positive development of the hurling club is youth hurling, with the only Canadian youth hurling team heading to New York City this summer to participate in the Continental Youth Games. Ottawa Hurling Club is a welcome home for the young emigrant or the family hoping to relocate, which mirrors Ottawa’s warm welcome to young and old alike.
Ottawa Gaels Football Club
Ottawa Gaels were established by President’s Award recipient Pat Kelly in the 1970s, and have remained a powerhouse of Canadian GAA since. Welcoming experienced players and newcomers, Ottawa Gaels has strong women’s and men’s teams that travel frequently throughout Eastern Canada to participate in GAA tournaments.
The Ottawa GAA clubs offer a warm welcome to any Irish emigrant hoping to make Ottawa their home. They are socially active throughout the capital, which makes making friends and contacts easy.
Ottawa Irish Rugby Club
Ottawa Irish are well established throughout the capital, offering teams for all abilities and age groups. They train throughout the year, indoor and outdoor. There has been a strong rugby tradition in Ottawa for many generations.
If you are interested in playing hockey, there are leagues during the winter and summer (ice and ball hockey).
There is much adoration for the beautiful game throughout the city. Leagues with mixed teams are available, and many of these winter leagues welcome free agents to join teams and make up numbers
Sports and recreation in Ottawa: Individual sports
Ottawa is a fitness fanatic’s dream. There is no end to biking, running and hiking trails all over the city, both in the urban centres and suburbs. Exercise is a year-round activity, with people jogging, cross country skiing or snowshoeing throughout the cold winter months. The Ottawa Marathon is well attended and “race weekend” is an immensely popular highlight in the Canadian running calendar.
Gyms are available to those who prefer working out to getting out and about. Good Life is the most popular chain, with many locations throughout the city and suburbs. There are also many options for those who want a more defined workout, including CrossFit.
For anyone moving to Canada, perhaps what you will hear most about is the winter. Though it may be much dreaded, Ottawa offers amazing opportunities to get out and enjoy the season. The most famous of these is undoubtedly the Rideau Canal, which becomes the longest skating rink in the world during the colder months. Skating is affordable ($16 for skate rental), and the canal is packed with young and old, accomplished and amateur skaters at every hour of the day. If you live along the canal, you can shorten your commute drastically by skating to work in the early morning. Classes are available at every community centre, but for the true northern experience, get out there and try it out for yourself.
For three seasons of the year, golf becomes a central part of many an Ottawan’s life. There are many fine courses throughout the metropolitan area. A full list, as well as more information, can be found on Ottawa Golf.