Downtown, Kanata, Nepean? Data reveals Ottawa’s fastest-growing neighbourhoods


While Ottawa’s central downtown population grew at the fastest rate last year, data from the city’s annual development report show neighbourhoods just outside of the greenbelt are gaining ground.

Ottawa’s annual development report uses population estimates from both the city and Statistics Canada census data to track neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood growth and compare those statistics with the city’s planning policy objectives.

From 2015 to 2016, Ottawa’s downtown central area grew at a rate of 4.5 per cent, the fastest of any neighbourhood in the city. Rounding out the top five were all neighbourhoods just outside of the greenbelt: Leitrim (3.3 per cent), Riverside South (3.1 per cent), South Nepean (two per cent) and Kanata-Stittsville (1.9 per cent).

OBJ's analysis of Ottawa neighourhoods by population grow rates, 2015-16. Source: City of Ottawa 2016 Annual Development Report.

Losing ground in 2016 were Cedarview, Bayshore and Ottawa’s rural northwest.

In total, the City of Ottawa’s population grew 0.8 per cent over the same period.

Growth beyond the greenbelt was also seen in housing starts. In 2016, 68.4 per cent of housing starts were outside of the greenbelt, compared with 52.5 per cent a year earlier.

Housing starts across the city totalled slightly more than 5,000 units, a 6.9 per cent increase from 2015, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

According to the development report, Ottawa is exceeding its goals in residential intensification. The city’s official plan called for 38 per cent intensification in urban and suburban areas from 2012 to 2016; actual averages were more than 50 per cent over the most recent five-year period.

Ottawa neighbourhoods1
Divisions of Ottawa's sub-areas. From City of Ottawa 2016 Annual Development Report.