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New apartment!
happy mannequin, happy
mendel

Picture of new buildingLast night I signed the lease on our new apartment!

nyxie and I have grown a little tired of our current digs, and wanted to find a place that was ours, so I gave my two months' notice here at the end of July. The place we found was only the second one we looked at, but we noticed the building a long time ago, and sort of figured that we might end up there.

The complex is Island Park Towers, on Clearview a short ways away from the intersection of Island Park and the Ottawa River Parkway. It's a biggish (~970 square foot) two-bedroom corner unit on the fifth floor of a 27-storey building, facing west and north, with hardwood floors, big windows, and central air. When I account for hydro (which is in the rent there but not where we are now), the apartment ends up the same price as I've been paying here for the last three years.

You can see the floor plan here, and a picture of the building here.

Odd thing: Instead of a laundry room, the building has one washer and dryer for every two floors of the building. We're on an "off" floor, so we go up or down one floor to do laundry. I'm sure it works out OK, especially since the machines are available 24/7 instead of the 8-10 M-F/8-8 S-S plan here, but it's odd.

Aside from being a really neat apartment and being nyxie and my first place together, the great part about this place is its location. Since it's right at the Parkway, my commute to Kanata will only be about ten minutes longer and I still won't hit significant traffic either way; nyxie's bus ride to school is just two more stops on the Transitway further than it is now, leaving from Westboro rather than Lincoln Fields.

We're both so excited to be moving to Westboro. It's one of our favorite neighbourhoods, and although we're right at the north edge, it's still a really short walk to the Westboro Village shops along Richmond (and our favorite local fair-trade coffeehouse, Bridgehead!), and the paths and parkland of the Ottawa River Parkway is a five-minute walk from our door. The aerial view of the complex shows how much woodland remains around it (although there's been one five-unit condo development to the northwest on the left side of the picture). I was a bit early to sign the lease on Wednesday and strolled around the neighbourhood a bit, and found out that those woods are crisscrossed with paths. I really miss being able to stroll around in the woods on Mount Royal—I bet having all that greenspace at my front door will help. Two of the three times we've been there there have been rabbits hopping around the property.

We move in on October 1st. I'm considering getting movers to do the dirty work; I've taken the week before off, and we can get the keys a week early, so we'd be able to book movers for the 26th or 27th and not fight the weekend rush, but nyxie would be at school that day, and there aren't a lot of people around here I'd be comfortable enlisting to help me move on a weekday. Two months of purging and packing will be plenty as long as we don't put it off, though. Recommendations for local movers are appreciated!

(Certain of my anonymous readers will be amused to note that this means I'm going to have to start selling off some old kit I don't want to move on ott.forsale.computing. Joy. Maybe I'll post anything I want to get rid of here first.)

Yay, apartment! This place is going to be so great.


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Aside from being a really neat apartment and being nyxie and my first place together...

Well, our first place we're choosing together. ;)

Yay apartment! I can see myself spending far too many afternoons at Bridgehead with my textbooks. heh.

I'm surrounded by pedants!

Technically, there are no pedants behind you.

HA HA HA HA!

You win!

I used to live not far from there...

In fact, my high school sweetheart's mother lived there for a while.

It is a great location. I used to drive to work at Mitel via the parkway every chance I got, as much because of the view as for the fact that as often as not it worked out to be faster than rush-hour 417.

And the northwest corner's probably the best view you can get - short of the penthouse suite. 8^)

Congratulations to both of you!

how cool! a new apartment. congrats! seems like it's big enough to get a little apartment size washer/dryer combo, if the laundry arrangement turns out to be a hassle.

i can't imagine living in a tall building like that. not here, anyway. and WOW! the rent is inexpensive!! (but most everywhere is compared to here.)

I thought the little graphic was from SimCity until I looked at the bigger picture...

meta (http://www.pobox.com/~meta/)

Commute

(Anonymous)
"Since it's right at the Parkway, my commute to Kanata will only be about ten minutes longer and I still won't hit significant traffic either way"

The only thing is that there are no left turns from Island Park on to the parkway...

You turn right, and then there's a U-turn lane about fifty feet along that lets you turn around to go west.

What do you think?

(Anonymous)
Hi,

I know this is a bit late (and also a bit random), but how are you enjoying Island Park Towers so far? Is the building well maintained and is the surrounding area okay? I ask this just because I'm moving to Ottawa in a few weeks and I'm in this huge rush to find somewhere to live and Island Park was one of the buildings that I was going to be looking at.

Thanks,

Michelle

Re: What do you think?

We love it! The surrounding area is great -- Westboro Village just to the south is turning into the city's next big trendy neighbourhood so everything you need is typically within walking distance to there or over to Hintonburg on the other side of Island Park, and the immediate neighbourhood around the building is nice quiet residential. There's a lot of condo construction just south of us but we don't notice it's going on, and I don't expect a traffic problem. Also, there are wild rabbits everywhere, thanks to all the parkland just north of us. Our "bunny neighbours", we call them.

The building itself has been great too -- any maintenance we've needed done has been done in a timely manner, and the office is easy to get a hold of although they're a bit understaffed/overwhelmed at times. They're pretty flexible, too -- we had a satellite dish installed a few months ago, and they came up to inspect it and signed off no problem. The residents tend toward senior, but there's also practically zero young students and very few children around, so neighbour noise hasn't ever been a problem. It's awfully nice having central air, too, and it was turned on in time for the first heat wave this summer, although they do wait until the last minute to switch from heat to air to keep the seniors happy.

I'm trying to think of problems we've had, but I can't think of anything -- the huge windows mean that it's a bit chilly near that wall in the winter, but that's where the heating register is too, and heat and hydro are included, so it's not like there's a huge hydro bill in the winter. Some of the apartments have old-ish appliances, but ours were brand new, so if the apartment you look at has an old range it might be worth asking about. The buildings on the north side of the street have an odd oven-above-the-range countertop stove so that might not be that easy to get, but it's worth a try. But for all I know the old appliances are still in good working order.

Underground parking is probably scarce now but there's lots of outdoor left. I think we got one of the last underground spots in our building. If you don't drive, there's a dirt path to the Westboro transitway station which looks like it'll be replaced with a paved path sometime this summer. It's a five-minute walk.

We're probably going to stay here until we decide it's time to buy a house or condo. No regrets at all, and I can't even think of any surprises.

Re: What do you think?

(Anonymous)
THANK YOU SO MUCH! This whole move thing needs to happen in two weeks and I'm feeling a wee bit overwhelmed now! I have heard a lot of good things about the Island Park area so I'm feeling a bit more at ease. In terms of stores close by, what's in the area? I intend to ride the bus to work (but I do have a car), so are bus stops close by?

I dont know if you would know this, but what about Lincoln Heights/Fields? What kind of area is that? I seem to be getting mixed reviews about that area.

Re: What do you think?

That's where we moved from -- Britannia-by-the-Bay, right beside the Wal-Mart. It was... ok. The average apartment there would be fine, and I lived there for three years, but it left a lot to be desired. We faced right onto the driveway into Wal-Mart, and had buses driving by half-hourly or hourly.

The big problem there was that we had a leaky shower wall, and couldn't get the building maintenance folks to do anything about it. They kept blaming our shower curtain, and eventually the damp, mildewy bedroom closet floor was too much to deal with, so we gave our notice.

As for the rest of the area, it was pretty dull. The Wal-Mart is a pain, but it's nice having a big grocery store right there (but then again we have the Real Canadian Superstore near us now!). There's really no neighbourhood around there like there is in a lot of areas of Ottawa (like Westboro or Hintonburg/Mechanicsville or the Glebe or Sandy Hill) so you end up driving a lot to get things you need. It felt more like a suburb. I came here from the Plateau in Montreal and very much needed a thriving local neighbourhood.

(Are you also talking to "nyxie" on the WeddingBells forum? She's my fiancée!)

Re: What do you think?

Whoa, I missed that whole first paragraph!

The Transitway is the express bus road -- the Westboro station is a five-minute walk. I can see it from my balcony. :-) There's a local bus stop right outside the door here, but it's really just for seniors, I think. For anyone else it's easier to take a faster bus from the station.

I work in Kanata, and while I usually drive in, on days I have to bus to work I can get on a bus at the station and get off at the door at work in about the same amount of time it takes me to drive there, thanks to the Transitway letting the buses avoid city traffic.

There are tons of stores in Westboro and Hintonburg, but they're mostly small businesses -- the sorts of things you'd expect to find in an up-and-coming trendy neighbourhood. Bakery, pharmacy, Jewish deli and bagelry, fresh pasta, restaurants, organic food store, coffee shops, MEC, banks, dry cleaners, and so on, all within walking distance (ten minutes to Westboro, half an hour or a short bus ride to Hintonburg). There's also a Real Canadian Superstore in Westboro, which is identical to a Loblaws superstore.

I also had to move to Ottawa on two weeks' notice, back in 2001. Either area would be a comfortable place to live, but Westboro is a great place to live.

Re: What do you think?

Did you know that this entry shows up on a google search for "Britannia By The Bay"? :) skippdog and I are thinking about moving there soon. We're going to look at their units this afternoon.

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