So, you just moved to Ottawa. It's cold, there's construction everywhere, but worst of all, you know nobody. Maybe you've lived here your whole life and just want to change things up a bit and make some new friends. The good thing about Ottawa is that, generally, people are pretty nice out here and that you can make friends easily. Making meaningful friendships, though, is the daunting task.
If there's one truth about making new friends in a new city, it's that the onus is pretty much all on you to create your own social circle. This is especially true if you're no longer in university or college and you no longer have a firm place to build a group of friends. Everyone, at this point of their lives, already has a clique already. All you got to do is try and find a way to squeeze in there, naturally and comfortably.
We gathered up a list of a few places to break the ice and meet where you can meet some new acquaintances who can hopefully grow into full-on friends:
1. Improv classes @ The Improv Embassy
Sometimes being yourself is easier said than done, so why not instead just pretend to be someone else? Improv classes at the Improv Embassy, starting as little as $80 for four weeks for beginners, pull you out of your comfort zone and bring out the humorous versions of ourselves (even if we don't think we're really that funny).
Just because you want to meet new people in Ottawa doesn't mean they have to be from Ottawa. I've made a global network of lifelong friends through CSing from Austria, Russia and Sweden, and have even stayed at their places in their respective countries. Couchsurfing doesn't mean that you're obliged to let a stranger into your house to crash for a few days.
What new Couchsurfers seldom know is that the travel app also gives you the option to simply meet up with other people. With Ottawa 2017 in motion, there's more travellers from all around the world coming to our city to check out the festivities and most CSers are up to grab a drink with a local. Check out the website and take a look at upcoming events in the city or for travellers looking to meet up. If you're a longtime local from Ottawa, you're bound to make a lasting impression on someone from abroad who made the big trip to Canada. Also: check out for weekly meet ups with Ottawans involved with the Couchsurfing scene.
Ottawa is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the country with its well-managed, paved and dedicated bike lanes all across the valley and through Gatineau Park. What's great about the OBC is that it allows you to not only meet new people, but also allows you to explore some of the most scenic parts of the city that you wouldn't typically see with a car. The club caters to all walks of life, and their weekend bike day tours are separated into groups for people who just want to take a joy ride or for those who have a knack for going at a high speed.
A trend that I've noticed when going to the National Art Gallery recently is that there's quite a few solo art aficionados roaming about. Even if you're not an Art History major, you can still easily strike up a conversation while pondering over a painting. As a side note, the gallery is free to the public on Thursdays after 5pm.
Self-dubbed as recess for adults, the OSSC encourages you to become both social and active. You can sign up as a team with your squad and make some frenemies during a game of dodgeball, or make some new friends by joining one of their upcoming Spring/Summer leagues. They got a ton of team-based sports to choose from, including basketball and volleyball.
6. CrossFit @ CrossFit NCR
CrossFit's high intensity will get you in the best shape you can imagine, but will also introduce you to a close-knit fitness community in the Ottawa region. Don't let the name turn you away; CF shouldn't scare away the faint of heart. CrossFit NCR's oldest member is a 79 year old grandmother and its youngest member is six years old. NCR also offers a free class, so you're not making any investment in case you don't want to pursue anymore classes.
7. Learn a new language with OttawaBabel
Being the capital of Canada and home to many foreign diplomats, Ottawa is one of the most multicultural cities in the country. That being said, you won't find a shortage of Ottawans looking to learn a new language. At OttawaBabel, with close to a thousand members, you can go on weekly meet ups at bars and coffeeshops to test out your new language skills. There's no better way to immerse yourself in a language than by actually speaking it in conversation.
Okay, you should probably be meeting people in person. But, anyway, /r/Ottawa is the ultimate forum for anything interesting happening in the city and they also have the odd meet up at a bar (usually MacLaren's) where you can socialize with Ottawans just for a casual evening.
9. Go to a pub trivia night
There's a pub trivia night almost every night in Ottawa. Some people have actually been going to these for years, but newcomers are always welcome, too. Check out the link for a location near you (they're usually all downtown).
"Oh hi, Mark." Is there any more appropriate of a location where film buffs meet other film buffs? At Ottawa's oldest operating movie theatre, there's always a variety of different films that you won't see at mainstream cinemas where you can pick up a conversation with another serious film goer. As well, there's nothing more insane and special than a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Mayfair or a mock-along screening of The Room.