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The MOST Comprehensive Guide to Dating in Ottawa (+ Insider Tips and Tricks for Success)

The MOST Comprehensive Guide to Dating in Ottawa ( Insider Tips and Tricks for Success)

Do you ever find yourself comparing your love life to the scene of commuting during rush hour? Like the part where you’re running late after spilling coffee on yourself, only to miss the public transit by seconds. 

Love is in the air or in this case, maybe it’s just smog. Fear not single folks of Ottawa, you might find yourself not single for long because you’ve stumbled upon the most comprehensive guide to dating in Ottawa there is!

Consider this the holy grail of dating in the city, here to rescue you from the woes of not having a partner and to arm you with the tools you need to navigate the local dating scene. 

We’ve backed this guide with everything you need to know and also sprinkled in a few tricks for success. Let’s dive in and find you your soulmate! 

What’s the dating culture like in Ottawa?

Ottawa’s dating culture is vibrant, mirroring the city’s dynamic allure. 

Additionally, the city offers a plethora of opportunities to meet fellow singles in hopes of fostering a romantic connection, thanks to its diverse demographics and lively social scene. 

Whether you’re someone who enjoys being sporty or exploring the exciting local food scene with your date, we have that and more in Ottawa. 

What are the challenges of dating in Ottawa? 

The challenges of dating in Ottawa include high expectations, transient crowds, busy lifestyles, and a reluctance among some individuals to actively date around. 

We described each challenge further below. 

1. High Expectations

High expectations of people in the dating pool are something you see in a lot of cities. While having a standard in dating isn’t bad, there’s also such a thing as too high. 

For example, one might encounter some people in Ottawa whose ideal person is someone who works out daily, does the chores impeccably, and can grant them sexual satisfaction, all while dressing to the nines. 

On the other hand, there might also be some individuals who are looking for someone rich, attractive, well-connected, ambitious, and who owns a townhouse. It might be hard for someone to tick off all the boxes!

If you find yourself on too many unsuccessful dates, maybe it’s time to adjust your preferences a little bit. 

However, don’t forget about your worth in the process. All we’re saying is, it might be time to give others a chance. 

2. Transient Crowds

A lot of people in the dating pool in Ottawa might be students or individuals doing government work, which is why their stay in the city has a deadline. 

And because a lot of people are transient residents, it might be hard to find someone to date for the long term, hence resulting in more people looking for casual relationships. 

Ottawa might be a challenging city to date if you’re looking to settle down. The good news is, nothing’s impossible, so don’t let this get you down! 

If it were, Ottawa would be brimming with a population of singles! 

3. Busy Lifestyles

Many residents in Ottawa live busy lifestyles either because of work or education. This might limit their available time to date, making it harder to meet new potential partners. 

Unfortunately, not everyone has a meet-cute story. Some people actively seek out the partner they have now, so it might not be best to rely on possibly stumbling upon your soulmate in public transport or in a coffee shop. 

4. Individual’s Reluctance 

Not everyone is actively dating all the time. It’s possible that a lot of single people in Ottawa are reluctant or uninterested to date at the current moment – and that’s fine. 

However, it can be a challenge for people who want to actively seek out a potential partner. 

While there are a lot of chances to make a connection in Ottawa, there are bound to be challenges, much like in any other city. 

With that in mind, it’s important not to be discouraged if you find yourself not having any success. As long as you’re being respectful and open-minded, we’re confident that it won’t be long until you find a new partner in Ottawa’s diverse dating scene. 

It’s also possible that there are other reasons why dating in Ottawa can be challenging for individuals. Ultimately, different people might encounter different sets of challenges, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible. 

For tips and tricks on how to find the perfect match, see below. 

How do I meet single people in Ottawa?

There are many ways to meet single people in Ottawa, including joining speed dating events, going to bars or clubs, and downloading a dating app. 

We explained each further below and provided examples of where to start! 

1. Speed Dating Events 

If you don’t want to actively go out in hopes of finding someone single, let speed dating events do the job for you! Chances are, the people included in the event are there for the same reasons you are, so there’s a bigger chance for success! 

Additionally, you don’t have to go through the lengthy process of finding out if the person is ready to date. It saves time and the possibility of resentment from their current partner. 

An obvious advantage of speed dating events is that you can be sure you’re not being catfished unlike when using online dating apps. 

Flare Events 


Flare Events hosts a lot of speed dating events throughout the year. They try to make it as fun as possible by providing a structured program, ensuring there’s no dull moment. 

Each event starts with an icebreaker to calm everyone’s nerves. We find that this is a great way to make everyone start feeling comfortable with talking to different kinds of people. 

Here’s also something we realized – everyone might be just as nervous as you are, so don’t worry too much about it! Instead, have fun! 

Much like any other speed dating event, you’re given a scorecard where you write everyone’s names down and indicate whether you liked them or not. This way, the hosts can contact you if there are any matches. 

Additionally, Flare Events has other services to help you find a partner, including dating coaching and matchmaking! It’s something worth looking into especially if you’re still on the fence about speed dating and if you’re having a hard time finding your match. 

Ding Dong Dating 


Ding Dong Dating is another speed dating event worth looking into. They have different kinds of upcoming events like speed dating for different age groups. 

The best part about Ding Dong Dating is the variety they offer. For example, they have events specifically for people identifying as bisexual or lesbian, offering a more inclusive environment for queer people. 

If speed dating sounds terrifying to you, they also have other events for singles like fitness boot camps, pilates classes, and picnics in the park. 

Speed Ottawa Dating


Speed Ottawa Dating is a great option if you’re tired of the traditional speed dating format. 

Instead, they offer an intimate setting, similar to how first dates usually go in the “real world”. They curate the participants according to compatibility, seat them down on a table, and go from there – it’s that easy! 

They say it’s very much similar to the speed dating culture in the UK.

2. Bars or Clubs

Bars (or clubs) have long been a popular way among singles looking for both casual or long-term dating. Below are a few examples of places to explore if you’re looking for a partner. 

Our aim was to make this list inclusive to cater to everyone in the local dating pool. However, bear in mind that this might be more suitable for extroverts willing to put themselves out there to meet their match. 

If you’re an introvert, there are also other options for you to try. Just keep scrolling! 

The Lookout Bar


Address: 41 York St 2nd floor, Ottawa, ON K1N 5S7, Canada

Contact details: +1 613-789-1624

Operating hours: 

  • Monday – closed
  • Tuesday – 7 PM to 1 AM
  • Wednesday – 7 PM to 2 AM
  • Thursday – 8 PM to 12:30 AM 

The Lookout Bar is a gay bar in the ByWard Market. 

It’s a popular choice among queer women in the city. In fact, ask any queer woman in Ottawa about what bar you should go to if you want to find a partner, and they’ll most likely recommend The Lookout Bar to you. 

While the drag shows on Fridays and Saturdays are some of the most popular events in this bar, we suggest going on other days for a better chance to meet people.  

At the very least, you might make a new friend by the end of the night. And if you make a new friend, they can most likely help you navigate Ottawa’s dating scene, or perhaps introduce you to a friend who’s single! 

The possibilities are endless once you start building your network! 

Heart and Crown


Address: 353B Preston St, Ottawa, ON K1S 1V6, Canada

Contact details: +1 613-564-0000

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Saturday – 11 AM to 2 Am
  • Sunday – 9 AM to 2 AM 

Heart and Crown is a vibrant Irish pub with multiple locations across the city. However, the one at Preston Street takes the limelight tonight as one of the hotspots for dating. 

That said, you’re welcome to check the other locations too! 

Anyway, if you’re looking to date in your 30s, this is a standout choice as most patrons are within the same age range. Oh, and if you’re coming here, make sure you don’t mind a little bit of dancing! 

The Gilmour


Address: 313 Bank St, Ottawa, ON K2P 1X9, Canada

Contact details: +1 613-787-7778

Operating hours: 

  • Monday and Tuesday – 12 PM to 2 AM
  • Wednesday to Sunday – 11 AM to 2 AM 

The Gilmour is a more laid-back locale, perfect for those seeking a more relaxed ambiance. It caters to a more diverse crowd, so anyone can potentially find their future partner here. 

Scared that you’ll run out of things to talk about? They also have a wide range of board games available, which are great icebreakers in our opinion! 

It also keeps the conversation going and you easily flirt while enjoying a fun game together. 

3. Dating Apps

In this modern age, we live in a time where almost everything can be done on our phones – including dating. Enter dating apps, a great option for those seeking to meet new people in a convenient way. 

We find this to be a great option for introverts, especially those who are shy at approaching a stranger in a bar. The great thing about meeting a match in person is you already have an idea of what the other person is interested in, which makes it easier to engage in a conversation. 

For popular dating apps in Ottawa, see below. 


Bumble is one of the popular apps in Ottawa. It’s a unique dating app that lets women take the lead, particularly in heterosexual dating scenarios. 

If you’re a woman swiping right to a match, you have to message them first 24 hours before the match expires. And if that happens, well, your chance with the person might be gone forever. 

When it comes to queer matches (matching with a non-binary individual, someone with the same gender, etc.), either party can start the conversation, but the match can expire after 24 hours too. 

A lot of people say that Bumble is better for hookups in Ottawa, but of course, this isn’t always the case. People seeking long-term relationships might still find their ideal partner on Bumble. 


OkCupid is also a standout choice for singles in Ottawa. It’s populated with diverse individuals from different age groups, sexual orientations, and such, providing ample opportunities for users to meet new people. 

The app will give you several questions to provide you with possible matches based on values, interests, and such. 

While you can still match with people who are in no way compatible with you according to the questionnaire, it puts a spotlight on those who are considered compatible based on the algorithm. 

If you don’t want to limit yourself to people in Ottawa, you can easily change your location without any charge. 


Hinge has been around for a decade, but it only became popular in recent years. It offers a refreshing approach with the use of creative prompts which show on the user’s profile. 

It’s a great way to see people’s personalities beyond just photos and the normal bios. The app also encourages making real-life connections with the goal for users to completely delete the app in the future. 

Hinge is more popular among Ottawa locals seeking a more serious and long-term relationship. 

Bonus: Lez Go Facebook Group 


While this isn’t necessarily a dating app, a Facebook group called Lez Go is quite popular among local queer women actively dating. They offer a welcoming space for those who identify as trans, Two-Spirit, lesbian, pan – you name it!

And yes, those who identify as non-binary lesbians are also welcome to join. 

They also host single mixers every now and then, so be sure to check out their Facebook group to be on the lookout for such events. 

There are also other ways to meet single people in Ottawa. While it’s not solely targeted for dating, you can also sign up for workshops that align with your interests or join a gym. 

Be creative, but remember to stay true to yourself, be respectful, and have fun! 

What are the best dating activities in Ottawa? 

The best dating activities in Ottawa are watching stand-up comedy, grabbing drinks, appreciating the local art, rock climbing, and more. 

It’s important to keep in mind your date’s interest, or if you have shared interest, when planning the outing. This shows that you care about them having fun and nothing’s sexier than that! 

While there’s a multitude of activities to do in Ottawa, here are just some of our top picks! 

1. Watching stand-up comedy at Absolute Comedy Ottawa


Address: 412 Preston St, Ottawa, ON K1S 4M9, Canada

Contact details: 1 613-233-8000

Now that you’ve scored a date with someone who caught your interest, it’s time to plan where to take them for a memorable experience together. 

Dating is all about having fun, and what’s more fun than sharing a laugh together? That’s why taking them to a comedy bar is genius. 

It removes the pressure of you being the comedian by letting someone do the job for you! Kidding aside, Absolute Comedy is a fantastic venue for a laughter-filled date night. 

Aside from comedy, they also offer a fantastic dinner so there’s no need to worry about your date going hungry while you both enjoy the show. 

2. Explore the Ottawa Farmers’ Market 


Address: 1000 Exhibition Way, Ottawa, ON K1S 3W7, Canada

Contact details: +1 613-417-3595

Operating hours: 

  • Monday and Saturday – closed
  • Sunday – 10 AM to 3 PM 

If you’re meeting your date in the afternoon, the Ottawa Farmers’ Market is a great spot to take them to. It’s easy to make conversation because there are a lot of things going on around you. 

To impress your date, we suggest looking up the vendors attending through their website. You can say things like “I heard The Great British Pasty & Pie Co. is here this week. Their cheese & onion pasty is extremely delicious. Wanna try them out?” 

If they enjoy it, then plus points for you! If they don’t, well, you can both enjoy your time looking for a vendor with food you both enjoy!  

By the way, make sure to ask if they have any dietary restrictions. This will also show them that you care about their well-being and preferences. 

3. Appreciate local art over coffee at Arthouse Cafe


Address: 555 Somerset St W, Ottawa, ON K1R 5K1, Canada

Contact details: +1 613-230-9555

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Thursday, and Sunday – 10 AM to 6 PM, 6:30 PM to 10 PM 
  • Friday and Saturday – 10 AM to 7:30 PM, 8 PM to 12 AM 

Getting coffee with a date is a common way of getting to know a person. While it’s a classic for a reason, you might feel the need to switch it up by making it more unique and adventurous. 

Enter Arthouse Cafe, a charming locale that’s an event venue, gallery, and cafe all rolled into one. Its interior is full of character, as it’s filled with over a hundred art pieces by local artists. 

Needless to say, this is particularly exciting if you and your date have a penchant for art, or just want a captivating backdrop for the occasion. 

4. Grab drinks and play board games at Level One Game Pub 


Address: 14 Waller St, Ottawa, ON K1N 9C4, Canada

Contact details: +1 613-695-7529

Operating hours: 

  • Monday – 4 PM to 12 AM
  • Tuesday to Thursday, and Sunday – 12 PM to 12 AM
  • Friday and Saturday – 12 PM to 2 AM 

Afraid you’d run out of things to talk about during your date? Opt for fun activities where conversation can happen naturally, like playing a board game!

Level One Game Pub offers the perfect setting to enjoy a round or two, all while sipping on your drink of choice. They have a multitude of games to try, so you’ll never get bored. 

If board games aren’t your thing, they also have video games! From Playstation to Wii and other gaming consoles, they also boast a wide selection to choose from. 

Oh, they also have fun trivia nights you can check out! 

5. Participate in an exciting rock climbing adventure at Coyote Rock Gym 


Address: 1737B St. Laurent Blvd, Ottawa, ON K1G 3V4, Canada

Contact details: +1 613-216-4640

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Friday – 11 AM to 11 PM 
  • Saturday and Sunday – 11 AM to 9 PM 

If you and your date are sporty, chances are, you’re going to want to choose an activity that gets your adrenaline pumping. For a weather-proof option, consider indoor rock climbing at Coyote Rock Gym. 

Participating in a shared activity is bound to make you and your date become closer, which is guaranteed to strengthen your connection with each other. 

6. Go picnicking at Hog’s Back Park 


Address: 600 Hog’s Back Rd, Ottawa, ON K1V 1H8, Canada

Contact details: +1 613-239-5000

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 7 AM to 10 PM 

If you’re up for a little more effort than the other options on the list, you might want to consider picnicking at Hog’s Back Park. 

Pack a basket full of snacks (or their favorite treats for plus points) and a cozy blanket, then head to this beautiful tranquil oasis for an intimate moment with your date. 

After having a romantic picnic, you can also stroll around the park to appreciate its gorgeous and picturesque offerings. There’s a beautiful waterfall both of you shouldn’t miss!