It’s a jungle out there. If you’re in Ottawa — whether you live here or you’re just passing through — it’s good to know how to stay safe. This guide provides essential information you need for safety awareness on the streets, and where to go if you’re injured.
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Awareness Starts on the Streets of Ottawa
Safety comes in all forms but let’s face it: most injuries outside the home happen as a result of motor vehicle accidents. Falls rank #1 in Canada as the most common type of injury but when it comes to accidents that occur outside the home, there’s usually a vehicle involved.
Even accidental falls typically occur outside the home, believe it or not. Out of 653, 808 ED visits for injuries caused by falling, only 114,383 were a result of falls in the home. That’s according to the same Canadian Institute for Health Information cited above, which also stated that there were 2 million total ED visits due to injury. That means falling accounts for more than 25% of injuries that result in a trip to the ED.
The bottom line: be careful out there. As a pedestrian, you risk tripping on a raised section of sidewalk, slipping on the ice, and tons of other unfortunate accidents that can land you in the hospital — or at least the ED for a few hours. And although falls are more commonplace in Canadian seniors, they happen to people of all ages. Tripping in the car park, for example, is more common than most people know. And in the 2018 report cited above, almost nine thousand of the injuries logged across Canada were due to slipping on the ice.
Then there are the pedestrian-vehicle accidents. Ottawa’s reputation for pedestrian safety is far from spotless…
The Most Dangerous Intersections in Ottawa
The nightly news in Ottawa can be harrowing to listen to at times. Not because of crime — this is a relatively safe city to live in as far as crime is concerned. But for pedestrians, it’s often a take-your-life-in-your-own-hands kind of a situation. In just the past year or so, there have been several pedestrian fatalities. Among them:
- Teen pedestrian struck and killed on Seyton Drive (January 2018)
- A woman in her 80s died on the scene after being struck by a car while walking on Bowesville Rd (January 2019)
- 69-year-old man suffered fatal injuries after being struck by a vehicle on Renaud Road (March 2019)
- Man walking on Goulbourn Road killed by a driver who failed to stop (February 2019)
Every city has pedestrian fatalities but the honest truth is that Ottawa is one of the worst in the nation. Statistically speaking, these kinds of accidents are more likely to happen on the streets of Ottawa than in most other Canadian cities.
In a 2017 survey by Allstate Insurance Company ranked Ottawa in the lowest quartile for driver safety. With a rate of 6.87% per 100 cars, that’s nearly twice the rate of cities on the list who rank the safest. While that’s a big improvement over an earlier Allstate study that ranked Ottawa fourth from the bottom of the list, it still paints a grim picture of Ottawa’s streets.
All this may come as a surprise to lots of people since seven of Canada’s safest cities for driving are located in Ontario.
What can be done? Insurance companies would like drivers to practice safe driving, of course. In some cases, the folks who live in the neighbourhoods that border the worst intersections have taken matters into their own hands, calling for traffic studies. As a pedestrian, you should keep your eyes open, your ears clear, and your mind alert whenever you’re walking near heavily-trafficked roads.
And speaking of heavily-trafficked roads, here are the worst intersections in Ottawa:
- West Hunt Club Rd. & Woodroofe Ave.
- Merivale Rd. & West Hunt Club Rd.
- Hunt Club Rd. & Riverside Dr.
- Prince of Wales Fr. & West Hunt Club Rd.
- Donald St. & St. Laurent Blvd.
- Industrial Ave & St. Laurent Blvd.
- Greenbank Rd. & West Hunt Club Rd.
- Blair Rd. & 174 Westbound Off-Ramp
- Bank St. & Hunt Club Rd.
- Heron Rd. & Riverside Dr.
- Russel Rd. & Walkley Rd.
- Blair Rd. & Ogilvie Rd.
- Katimavil Rd. & Terry Fox Dr.
Curious about what that looks like on the map? Take a look and see if you notice a cluster of collisions:
Where to Go if You Need Quick Medical Attention in Ottawa
If you’re in the unenviable position of requiring urgent medical attention after an accident, at least you’ll have plenty of choices. There’s no shortage of hospitals, urgent care clinics, and other places you can go for treatment if you’ve had an accident.
We’ll start with the top hospitals that have emergency rooms in the city. Using data pulled from CBC’s Rate My Hospital survey, this is where to go if you need a hospital emergency room.
Ottawa’s Top Hospitals With Emergency Rooms
- Montfort Hospital. This is a large community hospital which received a grade of ‘B’. The ER wait time is an average of 7.8 hours but keep in mind this is an average and cases will vary. Care is delivered in both English and French. Point 1 on the map below.
- The Ottawa Hospital. If you’re injured anywhere near The Ottawa Hospital, it’s good to know that they’re highly rated as one of the top ten hospitals in Canada. Despite being the biggest hospital in Ottawa, emergency room wait times can be surprisingly reasonable. Staff receives consistently high ratings on social media and 91% of care is given by registered nurses, which is a comforting statistic. There are two campuses and this data applies to both locations. Points 10, 2, and 3 on the map.
- Queensway Carleton Hospital. CBC’s rating system gives QCH even better ratings than The Ottawa Hospital. For ER patients, it rates better than Montfort with an average wait time of 6.8 hours. It is, however, located well outside of the center of the city, southwest along the river (see #4 on the map below). If you’re injured in that area, it’s the only hospital in the top ten that will be close by. Point 4 on the map.
Ottawa’s Top Walk-In & Urgent Care Clinics
In addition to the three big hospitals with emergency rooms in Ottawa, there are numerous clinics. These may not all be open 24 hours and some shut their doors when they reach capacity. There are, however, plenty of them dotting the city so you should be able to find care quickly at one of the city’s many centers. Here’s just a smattering of what’s offered:
- Activecare Medical Group. There is a walk-in clinic at Carlingwood Shopping Centre as well as a clinic in the Beaverbrook area. If you are already a patient, you may see a doctor during afterhours. Otherwise, clinics are open pretty much during business hours and a few hours on Saturdays. Check the website for details.
- Access Medical Centre. For minor injuries, Access is a walk-in clinic open during business hours. It’s advised to call ahead to check capacity, however (613-596-9840). In addition to English and French, Arabic and Punjabi are also spoken.
- Appletree Medical Group. This is a large network of health clinics that can treat various conditions and injuries. Their Sports Medicine division assesses and diagnoses injuries from motor vehicle accidents but it’s not an emergency room or urgent care. If you want a multidisciplinary approach to your treatment, this is one option you could opt for. In addition to traditional medicine and orthopedic surgeons, they offer massage therapy, physiotherapists, and more.
- Care Medics Group. CMG has four clinics across Ottawa that offer walk-in services during business hours. They too close their doors when patient volume grows to maximum capacity. Call ahead: (613)-523-5550 or 613-749-1678 for the St. Laurent Blvd and McArthur Ave locations, respectively.
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The Best Physiotherapy Clinics in Ottawa
There’s certainly no shortage of physiotherapists in Ottawa. While it’s impossible to list them all, here are a few of the most highly-rated practitioners who offer their services within city limits.
- Barbara Stefanska, RPT, MA. According to a 50-point rating system, this physiotherapist is an excellent choice for your physiotherapy needs. Noted for her detailed assessment methodology, she also has extensive experience, having been in practice for over forty years.
- Toni Azzi, PT. In addition to providing most physiotherapy services, Mr. Azzi also performs Insurer Examinations, Ability Evaluations, and other Independent Physiotherapy Examinations. According to “Three Best Rated”, he scores second in Ottawa.
- Dr. Hohamed Fouda, PT. Ranking third in the report cited above, this physiotherapist provides a hands-on assessment of your condition and conveniently has evening as well as Saturday office hours.
- Ottawa Physiotherapy and Sport Clinics — Main Street. This clinic received the highest rating (a 9.5 out of 10). Located just west of Hurdman Park, they’re open 7 AM to 8 PM M-F and also feature Saturday hours.
- Bellefleur Physiotherapy. Also ranking well in the survey cited above, Bellefleur features private treatment rooms and an award-winning staff of bilingual physiotherapists.
A Final Word on Your Safety on the ‘Mean’ Streets of Ottawa
You know it’s in jest when we say the “mean streets” of Ottawa. Frankly, our city has high ratings as far as crime is concerned. But as you can see, ‘safety’ is defined in many ways and not all dangers stem from criminal intent. However, sometimes people are responsible for your injuries, even when they didn’t intend any harm. Sometimes it’s just negligence. If you’ve been injured and you think someone’s at fault — whether it’s an individual or an organization — call us and we can help.