The Rideau neighborhood in Ottawa is probably the busiest, the most dodgy (by Canadian standards!), the most polluted and the most central neighborhood in Ottawa.
Located downtown nearby the Byward Market, Parliament Hill and the University of Ottawa, it’s basically a three-levels indoor shopping mall stuck between Mackenzie King’s Bridge and Rideau Street. It’s above all a hub: when you go downtown, you go to Rideau. Since the city is basically based on an East — West line, pretty much all buses transit there, either on the bridge, either on Rideau street.
The Department of National Defense, a huge 1960s building, is located right beside. It’s very common to see employees, dressed in military camouflage clothes or navy blue to hang around, going for lunch or on their way home.
Rideau is also home to a lot of panhandlers and homeless people: the Mission and the Salvation Army are located nearby. By night, it’s not so safe with a bit of drug dealing and prostitution (although it’s a bit cold for the latter, it seems).
The shopping center is a major hub, especially during the winter since it’s indoor and has a footbridge to The Bay, a big department store located across.