One of the first questions a new client will ask is "where should I live (or where not to) while going to med school in Ottawa?" I want to walk through the process as I would with a client, which should help you get a better idea for yourself.
There is no perfect answer or perfect location.
The Ottawa med school campus is located away from the downtown core, in an area called Alta Vista on Smyth Road. It is a quiet area that is surrounded mostly by family homes that were built in the 1950's and 1960's. However there are no restaurants, no bars, no decent shopping areas in walking distance. If you decide to live near campus, you will need to drive/cab/transit to everything - everything except school.
The other flip of the coin, is living in a more central location. Many residents and med students choose to live in Centretown or Downtown, in the Byward Market, or somewhere closer to life. Majority of our restaurants, bars, shopping, and coffee shops are located in these areas. The issue is that every single day, you will drive/cab/transit to class.
This is where you will know yourself and what you prefer. I can't answer what is best for you, only you know the perfect fit.
Granted - Ottawa is not overly large. Its a $15-20 cab ride from campus to the Byward Market, or a 8min (or so) drive.
Housing near campus is traditional (there are a number of newer townhouses, single homes, and rental apartments), with the more modern or "cooler" product located more downtown. Pricing can vary largely on the product and location, but overall pretty similar.
Where do you want to live? Where makes more sense to you? Need help, I would love to help!