The Timber Route

The  Ottawa River timber trade was the nineteenth century production of squared timber along with other wood products. As the major industry of the historical colonies of Upper and Lower Canada, the timber trade was instrumental in the establishment of communities on both sides of the river we now know as the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau. This bike tour visits various interpretive displays along the Ottawa River that help describe the history and significance of the timber trade in our region. It’s a 3km ride along bike paths and multi-use pathways.

Our ride begins just off the Ottawa River Pathway behind the War Museum. Here you will find an interpretive display describing the 19th century origins of the local lumber industry. You can also stand on a recreated crib which was a section of a timber raft. Interpretive panels describe how in the 1800’s you would have seen giant rafts made up of cribs in the river before you. The interpretive panels also describes how these timber rafts, composed of hundreds of logs, would be temporary floating villages for the Raftsmen bringing the timber down the Ottawa River.

Interpretive display along the Ottawa River Pathway behind the War Museum

Heading down river along the Ottawa River Pathway you will happen upon Mill Street Brew Pub located in an old grist mill that was built in 1842. On the east side of the building, looking out across the river, you will see a timber slide. This is where the aforementioned cribs would float down to avoid the Chaudière Falls. In 1972 the V shaped slide visible from this spot replaced the wider square shaped slide that originally accomodated the cribs. There are no interpretive panels at this location, however more on the history of the slide can be found by clicking here.

Timber slide visible

Ride under the Portage Bridge and follow the paths that circle up and onto the bridge. Take the segregated bike lane across the bridge to the Gatineau side of the river, then turn down to the right along the Voyageurs Pathway that runs along the waters edge.

Along this pathway you will happen upon this interpretive panel describing the history of this shoreline, including the period when the lumber trade was dominant.

History of the shoreline

A short distance further along the path you will find this vertical display celebrating log drivers whose job was to break up piles of logs to avoid log jams.

Log Drivers

Continue along the Voyageurs Pathway under the Alexandra Bridge into Jacques Cartier Park. A short distance into the park you will find a display of three interpretive panels just off the pathway, one of which hi-lites the story of Big Joe Mufferaw, a legendary lumberman from the era of the timber trade.

Big Joe Mufferaw

Further along the pathway beside a small heritage house called Maison Charon you will find another display of three panels, one of which hi-lites Philemon Wright the first settler who started up the local lumber trade. Included in this display is a scale reproduction of a broad axe. This important tool was used to square logs so that they may be assembled into crips and rafts before floating down river.

Philemon Wright

For those who would like to read more about the era of the Ottawa River timber trade I recommend checking out this link.

Et voila! Happy trails.

Biking from Downtown to the Ottawa International Airport and/or the EY Centre

The Ottawa International Airport is a comfortable 13-15 km ride from downtown. The following route is my favourite. The EY Centre is a huge convention space used for various events and is very close to the airport, so I’ve included a slight detour that’ll get you there as well (orange line on the map).

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Starting off from the corner of Laurier Avenue and Percy St, head south along the Percy bike lane. (Percy and Laurier is an intersection easily accessible from many points within the downtown core via the Laurier Bike Lane).

Bike lane along Percy

Percy continues on the opposite side of the Queensway sans bike lane.

Percy south of the Queensway

Turn right on Fifth Avenue and cross Bronson Avenue at the intersection.

Traffic lights at Fifth Avenue heading across Bronson
Traffic lights at Fifth & Bronson

Once across Bronson continue down Madawask Drive, then onto the pathway that cuts through Commissioners Park.

Access to path through Commissioners Park from Madawaska Drive
Lovely path through Commissioners Park. Always lots of flowers.

Follw this path to the intersection of Preston Street and Prince of Wales Drive.

Approaching Prince of Wales and Preston

Cross the lights to get to the bike path that runs through the Arboretum along the edge of Dow’s Lake and the Rideau Canal.

Path through the Arboretum along the Rideau Canal
Path through the Arboretum

Pushed you bike over the canal locks opposite Carleton University and turn right along the Rideau Canal Pathway as far as Mooney’s Bay.

Up & over the locks

The path continues over the Rideau River along Hogs Back Road. Once over the Hogs Back Falls bridge take the path to the right that goes through Mooney’s Bay park

Once over the Hogs Back Falls bridge take the path to the right that goes through Mooneys Bay park
Path to the right that goes through Mooney’s Bay park

On the other side of Mooney’s Bay Park the path continues along Riverside Drive for a short distance until it ends at Walkley Road. Riverside Drive is a very busy street with lots of speeding traffic. There are raised paved shoulders along Riverside beyond Quesnel Drive, but not between Walkley Road and Quesnel Drive. To avoid this section, ride on the packed grass beside the sidewalk along Riverside for a short distance and cross Riverside to the parking lot of the Anglican Church.

Intersection of Walkley and Riverside Drive
Entrance to church parking lot off Riverside

Ride through to the opposite side of the church parking lot to the short path that cuts through to Otterson Drive.

Path from church parking lot to Otterson Drive

Turn right onto Otterson, and take the short path that links to Quesnel Drive. Follow Quesnel Dr that ends at Riverside Drive. Get back on Riverside Drive and continue south along the previously mentioned raised paved shoulders. They extend from Quesnel to Uplands Drive.

Paved shoulder along Riverside Drive

Turn left onto Uplands Drive and follow it for a short distance before turning right along Bowesville Road.

Mid way down Bowesville there’s a NO THROUGH TRAFFIC sign, and a smaller green one below it that asks pedestrians and cyclists passing through to remain on the road. That’s because it cuts through the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club. There’s a steel gate a bit beyond the signs, however there’s space to ride by just to the right.

Signs midway down Bowesville, and gate a bit further on.
Signs midway down Bowesville, and gate a bit further on.

Once beyond the golf club property cross Hunt Club Road at the lights and continue south along Paul Benoit Driveway. This is a very pleasant road to ride along. Traffic isn’t too speedy, the posted limit being 50km/h. There is also a paved path that runs along the west side of the road.

Path along Paul Benoit Driveway

Normally, to get to the terminal turn right off of Paul Benoit Driveway onto Kiowa Pr, cut through the employee parking, then left at the end of the parking lot, which becomes a lane airport employees use to walk back and forth to their cars. This lane leads right to the arrivals doors in front of the terminal. At the time of writing they were constructing the O-Train connection to the airport, which required a slight deviation to the normal route, as per the green line indicated on the above map. i.e., rather than cut through the employees parking, ride to the end of Kiowa Pr to Clear Skies Pr, then turn left onto Clear Skies Pr, which leads to the aforementioned lane that brings you to the entrance to the terminal.

Turn right onto Kiowa Pr
Connection from Clear Skies Pr to path leading to front of airport terminal

There are bike racks infront of the concrete pillars located just outside the entrance to the airport.

Bike racks
Bike racks

Accessing the EY Centre

If you are heading to the EY Centre (orange line on the above map) turn left off of Paul Benoit Driveway onto Breadner Blvd, which has ample room for cars and bikes.

Breadner Blvd

Turn right onto Uplands Drive, which is a busy street, but also has wide paved shoulders. The entrance to the EY Centre is a short distance further along Uplands.

Uplands Dr

Follow the same route heading back to Ottawa, except for the last stretch north of the Queensway where the bike lane follows Bayswater versus Percy, as indicated by the purple line on the above map.

Et voila!

Bike Tour of Swap Boxes and Little Free Libraries – Updated!

Swap Boxes and Little Free Libraries are a great way to share books and other items amongst neighbours and passersby. Here’s how they work: usually streetside, people are enticed to open them up. If something inside strikes their fancy they can take or exchange the item with something else. I started this route back in 2016, updating the map with boxes over the years as they come and go, or as they have been modified. Everyone who has one loves the joy and sharing that they contribute to the community!

We were inspired to put up a swap box in front of our place after discovering a number of others around town that had been created by the late street artist Elmaks. There is also an online group you can register your book swap box called Little Free Libraries. Here’s an article in the Kitchissippi Times on some of those local little libraries.

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First stop – Cambridge St North, just north of the Chinatown Arch!

113 Cambridge St N

Our next box is Down Nanny Goat Cliff on Rochester St.

41 Rochester St

One square block south-west there sits this converted newspaper box at the corner of Preston and Elm. 

Preston & Elm book exchange

Next it’s over to this great swap box at 249 Loretta Avenue.

249 Loretta
249 Loretta

A couple of blocks west at the corner of Beech Street and Bayswater Avenue you can’t miss this colourful Little Free Library/Boîte à livres.

Corner of Beech and Bayswater

South on Bayswater brings you to this fine box whose design imitates that of the home infront of which it sits.

Box on Bayswater

A few blocks up a hill you will find this very well constructed Little Free Library on Gwynne Ave.

38 Gwynne Ave

Head over to this clever ‘A-Frame’ box on Melrose.

Melrose Avenue

This beautifully painted box is just a few yards further up Melrose.

45 Melrose

Then it’s over to 94 Spadina Ave. where sits this tall red box, another fine imitation of it’s host house.

94 Spadina Ave

This generous box on Garland sits comfortably on a wall.

Garland St box

Heading west through Hintonburg brings you to this big one at 50 Ladoucer. Unfortunately the text that was originally on the front of this unit explaining that it it was a swap box has almost completely faded leaving no indication for those that don’t already know.

50 Ladoucer

A bit further west in Hintonburg you will find a box near the corner of Oxford & Pinehurst. This one has quite a history.  In the Fall of 2016 someone complained about it’s original sprawling bungalow styling to city by-law and the owners were told to take it down by September 16th. Fortunately there was a last minute stay of execution and it got a reprieve. It was then replaced it with a more compact design, and has since gradually grown and evolved into the multi-unit that is there now.

Box on Spencer St

Across the transitway sit’s this fine tall box on Northwestern Avenue.

219 Northwestern Ave

A short distance south on Northwestern you will find this sweet box nesteld amongst the vegetation.

244 Northwestern Ave

A little bit west proudly stands this most excellent Swap Box crafted at the Ottawa Tool Library!

260 Keyworth

A bit south there sits this fine low to the ground model, perfect for young’uns to access.

49 Garrison

Just south of Wellington on Mayfair there is not one, but TWO boxes safely distanced apart.

Mayfair near Wellington West

A few blocks south brings us to this little library at 436 Mayfair.

Box on Mayfair

Our route goes another couple of blocks east to visit this great Little Library on Kenora St. that has started to lean a bit over time.

Kenora St. box

Over on Tyndall this box is temporarily taking a rest, however the construction worker on site said it would be back up eventually.

36 Tyndall

Then it’s under the Queensway over to this colourful box at the edge of St Stephen’s church on Sherwood.

Box outside St. Stephen’s Church on Sherwood

A few blocks south on Hamilton Ave S you will find this fine box.

Box on Hamilton

Right around the corner on Inglewood you will find this friendly offering.

Book box on Inglewood Pl

Further west on Ruskin there sits this beautiful cedar shingled little library with a cute little swap box addition. This box has a sad story associated with it: in 2017 someone set fire to it’s original incarnation. Undeterred, the builders got to work and like the legendary Phoenix, this wonderul replacement rose from it’s ashes.

Swap boxes at 125 Ruskin

Over to Island Park Drive where this super sweet ‘petit bibliotheque’ has mini toad-stools for little ones to rest upon.

675 Island Park Dr

This next box on Clarendon was made and installed by Chris of the Ottawa Outdoor Gear Library. He built it in a Swap Box making workshop at the Ottawa Tool Library. Note the recycled plies handles.

Clarendon Swap Box

This fine box at the corner of Mayfair and Iona has a nice littel gravel path leading up to it frim the sidewalk.

Mayfair and Iona

Two boxes are at the corner of Brennan and Iona, one dedicated to kids.

Corner of Brennan and Iona

Over to this very beautifuly painted box on Evered Ave.

Box on Evered Ave

Over to this one at Edison & Kenwood where locals can grab their mail AND a book!

Corner of Edison & Kenwood

This box on Melbourne is a very nice design. A paintedlandcape on the front is intersected by the round window.

508 Melbourne

A detour north brings us to this little library on Atlantis Ave.

280 Atlantis Ave

Over to 571 Roosevelt to visit this fine box.

571 Roosevelt

The next one has a corregated metal roof! Very clever.

664 Highland Ave

The box on Mansfield has a bench to rest on while perusing the shelves. One shelf accepts exceptionally tall books.

Mansfield Box.jpg
Mansfield Avenue Bench & Box

A vintage window with mullions serves as the front of this box on Rowanwood Ave making it easier to peruse the selection before without exposing the books to the elements. Very handy in inclement weather!

569 Rowanwood Ave

This big red row boat shaped box can be found on Deschênes St.

2192 Deschênes St

Next one is in New Orchard Park.

New Orchard Park
Book box at New Orchard Park

You can find this book box on Midway Ave near Ancaster. Based on similarites in design with the last box I have a sneaking suspicion they came from the same source.

Midway Ave

A slight detour south to the Glabar Park neighbourhood brings you to this double-duty Little Library on Lenester Avenue. The lower box is labelled ‘Young Readers’. The upper box has stained glass windows!

1996 Lenester Ave

Down Woodland Avenue brings you to this fine box.

Woodland Ave

Here is a converted sticker decorated newspaper box on Chambers Ave.

2569 Chambers Ave

The route branches off south-westerly to visit the next three boxes. First stop is at the corner of Ryan and Southwood Drive with a bench to relax and peruse the offerings!

2423 Ryan Dr
2423 Ryan Dr

The second is at 30 Harrison St that uses the JUTIS frosted cabinet door from Ikea and a cord to keep it closed.

30 Harrison St

The third is at 32 Abingdon Dr with a traditional styled hinged door. 

32 Abingdon Dr
32 Abingdon Dr

This box on Charing Road is set a ways back from the curb but the owners kindly put down a series of flagstones to help you get there.

36 Charing Rd

Over on Côte-des-Neiges Rd you will find this elegant box.

69 Côte-des-Neiges Rd

Next box is on Ainsley Drive with a very clever log base.

1754 Ainsley

Heading back east brings usto this swap box at the corner of Sherman and Navaho Drive which has a little path leading up from the intersection. The original clear solid plastic window has been replaced plastic wrap and newspaper so you’ll have to open it up to see what’s inside.

Navaho and Sherman

This bright red box can be found on Marygrove Circle.

1266 Marygrove

Just around the corner on Terrebonne Drive there is this colourful unit with a curved concrete bench to sit on while you peruse your selection.

1266 Terrebone

Over to Caldwell Ave to visit this generous book exchange that unfortunately has lost its doors.

Caldwell Ave

This playful box is located a bit further north at the corner of McBride and Woodward.

Mcbride and Woodward

This fine box on Laperriere isn’t going anywhere soon, with it’s solid specially poured concrete base! It also has a note in the window reminding users that leaving the door ajar lets rain in, thus ruining the books.

1478 Laperriere Ave

This sweet box is a bit further east along Laperriere.

1353 Laperriere Ave

The Alexander Community Centre has this fine big box on a stable wooden base. Unfortunately it has had it’s door ripped off as well, so best to put your books as far back as possible to avoid the elements.

Alexander Community Centre

Over to 28 Sutton Place. This box is special as it was built and installed by one of Ottawa’s most passionate cycling advocates, Hans On Bike.

28 Sutton Place

The next most excellent box is on Bowhill Avenue.

Box on Bowhill Ave

Head on south to Tennyson St to visit this double box. Note how it’s colours match the home.

2 Tennyson St

Next stop is over the river on Uplands Drive where you will find this great box called the Oak Tree Free Library.

Uplands Drive

Over to Cahill St.  

1035 Cahill St

Next, over to this great box on Colman St.

Next is this tree mounted model on Hobson Road.

2584 Hobson Rd

Next check out this fine unit on Springland Drive.

2712 Springland Dr

Over to this wide unit on Upper Otterson Pla. It has two small solar powered units that I’m guessing are lights. Will have to go back when it’s dark to confirm.

2947 Upper Ottson Place

This one on Revelstoke Drive is supported by a re-purposed bbq stand.

Revelstoke Dr

The next few boxes to discover are in the Glebe. This one’s on Fourth Avenue, just east of Bronson. 

Fourth Avenue

This box is on Fifth Avenue.

Box on Fifth Avenue at Chrysler St.

A bit further down 5th you will find this fine box.

237 5th Ave

This next box over on Thornton has great playful proportions!

27 Thorton

Half way down the block on the opposite side of Thornton you will discover this great Book Sharing Zone box.

12 Thornton Ave

Next two boxes are on Broadway Ave.

90 Broadway Ave
135 Broadway Ave

Over to Ottawa South where this can be found on Ossignton Avenue.

8 Ossington Ave

Next is a short side loop over the Rideau River to visit this robust Little Library on Pleasant Park Road. The most convenenient access to Alta Vista along this route is along the awful narrow Bank Street bridge over the Rideau River. Walking your bike along the sidewalk bridge is usually the safest option.

Pleasant Park Road

One block south on Mountbatten Avenue you will find this wonderfully painted box.

Mountbatten Ave

Over on Blossom Drive you will find this very welcoming box.

2071 Blossom Dr

A short loop through the Alta Vista neighbourhood first brings us to this beautifully painted box on Featherstone Drive. 

Featherstone Drive

Further west you will find this double-decker unit!

763 Canterbury Ave

Our next stop on our Alta Vista loop brings us to this one at 1647 Pullen Ave. Tons of TLC has been put into the painting details. 

1647 Pullen

Continuing on our loop through Alta Vista brings us to this cleverly designed mobile unit on Knox Crescent.

217 Knox Crescent

Head back on over to the north shore of the Rideau River and follow the path along to the river to Belmont Drive where you will find this super sweet box.

Belmont Ave

On Riverdale Ave you will find this delicately painted two level unit.

390 Riverdale

Walk your bike one block north to our next stop along Riverdale.

350 Riverdale Ave

A couple of blocks over you will see this great little library at 146 Sunnyside Avenue. Big footprint shaped concrete pavers invite passersby to peruse the shelves.

Just direct your feet to the Sunnyside of the street

This nicely crafted box is located a bit further north on Glencairn Avenue.

Glencairn Avenue

Our next great box can be found just around the corner on Riverdale Ave. This one also has a generous concrete bench infront of it.

Riverdale Ave

A bit north east on Belgrave Road lives this fine box, cleverly modeled after the house infront of which it sits.

Belgrave Road

Over on Mason Terrace there’s this nice blue box.

Mason Terrace

Close by on Bower Street we find another fine box.

Bower St box

Nary a block over is this great box on Mutchmor Road.

Box on Mutchmor (can’t ask for Mutchmor than that!)

Close by on Merritt Ave you will find this great little library.

86 Merritt Ave

Up on Drummen St you will find this beauty.

163 Drummond St

Just a few meters down Drummond Street there sits this box-within-a-box.

155 Drummond Street

Just a couple of blocks north you can find this box on Glanora Street.

Glanora St

Along Echo Drive in front of The Church of the Ascension you will find this fine box.

Echo Drive

Ride north along the Rideau Canal pathway then cut through the Ottawa U campus, then head east through the Sandy Hill neighbourhood along Wilbrod which is a one way street with a bike lane. Head one block north on Cobourg St where you will find this great box near the north/east corner of Stewart. It has hi-vs stickers on it’s legs, and a fine stepping stone to allow smaller readers to peruse the titles.

Stewart St near Cobourg St

Over to Wurtemburg St to check out this sweet box.

227 Wurtemburg

After crossing over the Rideau River this next branch visits three boxes. The first is this box on Mark Ave.

69 Mark Ave

A couple of blocks nouth gets you to one of the same design on Greensway Ave.

235 Greensway Ave

Last of the three boxes on this branch is this fine little unit at the corner of Vachon and Dagmar with some paving stones to keep your shoes clean while you peruse.

Vachon & Dagmar

After retracing our route and riding along the Rideau River, a quick hop back over the river to visit this box on Marlborough Ave.

125 Marlborough Ave

There are two fine boxes over in Overbrook.  Weave your way along a few residential streets to this fine Little Library on Queen Mary Street.

45 Queen Mary St

Just a few blocks north there sits this generous little library on Ontario Street.

80 Ontario Street

Over on the corner of Frontenac & Lacasse you will find this fine box.

309 Frontenac

Next, over to 770 Claude St

770 Claude St

Heading further east for a spell, one finds this robust box at 20 Appleford St in the Cardinal Heights neighbourhood.

20 Appleford St

Heading back west you will discover this fantastic box on Roanoke Street!

705 Roanoke Street

Next, over to Pauline Charron Place. This one has had a bottom unit added since it first appeared.

355 Pauline Charron Pl.

Back to the bike path along St Laurent, head north a touch and turn right onto Meadow Park Place where you will discover this fine specimen.

87 Meadow Park Pl

A bit further north you will happen upon this next box on Braemer.

19 Braemer

Next, ride towards and along Hemlock Road that’ll get you to this fine little library.

725 Henlock Rd

Ride over to New Edinburgh where you will find this big colourful box outside the MacKay United Church.

MackKay United Church

Cross the river over the St Patrick Street bridge towards this bright red box at the end of Old St Patrick St. in Lowertown.

Bright red box on Old St Patrick St

Over to the corner of Rose and Bruyère to visit this jaunty box. It has had a kids box addition installed as well.

Corner of Rose & Bruyère

A block over is our next box at 260 St Andrew St. nestled in the surrounding greenery.

260 St Andrew St

Further along St Andrew, on the opposite side of King Edward Ave, there sits this elegant little box.

176 St Andrew

Time to retrace our route back to the Rideau Canal and ride south. This sweet little library is located on O’Connor Street near Patterson Creek.

554 R. O’Connor St

Heading north you will find this Library/bibliothèque at the corner of Strathcona and Metcalfe.

Library Bibliothèque at the corner of Strathcona and Metcalfe

The next two boxes are neighbours on Argyle which is accessible via the bi-directional bike lanes along O’Connor. The first is this brightly painted number.

Box on Argyle

The second box on Argyle has beautiful landscaping. 

Box on Argyle

Cut through the Museum of Nature parking to visit this box on McLeod.

263 McLeod

This box a bit further west on McLeoad is a converted cast iron stove.

385 McLeod

You can find this box on Florence St.

176 Florence

This box is just outside the kids playground in Dundonald Park.

Dundonald Park

A third box on Mcleod can be found near Bronson.

577 McLeod
577 McLeod

Another fine Little Library can be found on Arlington a few blocks west of Bronson. There is a solar panel powering a light that turns on once you open the door to the box when it’s dark out. TRÈS cool!

Box at 430 Arlington during the day….and at night!
 

This loving box can be found on Eccles.

Eccles St

Our final stop is this Mini Library, corner of Cambridge St N and Christie. This one takes taller books too!

Mini Library at Christie & Cambridge St N
Mini Library at Christie & Cambridge St N

Et voila!

A final special mention for this super sweet little swap box that was once located on Cole Avenue. It was a favourite so here’s a photo in memory of all the joy it provided.

Cole swap box.jpg
Cole Avenue Swap Box

I’ve been adding new boxes throughout a number of years as they are installed. If I’ve missed any please feel free to send me a note and I’ll include it on the route.

Stay tuned for an updated Swap Box route on the Quebec side of the rover.

Happy riding!

Biking to Ikea and Lee Valley From Centretown

I rode out to Ikea and Lee Valley to pick up some items for this summer’s production of Shakespeare’s  The Tempest, being performed by A Company of FoolsI designed the set. It opens next week and will be performed in parks around the city throughout the summer. Check out their show calendar to see when there is a performance in a park near you! 

This bike route is an update to one originally posted in the summer of 2012. I followed the Ottawa River Pathway and the Pinecrest Creek Pathway as far as Iris Street on the way there, and then the Experimental Farm Pathway back. A lovely loop.

The overall route hasn’t changed much over the last ten years, however the ongoing construction of the LRT extension heading west along the SJAM Parkway, and then south along the transit way, has resulted in a dog’s breakfast of mini-detours along the Pinecrest Creek Pathway. The detours aren’t too drastic, just very zig-zaggy and choppy. I hope the bike infrastructure will be the same as before, or better, once all construction is completed. Until then, I anticipate this messy bit will remain for a couple of years to come.

Love these service pavilions at Westboro Beach, designed by architect James Strutt. They remind me of Don Quixote’s windmills.  Check out other bike tours that visit buildings Strutt designed around the region by clicking here.

Westboro Beach pavillions

The Ottawa River Pathway isn’t being drastically affected by the construction. If you like construction sites, look left. If you like majestic rivers, look right.

Ottawa River Pathway heading west

This is the type of choppy detour you may expect to find along the Pinecrest Creek Pathway.

Pinecrest Creek Pathway heading south

Heading back along the Experimental Farm Pathway, just east of Woodroffe Avenue, they are installing what seems to be a huge reservoir. Looking forward to see what becomes of that.

Reservoir just east off Woodroffe

So there you go. Happy trails!

10 Year Anniversary!

It’s been 10 years since I began this blog. It started out as a fun efort to share bits about biking around the area. A few years prior I had set out on a mission to ride all the streets in the region at least once. After happening upon so many amazing discoveries, I wanted to share a few right here. All good and fun, and I got better, spurred on by positive feedback. Then the big epiphany hit. While attending a Bike Ottawa annual general meeting, a German academic doing research in some American university made a presentation on bike stats from cities around the world. Amongst a dazzling array of anecdotal tid-bits, the ultimate stat he spouted was, the safest cities to bike in have the most per-capita cyclists. i.e. strength in numbers. So now I had a mission – to try to help boost the number of local riders! And save the planet, but I digress. So I decided to post more detailed safe cycling routes for locals and tourists alike, and I also tossed in ‘Hey, need a safe route? send me your start & finish & I’ll figure it out!‘, for which people were extremely appreciative.

Well, much has changed over time. For example, Bike Ottawa has developed an amazing tool that allows you to plot out the safest route from A to B, based on your comfort level. There are also other extremely passionate local cycling advocates like this guy who are doing a fantastic job keeping us informed about changes and needs required to our local cycling infrastructure.

So, my posts will mostly go back to ressembling its origins, i.e., shorter, a bit more anecdotal, and spontaneous. I’ll still post longer routes when inspiration hits, and offer suggestions on routes when requested. I hope pertinent stuff still comes of it.

Cycle on!

Ukraine in Ottawa – A Bike Tour

The original version of this route was posted in 2014. In the wake of the present invasion of Ukraine I have revisited and updated the route in the hopes that it may be used by those who wish to to pay tribute to the incredible resilience of the Ukranian people, and to help better understand the Ukranian community amongst us.

Canada is home to one of the largest number of persons of Ukrainian descent outside of Ukraine. Most reside in the western provinces, however many have chosen Ottawa as their home. This bike tour visits edifices around town representing the Ukrainian diaspora within Canada’s capital.

We begin our ride at the Ukrainian Embassy located at the corner of Somerset and O’Connor. Ukraine purchased this building at 310 Somerset St from the federal NDP party in 1994. It’s been their embassy ever since.

Ukrainian Embassy

Our next stop is just a few blocks south east. On December 2nd, 1991 Canada recognized Ukraine’s independence. Suddenly in need of an embassy, this building on Metcalfe St was purchased with the help of funds gathered by Ukrainian-Canadians. This location has served as a consular building ever since the embassy moved to its present location.

Ukrainian Consular Building

Next stop – the Saint John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Shrine near the corner of Heron Road and Prince of Wales Drive. To get there I rode south along the O’Connor bike lane before turning left on Fifth Ave and crossing the canal over the Flora Foot Bridge. I then rode along the Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway all the way up to where Heron Road crosses overhead. I accessed Heron by pushing my bike up the mini bike ramp along the edge of the stairs.

Heron stairs

There is a bike lane along Heron Road. Just over the bridge I took this well trodden path righ that leads to the back of the church.

path off Heron

The statue on the edge of the parking lot is a monument to Taras Shevchenko (1841-1861), artist and national hero for his promotion of Ukrainian independence.

The church (or Sobor, or Shrine) was completed in 1987. An annual Capital Ukraininan Festival is held at this site.

Next destination is the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral at 1000 Byron Avenue. To get there I cut through the Experimental Farm, along Island Park Drive, then west along Byron. There is serious disruptive construction for the new LRT extension along Byron, thus the slight detour as one approaches our final stop. The Cathedral opened in 1978. More on it’s history can be found here.

Et voila – Slava Ukraini!

 

The Gatineau Ship Wreck! (re-visited)

The very first bike route posted on Ottawa Velo Outaouais was to a little known ship wreck in Gatineau. Time to re-visit the ride to see how they, (both the route and the wreck), have survived the vagaries of time. Although the last few years have been rough on the route, with Jacques Cartier Park being closed off to recooperate from that wacky topiary festival a few years back, and the boardwalk along the river blocked for repairs, I am pleased to announce that all is clear. Here we go!

Our ride begins in Centretown, beside the Chinatown arch. Head north along Cambridge St N which eventually veers right to become Laurier Ave before arriving at Bronson Avenue. The rest of this ride is entirely along bike lanes or paths. Follow the route indicated on the map to get across the Ottawa River over the Portage Bridge.

Once across the bridge, turn right along the Voyageurs Pathway where you will experience the most picturesque view of Parliament Hill as you ride down towards the waters edge.

Parliament Hill from the Voyageurs Pathway

Continue along the Voyageurs Pathway through Jacques Cartier Park, and then along the aforementioned boardwalk that floats above the shoreline.

Boardwalk along the Ottawa River just east of Maison Charron

Continue along Voyageurs that weaves it’s way for a nice stretch until you happen upon a gravel path leading off to the right. Turn onto this gravel path. If you pass the big green NCC sign, you’ve gone too far.

Turn on to this gravel path before you get to that big green NCC FIP (Federal Identity Program) sign barely visible in this photo

There are two right turns off this gravel path, the first of which leads to a very nice lookout across the river. Definitely worth visiting if you have the time, but you want the next exit that’ll get you to where we wanna go, which runs along the Lac Leamy discharge into the Ottawa River. Further along this path, closer to the Ottawa River you will discover THE SHIPWRECK!

Gatineau Shipwreck!

According to this source, this ship was originally launched in 1959. In the 70’s it was converted into a a disco-casino pleasure cruise, then in 1976 into a floating cottage. It caught fire in the 80’s and waspulled to this location. So, thar she lies…. for the rest of us to enjoy!

This summer someone has been using the wreck to moore a sad little white power boat, conveniently blocked by shrubbery in the above photo.

Et voila!

Heading back to Ottawa, one may retrace the route that got you to the wreck, or you can continue north via the blue line on the above map. If you choose to take this route, which is really great and follows paths the entire way, I highly reccomend downloading the above map and checking your progress via GPS as you will encounter many merges and turns with minimal directional signage.

Happy trails!

Annie’s Ride! – Thorncliffe Park to Carleton U

Annie is heading to Carleton to do her MBA – way to go Annie! The cost of parking at Carleton is NUTS and vehicular access is a dog’s breakfast and will be for the next couple of years as they go about expanding the O-Train through the campus. So, with these considerations in mind, along with all the other bonus benefits that come with pedal power, biking is a very appealing option. Here is a 13km ride which takes around 45 minutes at a leisurely pace.

Our ride begins at the corner of Rothbury Crescent and Provender Avenue.

START!

Head south on Provender. Just as it bends left, continue straight along a concrete pathway that weaves up to Foxview Place.

Path from Provender leading up to Foxview

Turn left and continue south for a short distance and hop onto the bike lane heading west along Montreal Road.

Bike lane along Montreal Road

Once arrived at the Aviation Parkway, cross over to the opposite corner.

Aviation Pathway on the south-west corner of Montreal Road & Aviation Parkway

Follow the Aviation Pathway for a short distance, then follow the sign pointing towards Clarke Avenue.

Exit off Aviation Pathway towards Clarke Ave

Ride through this quiet neighbourhood, first along Clarke, then Claude St, and finally Mutual St.

Lovely, lovely, lovely

This brings you to St Laurent Boulevard. St Laurent is a busy multi-lane artery often filled with speeding traffic. Ride north for a short block to the lights across to Guy St if traffic is light.

View along St Larent to the lights at Guy St

Alternatively, if traffic is heavy and you don’t feel safe you can walk your bike along the sidewalk to the lights at MacArthur. On the return trip, which I have indicated by an orange line on the map for this section, there is a bike lane from MacArthur to Mutual Street heading north. Why the city didn’t extend this bike lane as far as the lights at Guy St is baffling, especially since it leads straight to Rideau High School and would help encourage student cycling.

Follow Guy St then May St, which are quiet residential streets, to the segregated bike lane along MacArthur. These bike lanes were introduced just a few years ago and are a great addition to the east/west bike infrastructure.

MacArthur bike lane

Ride along MacArthur all the way to it’s western end, then cross the lights at North River Road through the parking lot that links to the Rideau River Eastern Pathway.

Rideau River Eastern Pathway

Follow this pathway to the Adawe Bridge that crosses over the Rideau River.

Riding over the Adawe Bridge

Continue straight heading west along Somerset St East. There aren’t bike paths along Somerset, but instead there is a ‘road diet’ whereby a car is expected to use the shared centre lane when passing a cyclist. Not sure if this is the best solution along most roads but I find in this instance it works quite well.

Somerset road diet in action

Unfortunately the road diet dissapears for a couple of short sections heading up the hill to King Edward Ave. Hélas, another example of Ottawa’s tendency towards missing bike links. Sidewalk it if you don’t feel safe.

The disapearing bike lane along Somerset St E

Cross the lights at King Edward and head through the Ottawa U campus along Marie Curie.

Bike laneing right on through Ottawa U campus

Ottawa U deserves kudos for implementing some pretty good bike infrastructure over the last few years. Continue straight where Marie Currie ends.

Heading straight where Marie Currie ends

This gets you to a funky twisty path down and under the O-Train tracks to Colonel By Drive.

Head down the twisty path where that motorised unicycle dude is heading
Riding under the O-Train to Colonel By Drive

The cross lights at Colonel By Drive lead you to the Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway. Turn left onto this pathway that hugs the canal.

Ridea Canal Eastern Pathway

Continue along the pathway past Dow’s Lake all the way to the Hartwell Locks.

Approaching Hartwell Locks

Once arrived at the locks cross Colonel By Drive onto the Carleton University campus.

Exit off Rideau Canal Pathway, across Colonel By Drive, and onto campus

Et voila!

Biking to the Ottawa Tool Library from Centretown

The Ottawa Tool Library has re-opened for curbside pick-up at their new location, 877A Boyd Avenue. YEAH!! Here is a bike route to get there from Centretown. 

The Ottawa Tool Library is a great resource for those who wish to borrow tools for all sorts of jobs! They’ve got an extensive inventory of items to choose from including a fine selection of bike tools. They also have a great Wike bike flatbed trailer members can borrow to transport big items that won’t fit into your panniers.

This 6km route begins along the bike path at the corner of Albert Street and City Centre Avenue on the north side of Albert.

Head west along the bike path.

 

Bike path at Albert St & City Centre Ave looking west along Albert

Just before O-Train’s Bayview Station the path dips down to the right then continues west.

Bike path dipping right before Bayview Station

Continue straight until you reach Bayview Station Road. Turn left under the bridge then right along the bike path that continues west along Scott Street.

View from wher the bike path meets Bayview Station Rd to where the path continues along Scott St

Follow the path along Scott St all the way to Churchill Ave.

Path running along Scott St

Scott St ends at Churchill but the path continues on the other side beside the transitway.

Crossing Churchill to continue along the path heading west

Continue along the path for a short distance as far as Roosevelt Avenue, then turn left onto Roosevelt. 

Bike path along the transit way where it meets Roosevelt. Turn left onto Roosevelt.

Follow Roosevelt all the way to it’s southern end where it veers right.

Biking along calm residential Roosevelt Street.

Immediately after Roosevelt veers right, turn left onto Cole Avene and follow it to Carling Avenue.

where Roosevelt curls right, turn left onto Cole

On the opposite side of Carling Ave, Cole continues as Clyde Avenue. Clyde is a busy road with trucks and traffic. That’s because it is one of the few roads in this area that passes under the Queensway. Segregated bike lanes should be installed along Clyde as it is an important link for cyclists to communities south of the Queensway, as well as to the Experimental Farm Recreational Pathway. Unfortunately it’s present busy and crumbling condition makes it less than desireable for cycling. 

As such, once across Carling this route recommends walking your bike along the sidewalk a short half block west and turning left onto Campbell Avenue, versus riding down Clyde. 

Sidewalk along Carling to Campbell Ave.

Ride down Campbell as far as it goes to Dobbie Street. 

Biking down Campbell Ave

Turn right onto Dobbie which will bring you straight to the Tool Library!

Welcome to the Ottawa Tool Library!

There aren’t any bike racks installed on site or anywhere close by. This shouldn’t be an issue while the library is operating in curbside pick-up mode, however one of their priorities is to acquire and install a bike rack as soon as possible. As a not-for-profit group The Ottawa Tool Library relies heavily on donations of tools and materials, so if anyone has a lead on a bike rack please let them know via this link.

If anyone needs a bike route to the Ottawa Tool Library from anywhere else in town please send me a starting cross street at OttawaVeloOutaouais@gmail.com I’ll figure out a route and post it here.

Happy trails & tooling!

The Waterfall Tour

Here is a 12 km ride almost entirely along bike paths that visits three fine examples of waterfalls, starting at Hog’s Back Falls and ending at the Rideau Falls, with a stop at the Chaudière Falls along the way. I have also included a 12km return route along the Rideau River Eastern Pathway back to Hog’s Back Falls for those who want to do a loop.

Hog’s Back Falls was originally a set of rapids known as the Three Rocks Rapids but the building of the Rideau Canal created the more spectacular version we have now. More on the transformation from rapids to falls can be found in these two links:A Rapid Ride: The Billings shoot Hogs Back “Falls”.  Washed Away The Story of the Building of the Hogs Back Dam.

Hog’s Back Falls from the walkway along Hog’s Back Bridge

Following the route proposed on the above map brings you to the Chaudière Falls, named so by Samuel de Champlain who noted its form ressembled a boiling chaudière, or cauldron. Lot’s more on the history of the Chaudière Falls can be found here.

This photo was taken from a viewing deck one can access by bike.

The Chaudière Falls

Our last stop is Rideau Falls. Rideau is the french word for curtain, describing the distinct form the water takes as it spills from the Rideau River into the Ottawa River. There are interpretive panels on the west side of the falls that delves into their history.

Rideau Falls in the Spring

If you choose to head back along the Rideau River Eastern Pathway, which is one of my favourite rides in the city, be warned that the section across from Carleton University is sometimes flooded in the Spring.

Happy trails!