Gatineau Frontier

Gatineau housing developments are rapidly pushing westward. Todays ride brought me to the frontier of one such development along Boulevard du Plateau. Here one can, or will be able to explore streets named after famous galleries such as Rue du Louvre, Rue du Prado, Rue Glenbow, etc, or roads named after European centres such as Rue de Munich, Rue de Naples, or Rue de Londres, etc. What they have to do with these famous places I do not know as of yet.

Construction is moving so rapidly that houses are popping up on streets that had yet to appear on a MapArt I bought a year ago. So rapid that they haven’t had time to install posts to hold up the new street signs.

Street Signs

On the Gatineau Park Pathway heading back from Frontierland, I noticed someone has painted the symbolic carré rouge along with the plea REVEILLEZ VOUS!

Sign of Unrest

Signs of the times.

Hunt Club Woods, Estate & Chase

This morning I pedalled through the grounds of the original Ottawa Hunt Club.

With names like Paul Anka Drive and Rich Little Street (which I still have to check out), I’m guessing the area was developed in the 60’s and 70’s. This interesting roof detail was quite prevalent along Plante Drive. They remind me of pill box fur hats also popular in the 60’s.

Interesting Lids

turning down Finch street I came upon this old log building, surrounded by these row houses.

Old & New

Here is it’s story.

In other news, a blue heron scared the bejeezles out of me when it took off as I passed right beside him along the bike path in the arboretum on my way to Hunt Club Woods, Estate & Chase. Glorious elegant birds they are.

Wakefield Train Station

I headed off to Gatineau to check out Rue Deveault, which leads you up to the station where the Wakefield train used to depart. As this article explains, it hasn’t left the station for awhile and seemingly won’t be anytime soon, due to problems with washed out tracks. What I saw was a sad abandoned modern train station.

Quiet train station

Across the street, however, was this bright po-mo fire station. I was fortunate enough to be there when various firetrucks were out front testing their emergency lights.

Bling fire station

My way back to Ottawa was almost entirely along bike paths, even though Rue Deveault finds itself in the middle of a large industrial area.

Ride back

Part of the ride takes you along the shores of Lac Leamy. It was disheartening to read about this recent creepy incident, as I have travelled numerous times along the paths that circle the lake and have felt perfectly safe. I would, however, recommend bringing a GPS, as there are a number of twists and unmarked turns along the way.

Tweed

There are a few streets in the Alta Vista neighbourhood I still haven’t travelled down, so this morning I set off in that direction, destination Tweed Avenue.


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This is Tweed Avenue……………………………………………………… and this is tweed.

Tweed

Tweed is a rough unfinished woven wool – solid, hardy, not too risky. As a result of it’s rough weave, small variances occur, contributing in part to it’s endearing character. Same thing with Tweed Avenue, or rather this part of Alta Vista in general. Take, for example, the front yard on Colson Avenue shown below, completely covered in potted plants.

Colson Ave

Or this skate/bike sculpture on the roof of a mini mall.

Bike Sculpture

All of the streets I biked along in this area are shaded by hearty trees, which stand proudly in front of detached single family homes.

Tree canopy

Pleasant Park Road is different. For whatever reasons, perhaps because it is more of an arterial road, or maybe because the yards extend further back, it appears to be a more coveted street adress, as indicated by newer monster homes like this.

PINK !

All in all, a comfy part of town.

To Aylmer via the Voyageurs Pathway

The initial section of the NCC Voyageur Pathway is reflective of the Chaudière rapids it follows – twisty with lots of ups and downs. The path smoothens out a bit before reaching the Deschênes Rapids, where you can pause and take in ruins of an old dam while looking out across the rapids.

Deschènnes Rapids

A bit further on just above the rapids, one can admire the vastness the Ottawa River.

Ottawa River

At this point the path veers inland, where you come upon a whole new development built over the last few years in the section of town called Wychwood. A friend told me that it had never previously been developed because it was on a flood plane. A bit further on I biked through the original housing area of Wychwood – a diverse mix of houses built over many years. Very intimate and human scale. Weaving my way along various streets, I arrived at the Symmes Inn Museum. Something to go back and visit some day. Right across the street was this interesting derelict building.

Symmes Museum & Derelict Building

Heading back on Rue Principale I was reminded that la Fête nationale would soon be upon us.

Experimental Farm Pathway

I first biked along the NCC Experimental Farm Pathway when I arrived in Ottawa a few decades ago, as my older sister lived on Fisher Avenue across the farm from the Carleton University residence where I was staying. I’ve since travelled its entire length, which terminates much further west, beyond Woodroffe Avenue.

The fact there is a huge farm plopped in the middle of a city is wonderful, but the portion of the path that passes through the centre of the farm that gives it it’s name is just one hi-lite to this route, as it travels through at least three distinct natural environments over it’s entire length.  Here it is:

First the farm.

Near Fisher Avenue looking east.

Now why, you might ask, does the path jog to one side at this location? Well in that spot there used to be a concrete pad filled with a huge pile of dung. This, after all, is a farm. It made for some interesting olfactory experiences as you biked by. The pile is gone, but the route the path took around it still remains.

After crossing Merivale Road the path then climbs up and down through a wooded section, until it reaches Maitland Avenue.

Woods

If farmland and woods aren’t enough for ya, the final stretch to Woodroffe winds through fields of tall grass and wild flowers. What I find most amazing is not just the rich diversity of environments experienced along the route, but also how the path snakes it’s way towards the outskirts of the city without ever feeling encumbered by development. Quite the accomplishment.

Field

The final stretch of the Experimental Farm Pathway took me to a big parking lot behind Centrepoint Theatre where I happened upon this well used Legacy Skate Park. The building in the background is the Algonquin Centre for Construction Excellence, a building touted for its exceptional green design.

Et voila!

Cleopatra Drive and Pinhey Forest

Decided to check out Cleopatra Drive within the Merivale Industrial Area. Unfortunately it did not live up to it’s glorious namesake in any way, so I chose to leave the adjoining Caesar Avenue for another day. There wasn’t a way into the network of trails within Pinhey Forest from Cleopatra Drive so I took West Hunt Club Road to where it crosses a bike path that leads to the entrance to Piney Forest. West Hunt Club has wonderful large shoulders for bicyclists to ride on, as does Prince of Wales Drive. Too many drivers speed recklessly along both streets.

Pinhey forest: What a wonderful discovery! The lacework of trails are easily navigable due to this system of way finding with signs at each intersection.

Pinhey Forest

The MET. No it’s not a new Cineplex or library. It’s a honking big church! Corner Prince of Wales and West Hunt Club.

Church!

This has nothing to do with today’s ride. It’s the final race of the day heading down Rochester Street near Dow’s Lake as part of this year’s Italian Week celebrations. Those guys were zippin’!