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 I was living in. 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 its 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.
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.
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.
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.