Cyrville Industrial Area and Beyond

Decided to cover streets in the Cyrville Industrial Area, right where the Queensway and highway 417 meet.

It’s a quirky place. A small residential area mixed in with light and heavy industries. Many of the houses on the periphery of the residential area have been converted to commercial use.

Some of Cyrville Industrial Area

This new house caught my attention for its seeming confidence of place, regardless of the industrial complexes surrounding it. I love how it is juxtaposed with the log structure off to the side whose sign reads ICE STORM 98. Most likely a tenacious victim of that incredible event.

Old & New

I’m guessing this was once a residential area before being converted to an industrial zone. I noticed a church in the distance, usually a sign of an established community, so I went to take a look. It’s the Portugese parish of Senhor Santo Cristo, and it looked like these parishioners were getting ready to celebrate! A little research suggested they were preparing for the procession of Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres, best described in this post.

Senhor Santo Cristo

Took Cyrville road over to the other side of the 417 which is more residential, even with the Telesat headquarters and dishes looming above.


To get to the other side of the Queensway you can walk your bike over this OC Transpo pedestrian bridge.

Up ‘n Over

Arriving home I was greeted by these two morning glories on either side of the front door.

Bellwether – Longfields Transit Station Art Installation

The other day my daughter and I visited the City Hall Art Gallery’s latest exposition Close to Home, presenting recent additions to the City of Ottawa’s Fine Art Collection. Lots of great work, including a scale model of Bellwether, the Longfields Transit Station installation by Erin Robertson and Anna Williams. I had to see the real McCoy, so it became yesterday’s destination!

This section of the NCC Greenbelt Pathway between Merivale Road and Fallowfield Road weaves it’s way through a combination of wooded area and farmland making it a fine lead up to viewing the piece.

Section of NCC Greenbelt Pathway

I love what Erin and Anna have done. The work is spread out over three locations on the upper platform, two of which are shown in the photos below. Described here, the strength of the piece is heightened when considered in its context as a point of transition. Each grouping in the three locations can be considered individually, while its overall cohesiveness and layers of meaning can build up over the course of several visits through the station.

On the way back through the Experimental Farm I realized how fortunate we are to have big sky moments such as this so close to the heart of our city. Thank you Experimental Farm.

Cue angel chorus, and…. go!

Ottawa South, way South

Travelled down Albion Road with the intention of turning east towards the NCC Greenbelt Pathway, but I missed my turn, and only realized my mistake as I approached the Rideau Carleton Raceway. I highly recommend against biking along Albion Road. There are no paved shoulders and folks seem to take pleasure in driving very fast down this straightaway.

Albion Road

That said, my mistake was serendipitous as I happened upon a very old and intimate grave site just before the Raceway that I doubt I would have noticed flying by in a car.


The few tombstones date back to the mid 1800’s. This inscription suggested a very sad story, that of a 19 year old mother, her 11 week old daughter and her infant son.


If you forget to bring your water bottle (ARGHH!) you can pop into the Raceway to buy a drink from a Coke machine but expect strange looks and questions from the helpful security guards in attendance.

I have previously been to the Raceway to research a play involving a character addicted to horse betting. A visit to the Rideau Carleton Raceway is a fun outing – choosing your horses while trying to decipher how track gambling works, and the thrill of cheering them on as they trot around the track. Observing the regulars is pretty interesting as well. They tend to wear grey and remain very stoic regardless of which team wins.

I turned off Albion and headed West along Rideau Road, which is equally shoulderless, so I was pleased as punch to happen upon the Osgoode Trail. Never even knew it existed. It was officially opened in 2011.

Osgoode Pathway – Extreme one point perspective!

Up the Gatineau

I’m working on a play that is set primarily along the Gatineau River, so, taking this as inspiration, I set out to cover a few uncharted streets close to its shores.
I crossed over the Pont Lady Aberdeen and headed north.

A short distance up stream I noticed this house covered in it’s original asphalt siding, something I have rarely chanced upon. This style of siding was popular in the 40’s but fell out of fashion and was replaced or covered up with other types of siding.

Asphalt Siding

Shortly after discovering this interesting house I started to experience some intense internal conflicts, and was seriously considering abandoning the adventure, when suddenly, from across Parc de la Riviera I spotted this!

Glorious beacon of relief!

Bless you Ville de Gatineau!

I then continued north and crossed back over at the Alonzo-Wright bridge, which afforded this wonderful view up the Gatineau.

Looking North

I also checked out Chemin côte d’un mille and happened upon this property filled with a treasure of assorted old vehicles.

Ottawa West via Stony Swamp

The myriad of trails throughout the NCC Greenbelt has this unique signage system to help users navigate their way.

NCC Greenbelt Trail Signage Post

Once one gets used to the idea that the number and letter code at the top of each post designates their specific location on the trail, versus the norm of each trail having its own designation, be it a name, colour or number, the rest is easy-peasy. The location codes correlate to the trail map affixed to each post. You can also download all of the Greenbelt trail maps here.

I found myself travelling through a section of the Stony Swamp trails I’ve hi-lited in blue on this map, along with an image of only one of the wonderful natural landscapes I passed through.

Stony Swamp

I also came within yards of deer on three occasions, including these two staring back at me.


After exiting the trail at West Hunt Club Road, I was unable to access trails on the opposite side of Moodie Drive because of the brush fire in that area. Access was blocked off to everyone, except these turkeys who chose to ignore the barricades. I photo’d them from Moodie.

Wild & Crazy Turkeys

Closing this post off with an image of one of The many farms circling Stony Swamp.


Nepean Discoveries

On my ride yesterday morning I happened upon the Nepean Allotment Garden along Viewmount Drive.
The group Just Food has all of the community gardens throughout the city listed here.

Nepean Allotment Garden

Not far from the garden I discovered this impressive treehouse.

Nepean Treehouse

There are also many examples of houses designed in the Mid-Century Modern style throughout Nepean, such as this one.

Mid Century Modern – Nepean style


The small east-end community of Briarcliffe is attempting to have itself designated as a mid-century architectural heritage site. Read more about it here and here.  Made me think of the fantastic Mid-Century Modernist home depicted in the movie The Incredibles. I had to see what Ottawa architects were thinking at the time, so off I headed to Briarcliffe!

The architects success at designing homes in harmony with their natural surroundings made it a bit of a challenge to distinguish period details, especially since the natural environment has had a good fifty to sixty years to establish itself. However what can be seen of the houses in amongst the trees is wonderful. The community is also great to bike through, winding up-and-down quiet streets.

Mid-Century Modern Homes

Another wonderful portion of todays trip was spent further contemplating the strange Rothwell Heights ghost town described in my earlier post. The mystery of this abandoned land has been resolved. Since the military took off it has been embroiled in a land claim by the Algonquin First Nations. So the narrative may be clearer, but the eeriness of the place remains. However it won’t be long before all that changes, as issues surrounding the Land Claims seem to have been resolved.

Yield to Nothing

Biked back along the river. Try to make out the svelte early morning rowers in the distance.

Down by the River

Further up stream the New Edinburgh Boat Club is a lovely site to see.

New Edinburgh Boat Club

On the way past the GG’s, I paused to take in this landscape installation set into the round-about commemorating the streetcars which once dominated the city landscape. More on that here.

Remembering the Streetcars

West End Triangle

Headed west and found myself in a residential area in the form of a triangular island, defined on three sides by busy traffic arteries: the Queensway, Richmond Road and Pinecrest Road.

It’s streets are laid out in such a way that vehicules are discouraged rushing through in search of short cuts. The area seemed to maintain a sense of quiet self containment. Fortunate circumstance despite the rush of traffic on all sides.

To get there I passed through a rich patch of forest called Frank Ryan Park.

Frank Ryan Park

On my way home along Iris Street behind Ikea I happened upon this front yard filled with eclectic sculptures.


Crossing the Lady Aberdeen Bridge over the Gatineau River just before it blends into the Ottawa River, one arrives in Pointe-Gatineau. NCC bike paths can be followed the entire way from downtown Ottawa.

Route to Pointe-Gatineau

Named after the point of land on which it sits at the confluence of these two mighty rivers, the area has a long history of settlement dating back to the early 1800’s. From the outset the Catholic Church established a dominant presence. The picturesque Saint-François-de-Sales church greets you just as you pedal over the bridge onto the eastern shore.

UPDATE– Fall 2016: There is a new multi-use path that goes along the edge of the river infront of the church, along Rue Jacques-Cartier and it’s fantastic! Click here for a description.


Many of the streets I explored behind the church are named after Catholic Saints (Rue Saint Josephat; Rue St Antoine; etc). Most of these streets are lined with comfy one story homes, however the main street beyond the church, Boulevard Gréber, feels like a battered strip which progress has left behind.


On the way there, or back, if you follow the bike path behind the Museum of Civilization you will come across this great series of sculptures titled People by Louis Archambault, originally presented at Montreal’s Expo 67.

Nasty Little Beetle

When I dropped my sister off at her place on Kingston Avenue a couple of nights ago, we noticed a little tree sitting on her front yard, it’s base all wrapped up in burlap. It completely took her by surprise. We then noticed similar little trees on all the front yards along the street. I decided to bike by yesterday and see what had transpired. Sure enough they have all since been planted where they had been dropped.

Big Tree, Little Tree

She subsequently discovered from a neighbour that the city was going to cut down all the tall ash trees lining the street because of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer Beetle which was in the process of killing ash trees throughout the city. Amazing the devastation the little vermin is capable wreaking.