Ottawa to Calabogie

Calabogie lake is an increasingly popular destination for Ottawan’s in search of some Rest & Relaxation. There are also lots of Ottawa Valley historical sites to discover en route, and what better way to do so than by bike? Well exactly. Here’s the route I recommend.

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I followed Richmond Road on the way out of town. It was an important stretch in the early development of Ottawa and its surrounding communities. It’s usually a very busy road, but not so bad early weekend mornings.

There are many heritage buildings along the way, such as the Aylen-Heney house at 150 Richmond Road, built in the 1830’s to house labourers of Peter Aylen, the leader of a rioutous gang of Irish immigrants called the Shiners.

Aylen House

The former Maplelawn Estate is located at 529 Richmond Road.

Maplelawn

Here’s another one a bit further down from Maplelawn. I love the iron detailing on the top of the stone fence.

Great fence

This is The Olde Forge built in the early 1830’s where Richmond crosses Carling.

Olde Forge

This old house was built by William Bell in the 1820’s. Its location is in stark contrast to its immediate surroundings, where Richmond passes over the Queensway across from the Bayshore Shopping Centre.

Bell Family Homestead

I continued along Robertson Road to where the Trans Canada Trail crosses overhead on an old converted rail line. So, under the train bridge and up a short path to the right I went, and voila! – I was on the trail. Now train tracks like to go straight and stay flat as much as possible, and this line was no exception, all the way to Carleton Place.

The straight and narrow

There is lots to see along this easy going stretch including wetlands, farmland, housing developments, Stittsville, and this bunch of huge solar panel structures sitting in a farmers field.

Huge solar panels

My route through Carleton Place was a charming meander, making me want to return someday and discover it in more detail. For example, check out the fabulous cornice moulding on this sucker!

CORNICE moulding!

Then, poof!, the road became a winding gravel road which made me think of this song – just replace West Virginia with Calabogie and Shenandoah with Madawaska when you sing it out loud in the shower.

Country Road

I stopped and ate lunch by the dam in the tiny village of Clayton before continuing along Tatlock Road.

I’ll admit to being nervous as I approached Highway 511, mostly because it says Highway before the 511, but also because the shoulder on the side of this two lane road appeared very narrow or non-existant when I checked it out on Google Maps Street View. However riding along this stretch felt very safe. The road was in good shape and all the motorized vehicles gave me lots of room, including the huge pick-up trucks hauling big boats.

So I made it to Calabogie safe, sound, and happy. However I do need to invest in a good bike seat.

At the cottage I came across this great 1960’s tourist road map brochure. I love the graphics. Coincidently the route corresponds alot to this Bikely route I used to help me plan my route.

Return to Pointe-Gatineau

Bunch of streets still to be discovered in parts of Pointe Gatineau, so off I went.

The bike path goes past this sturdy old stone building built by the Gilmour Hughson Lumber Company in 1892 at the eastern edge of Jacques Cartier Park. At present it is la Maison du Vélo, out of which a community group called Le Grenier du Petit Sportif lends bikes and provides other velo services.

La Maison du vélo

Once you cross the Lady Aberdeen Bridge you are in Pointe Gatineau.

Lady Aberdeen Bridge

I biked along some pleasant residential streets lined with single level homes, including this one that caught my eye for its immaculate layout of stones and grouting.

Stone house

On the way home I decided to try crossing the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge, something I would have never imagined possible as I’ve always considered the bridge being akin to the Queensway, until I happened across this Public Works questionnaire seeking out opinions on the re-design of pedestrian and bike lanes across the bridge.

Macdonald-Cartier Bridge

So, off I went…

On the bridge

….and I LOVED it! What a glorious expansive view of the river which I hope they don’t impede with the renovations. I’ll mention it when I fill out the questionnaire.

Ottawa River Loop

There are a couple of small streets I had yet to cover on the other side of Pont Champlain, so this evening I biked along the Ottawa side of the river to get there, and then back home along the Gatineau side.

The streets in question are just off Chemin d’Aylmer right after you cross the bridge. Now Chemin d’Aylmer is a very spooky road to bike on at anytime, which is probably why it has taken me this long to visit, but I’m glad I did. Chemin Berkley-Powell is a quiet little promenade with vines inching onto the road on either side. They must look great in the Fall when their leaves turn bright red. It’s a dead end, but I zipped up a dirt path back onto Chemin d’Aylmer.

Chemin Berkley-Powell.

I only had to bike a little further before arriving at my next destination, Rue d’Augusta. Turns out it’s the entrance to a new development called Château Golf with a big stone gate. It’s right across the street from the Royal Ottawa Golf Club which is where this ball must have come from. I found it in the grass while pausing to take this photo.

FORE!

Beyond the stone gate entrance are these sorts of buildings. All the exteriors are done in warm tones.

Château Golf

Back along the river, just west of the bridge, the exposed rock river bed has this incredible pattern.

Riverbed pattern

‘Twas truly a glorious evening for a bike ride ….

Biking to South Keys Cinemas

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Family decided to go see a film at South Keys Cinema this evening so I biked there!

I passed through Mooney’s Bay Park where I happened upon this large gathering of Canadian geese. other parts of the park were filled with folks barbecuing, playing beach volley ball, dragon boat racing, swimming, biking and more! It must be one of the most popular public facilities in town.

Mooney’s Bay Park

I continued along a stretch of Walkley Road, which maintains a precarious balance as a speedy four lane artery and a comfortable residential area. UPDATE, Summer 2014 – The Sawmill Creek Pathway has been extended! You can read more about this great section of pathway on in this post. To access this path requires continuing down Hogs Back and Brookfield, onto the Brookfield Pathway, which connects to The Sawmill Creek Pathway, as indicated by the orange line on the above map.  This makes it possible to avoid riding down Walkley. The city should still install a bike lane along Walkley. Riding along this section is tense due to the fast moving traffic, much of it uncomfortably close regardless of how much I hugged the curb. Bike lanes on both sides would make it much safer, and human friendly, supporting what the homeowners are attempting to do based on the care they put into their houses and properties. The bike lanes would also further encourage commuting by bike.

 

Walkley Road

I got off Walkley Road where it crosses over the OC Transpo transit way and carried my bike down the stairs to the bike path which meanders through the little used pathways around the Sawmill Creek Constructed Wetland, described extensively on this Quadracycling in Ottawa blog page.

Sawmill Creek Constructed Wetland

A pedestrian bridge over the Airport Parkway is being constructed which will allow for much better access to this recreational treasure. Here is a section of it mid-build. UPDATE, November 2014 – The Airport Parkway Bridge is officially open! I’ve indicated it by the green line on the above map. See this post for more.

UPDATE, Summer 2015 – A new point of access to South Keys Mall and the cinema has been created via a short pedestrian tunnel under the O-Train tracks, as indicated by the burgundy line on the above map. Signs are confusing but I checked with OC Transpo – bikes are allowed through the tunnel but walked, not ridden.

Rebar galore!

Off to Home Depot at Rush Hour

Had to get to Home Depot in the west end right in the middle of rush hour.
I could have driven….

Rush Hour on the Queensway

… but decided to bike.
I chose a route that allowed me to re-visit the Cyrville Industrial Area. On my first ride through a month ago today I was struck by its mix of houses and industry, encircled by very heavy duty traffic arteries – St Laurent to the West, the Queensway to the North, the 417 to the East, and Innes Road to the South. Todays trip taught me that the surviving residential area is pretty much confined to the area defined by the three blocks Gossett St, Louis Lane and Marchand St, however I did notice this white house (below, left) on Triole St, all alone standing proud.

House

Innes Road over the 417 is treacherous. Too bad, because a bike lane starts right on the other side.

The Home Depot on Cyrville is really great – best service in town, apart from Preston Hardware which is in a league of its own.

Chelsea Pioneer Cemetery

A number of projects I’m working on has me delving into stories surrounding the horrors of war, particularly those involving Canadians. One tale I came across is that of Private Richard Rowland Thompson who in the Boer War Battle of Paardeberg saved the life of a wounded colleague and stayed with him throughout the heat of battle. He also attempted to save another as the fighting raged about him. For this he was the only Canadian recipient of a Queen’s Scarf of Honour, one of eight scarves crocheted by Queen Victoria in her final year of life. The scarf is now at the Canadian War Museum. Turns out the fellow is buried in the Chelsea Pioneer Cemetery. So I biked up the 105 right passed the small dirt road that leads to the small cemetery.

Path off the 105 towards the Chelsea Pioneer Cemetery

Realizing my mistake miles later, I headed back but not before cursing the terrible conditions of the 105 north of the Larimac golf course.

Dangerous stretch of road

I also passed this very clever bike rack outside the Chelsea Smokehouse. They smoke fish.

Clever bike rack

Anyway, back to Private Richard Rowland Thompson … in commemoration of the honour Queen Victoria bestowed upon him, stone pillars flank the entrance to the small cemetery and a small cenotaph stands just beyond, listing the sons of Chelsea who fought and fell in the First and Second World Wars. It’s a very serene contemplative space, well worth the visit.

Entrance

Parc-Champlain, Gatineau

This evening I re-visited the Parc Champlain area in Gatineau, which I partially biked through on Canada Day. It hasn’t changed much. The section East of the little stream still has an eclectic mix of homes on big wooded properties, such as this one.

Parc-Champlain East

West of the stream there are huge new homes clad in big stone veneers like this.

Parc-Champlain West

This area is so new some houses are still being built, like this one. I find the temporarily exposed fragility of the chipboard and wood frame skeleton fascinating in contrast to the implied permanency of the stone cladding on the finished houses.

Chipboard & lumber

Heading home I followed the NCC Champlain Corridor Pathway and was pleased to discover the pedestrian/bike bridge over Chemin des Allumettières is completed and open!

New Bridge!

Closer to home along the Voyageurs Pathway the carré rouge paint brigade has been very active recently.

Carré rouge

The authorities are trying to keep up by painting over red squares on the pathway with black ones.

Carrés rouge et noir

Interestingly, Professeur Normand Baillargeon explains in this article how the symbolism of the two square colours correspond.

Lovely view of the Ottawa skyline.