Almonte Farmers Market for some of Steve & Uta’s Yummy Bread

Want some great sourdough bread? Well then next Saturday head to Almonte’s Fartmers Market and grab a loaf or two from Steve & Uta. That’s what I did yesterday morning. The blue line shows how I got there.

Robertson Road and Hazeldean Road is mostly malls and burbs, so I suggest biking along the Trans Canada Trail from Bells Corners to the other end of Kanata, as I’ve hi-lited on the above map in purple. I did however stop in at Bushtakah in Kanata to buy some bike gloves.

Just before the bridge over the Trans Canada Highway, three deer ran beside me for about a hundred yards before turning away from the road. See those white bums in the distance? That’s them.

Deer

I biked along a combination of hard packed dirt and paved roads from the Hazeldean/Spruce Ridge intersection as far as March Road. This shot is a good indication of the surrounding scenery. LOTS of square timber houses along the way.

Horses

Happened upon this auction along Corkery Road. They seem to be quite popular in the countryside.

Country auction

We all went to one in Perth earlier this summer for the first time. It was lots of fun. Scored a silky tiger striped pillow and a framed print for $2! Kept the pillow for the car and sold the frame at the Shanghai Restaurant garage sale…. but I digress.

March Road has a narrow shoulder and fast moving cars, so it might be a wiser choice to continue down Old Almonte Road and weave your way west along quieter streets to Almonte.

Here are Steve and Uta in action. Uta is a great artist who will be creating an installation at FieldWorks next year. She also created the incredible head dress China Doll wore in this years Pride Parade.

Yummy Bread

After purchasing two loaves and tucking them away in my panniers, I went for a stroll through beautiful Almonte. Here’s a sample of sites to take in.

Old Post Office, circa 1891
Old Town Hall, circa 1885

There is a short picturesque walkway along the Mississippi River with lots of interpretive panels explaining the defining role it has played in the history of the town. Nice views too, like this.

River Walk

Carla and the kids joined me at the market, we ate, toured, shopped and headed home. Fine ride, great destination, excellent bread!

Parc Laurent-Groulx via Les Ateliers du Théâtre de l’Île

Last night I had to go to Les Ateliers du Théâtre de l’Île in Hull and pick up materials to do paint samples, so I decided to check out uncharted territory further north in and around the mysterious Parc Laurent-Groulx.

Les Ateliers is a wonderful facility, housing a wood shop, a wardrobe, two rehearsal spaces and storage space for all of Théâtre de l’Île‘s props and furniture. Originally a fire station, renovations were recently made to enhance the exterior of the building.

Les Ateliers du Théâtre de l’Île

I’ve always been intrigued by this building across the street from Les Ateliers for its diverse mix of renovations. Each of the three stepped sections overlap, indicative of the changes it has undergone over time. The section to the left has kept many of its original details. The stone work on the ground floor in the centre section seems to be original as well. The addition on the right is all new, while remaining sympathetic to the original building with its red brick and stone corners.

Three stages of reno’s

Years ago a friend and I were sitting right about where the above photo was taken, when we witnessed a crazy series of events reminiscent of the Keystone Kops. Police cars pulled up in front of the building, then officers jumped out and went in one of the white doors. Suddenly a man burst out of the alley to the right and started running down the sidewalk to the left with an officer in hot pursuit with his gun drawn, yelling at the guy to get down on the ground face first or else. Thankfully he did. They cuffed him and hauled him away in the back of a police car. Zoicks!

At the corner of Boulevard St-Raymond and Rue Joffre sits this climbing gym in one of the cleverest church conversions I’ve ever seen. Lots of open vertical space designed to encourage higher levels of existence in both cases – one spiritual, the other physical. By going to this link and by clicking on the word ‘church’ above the image, you can see a short slide show of the church being constructed in 1927.

Up we go

Parc Laurent-Groulx is identified on my printed MapArt but not on Google Maps, however its layout can be distinguished from this satellite shot.

Parc Laurent-Groulx

After covering residential streets to the north I ventured into the park from it’s principal access on Rue Gamelin. Biking along gravel paths I came across three mysterious old buildings. The first was this impressive brick structure to the east, with it’s windows boarded up.

Boarded up brick building

The second was this old structure in the northern section, boarded up as well, an obvious victim of fire.

Burnt out

The last was this grey stone structure in the centre of the park with all windows intact.

Handsome old edifice

The parks landscaping and lighting are well maintained, however I couldn’t find anything on the history of the park and its buildings, either on site or on-line. The mystery continues. I exited along Rue Richelieu which is quite a wide street suggesting it may have been designed as an avenue leading up to the park.

Lots to ponder as I wove my way home under a big bright moon. Here it is above the National Archives building.

Prince of Wales Drive During the Day

I often bike along Prince of Wales Drive on my early morning and weekend rides as it’s a convenient route to areas south of Ottawa. It has wide shoulders most of the way and the traffic is light at those times. Yesterday I went for a ride at noon to cover some short streets off of Prince of Wales between Hog’s Back and Hunt Club Road. Here’s how it went.

The painting within the tympanum over the garage of this house just south of the Hog’s Back intersection always attracts my attention whenever I go by, so this time I paused to take a closer look.

Not your typical tympanum

The angel appears to be receiving a violin lesson from an older man. The black wings could be interpreted as a symbol of imperfection as he attempts to master his instrument. The woman embracing the sleeping infant adds to a theme of nurturing.

The first side street I biked down was Rideau Heights Drive. This blunt channel letter sign communicates loud and clearly to travellers heading into town along Prince of Wales. UPDATE Dec.6 – Someone has since changed the sign to a poor shadow of it’s former glory! ‘sniff’

MOTEL

Down the road beyond a whole mess of big new houses is this small campsite with lots of camping trailers.

They appearted to have tent lots too

Not much of a view looking north from the campsite towards a fuel company’s truck parking lot, but they did have this great old steel wheeled model parked out by the street.

Vintage Tanker

Continuing along Prince of Wales, I turned up Hunt Club Road to check out Laser Street and Grudwara Road. Nothing of visual interest to report here, unless you’re a fan of giant inflatable ATV’s.

Nice Light Ride

Heading back into town I ventured down Wellsmere Crescent, Stephanie Ave and Rideau Shore Crescent hoping to catch a glimpse of the Rideau River, but the view is blocked by houses like these.

Squeeze!

So, would I recommend riding along this section of Prince of Wales? Early in the morning yes, otherwise no. It is bike-able, thanks to the generous shoulders along most of the way, but the traffic is really aggressive during the day. Lots of trucks too. Prince of Wales and Hunt Club came fifth in the rating of most dangerous intersections in the city last year with 30 accidents. Hunt Club and Riverside just over the bridge was the runaway champ with a whopping 53! UPDATE: Jan 2017 – Still the worst intersection according to the latest statistics – 60 crashes in 2015. Prince of Wales & Hunt Club also tied for 5th once again, up from 0 to 36 crashes.

Brébeuf Park, and the Case of the Mystery Plaque

On Sunday afternoon I convinced my two friends Peter and Glenn to bike with me to Brébeuf Park in search of the mystery plaque.

Allow me to set the stage. Earlier this summer while hurrying home along the Voyageurs Pathway before it got too dark, I noticed this boulder at the eastern edge of the park with inset bronze paddles. UPDATE, August 2017Sadly the paddles have gone missing and have yet to be replaced.

Interesting boulder

Engraved in one of the paddles is the following message.

HISTORIC PATH SEE PLAQUE 300 YARDS DOWN RIVER

I stumbled down the dirt path that lead to the waters edge, hoping to catch a glimpse of the mystery plaque. I couldn’t find it, and the sun was setting fast.

‘Well’, says I to myself, ‘I must return some day to solve this mystery!’. So, having convinced my intrepid friends, off we went, they on their matching one speeders, and me on my trusty old steed.

Three Amigos!

Well, we didn’t have any luck finding it this time either, but we DID discover this graffiti covered concrete pad whose detailing suggested it may once have supported a plaque or two.

Mystery Concrete Pad

I also dug up this web page which, under the heading ‘The Indian Portage Trail at the Little Chaudiere Rapids’ describes the list of names that were inscribed on the mystery plaque, ie – ‘…. prehistoric natives through Etienne Brûle (1610), Nicholas de Vigneault (1611), Samuel de Champlain (1616) and so on.’.

Didn’t notice the stone stairs laid by early voyageurs described on the web page, unless these interesting rock formations are what the author is referring to…. but I doubt it.

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!….

We continued carrying our bikes along the narrow path until it joined the Voyageurs Pathway down river. So although we didn’t succeed in finding the mystery plaque, we sure had fun trying!

In Brébeuf Park sits this statue of Saint Jean de Brébeuf after whom the park is named. Look closely, you’ll see he’s clutching a cross AND a paddle!

Pray and Paddle

According to this plaque inset into the plinth he passed through this neck of the woods in 1626. Coincidently, his feast day is tomorrow.

Heatherington Neighbourhood via Fabricland

There are a few streets in the Heatherington neighbourhood I still hadn’t travelled down, so that’s where I biked to on Saturday morning. But first I had to go to the theatre for a meeting, and then to Fabricland on Walkley Road to buy a whole lot of canvas.

The Heatherington neighbourhood has seen troubled times, such as this guns and ammo seizure in August. However I have always felt very safe biking through the neighbourhood.

A lot of the houses are similar to these ones on Heatherington Avenue.

There’s this sprawling electric transformer depot.

And there are these great murals covering all four sides of a small service building in the centre of Fairlea Park.

Fairlea Park

There have also been successful community based initiatives to deal with problems in the area.

On the way home I discovered an unmarked path leading through Pleasant Park Woods off of Rhodes Crescent.

There are alot of trails throughout these woods I didn’t know existed. Can’t wait to check them out.

Diplomat Memorial via Fabricland

I caught wind of a new memorial unveiled along Island Park Drive near the Ottawa River so I decided to go have a look. But first I had to shop at Fabricland on Merivale.

It was rush hour and rainy so I chose the route with least traffic. That’s how I wound up biking down Arthur Lane.

Arthur Lane & Fairview Towers

Years ago I photographed images of Fairview Towers from this location and projected them as part of the set design for a play called A Number (three middle images on the right).

A Number

They’ve since added the barbed wire to the top of the chain link fence separating Arthur Lane from the Towers parking lot. I’m glad I found myself re-visiting this alley, as they are in the process of remodelling the building.

After stopping off at Fabricland I worked my way over to the new memorial. It’s visually impressive. I included my trusty steed in the first shot to provide a sense of scale. The second image is probably how the designer would prefer it be viewed.

Memorial

There were no interpretive elements on site to explain the intended meaning of the monument, or it’s actual name, however from various news stories (here, here, and here), it seems it’s main purpose is to commemorate diplomats who have lost their lives in the call of duty. This particular site was chosen because the first assassination of a diplomat on Canadian soil occurred close by on Island Park Drive.

Out Britannia Bay Way

This evening I biked off towards Britannia Bay via the Voyageurs Pathway on the Gatineau side of the river.

Pont Champlain as seen from the Voyageurs Pathway

I covered a few streets within the triangle defined by the Ottawa River Pathway, Richmond Road and Britannia Park. Many of the houses in this area were of this faux exposed timber design.

Many houses looked like these

Twas a lovely evening for a ride.