Mystery Trail between Merivale and Woodroffe

As I was plotting this morning’s ride on Google Maps, I discovered a trail between Merivale and Woodroffe that isn’t shown on my trusted MapArt paper map. Hmmm… adventure awaited!

I accessed the mystery trail from Glenmanor Drive, just beyond Merivale Road. This is the view that greeted me.

Giants!… no, hydro towers…. phew!

The unmarked path is open in some parts like this….

Fields

In other areas it is surrounded by tall shrubbery, like this….

Shrubbery

With dozens of un marked access points along the way, I felt like I had entered an overgrown hedge maze. My instincts told me to continue along the path most trodden, which eventually led me out to this glorious view.

Wow

A bit beyond was Woodroffe Avenue, from the edge of which I turned and snapped this last shot. All very exciting.

Rue du Cyclisme et Rue du Plein Air

Excellent choice of street names (roughly translated as Cycling Street and Outdoors Activity Street). So early this morning I biked off to Gatineau to check them out.

But first, the moon. Here it is hovering way above the Chinatown arch.

The moon above

Another beautiful view en route was to be had here along the Ruisseau de la Brasserie.

Ruisseau de la Brasserie

With a bit of imagination, the metal half round chimney top detail on many of the houses in the Rue du Cyclisme / Rue du Plein Air area might be considered a post-modern reference to a bicycle wheel.

Po-mo chimney detail

However I think the names are more in reference to their proximity to Gatineau Park and the many bike paths easily accessed from these streets. I took the path past Leamy Lake on the way home, which looked like this as I biked by.

Lac Leamy

Household Hazardous Waste Depot on Navan Road

Yesterday was one of a number of household hazardous waste drop off days hosted by the city throughout the year. This time it was at BFI landfill site on Navan Road. I’ve been wanting to dispose of an old can of paint, so I bundled it up in a garbage bag, stuffed it into one of my panniers, and headed off.

Part of the route took me a short distance along the Prescott-Russell Recreational Trail. This amazing trail runs along the old VIA Rail line almost all the way to the Quebec border. Working your way through the city to the trailhead is a bit tricky, especially choosing the safest way to get across the 417. Cyrville Road isn’t terribly bike friendly, but I find it a lot safer than crossing at Innes Road. There are dedicated bike lanes along Innes on the east side of the 417. They have also added paved shoulders along Anderson Road as far as the trail head, like so:

Mmmmm.... paved shoulders
Mmmmm…. paved shoulders

Here’s the trail.

Prescott – Russell Trail

The images below show both sides of Navan Road taken from the same spot just beyond Renaud Road.

Barn & Houses

Not much to see as I biked in to the BFI land fill site. I suppose that’s in everyone’s best interest, as long as the waste is safely disposed of. I’m guessing the big pit on this Google satellite image is the landfill.

BFI Waste Management Site

The hand off went very smoothly. They asked for my postal code, took my paint, and away I went.

On my return trip I decided to bike along Navan Road to access the area of Blackburn Hamlet. Navan Road was awful (no shoulders, crumbling asphalt, speeding cars). Blackburn Hamlet was great. You’ll notice on the map how the bike path weaves its way through a narrow strip of parkland. The residential properties back right up to the path, providing rapid scenarios of folks enjoying their Sunday afternoon. Here’s what it looks like at one of its wider spots.

Path through Blackburn Hamlet

I then joined the Greenbelt Trail. As I biked into the toboggan hill parking lot where it crosses the path, I surprised a couple as they rushed to pull up their pants and jump in their car. Awkward. A bit further on, the path wove through a great big field of tenacious wild flowers holding on through the dying days of summer.

Wild Flowers

The Ottawa River Pathway was filled with folks enjoying a Sunday promenade. I watched sailboats ply the river while small planes flew low overhead, taking off at regular intervals from the nearby Rockliffe airport.

Boats and Planes

On the way through Rockliffe I discovered this nice little trail across a wooded park that took me up and over to the driveway.

Rockliffe

West End Commercial Buffer Zone

Today I biked west along the Ottawa River Pathway and circled back under the Queensway to cover a few streets in the Graham Park part of town.

A little further east there’s a narrow strip of commercial spaces along Morrison Drive and Iris Street between the Queensway and residential housing areas. Some have been there for quite some time, like the original Lee Valley Tools.

Lee Valley Tools

There are also some shared commercial spaces like this one, headquarters to a new successful company hi-lited in this Citizen article.

Shared Commercial Space

The Citizen itself is just a bit further east, beyond the giant Ikea, which was my destination.

Sinkhole!

The other day a car disappeared into a sinkhole on Highway 174, so early this morning I rode out to take a look.

On the way I snapped this photo of a popular Ottawa landmark -The Sphere sculpture by Art Price outside the National Research Council (1966).

The Sphere
.

Here’s the closest I got to the sink hole. The photo was taken from Jeanne d’Arc Boulevard as it crosses over the 174.

Sinkhole Repairs

They still haven’t retrieved the car.

I joined the Ottawa River Pathway and followed it most of the way home.

Gatineau River Yacht Club

It’s the Gatineau River Yacht Club’s 50th anniversary!

The club’s web page suggests quite clearly that this weekend’s celebrations were open to members and past members only, however I thought maybe I could have a quick look around and hopefully photograph their clubhouse designed by architect James Strutt, who designed two other of my favorite local gems – the Trinity United Church on Maitland Avenue and the Westboro Beach pavilions as seen in this post.

But ….. no luck. Here is as close this pooch and I managed to get.

Access Denied

Looks like a fun place from the mainland though.

Ahoy!

This link has a great description of the clubs history.

On the way back along Chemin de la Mine I noticed these interesting sculptures.

Sculptures along Chemin de la Mine

And then this fun antique put-put put-ed by.

Osgoode Link Pathway

My daughter and a friend went to see a matinee at South Keys about a bike courier in New York City. In the meantime, I took advantage of being in the south end to re-visit the Osgoode Link Pathway. I have previously only biked the northern tip of the trail. I drove to the trailhead parking lot off Leitrim Road and biked South, getting as far as Flag Station Road, before heading back to pick up my movie goers.

Being a reclaimed rail corridor, the pathway is flat, straight and mostly shaded, crossing a few roads along the way. A pleasant ride and a good work out.

Osgoode Pathway

Thomas MacKay Day

This evening I decided to go for a quick ride and honour Thomas MacKay Day en route. My goal was to bike down the road in New Edinburgh which bears his name, and photo some projects along the way for which he was responsible.

This image captures two projects built under the supervision of our famous Scottish stonemason – the tier of Rideau Canal locks leading up from the Ottawa River and the Commissariat, Ottawa’s oldest stone building.

Locks and Comissariat

On the east side of the locks, close to where the above photo was taken, sits this small monument in the form of a celtic cross dedicated to those who died building of the canal. UPDATE, August 2017Unfortunately the cross was knocked over and has yet to be replaced.

Memorial to those who died building the canal

The glyphs engraved on the face of the cross suggest the work (pick, shovel and wheelbarrow) and the hazards (explosions and disease carrying mosquitoes) associated with the building of the canal. Not sure what the harp in the centre symbolizes other than reinforcing the celtic theme of the monument.

Monument detail

There is another creative MacKay whose work is on display throughout the capital region. Janet MacKay is a talented sculptor and designer who was very much responsible for promoting and integrating bronze sculptures into the interpretive panels found along Confederation Boulevard, such as these.

Janet MacKays work

This is what MacKay Street in New Edinburgh looks like as dusk settles. To the left is Rideau Hall, a mansion Thomas MacKay built for himself where the Governor General now resides. I wasn’t able to photograph the building but did capture the gate that surrounds the property with its distinct top heavy posts. Don’t know if they were designed and installed by Mr MacKay.

MacKay St

On the way home I joined many others along the shore of the Ottawa River to pause and admire tonights beautiful sunset.

Biking to the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology

I was about to recommend a route to a friend who is trying to figure out the safest bike commute from Island Park to Lancaster Road in the east end, until I realised I had never biked there during working hours. How good a recommendation would that have been? So at 4:30 yesterday afternoon, after driving home from Toronto, desperate to go for a bike ride, I tested out the route.

The purple line is the commute I would recommend to my friend, the red line is the additional path I took to get to the route and back.

The route starts in Fisher Park on the pathway that runs parallel to Byron, accessible from any of the adjoining streets. Follow the path as far as Island Park Drive.

Path parallel to Byron

It then continues along Island Park Drive to where it ends at Carling Avenue. As you can see the bike lanes on either side of the driveway aren’t overly generous in width and are a bit rough, but they are adequate. I felt safe. This is a popular road during rush hour as it leads to and from Pont Champlain across the Ottawa River, so proceed with extra caution along this stretch.

Bike lane along Island Park Drive

Things get a bit kooky at Carling. Continue across Carling to where it intersects Holland Avenue. A branch of the Experimental Farm Pathway starts here. Zip along until you reach a fork in the path. Bear right along the dirt path that leads into a wooded area. It weaves and floats up and down through towering trees, very magical.

Wooded path along the Experimental Farm

Turn left once this section of path ends and continue all the way down Cow Lane, then right on Morning Side Lane. I’ve rarely seen cars on these roads.

Midway down Morningside Lane turn left. That takes you to a crosswalk across Prince of Wales Drive. Continue straight through. The road turns right towards the canal locks across from Carleton Universty. After crossing the locks and carrying your bike down a few stairs, turn right up the bike path. Now it gets a bit convoluted once the path reaches Hogs Back Road. The path goes under the road, then along Hogs Back Road over the falls, and back under before continuing down the opposite side of the Rideau River.

This path meanders along the river through Vincent Massy Park. On a warm summers evening the park is filled with families pic-nicking around the many tables and bbq’s. The design of this elegant service pavilion and canopy allow for rain water to be channeled off the roof into undergrounds cisterns, minimizing reliance on the municipal water supply.

Vincent Massey Services Pavilion, built in 2010

Close by are these older pavilions designed in the modernist style popular of the late fifties and sixties.

Vincent Massey Park Services Pavilion, built in 1957

Here’s a view further downstream where the O-train passes overhead.

Swans

Further down the path beyond Bank Street there is a trail sign directing bikers towards Pleasant Park Road. Once on this road it becomes the longest section of the route shared by bikes and cars. I am happy to report that riding along Pleasant Park Road at this time of day was… pleasant! I kid you not. The road is wide with ample room for both forms of transport and the road is in great shape.

Pleasant Park Road

There is an nice shortcut through Weston Park just before the eastern extremity of Pleasant Park Road. Now the messiest part of the route occurs just before reaching Lancaster Road, our final destination. That’s because St-Laurent Boulevard is a convoluted cluster at this point – a very tricky triangle to safely negotiate on a bike SO, I suggest cutting through the Elmvale Acres parking lot all the way to Smyth Road before crossing St Laurent at the intersection.

Safe passage through Elmvale Acres parking lot

Then just a short ride down Lancaster Road to the Museum and voila! Mission accomplished. Now that I’ve travelled the route and ironed out a few bugs in the process I feel quite confident recommending this route.