Bike Ride to Vanier for brunch at Fontenelle!

The blue line is my ride before lunch. Red line is post feast.

After reading this delicious review of the Vanier Snack Shack, Carla suggested we meet there for lunch after my son’s Sunday practice at nearby Grandmaître arena. I got there first, but it was CLOSED! ‘Let’s go to Fontenelle then.” she suggested after I told her the sad news. “Fonte-where?” you ask, as did I. Well folks, if you’ve never been, you are in for a big-brunch treat. Extremely friendly, tasty generous helpings, and very reasonably priced. Click here to read what the Ottawa Breakfast Club has to say about this fine old fashioned diner. UPDATE July 2016:  The original owners have sold the restaurant after 60 years of operation. The breakfast menu is still pretty much the same, however the interior has been completely renovated to a more modern look.

Fontenelle Restaurant

Oof – time to earn that feast! So I headed east on Montreal Road to check out some uncharted streets. First, a visit to the small area called Fairhaven which Urbsite describes as, “… a woodsy enclave of the early 1950s where Ottawa’s most progressive architects had designed modern houses for themselves.”. Great time of year to check them out, as the trees that camouflage these low-rise modernist dwellings are now leafless.

Mid-Century Modern in Fairhaven

While following a little path starting at the corner of Lang’s Road and Greenhill Way I happened upon what I think is an old quarry.

Old Quarry?

I then biked through this newer development on the other side of Montreal Road.

Mini burbs

I also cut across La Cité Collegiale campus before meandering through Vanier on the way home.

La Cité Collegiale

PS – While trying to find more info on Fairhaven I discovered this blog – ‘Mid-Century Modern Ottawa. A celebration of Mid-Century Modern (MCM) residential design in Ottawa‘. It’s like being in a candy store.

Brewer Park, The Rideau River Nature Trail, Innes Road, and the Ottawa River Pathway

A long ride yesterday, first to Brewer Park Arena where my son had a morning game. The route I followed to get there goes around Dow’s Lake, through the Arboretum, over the canal at the locks across from Carleton University, and through the campus, without having to travel along absolutely awful Bronson.

At Dow’s Lake stands this giant fellow with two hats raised in greeting. This is the Netherlands Canada Liberation Monument. His twin is standing in Apeldoom, Holland, hats raised as well. They do so in commemoration of the sacrifices made by Canadian soldiers in the liberation of the Netherlands in WWII.

Netherlands Canada Liberation Monument

After the game (win!) I headed off to the Home Depot on Cyrville Road in search of the perfect plywood, as described in my previous post. I biked over to the Rideau River and rolled along the path that hugs its north shore.

Rideau River R&R.

The path morphs into the wonderful Rideau River Nature Trail just beyond Smyth Road. Most of the trail is dirt path, with interpretive panels interspersed along the way.

Rideau River Nature Trail

The trail goes as far as the Transitway bridge which includes a bike path across the river.

To get to the other side of the 417 I would recommend the route I’ve hi-lited in red, versus the one I continued along in blue, and here’s why.

This is the shared pathway along Innes starting at St Laurent Boulevard.

Shared pathway along Innes Road

At Windmill Lane, just before crossing over the 417, the bike path turns into this….

Innes path ends

Just beyond the 417 East off-ramp, the bridge over the highway looks like this….


In desperation pedestrians and bicyclists alike must have forged the precarious dirt path hugging the guard rail to avoid being hit by speeding traffic flying along Innes. This madness continues until just beyond the 417 West off-ramp, where the bike lane picks up again.

The route I recommend, hi-lited in red, takes you to the Cyrville Road bridge over the 417. No bike lane, but the traffic is slightly calmer and there are no off-ramps to contend with. That said, getting across the 417 by bike in this area is dangerous no matter how you slice it.

After finding what I was after at Home Depot I continued east along the Innes bike lane, and happened upon the Detention Centre that has recently been in the news. Guards and staff have been accused of not properly attending to a woman in custody while she was giving birth, as described in this article.

Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre

I eventually headed north along the Greenbelt Pathway, re-visiting fields that just a short while ago were abloom with wild flowers. “Come back… come back again next year….”, whispered the wind as it blew through the tall dry grass. No wait. Sorry, it just went, “swoosh… swoosh… swoosh….”. Very beautiful none-the-less.

Wind blowing through the tall dry grass

The Greenbelt Pathway ends at the Ottawa River Pathway which I followed all the way to Rockcliffe.

Ottawa River Pathway

There’s been construction along the Rockliffe Parkway for quite some time but now they’ve introduced temporary bike lanes through the construction zone which I took advantage of. UPDATE– April 2015: The new bike lane along the Parkway has been finished for awhile and it is very nice,

Temporary bike path along Rockliffe Parkway

Hello November.

Another Big Hardware Store in Gatineau – The Saga Continues

I needed to find a particular shade of 1/4″ plywood for the latest theatre set I’ve designed. I found out there’s another big hardware store on the Quebec side that is accessible by bike path. It’s a Rona on Boulevard du Plateau, so I went and had a look. The blue line on the map is how I got there. The red line is how I got to Réno-Depot from Rona after not finding what I wanted, and then home.

The design of the bike path I followed along Boulevard des Allumettières was influenced by popular struggles to minimize the negative impact this major traffic artery would have on the social fabric of the area. This interpretive panel located in front of one of the three traffic calming round-abouts describes in part these struggles.

Interpretive panel along Boulevard des Allumettières

For example one of the things they managed to set in place was no transport trucks allowed.

… I guess this logging trucker was lost.

Boulevard des Allumettières is only five years old. It’s name is in reference to les Allumettières, female employees of EB Eddy, whose dangerous job it was to prepare and package wooden matches, a major local industry at the time. Their story is explained in this article.

It’s great that organized activism resulting in benefits to the community are acknowledged as part of the history of the area, as is the case with the above interpretive panel.

Backing up a bit, here is the path along Boulevard des Allumettèries just up from the Ruisseau de la Brasserie Pathway.

View up Boulevard des Allumettières

These are some of the sound dampening walls separating the traffic from the bike lanes and houses.


I had trouble figuring out how the path continued beyond the Promenade du Lac des Fées off-ramp, until this bicyclist, who had just passed me, suddenly appeared on the other side. I realised then that I was to follow a pair of switch backs that circled under the off-ramp. I guess the message spray painted on the concrete barrier is meant to discourage pedestrians tempted to hop over and avoid walking the longish switch backs.

DoNt bE StuPid

After riding through part of Gatineau Park I arrived in the area in which the Rona is located. All very new development. Here’s what a section of Boulevard des Grives looks like. Note the designated bike lanes. Well done Ville de Gatineau.

Boulevard des Grives

So, I didn’t find what I was looking for at Rona. Glad I checked it out. Now it was time to head to Réno-Dépot.
Retracing my treads, I rolled back onto the Ruisseau des Brasseries Pathway and headed North. If you come upon this incredible graffiti painted on an errant boulder, and you are still planning on going to Réno-Dépot, you’ve gone too far. You should have turned left over a small bridge a hundred yards back. I’ve made this mistake a few times.


BUT continue on a bit further before turning around and you will come to this underpass, one of the more worked over graffiti sites I’ve happened upon on the Quebec side.

Graffiti Underpass

Got to Réno-Dépot. No luck. I’ll have to visit the orange bib brigade this side of the river and see if they have what I’m after.

By the time I headed home the sun had sufficiently set for the lights on the Rue Montcalm bridge to start twinkling.