Biking to Arts Court

Arts Court is a very important facility for local artists and art lovers. Located right downtown in the old court house, it sits on a small plot of land encircled by four busy streets that aren’t particularly velo friendly. So, how do you bike there? Here’s a route I took this weekend to attend a rehearsal for Third Wall Theatre’s production of God of Carnage, with a pit stop at Mags & Fags on Elgin Street.

Cooper is a quiet one way street heading east from Bronson as far as the canal. Most of the houses along the street between Bronson and Kent date back to the late 1800’s, like these two well preserved gems.

Funky Mural & Fancy Molding
Funky Mural & Fancy Molding

Here’s the view looking down Cooper from Bay Street.

Looking down Cooper St
Looking down Cooper St

The Czech embassy is at 251 Cooper and described in this Urbsite post.

After stopping off at Mags&Fags I biked a few blocks north up Elgin, a busy bike-able street with lots of pedestrians keeping it civilized. I then crossed the Mackenzie King Bridge which has bike lanes hugging the inside meridian like so.

Bike lanes along Mackenzie King Bridge
Bike lanes along Mackenzie King Bridge

But then the bike lane suddenly ends on the other side of the bridge when it reaches Waller Street.


Waller is a very nasty road. Not only is it lacking any shoulder or bike lane, it is filled with transport trucks who use it as an awkward winding link through downtown from the Queensway to King Edward Avenue to the bridge over the Ottawa River. I suggest avoiding it all together by going over to the sidewalk on the left and walking your bike along the well trodden path to the Arts Court parking lot, as per the photo below. By doing so you can catch a glimpse of the back of the old jail, the building behind the tall stone wall. It is now a youth hostel. The boarded up arched opening beneath the pediment was where they publicly hung condemned prisoners, the wall being just tall enough so onlookers would avoid seeing the dangling body. I know – freaky.

Back of the old jail
Back of the old jail

Down through the driveway brings you to the entrance of the wonderful Arts Court.

Arts Court
Arts Court

Author: ottawavelo


2 thoughts on “Biking to Arts Court”

  1. The hostel is supposed to have one room in it that anyone can stay in for free because it is reputedly, disturbingly, haunted. Have you heard this before, or is this some urban legend that I have bought into?

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