The Côte d’Azure, or French Riviera, is a beautiful hilly region overlooking the Mediterranean sea. There is an area of La Ville de Gatineau with streets named after popular spots along the Côte d’Azure (Rue de Cannes, Rue de Monte Carlo, Rue de Roquebrune, etc). It’s hilly too, and looks out over its own body of water, the Gatineau River. That’s where the similarities end. It’s a fine residential area of Gatineau to bike through. You can do a little bit of switch back climbing while taking in a few interesting house designs.
To get there I biked along Boulevard St Joseph, which isn’t too bad at 6:30 am, but I suggest the much more pleasant route hi-lited in green. Mostly along bike paths, it follows Boulevard de la Carriere for a bit, as a section of the Gatineau River Pathway is closed this summer for rapid transit construction.
Here’s an interesting house I spotted on the Gatineau Riviera.
Carson Grove is a small community defined by a traffic moat – Aviation Parkway to the West, Ogilvie Road to the south, Bathgate Drive to the east and Montreal Road to the north. It’s relatively new, only 7% of the homes having been built before 1960 with a surge of single detached homes built in the 70’s and 90’s. La Cité Collegiale Ottawa campus divides the community in two, north & south. There were a bunch of streets in the southern section I had yet to discover, so early Tuesday morning I went and and checked them out. Blue line’s how I got there, green line’s how I got back, and orange line is a recommended alternate route through Vanier to avoid Montreal Road west of St Laurent (impatient commuter traffic, no shoulders, and very bumpy, particularly around the potholes surrounding drainage covers).
The southern portion I biked through is a residential subdivision mostly built up in the 70’s, one of the many Campeau developments scattered around the city from that period. Campeau offered a bit of variety in plans homeowners could choose from. Along with the slightly varied mix of period house designs, many types of trees were planted on front lawns which have matured over the years. The streets aren’t confined to an overly strict grid, allowing for a pleasant meander.
So, Carson Grove – nice place to visit. Still don’t know out who Carson was or if there ever was a grove. All and any leads are welcome.
David Jackson is an amazing multi-faceted local musician and one of the founding members of the Northern Sound Electrical System, ‘an open member project whose purpose is to explore the fringes of drone, electronics, noise and sound through guitars, software, percussion, field recordings, and whatever else anyone wants to bring to the show.’ David posted a great recording of one of their performances at Le Temporaire in Gatineau earlier this year. I had the urge to explore the pathway along the Ruisseau-de-la-brasserie located close to Le Temporaire, while listening to the recorded session, so as the sun came up I set my iPhone SoundCloud app to David C Jackson, North Sound Electrical System Live at Le Temporaire, and headed off. It was incredible. UPDATE Summer 2018: It is now illegal to wear headphones while biking in Québec.
Here’s the route, and some photos taken along the way.
The path dips under a number of major bridges with lots of commuter traffic, the sounds of which lend themselves well to the recording.
The path splits just beyond Autoroute de la Gatineau. Left continues along the Ruisseau de la Brasserie Pathway towards Leamy Lake, but it’s worth continuing along the right hand path for a bit, at least as far as the bridges that connect the two autoroutes. Here’s some of what what you’ll see.
There are two great interpretive exhibits on the shores of Leamy Lake that delve into the history of the area. Conflict of interest warning – Carla designed them.
If the breeze is up you can feel the coolness of the melting ice off the lake, as was the case at this spot along the shore.
Rich Little is an Ottawa born impersonator who made it big on American TV in the 60’s and 70’s. He now lives in Vegas where he has been performing in his one man play Jimmy Stewart & Friends. There’s a street named in his honour close to the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club so I went for a ride and checked it out. Blue line is how I got there, green is my route back, orange hi-lites are sections that are a bit treacherous to bike along.
Riverside Drive south of Walkley has raised paved shoulders separate from the sidewalk, like so.
There are sections where these paved shoulders disappear, as I’ve hi-lited in orange on the above map. These are Biker Beware zones, i.e. four lanes, fast cars, and minimal shoulder space.
Rich Little Drive is a pleasant little street, lined with houses all very generous in proportion to their lots. The street must have been developed at a time when multiple garages were a coveted feature, judging by the predominance they occupy in all of the front elevations.
A bit further east along Fox Hunt Ave this very well preserved Sea Ranch style house stands apart.
All of the paved paths were clear of snow including these along Mooney’s Bay. Yeah Spring!
As part of North Korea’s escalating rhetoric and bellicose threats to nuke their southern brethren and the U.S., they have set up missile launchers along their east coast. Most pundits believe they are mostly for show. Whether or not the missiles are capable of lift off, their display has certainly captured the world’s attention. Japan has responded by setting up an anti-missile system of their own. All these shows of force had me pondering the many depictions of long barrelled artillery on display throughout our region, so I came up with the following ‘Cannons in the Capital’ bike tour.
By peering through the angled glass wall just off Booth street into the Canadian War Museum you get a good view of this large collection of tanks and armoury.
This tank sits just to the north outside the museum, seemingly waiting for an indoor parking spot to open up amongst its peers.
Booth Street Bridge over to Gatineau is under construction, but you can safely make your way across the river by biking down Victoria Island and up over the Portage Bridge.
These two tanks, parked on display outside the Salaberry Armoury at the corner of Boulevard Alexandre-Taché and Boulevard St Joseph, are dedicated to the resident Régiment de Hull.
Sunday afternoon, while we all paused between Easter egg hunting and holiday feasting, I decided to go for a ride and check out a small isolated residential community up the Rideau River just beyond Hunt Club Road. This community is made up of two smaller sections – Pineglen and Country Place. Based on the style of houses it appears Pineglen was developed in the 50’s and 60’s, and Country Place a bit later. They are surrounded by an industrial area to the north, the river and airport to the east, and farmland to the south and west.
Here’s how I biked there and back.
After stopping off at Herb & Spice on Wellington to pick up some herbs and spices (go figure) I headed south. To get across the Queensway I pushed my bike over this pedestrian bridge that joins the two sections of Harmer Street. Much safer than riding along busy Holland Avenue.
Then I rode all the way down Fisher towards the Rideau River. Fisher is not a great road to bike along. Apart from a short section between Carling and Baseline there is little room and cars go fast along this straightaway. It would be great if they added bike lanes on either side, not only for the likes of me out on a Sunday ride, but to encourage bike commuters though out the year as well.
The first section encountered from Prince of Wales Drive is Pineglen, wherein I discovered a number of mid-century modern homes such as these.
There are also a few recently completed and still-being-constructed big houses such as these, suggesting Pineglen remains a coveted place to live.
At some point heading west Pineglen becomes Country Place. I couldn’t distinguish a specific demarcation, however there is a shift in architectural style from modernist bungalows to two story brick houses with decorative window shutters such as these.
I headed home along Prince of Wales Drive. On either side of Prince of Wales north of Fisher there are wide designated bike lanes, but south of Fisher the lanes are narrower or disappear completely. Most cars and trucks drive at Queensway speeds along Prince of Wales south of Fisher as well.
So, Pineglen is an interesting community worth discovering.
Prince of Wales Drive is fine heading out of town as far as Fisher. Beyond Fisher, not so great.