On Friday I happened upon a ceremony at the Ottawa Firefighter Memorial Monument outside city hall, commemorating Ottawa firefighters who have perished in the line of duty. On Sunday another ceremony will take place at the Canadian Firefighter Memorial on the edge of Lebreton Flats in remembrance of fallen firefighters from across the country. I remembered a couple of other installations within the city that commemorate our fire brigades, so this morning I hopped on my bike and toured them all. You can too. Here’s how.
This route starts at the Ottawa Firefighters Memorial just off Laurier in front of city hall. Along with engraved walls and sculpted figures, there are a number of black marble plaques depicting images of firefighters who have perished in the line of duty with accompanying interpretive texts describing their service and how they died, some dating back to the mid 1800’s. They are a touching exposé of the fatal dangers Ottawa firefighters have faced over time.
Follow the path along the canal down to the Ottawa River Pathway behind Parliament Hill. Things get a bit convoluted with the myriad of intersecting paths on the other side of the Wellington Street underpass. Go left at the first fork in the path like so.
Stay left all the way until you see one of Ottawa’s oldest bridges on your right, Pooley’s Bridge beside the Fleet Street Pump Station.
Cross over the bridge, from which you’ll be treated to this view looking north. There’s a kayakers course down there amongst the rapids.
Once on the other side, turn right along the path that takes you between the kayak course on your right and the condo’s on the left. This will take you right up to the Canadian Firefighters Memorial.
Next, follow the Ottawa River Pathway all the way to Westboro, where you’ll discover this mural across the street from Mountain Equipment Co-op.
Next, bike over to Scott Street and follow the bike lane all the way to Holland. At Holland the lane disappears and is replaced with sharrows, which also vanish further on – super dangerous along this busy road. So cross Holland and get on the path that runs along the north side of Scott St, like so.
Turn south on Bayview and weave your way over to the corner of Garland and Wellington St W, as shown on the above map, where you will happen upon this sculpture of a hydrant with firefighter boots and a hose on top. It’s part of a series of fire hydrant sculptures that line Wellington West.
To complete the loop, head east on Somerset St W all the way to Cambridge St, then north to Laurier and the top of Nanny Goat Hill, then straight down the Laurier bike lane to the Ottawa Firefighter Memorial Monument where the tour began.