Second Annual GCTC Bike-A-Thon!

Last Fall’s inaugural Great Canadian Theatre Company Bike-A-Thon was such a huge success that it has become an annual fundraising event. This time riders had a choice of two routes. Both groups started off from the theatre on Wellington St W and followed bike paths along either side of the Ottawa River. We crossed the Island Park Dive bridge to Quebec, then back over the Alexandria Bridge, before returning along the Ottawa River Pathway towards the theatre. The red line on the following map is the 18km ride I led and describe below. An alternative 37km route branched off to Aylmer and back along the Voyageurs Pathway before completing the red loop. Both options are spectacular early morning rides. I forgot to snap photos on the day of the event, so the following images were taken when I went back and re-visited a couple of days later.

And away we go!

The theatre, corner of Wellington and Holland
The theatre, corner of Wellington and Holland

To get to the Ottawa River Pathway we headed north along Holland Avenue, through Tunney’s Pasture (which isn’t actually a pasture, but an expanse of government buildings where Anthony Tunney’s cows once grazed a long time ago), then joined the link just off Parkdale to the Ottawa River Pathway. Holland and Parkdale aren’t choice roads to ride along during weekdays as they are popular commuter links, but they are OK early on weekend mornings.

Biking through Tunney's pasture
Biking through Tunney’s pasture

We passed this collection of balanced rocks along the edge of the river which John Ceprano has been back to stack every summer since 1987.

River rocks
River rocks

The Island Park Bridge over the Ottawa River has generous bike lanes heading both ways.

Bridge over to Québec!
Bridge over to Québec!

On the other side of the river we headed downstream along the Voyageurs Pathway, sections of which follow the canoe portage the Coureurs des bois and Voyageurs trudged to avoid the Chaudières rapids.

We paused in Brébeuf Park, named after Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit missionary who passed through on his was up stream. Here he is commemorated in bronze just off the pathway, one hand clasping a cross, the other a paddle.

Jean de Brébeuf monument
Jean de Brébeuf monument

The route get’s a little hilly just east of Brébeuf Park, with a number of tight turns through wooded areas like so.

Voyageurs Pathway
Voyageurs Pathway

Things flatten out again in Parc des Portageurs, a fine spot to pause and admire this installation consisting of pipes from the EB Eddy wood mill that once dominated the area along the river.

EB Eddy pipes
EB Eddy pipes

There still is a paper mill in operation off the path between Rue Eddy and the Portage Bridge. That’s who owns these huge steam pipes on either side of the path heading under the Portage Bridge. Throughout the winter they hiss and pop in rapid intervals, echoing all around as you pass by.

Pipes under Portage Bridge
Pipes under Portage Bridge

One of the most spectacular views of Parliament Hill can be had just beyond the Portage Bridge as the path heads down along the river’s edge.

Parliament Hill as seen from the Voyageurs Pathway
Parliament Hill as seen from the Voyageurs Pathway

We wove our way up behind the Museum of History and crossed the Alexandra Bridge.

Pedaling over the Alexandra Bridge
Pedaling over the Alexandra Bridge

On the Ottawa side of the bridge there’s a steep lane off to the right which brought us down to the Rideau Canal Locks. We pushed our bikes across the second set of locks.

Up and over the Rideau Canal locks
Up and over across the Rideau Canal locks

On the other side we had a break and were treated to snacks and refreshments! This is the only photo I managed to take on the day of.

Bike-A-Thoners!
Bike-A-Thoners!

Then it was back along the path along the river towards the theatre. A fine outing indeed!

Back to the theatre

Author: ottawavelo

bicycler

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