On the first Saturday of May I went on a walking tour of Parliament Hill with Jaime Koebel and a whole bunch of other people. Jaime runs Indigenous Walks which she describes as, ‘A guided walk & talk through downtown Ottawa that presents participants with social, political, cultural & artistic spaces from an Indigenous perspective‘. This particular outing was included in the 2015 Jane’s Walk tours around the region. While gazing across the Ottawa (or Kitchissippi) River towards the Museum of History, Jaime mentioned three outdoor totem poles within the area that were carved by indigenous sculptures, along with a number of others on display within the museum. Here’s a 33km loop that visits all four sites along sections of five NCC multi-use paths for almost it’s entirety. I recommend this as an evening sunset ride, the reason for which will become obvious at the end of the post.
Our ride begins near the eastern tip of Victoria Island where stands this totem pole sculpted by Walter Harris of the Gitxsan First Nation in northern British Columbia.
I rode west, accessing the Ottawa River Pathway behind the War Museum, which I followed all the way to where it splits south along Pinecrest Creek Pathway.
I rode the length of the Pinecrest Creek Pathway to Woodroffe Avenue.
On the south side of Woodroffe the path continues as the Experimental Farm Pathway.
On the south side of Maitland the path weaves it’s way up through a wooded area.
The second totem pole on our tour is located in front of the Scouts Canada National Office on Baseline Road. To get there I turned off the pathway and cut through a residential area along paths and quiet roads as shown on the above map.
This totem was carved by Chief Mungo Martin, a Kwakwaka’wakw carver from British Columbia. It was acquired by the Boy Scouts in 1960.
I then headed back to the Experimental Farm Pathway which runs along farmed fields east of Merivale Road. Sections of the pathway east of Fisher follow along quiet roads through the farm.
I crossed Prince of Wales Drive at the signalized crosswalk and headed over to the Rideau Canal locks beside Carleton University. I crossed the locks and biked down the Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway towards downtown.
I re-traversed the canal at the Somerset pedestrian bridge and headed over to Confederation Park to visit the third totem pole along the tour, sculpted by Henry Hunt also of the Kwakwaka’wakw and apprentice of Mungo Martin.
Next stop – the Grand Hall of the Museum of History. To get there I rode down beside the canal and across the second to last set of locks.
I then rode up the paved path from the river and crossed the Alexandra Bridge.
Here’s why I think this is a great evening ride – as the sun sets a vista of totem poles within the Grand Hall of the Museum of History become visible from outside the large windows.
Here are views of these majestic sculptures as seen from outside as well.
To complete the loop I rode along the Voyageurs Pathway beside the river, then halfway across the Portages Bridge back to Victoria Island.