James Strutt was an Ottawa based Modernist architect and professor at Carleton University. He designed a number of local jewels, including the Trinity United Church, and the Westboro Beach pavilions. My sister was one of his students and has fond memories of how everyone loved his class because of the passion he had for his subject and the support he gave to all his undergraduates.
This summer I rode to the house he designed for his family along Chemin de la Montagne on the western edge of Gatineau Park, popularly known as The Strutt House. A day after my ride the National Capital Commission, in partnership with the Strutt Foundation, announced their intentions to preserve the building and have it open to visitors in time for Canada’s 150th birthday celebration in 2017.
UPDATE 2017: I re-visited the Strutt House with friends and was given a great tour by the Strutt Foundation. An account of that ride, and the huge improvements to accessing the site since this post, can be found here.
This route begins on the Quebec side of the Portage Bridge and follows multi-use-paths all the way along the Ottawa River up through Gatineau Park as far as the info kiosk indicated by the red marker on the above map.
On Sunday morning the parkway is closed to motorized vehicles beyond this point. It’s in great condition for riding because they close the parkway in late fall, saving it from the freezing and thawing cycles that wreak havoc on all other roads plowed and salted throughout the winter.
After a healthy climb one arrives at the Notch Road overpass. There’s a short dirt path off to the right just before the overpass that I followed down to access Notch Road.
Notch Road is a steep narrow incline down to Chemin de la Montagne.
Unfortunately Chemin de la Montagne is an unavoidable road with little or no shoulder room to ride along and lots of reckless speeding traffic.
A short distance along Chemin De la Montagne is a gravel driveway with a corrugated metal canopy structure off to the left.
A long set of wooden stairs to the right of this structure takes you up to The Strutt House.
The exterior of The house is in need of major restoration, so the recent announcement from the NCC and the Strutt Foundation to do just that is very timely. In the process of restoring this valuable work of architecture I hope efforts will be made to provide safe bike access to the site.
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