New Bike Path Along Rue Jacques Cartier in Pointe-Gatineau

The recently completed section of bike path along the shoreline of the Ottawa River, just east of the confluence of the Gatineau and Ottawa rivers, allow for spectacular views across the water. Previously this stretch of Rue Jacques-Cartier consisted of two narrow lanes with lots of potholes and speeding traffic, making it a challenge for cyclists to concentrate on anything but survival. Now users of all ages visit and cycle along the shoreline, testament to the huge success of this new bike infrastructure.

The blue line on the following map shows how to get there entirely along bike paths starting from Centretown in Ottawa. The purple line is the new stretch of path along Rue Jacques-Cartier, described in more detail below.


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Upon crossing the Gatineau River over the steel truss Lady Aberdeen Bridge, one arrives in the old town of Pointe-Gatineau with the Saint-François-de-Sales church to your right. This is where the new section of path heading east along Rue Jacques-Cartier begins.

View of Pointe-Gatineau from the Lady-Aberdeen Bridge
View of Pointe-Gatineau from the Lady-Aberdeen Bridge
New path along Rue Jacques-Cartier
New path along Rue Jacques-Cartier

The re-design of the shoreline has included gathering nodes for people to pause and take in the scenery. Many of the stops have interpretive panels that describe the history of the area.

Lookout over the river
Lookout over the river

The design of the various furnishings appear to have been inspired by the lumber industry so prevalent in Point-Gatineau’s past.

Pathway bench
Pathway bench

Not only has this new bike infrastructure created a fantastic destination well worth the visit, it also provides an important link to the Route Verte recreational path network that runs across Quebec. It also encourages bike commuting for hundreds of residents living in Pointe-Gatineau and beyond.

Eastern end of the new bike lane
Eastern end of the new bike path

et voila!

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Swap Box Tour

Every few years my kids decide to do a thorough clean&purge of their rooms as they grow and their interests evolve. Result: many books, toys and trinkets they are ready to part with. Swap boxes are great for such occaisions. Here’s how they work: usually streetside, passersby are enticed to open them up. If something in there strikes their fancy they can exchange it with something else.

We were inspired to put up a swap box in front of our place after discovering a number of others around town, created by the late street artist Elmaks. Since then many more swap boxes have appeared. Most of them are specific to the exchange of books, but they work on the same premise. There is even an online group you can register your book swap box called Little Free Libraries. Here’s an article in the Kitchissippi Times on some local little libraries. But to get on this tour there’s no need to register online with any group. Just tell me where your swap box is and I’ll include it on the itinerary!

UPDATE, October 2018: I’ve been adding stops along the route as new boxes are being discovered. If I’ve missed any please feel free to send me a note and I’ll include it on the route.

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First stop – Cambridge St North, just north of the Chinatown Arch. This box even has it’s own Twitter handle .

Cambridge St N Swap Box
Cambridge St N Swap Box

Next stop, corner of Primrose & Arthur. Now THIS is a multi-compartmental swap box extravaganza! UPDATE-May ’17: Sadly the little black doors got ripped off this winter.

Primrose & Arthur Swap Box
Primrose & Arthur Swap Box

Down Nanny Goat Cliff, at the corner of Preston and Elm, there sits the cleverly converted newspaper box Book Exchange. There’s even a bike rack, lest you wish to dwindle while perusing the selection of swappable tomes, or pop in to the Preston Food Market for a Kit Kat.

Preston & Elm book exchange
Preston & Elm book exchange

Next it’s over to 125 Young St where sits this cute swap box.

125 Young St.jpg
125 Young St

A short one block loop gets you to this great swap box at 249 Loretta.

249 Loretta

This next box on Melrose Avenue is a clever take on the ‘A-frame’.

a-frame
A-Frame Box on Melrose Avenue

Next stop is in the heart of Hintonburg near the corner of Oxford & Pinehurst. This one has quite the history.  In the Fall of 2016 someone complained about the original bungalow style design to city by-law and the owners were told to take it down by September 16th. Fortunately there was a last minute stay of execution and the Hintonburg swap box got a reprieve. They were asked to replace it with another.

New Hintonburg box
Hintonburg Swap Box before….and after

Heading west, we discover our next swap box on Garrinson St just west of Carleton Ave. This one is all about books. Gotta admire the use of re-cycled roof shingles to ward off the elements which paperbacks are especially prone to.

Garisson Box
Garisson Box

A short distance away, just south of Wellington on Mayfair, sits another super sweet Little Free Library. This one is hosted by one of the finest elementary school teachers we’ve had the good fortune to get to know.

Madame Vicky's Swap Box
Madame Vicky’s Swap Box

Route takes a slight deviation to visit a couple of boxes, starting with this great Little Library box on Kenora St.

kenora-st
Kenora St. box

Next one is on Ruskin Street. Now this one has a bit of a disturbing history – someone with arsonist tendencies was caught on tape setting a previous incarnation of the box on flames! But the udaunted swap box owners said ‘Screw you arsonist!’, and rebuilt their box.

UPDATE 2018: The original route used the Harmer St pedestrian bridge over the Queensway to get to and from the Ruskin St box. That pedestrain bridge is being replaced and won’t be ready for another 2 years, so the present route as per the above map, goes along the Holland Avenue detour bike lanes.

Ruskin box
Ruskin Street new & improved little library

Over to this very beautifuly painted box on Evered Ave.

531 Evered Ave
Box on Evered Ave

The next one is a super sweet little swap box on Cole Avenue.

Cole swap box.jpg
Cole Avenue Swap Box

The box on Mansfield has a bench to rest on while perusing the shelves, one of which can accept tall books.

Mansfield Box.jpg
Mansfield Avenue Bench & Box

The tour heads westwardly to our next cute little library at 2125 Knightsbridge Rd. This one isn’t bolted down so I’m guessing in comes in and out at the whim of the prperty owner. So I don’t know if it will be there at all times. Water bowls for dogs is a nice touch.

2125 Knightsbridge Rd

Heading even further west, mostly along the Ottawa River Pathway, gets us to the Bayshore Park Community Garden & Oven which also has a big round swap box.

Swap box at the Bayshore Park Community Garden & Oven

Circling south into the Leslie Park neighbourhood brings us to two more boxes. The first is at 32 Abingdon Dr with a traditional styled hinged door.

32 Abingdon Dr
32 Abingdon Dr

The second is at 30 Harrison St that cleverly uses the JUTIS frosted cabinet door from Ikea.

30 Harrison St
30 Harrison St

A short detour south brings us to our next fine box at 33 Elvaston Ave.

33 Elvaston Ave
33 Elvaston Ave

Retracing our treads back onto the Experimental Farm Pathway before exiting towards Sherman Drive. This brings us to a swap box at the corner of Sherman Drive and Navaho Drive. What makes this one special is the surrounding landscaping with a dedicated path leading up from the intersection to the box.

Navaho and Sherman
Box at Navaho and Sherman

Once again back onto The Experimental Farm Pathway before detouring onto this box painted all white on Kingston Avenue!

1237 Kingston Ave
Swap Box at 1237 Kingston Ave.

Our next stop is further south, at the corner of Trillium Drive and Wallford Way. A one page instruction & description sheet is posted on the inside of the door, including a note on how the builders called on the services of a structural engineer friend who helped with the design of the box! The self closing hinge and neoprene lining keeps the door from slamming shut.

Trillium & Wallford
Trillium Drive and Wallford Way

The next most excellent box is on Bowhill Avenue.

bowhill
Box on Bowhill Ave

Another Little Library  may be found at 97 Four Seasons Dr, not far from the Bowhill Avenue box. This one is not attached to the ground but is instead attached to the base of a pedestal table.

97 Four Seasons Dr
Little Library at 97 Four Seasons Dr

There are some boxes further south-east. To get there I crossed the Rideau River at Hogs Back Falls and followed the route shown on the map. A more detailed description of this section of the ride can be found on this link , albeit in reverse. A slight detour over the Airport Parkway pedestrian bridge brings you to this proudly Canadian swap box on Cahill St.

1035 Cahill
1035 Cahill St

Back over the pedestrian bridge, there’s this cute box in Greenboro on Tammela Court. This sweet model opens from the top. It had been raining for a few days when I visited so a bit of water had gathered in the bottom. I’m sure it gets filled up with books in times of fair weather.

Tamella Court
Box on Tammela Court

The next few boxes to discover are in the Glebe. This one’s on Fourth Avenue, just east of Bronson. (I don’t reccomend riding along busy Bronson. Walk your bike along the sidewalk for a short block after crossing Bronson at the Madawaska/Fifth Avenue lights).

4th-ave
Little Library on Fourth Avenue

Next swap box is one block over and a bit east on Fifth Ave. This one cleverly recycles hidden Ikea hinges to avoid the door being left ajar.

Glebe Little Library
Little Library on Fifth Avenue

Our next box is just a few blocks south on Broadway Avenue.

hopewell-box
Broadway Little Free Library

Up and over the Rideau Canal along the Bronson bike lane brings us to Old Ottawa South. This lovely clear coated box along Hopewell Avenue had a chalkboard leaning up against it onto which a poem by Gwendolyn MacEwen was transcribed. Don’t know if the chalkboard is always there, but it is a nice addition to this discovery of swap boxes.

old-ottawa-south-box
Box & board along Hopewell Avenue

Next, a short side trip over the Rideau River to visit this robust Little Library on Pleasant Park Road. The most convenenient access to Alta Vista along this route is along the awful narrow Bank Street bridge over the Rideau River. Walking your bike along the sidewalk bridge is usually the safest option.

box-on-broadway
Box along Pleasant Park Road

A short loop through the Alta Vista neighbourhood brings us to this beautiful box with glass bead roof tiles on Featherstone Drive.

1621 Featherstone Dr
Box on Featherstone Drive

Back on the north shore of the Rideau River,  our next stop brings us to 146 Sunnyside Avenue. Big footprint shaped concrete pavers invite passersby to peruse the shelves.

sunnyside-box
Just direct your feet to the Sunnyside of the street

A bit north east on Belgrave Road lives this fine box, cleverly modeled after the house infront of which it sits.

belgrave-box
Box on Belgrave Road

One and a half blocks north at 75 Marlowe sits Mike’s Tiny Library. Super sweet!

75 Marlowe
Mike’s Tiny Library

Further east on Bower Street we find another fine box.

bower-box
Bower St box

Close by on Drummond Street there sits this dynamic box-within-a-box.

drummond-box
Box on Drummond Street

There are two fine boxes over in Overbrook. Ride along the canal, cut through the Ottawa University campus, down Somerset Street East, and over the Rideau River across the fabulous Adawé pedestrian/bike bridge. Weave your way along a few residential streets to this fine Little Library on Queen Mary Street. There’s even a chair to relax in once you get there.

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Little Library on Queen Mary St

Just a few blocks north there sits this generous little library on Ontario Street.

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Ontario Street Little Library

I made my way over to the corner of Vachon and Dagmar in Vanier to discover this fine box full of books with a fine magnetic latch that keeps the door closed on windy days.

Vachon
Little Library in Vanier, corner of Vachon & Dagmar

There’s another fun box in Vanier, at 355 Pauline Charron Place. To get there I rode up Père Blancs Avenue and cut through the grounds of their old monastry which is now a City of Ottawa park.

355 Pauline Charron Pl
Prenez un livre, laissez-en un! 355 Pauline Charron Pl.

Next stop is around the other side of Beechwood Cemetery where this Little Library is attached to the wall beside the entrance to the Manor Park Community Centre, just off Thornwood Road.

IMG_7074
Little Library at the Manor Park Communtiy Centre

Rolling along the west bound Beechwood Avenue Bike lanes and then those along St Patrick St brings us towards our next box at  260 St Andrew St.

260 St Andrew St
Box amongst flowers at 260 St Andrew St

Next stop is in Sandy Hill infront of St Paul’s Eastern United Church on Cumberland Ave. At the time of my discovering this box the doors had unfortunately ripped off this generously proportioned unit. Hopefully they will be replaced.

Cumberland St
Box on Cumberland St

Time to retrace our route back to the Rideau Canal before riding south into the Glebe. This sweet is box located at the corner of Strathcona and Metcalfe.

Library Bibliothèque at the corner of Strathcona and Metcalfe
Library Bibliothèque at the corner of Strathcona and Metcalfe

The next two boxes are neighbours on Argyle which is accessible via the bi-directional bike lanes along O’Connor. The first, introduced in the summer of ’17, is this brightly painted number.

Argyle
Box on Argyle

The second box on Argyle has a little clock in the gable, and the surrounding landscaping is beautiful. There are also garden chairs to sit on while contemplating a potential swap.

Box on Argyle
Box on Argyle

Next stop is in Centretown’s Dondonald Park.

Dundonald park
Swap box in Dundonald Park

Our next box is just a few blocks south on McLeod Street, which can be reached vis the bike lane along Percy Street.

577 McLeod
Fun Little Library infront of 577 McLeod

Another fine Little Library can be found on Arlington a few blocks west of Bronson. The Percy Street bike path gets you to Arlington. There are traffic lights to help get across busy Bronson.

430 Arlington
430 Arlington box with matching paint and roof tiles! Also a solar panel.

Last stop is the Mini Library, corner of Cambridge St N and Christie. This one takes taller books too.

Mini Library at Christie & Cambridge St N
Mini Library at Christie & Cambridge St N

Et voila!