Victoria Day Bike Ride

This 44km ride starts at the statue of Queen Victoria on Parliament Hill and heads up along the Ottawa River before weaving it’s way north through Gatineau Park to the small Chelsea Pioneers Cemetery where lies Private Richard Rowland Thompson, the sole Canadian recipient of a Queen’s Scarf of Honour, one of eight scarves crocheted by Queen Victoria in her final year of life.  

Victoria Day is a distinctly Canadian holiday, celebrated on the Monday that lands between the 18th and 24th of May, in honour of Queen Victoria  born on May 24, 1819. One legend says she chose Ottawa as the nation’s capital by jabbing a hat pin into a spot on a map between Toronto and Montreal to stop the two cities from squabbling over which one deserved to be the capital. Another suggests her appreciation of landscape paintings of the region inspired her to choose this location. There may be an element of truth to both when she ultimately acted on the reccomendations of John A MacDonald, prime minister at the time, and made the final decision.

The statue of Queen Victoria is located just to the west of the Centre Block on Parliament Hill.

Statue of old Queen Vic

Exit Parliament Hill heading west and turn right after passing through the RCMP bollards. Then take Vittoria Street that passes behind the Confederation building and infront of the Supreme Court, before turning left to get to Wellington St .

Leaving the Hill, turn right just beyond the RCMP bollards

There’s a bike lane along Wellington that starts infront of the National Archives. Follow this lane across Portage Bridge to the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. Once across the bridge follow the Voyageurs Pathway by circling under the Portage Bridge. Follow the path all the way to a fork  just in front of a hydro site. Head right at the fork.

Exit off Voyageurs Pathway towards Gatineau Park

This leads to Rue Belleau, a quiet street with bike lanes leading to the intersection at Boulevard Alexander-Taché. The start of the Gatineau Park Pathway is immediately across this intersection.

Follow the beautiful Gatineau Park Pathway up through the park all the way to Chemin de la Mine.

Heading up the Gatineau Park Pathway

Access Chemin de la Mine from the pathway and head north along the bike lane on the shoulder of the road. 

Chemin de la mine bike lane

Turn right onto Notch Road which also has bike lanes.

Turn right onto Chemin de Kingsmere then right onto the bike lane along Chemin Old Chelsea east heading over the Gatineau Autoroute, all the way to Route 105.

Turn left up the 105 and ride along the abutting bike lane all the way to the small sign indicating the entrance to the Chelsea Pioneer Cemetery .

Down this short dirt road you will arrive at the small cemetery where lay the remains of Private Richard Rowland Thompson who was awarded the Queen’s Scarf of Honour for saving the life of a wounded colleague and staying with him throughout the Boer War Battle of Paardeberg. He also attempted to save another as the fighting raged about him.  

Grave of Richard R. Thompson

The graveyard itself is very simple and serene, a quiet place to rest before getting back in the saddle.

Chelsea Pioneer Cemetery

Exiting the cemetery continue north along the 105 before turning onto Chemin Scott which also has bike lanes heading into Old Chelsea.

Chemin Scott intersects Chemin Old Chelsea which you can hop back onto and retrace your route back to Ottawa.

Et voila!

Biking To See Some Beautiful Trilliums!

The most amazing display of trilliums I’ve happened upon in our region can be found in a section of forest near the southern edge of Gatineau Park, and they are in full bloom right now! Here’s a bike route to get there.

This ride begins on the Portage Bridge over the Ottawa River. The route travels along a combination of surfaces including paved pathways, roads, stone dust paths, and packed dirt trails through the forest.

If anyone needs a route to get to the starting point please let me know.

View down river from Portage Bridge

On the Gatineau side of the bridge follow Voyageurs Pathway by turning left under the bridge.

Voyageurs Pathway curling under the Portage Bridge on the Quebec side

The path continues alongside Rue Laurier before veering closer to the river’s edge through Parc des Portageurs.

Where the path heads away from the road towards the river’s edge

Continue along the Voyageurs Pathway which weaves up and down  through trees with great views towards the Ottawa River. The path is named after the Voyageurs who portaged their canoes past this section of rapids.

Voyageurs Pathway weaving through the tress

Just beyond the small beach in Parc Moussette take the exit off the path to  Boulevard de Lucerne, then to Rue St-Dominique, then ride across the intersection of Boulevard Alexandre-Taché. Follow the bike path along Boulevard Alexandre-Taché linking Rue St-Dominique to the Moore Farm Pathway.

Bike path along Boulevard Alexandre-Taché

Ride up along the stone dust path through the heritage farm. The stone dust is pretty loose in some stretches, so if you have skinny tires you may have to push your bike along those short sections, or ride on the grassy edge of the path.

Stone dust path through Moore Farm

A bit further along the path just beyond the barn, turn right onto a smaller dirt path.

Exit onto dirt path

A short distance further along it becomes a packed gravel path. My guess is that it once was an railway bed.

Old railway path

The gravel path enventuaqlly veers left and becomes a a dirt trail through the woods. There are a few roots and rocks to negotiate along this path, but for the most part I found it to be well worn and easily negotiable on my hybrid bike.

End of gravel path….to dirt path

I started to notice a few trilliums immediately upon turning onto this dirt path. Gradually more and more appeared as I rode along, as they began to spread out on either side of the path. Absolutely magical.


Eventually the path arrives at an intersection.  Unfortunately these paths aren’t marked. By heading straight ahead the path becomes more rugged and there’s a fenced off compound on the right. That’s a prison. Don’t want to go that way. Instead I turned left at the intersection.

Left at the intersection

The trail continues under some power lines. This monstrous hydro pole confirmed I was heading in the right direction.

Under the power lines

Not too far along from the hydro lines the path gets a little rocky. I suggest walking your bike through this short section leading down to the paved Pioneers Pathway.

Rocky section at the end of the trail

Trail joins up with the paved Pioneers Pathway

Continue along the Pioneers Pathway under the bridge and up to where it intersects the Gatineau Park Pathway. Turn left onto the Gatineau Park Pathway and followed it all the way back down to Boulevard Alexandre-Taché.

Riding down the Gatineau Park Pathway

There are lights to get across Boulevard Alexandre-Taché to Rue Belleau, which has bike lanes.

View down Rue Belleau

At the end of Rue Belleau there is a link to the Voyageurs Pathway . Followed Voyageurs Pathway back to our starting point atthe Portage Bridge and across the river.

Et voila!

Biking to see Daffodils in the Rockcliffe Park Rockeries

It’s not too late to take in the wonderful display of blooming daffodils strewn throughout the Rockcliffe Rockeries. The Rockeries is a lovely public park tucked in the eastern edge of the Rockcliffe neighbourhood overlooking the Ottawa River. Once arrived there’s a path you can follow that cuts through the park. Here’s a 9km bike route to get there from Centretown.

This route follows bike lanes or paths for most of the way. The only spots missing bike lanes are the short connection along Colonel By Drive between the end of the Rideau Canal Eastern pathway to Sussex, and the section of Princess Avenue between the two round-abouts. N.B. – While riding along the Ottawa River pathway, just before arriving at the Rockeries, do NOT cross the Sir George-Étienne-Cartier Driveway (indicated by the red marker on the map) but continue along the paved path on the right side of the road.

There are other flowers and curiosities to discover there as well.

… including tulips.

Spring Bike Tour to Three Big Waterfalls!

Here is a 14km bike tour to three big waterfalls that are particularly awesome in the spring! The ride starts at Hog’s Back Falls, then visits the Chaudière Falls and ends at the Rideau Falls. The spring runoff is, of course, what makes the falls so powerful at this time of year, but the higher volume of water also causes flooding along parts of the Ottawa River and Rideau river shorelines. This route avoids bike paths that are flooded, and also takes into consideration ongoing construction detours.

Hog’s Back Falls was originally a set of rapids known as the Three Rocks Rapids, but the building of the Rideau Canal created the more spectacular version we have now. More on the transformation from rapids to falls can be found in these two links:

A Rapid Ride: The Billings shoot Hogs Back “Falls”.  

 Washed Away The Story of the Building of the Hogs Back Dam.

Hogs Back Falls

Next stop – the Chaudière Falls on the Ottawa River, just west of Parliament Hill. When french explorer Samuel de Champlain  arrived at the falls he noted how its elongated curved form and volume of water flowing over it ressembled a boiling cauldron, or chaudière. More on the history of the Chaudière Falls can be found here.

The above map shows three great locations from which you can view the falls.

Chaudière Falls

Last stop – the Rideau Falls! The Rideau River ends by spilling down into the Ottawa River in most spectacular form resembling a huge curtain of water, or in French a ‘rideau’ of water.  

Rideau Falls

Et voila!

The Timber Route

The  Ottawa River timber trade was the nineteenth century production of squared timber along with other wood products. As the major industry of the historical colonies of Upper and Lower Canada, the trade was instrumental in establishing communities on both sides of the river that became Ottawa and Gatineau. This 3km ride along bike paths and multi-use pathways visits various interpretive displays along the Ottawa River that help describe the history and significance of the timber trade in the region.

Our ride begins just off the Ottawa River Pathway behind the War Museum. Here you will find an interpretive display describing the 19th century origins of the local lumber industry. You can stand on a crib, multiples of which formed a timber raft. Interpretive panels describe how in the 1800’s you would have seen giant rafts made up of cribs in the river before you. The interpretive panels also describe how these timber rafts, composed of hundreds of logs, would become temporary floating villages for the Raftsmen delivering the timber down the Ottawa River.

Interpretive display along the Ottawa River Pathway behind the War Museum

Further east along the Ottawa River Pathway you will happen upon Mill Street Brew Pub located in an old grist mill built in 1842. On the east side of the building, looking out across the river, you will see a timber slide. This is where the aforementioned cribs would float down to avoid the Chaudière Falls. In 1972 the V shaped slide visible from this spot replaced the wider square shaped slide that originally accomodated the width of the cribs. More on the history of the slide can be found here.

Timber slide visible

Ride under the Portage Bridge and follow the paths that circle up and onto the bridge. Take the segregated bike lane across the bridge to the Gatineau side of the river, then turn down to the right along the Voyageurs Pathway that runs along the waters edge.

Along this pathway you will happen upon this interpretive panel describing the history of this shoreline, providing context to when the lumber trade was dominant.

History of the shoreline

A short distance further along the path you will find this vertical display celebrating log drivers whose job was to break up piles of logs to avoid log jams.

Log Drivers

Continue along the Voyageurs Pathway under the Alexandra Bridge into Jacques Cartier Park. A short distance into the park you will find a display of three interpretive panels, one of which hi-lites the story of Big Joe Mufferaw, a legendary lumberman from the era of the timber trade.

Big Joe Mufferaw

Further along the pathway beside a small heritage house called Maison Charon you will find another display of three panels, one of which describes Philemon Wright the first settler who started up the local lumber trade. Included in this display is a scale reproduction of a broad axe. This important tool was used to square logs so that they may be assembled into crips and rafts before floating down river.

Philemon Wright

For those who would like to read more about the era of the Ottawa River timber trade I recommend checking out this link.

Et voila! Happy trails.

Biking from Downtown to the Ottawa International Airport and/or the EY Centre

The Ottawa International Airport is a comfortable 13-15 km ride from downtown. The following route is my favourite. The EY Centre is a huge convention space used for various events and is very close to the airport, so I’ve included a slight detour that’ll get you there as well (orange line on the map).

Starting off from the corner of Laurier Avenue and Percy St, head south along the Percy bike lane. (Percy and Laurier is an intersection easily accessible from many points within the downtown core via the Laurier Bike Lane).

Bike lane along Percy

Percy continues on the opposite side of the Queensway sans bike lane.

Percy south of the Queensway

Turn right on Fifth Avenue and cross Bronson Avenue at the intersection.

Traffic lights at Fifth Avenue heading across Bronson
Traffic lights at Fifth & Bronson

Once across Bronson continue down Madawask Drive, then onto the pathway that cuts through Commissioners Park.

Access to path through Commissioners Park from Madawaska Drive
Lovely path through Commissioners Park. Always lots of flowers.

Follw this path to the intersection of Preston Street and Prince of Wales Drive.

Approaching Prince of Wales and Preston

Cross the lights to get to the bike path that runs through the Arboretum along the edge of Dow’s Lake and the Rideau Canal.

Path through the Arboretum along the Rideau Canal
Path through the Arboretum

Pushed you bike over the canal locks opposite Carleton University and turn right along the Rideau Canal Pathway as far as Mooney’s Bay.

Up & over the locks

The path continues over the Rideau River along Hogs Back Road. Once over the Hogs Back Falls bridge take the path to the right that goes through Mooney’s Bay park

Once over the Hogs Back Falls bridge take the path to the right that goes through Mooneys Bay park
Path to the right that goes through Mooney’s Bay park

On the other side of Mooney’s Bay Park the path continues along Riverside Drive for a short distance until it ends at Walkley Road. Riverside Drive is a very busy street with lots of speeding traffic. There are raised paved shoulders along Riverside beyond Quesnel Drive, but not between Walkley Road and Quesnel Drive. To avoid this section, ride on the packed grass beside the sidewalk along Riverside for a short distance and cross Riverside to the parking lot of the Anglican Church.

Intersection of Walkley and Riverside Drive
Entrance to church parking lot off Riverside

Ride through to the opposite side of the church parking lot to the short path that cuts through to Otterson Drive.

Path from church parking lot to Otterson Drive

Turn right onto Otterson, and take the short path that links to Quesnel Drive. Follow Quesnel Dr that ends at Riverside Drive. Get back on Riverside Drive and continue south along the previously mentioned raised paved shoulders. They extend from Quesnel to Uplands Drive.

Paved shoulder along Riverside Drive

Turn left onto Uplands Drive and follow it for a short distance before turning right along Bowesville Road.

Mid way down Bowesville there’s a NO THROUGH TRAFFIC sign, and a smaller green one below it that asks pedestrians and cyclists passing through to remain on the road. That’s because it cuts through the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club. There’s a steel gate a bit beyond the signs, however there’s space to ride by just to the right.

Signs midway down Bowesville, and gate a bit further on.
Signs midway down Bowesville, and gate a bit further on.

Once beyond the golf club property cross Hunt Club Road at the lights and continue south along Paul Benoit Driveway. This is a very pleasant road to ride along. Traffic isn’t too speedy, the posted limit being 50km/h. There is also a paved path that runs along the west side of the road.

Path along Paul Benoit Driveway

Normally, to get to the terminal turn right off of Paul Benoit Driveway onto Kiowa Pr, cut through the employee parking, then left at the end of the parking lot, which becomes a lane airport employees use to walk back and forth to their cars. This lane leads right to the arrivals doors in front of the terminal. At the time of writing they were constructing the O-Train connection to the airport, which required a slight deviation to the normal route, as per the green line indicated on the above map. i.e., rather than cut through the employees parking, ride to the end of Kiowa Pr to Clear Skies Pr, then turn left onto Clear Skies Pr, which leads to the aforementioned lane that brings you to the entrance to the terminal.

Turn right onto Kiowa Pr
Connection from Clear Skies Pr to path leading to front of airport terminal

There are bike racks infront of the concrete pillars located just outside the entrance to the airport.

Bike racks
Bike racks

Accessing the EY Centre

If you are heading to the EY Centre (orange line on the above map) turn left off of Paul Benoit Driveway onto Breadner Blvd, which has ample room for cars and bikes.

Breadner Blvd

Turn right onto Uplands Drive, which is a busy street, but also has wide paved shoulders. The entrance to the EY Centre is a short distance further along Uplands.

Uplands Dr

Follow the same route heading back to Ottawa, except for the last stretch north of the Queensway where the bike lane follows Bayswater versus Percy, as indicated by the purple line on the above map.

Et voila!

Bike Tour of Swap Boxes and Little Free Libraries

Swap Boxes and Little Free Libraries are a great way to share books and other items amongst neighbours and passersby. Here’s how they work: usually streetside, people are enticed to open them up. If something inside strikes their fancy they can take or exchange the item with something else. I started this route back in 2016, updating the map annually with boxes as they come and go, or as they have been modified. Everyone who has one loves the joy and sharing that they contribute to the community!

We were inspired to put up a swap box in front of our place after discovering a number of others around town that had been created by the late street artist Elmaks. There is also an online group you can register your book swap box called Little Free Libraries. Here’s an article in the Kitchissippi Times on some of those local little libraries.


First stop – Cambridge St North, just north of the Chinatown Arch!

113 Cambridge St N

Our next box is Down Nanny Goat Cliff on Rochester St. Some great flowers are painted on the sides.

41 Rochester St

One square block south-west there sits this converted newspaper box at the corner of Preston and Elm. 

Preston & Elm Book Exchange

Next it’s over to this great swap box at 249 Loretta Avenue. n.b. If any box is full, I suggest not leaving items outside the box, especially on the ground in dog pee zone.

249 Loretta

A couple of blocks west at the corner of Beech Street and Bayswater Avenue you can’t miss this colourful Little Free Library/Boîte à livres.

Corner of Beech and Bayswater

South on Bayswater brings you to this fine box whose design imitates that of the home infront of which it sits.

Bayswater Box

A few blocks up a hill you will find this very well constructed Little Free Library on Gwynne Ave.

38 Gwynne Ave

Head over to this clever ‘A-Frame’ box on Melrose.

64 Melrose Ave

This beautifully painted box is just a few yards further up Melrose.

45 Melrose

Then it’s over to 94 Spadina Ave. where sits this tall red box, another fine imitation of it’s host house.

94 Spadina Ave

This generous box on Garland sits comfortably on a wall.

Garland St box

Heading west through Hintonburg brings you to this big one at 50 Ladoucer. Unfortunately the text that was originally on the front of this unit explaining that it it was a swap box has almost completely faded leaving no indication for those that don’t already know.

50 Ladouceur St

A bit further west in Hintonburg you will find a box near the corner of Oxford & Pinehurst. This one has quite a history.  In the Fall of 2016 someone complained about it’s original sprawling bungalow styling 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 it got a reprieve. It was then replaced it with a more compact design, and has since gradually grown and evolved into the multi-unit that is there now.

Spencer St.

Across the transitway sit’s this fine tall box on Northwestern Avenue.

219 Northwestern Ave

A short distance south on Northwestern you will find this sweet box nesteld amongst the vegetation.

244 Northwestern Ave

A little bit west proudly stands this most excellent Swap Box crafted at the Ottawa Tool Library!

260 Keyworth

This ‘Bibliothèque’ can be found on W Village Private.

126 W Village Private

This ‘Children’s books only’ box on Garrison St sits low to the ground making it easier for young’uns to access.

49 Garrison St

Just south of Wellington on Mayfair there is not one, but TWO boxes safely distanced apart.

Mayfair near Wellington West

A few blocks south brings us to this little library at 436 Mayfair.

Box on Mayfair

Our route goes another couple of blocks east to visit this great Little Library on Kenora St. that has started to lean a bit over time.

Kenora St. box

A block south on Java St it’s pretty hard to miss this extremely well built monster ‘little’ library.

27 Java St

Then it’s under the Queensway over to this colourful box at the edge of St Stephen’s church on Sherwood.

Box outside St. Stephen’s Church on Sherwood

A few blocks south on Hamilton Ave S you will find this fine box.

405 Hamilton Ave S

Right around the corner on Inglewood you will find this friendly offering.

5 Inglewood Pl

Further west on Ruskin there sits this beautiful cedar shingled little library with a cute little swap box addition. This box has a sad story associated with it: in 2017 someone set fire to it’s original incarnation. Undeterred, the builders got to work and like the legendary Phoenix, this wonderul replacement rose from it’s ashes.

125 Ruskin St

Over to Island Park Drive where this super sweet ‘petit bibliotheque’ has mini toad-stools for little ones to rest upon.

675 Island Park Dr

This next box on Clarendon was made and installed by Chris of the Ottawa Outdoor Gear Library.

Clarendon Avenue & Iona Street

Then there’s this fine box at the corner of Mayfair and Iona.

Mayfair and Iona

Two boxes are at the corner of Brennan and Iona, one dedicated to kids.

Corner of Brennan and Iona

Over to this very beautifuly painted box on Evered Ave.

Box on Evered Ave

Over to this one at Edison & Kenwood where locals can grab their mail AND a book! The note infront asks that books not be left outside the box.

Corner of Edison & Kenwood

This box on Melbourne is a very nice design. A paintedlandcape on the front is intersected by the round window.

508 Melbourne Ave

A detour north brings us to this little library on Atlantis Ave.

280 Atlantis Ave

Over to 571 Roosevelt to visit this fine box.

571 Roosevelt Ave

The next one has a corregated metal roof! Very clever.

664 Highland Ave

A vintage window with mullions serves as the front of this box on Rowanwood Ave making it easier to peruse the selection before without exposing the books to the elements. Very handy during inclement weather!

569 Rowanwood Ave

This big red row boat shaped box can be found on Deschênes St.

2192 Deschênes St

Next one is in New Orchard Park.

New Orchad Park

You can find this book box on Midway Ave near Ancaster. Based on similarites in design with the last box I have a sneaking suspicion they came from the same source.

Midway Ave

A slight detour south to the Glabar Park neighbourhood brings you to this double-duty Little Library on Lenester Avenue. The upper box has stained glass windows!

1996 Lenester Ave

Down Woodland Avenue brings you to this fine box.

Woodland Ave

Here is a converted sticker decorated newspaper box on Chambers Ave.

2569 Chambers Ave

The route branches off south-westerly to visit the next three boxes. First stop is at the corner of Ryan and Southwood Drive with a bench to relax and peruse the offerings!

2423 Ryan Dr
2423 Ryan Dr

The second is at 30 Harrison St that uses the JUTIS frosted cabinet door from Ikea and a cord to keep it closed.

30 Harrison St

The third is at 32 Abingdon Dr with a traditional styled hinged door. 

32 Abingdon Dr
32 Abingdon Dr

This box on Charing Road is set a ways back from the curb but the owners kindly put down a series of flagstones to help you get there.

36 Charing Rd

Over on Côte-des-Neiges Rd you will find this elegant box.

69 Côte-des-Neiges Rd

Next box is on Ainsley Drive with a very clever log base.

1754 Ainsley

Heading back east brings usto this swap box at the corner of Sherman and Navaho Drive which has a little path leading up from the intersection. The original clear solid plastic window has been replaced plastic wrap and newspaper so you’ll have to open it up to see what’s inside.

Navaho and Sherman

This bright red box can be found on Marygrove Circle.

1266 Marygrove

Just around the corner on Terrebonne Drive there is this colourful unit with a curved concrete bench to sit on while you peruse your selection.

1266 Terrebone

Over to Caldwell Ave to visit this generous book exchange that unfortunately has lost its doors.

Caldwell Ave

This playful box is located a bit further north at the corner of McBride and Woodward.

Mcbride and Woodward

This fine box on Laperriere isn’t going anywhere soon, with it’s solid specially poured concrete base! It also has a note in the window reminding users that leaving the door ajar lets rain in, thus ruining the books.

1478 Laperriere Ave

This sweet box is a bit further east along Laperriere.

1353 Laperriere Ave

The Alexander Community Centre has this fine big box on a stable wooden base. Unfortunately it has had it’s door ripped off as well, so best to put your books as far back as possible to avoid the elements.

Alexander Community Centre

A few blocks over on Emperor St you will be able to sit on this nice bench while perusing this box’s offerings.

1185 Emperor

Over to 28 Sutton Place. This box is special as it was built and installed by one of Ottawa’s most passionate cycling advocates, Hans On Bike.

28 Sutton Place

The next most excellent box is on Bowhill Avenue.

Box on Bowhill Ave

Head on south to Tennyson St to visit this double box. Note how it’s colours match the home.

2 Tennyson St

Next stop is over the river on Uplands Drive where you will find this great box called the Oak Tree Free Library.

Uplands Drive

Over to Cahill St.  

1035 Cahill St

Next, over to this great box on Colman St.

Next is this tree mounted model on Hobson Road.

2584 Hobson Rd

Next check out this fine unit on Springland Drive.

2712 Springland Dr

Over to this wide unit on Upper Otterson Pla. It has two small solar powered units that I’m guessing are lights. Will have to go back when it’s dark to confirm.

2947 Upper Ottson Place

This one on Revelstoke Drive is supported by a re-purposed bbq stand.

Revelstoke Dr

The next few boxes to discover are in the Glebe. This one’s on Fourth Avenue, just east of Bronson. 

Fourth Avenue

This box is on Fifth Avenue.

Box on Fifth Avenue at Chrysler St.

A bit further down 5th you will find this fine box.

237 5th Ave

A few blocks north on First Ave the Glorious Glebe-St James United Church hosts find this colourful box.

269 First Ave

This next box over on Thornton has great vertical proportions!

27 Thorton

Half way down the block on the opposite side of Thornton you will discover this great Book Sharing Zone.

12 Thornton Ave

A bit further south on Queen Elizabeth Place you will find this Dr Zeuss inspired little library.

376 Queen Elizabeth Place

Next two boxes are on Broadway Ave. First,this Little Prince box.

90 Broadway Ave

Then, this ampersand box.

135 Broadway Ave

Over to Ottawa South where this can be found on Ossignton Avenue.

8 Ossington Ave

Next is a short side loop 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.

Pleasant Park Road

One block south on Mountbatten Avenue you will find this wonderfully painted box.

Mountbatten Ave

Over on Blossom Drive you will find this very welcoming box.

2071 Blossom Dr

A short loop through the Alta Vista neighbourhood first brings us to this beautifully painted box on Featherstone Drive. 

Featherstone Drive

Further west you will find this double-decker unit!

763 Canterbury Ave

Our next stop on our Alta Vista loop brings us to this one at 1647 Pullen Ave. Tons of TLC has been put into the painting details. 

1647 Pullen

Continuing on our loop through Alta Vista brings us to this cleverly designed mobile unit on Knox Crescent.

217 Knox Crescent

Head back on over to the north shore of the Rideau River and follow the path along to the river to Belmont Drive where you will find this super sweet box.

Belmont Ave

On Riverdale Ave you will find this delicately painted two level unit.

390 Riverdale

Walk your bike one block north to our next stop along Riverdale.

350 Riverdale Ave

A couple of blocks over you will see this great little library at 146 Sunnyside Avenue. Big footprint shaped concrete pavers invite passersby to peruse the shelves.

Just direct your feet to the Sunnyside of the street

This nicely crafted box is located a bit further north on Glencairn Avenue.

Glencairn Avenue

Our next great box can be found just around the corner on Riverdale Ave. This one also has a generous concrete bench infront of it.

Riverdale Ave

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

Belgrave Road

A similar design approach is taken at our next box on Clegg St where the box imitates the house infront of which it stands. It even has a piece of the stone panelling left over from the contruction of the house incorporated into the base of the box.

131 Clegg St

Over on Mason Terrace there’s this nice blue box.

Mason Terrace

Close by on Bower Street we find another fine box.

Bower St box

Nary a block over is this great box on Mutchmor Road.

Box on Mutchmor (can’t ask for Mutchmor than that!)

Close by on Merritt Ave you will find this great little library.

86 Merritt Ave

Up on Drummen St you will find this beauty.

163 Drummond St

Just a few meters down Drummond Street there sits this box-within-a-box.

155 Drummond Street

Just a couple of blocks north you can find this box on Glanora Street.

Glanora St

On Evelyn Ave you will find this glorious tower of a library.

56 Evelyn Ave

Along Echo Drive in front of The Church of the Ascension you will find this fine box.

Echo Drive

Ride north along the Rideau Canal pathway then cut through the Ottawa U campus. Once you cross King Edward, push your bike a short distance along the east sidewalk to this forlorn box, bravely located on one of the craziest streets in the city.

695 King Edward

Head back to ther lights and continue east along Somerset E through the Sandy Hill neighbourhood. At the corner of Templeton and Chapel Streets sits this big blue box.

501 Chapel St

Next there’s this box on Marlborough Ave.

125 Marlborough Ave

You will find this Book Library near the north/east corner of Stewart. It has a stepping stone to allow smaller readers to peruse the titles.

Stewart St near Cobourg St

Over to Wurtemburg St to check out this sweet box.

227 Wurtemburg

After crossing over the Rideau River this next branch visits three boxes. The first is this box on Mark Ave.

69 Mark Ave

A couple of blocks nouth gets you to one of the same design on Greensway Ave.

235 Greensway Ave

Last of the three boxes on this branch is this fine little unit at the corner of Vachon and Dagmar with some paving stones to keep your shoes clean while you peruse.

Vachon & Dagmar

This great box can be found on Shakespeare St.

263 Shakespeare

There are two fine boxes back over in Overbrook.  Weave your way along a few residential streets to this fine Little Library on Queen Mary Street.

45 Queen Mary St

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

80 Ontario Street

Over on the corner of Frontenac & Lacasse you will find this fine box.

309 Frontenac

Next, over to 770 Claude St

770 Claude St

Heading further east for a spell, one finds this robust box at 20 Appleford St in the Cardinal Heights neighbourhood.

20 Appleford St

Heading back west you will discover this fantastic box on Roanoke Street!

705 Roanoke Street

Next, over to Pauline Charron Place. This one has had a bottom unit added since it first appeared.

355 Pauline Charron Pl.

Back to the bike path along St Laurent, head north a touch and turn right onto Meadow Park Place where you will discover this fine specimen.

87 Meadow Park Pl

A bit further north you will happen upon this next box on Braemer.

19 Braemer

Next, ride towards and along Hemlock Road that’ll get you to this fine little library.

725 Henlock Rd

Ride over to New Edinburgh where you will find this big colourful box outside the MacKay United Church.

MackKay United Church

Cross the river over the St Patrick Street bridge towards this bright red box at the end of Old St Patrick St. in Lowertown.

Bright red box on Old St Patrick St

Over to the corner of Rose and Bruyère to visit this jaunty box. It has had a kids box addition installed as well.

Corner of Rose & Bruyère

A block over is our next box at 260 St Andrew St. nestled in the surrounding greenery.

260 St Andrew St

Further along St Andrew, on the opposite side of King Edward Ave, there sits this elegant little box.

176 St Andrew

Time to retrace our route back to the Rideau Canal and ride south. On Fourth Ave there’s this very clever box with clear acrylic panes on the front and back, allowing the residents on whose property it sits to be able to see if it is full from the comforts of their home.

38 Fourth Ave

This sweet little library is located on O’Connor Street near Patterson Creek.

554 R. O’Connor St

Heading north you will find this 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 is this brightly painted number.

Box on Argyle

The second box on Argyle has beautiful landscaping. 

Box on Argyle

Cut through the Museum of Nature parking to visit this box on McLeod.

263 McLeod

This box a bit further west on McLeoad is a converted cast iron stove.

385 McLeod

You can find this box on Florence St.

176 Florence

This box is just outside the kids playground in Dundonald Park.

Dundonald Park

A third box on Mcleod can be found near Bronson.

577 McLeod
577 McLeod

Another fine Little Library can be found on Arlington a few blocks west of Bronson. There is a solar panel powering a light that turns on once you open the door to the box when it’s dark out. TRÈS cool!

Box at 430 Arlington during the day….and at night!

This loving box can be found on Eccles.

Eccles St

Our final stop is this 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!

A final special mention for this super sweet little swap box that was once located on Cole Avenue. It was a favourite so here’s a photo in memory of all the joy it provided.

Cole swap box.jpg
Cole Avenue Swap Box

I’ve been adding new boxes throughout a number of years as they are installed. If I’ve missed any please feel free to send me a note and I’ll include it on the route.

Stay tuned for an updated Swap Box route on the Quebec side of the rover.

Happy riding!

Biking to Ikea and Lee Valley From Centretown

I rode out to Ikea and Lee Valley to pick up some items for this summer’s production of Shakespeare’s  The Tempest, being performed by A Company of FoolsI designed the set. It opens next week and will be performed in parks around the city throughout the summer. Check out their show calendar to see when there is a performance in a park near you! 

This bike route is an update to one originally posted in the summer of 2012. I followed the Ottawa River Pathway and the Pinecrest Creek Pathway as far as Iris Street on the way there, and then the Experimental Farm Pathway back. A lovely loop.

The overall route hasn’t changed much over the last ten years, however the ongoing construction of the LRT extension heading west along the SJAM Parkway, and then south along the transit way, has resulted in a dog’s breakfast of mini-detours along the Pinecrest Creek Pathway. The detours aren’t too drastic, just very zig-zaggy and choppy. I hope the bike infrastructure will be the same as before, or better, once all construction is completed. Until then, I anticipate this messy bit will remain for a couple of years to come.

Love these service pavilions at Westboro Beach, designed by architect James Strutt. They remind me of Don Quixote’s windmills.  Check out other bike tours that visit buildings Strutt designed around the region by clicking here.

Westboro Beach pavillions

The Ottawa River Pathway isn’t being drastically affected by the construction. If you like construction sites, look left. If you like majestic rivers, look right.

Ottawa River Pathway heading west

This is the type of choppy detour you may expect to find along the Pinecrest Creek Pathway.

Pinecrest Creek Pathway heading south

Heading back along the Experimental Farm Pathway, just east of Woodroffe Avenue, they are installing what seems to be a huge reservoir. Looking forward to see what becomes of that.

Reservoir just east off Woodroffe

So there you go. Happy trails!

10 Year Anniversary!

It’s been 10 years since I began this blog. It started out as a fun efort to share bits about biking around the area. A few years prior I had set out on a mission to ride all the streets in the region at least once. After happening upon so many amazing discoveries, I wanted to share a few right here. All good and fun, and I got better, spurred on by positive feedback. Then the big epiphany hit. While attending a Bike Ottawa annual general meeting, a German academic doing research in some American university made a presentation on bike stats from cities around the world. Amongst a dazzling array of anecdotal tid-bits, the ultimate stat he spouted was, the safest cities to bike in have the most per-capita cyclists. i.e. strength in numbers. So now I had a mission – to try to help boost the number of local riders! And save the planet, but I digress. So I decided to post more detailed safe cycling routes for locals and tourists alike, and I also tossed in ‘Hey, need a safe route? send me your start & finish & I’ll figure it out!‘, for which people were extremely appreciative.

Well, much has changed over time. For example, Bike Ottawa has developed an amazing tool that allows you to plot out the safest route from A to B, based on your comfort level. There are also other extremely passionate local cycling advocates like this guy who are doing a fantastic job keeping us informed about changes and needs required to our local cycling infrastructure.

So, my posts will mostly go back to ressembling its origins, i.e., shorter, a bit more anecdotal, and spontaneous. I’ll still post longer routes when inspiration hits, and offer suggestions on routes when requested. I hope pertinent stuff still comes of it.

Cycle on!

Ukraine in Ottawa – A Bike Tour

The original version of this route was posted in 2014. In the wake of the present invasion of Ukraine I have revisited and updated the route in the hopes that it may be used by those who wish to to pay tribute to the incredible resilience of the Ukranian people, and to help better understand the Ukranian community amongst us.

Canada is home to one of the largest number of persons of Ukrainian descent outside of Ukraine. Most reside in the western provinces, however many have chosen Ottawa as their home. This bike tour visits edifices around town representing the Ukrainian diaspora within Canada’s capital.

We begin our ride at the Ukrainian Embassy located at the corner of Somerset and O’Connor. Ukraine purchased this building at 310 Somerset St from the federal NDP party in 1994. It’s been their embassy ever since.

Ukrainian Embassy

Our next stop is just a few blocks south east. On December 2nd, 1991 Canada recognized Ukraine’s independence. Suddenly in need of an embassy, this building on Metcalfe St was purchased with the help of funds gathered by Ukrainian-Canadians. This location has served as a consular building ever since the embassy moved to its present location.

Ukrainian Consular Building

Next stop – the Saint John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Shrine near the corner of Heron Road and Prince of Wales Drive. To get there I rode south along the O’Connor bike lane before turning left on Fifth Ave and crossing the canal over the Flora Foot Bridge. I then rode along the Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway all the way up to where Heron Road crosses overhead. I accessed Heron by pushing my bike up the mini bike ramp along the edge of the stairs.

Heron stairs

There is a bike lane along Heron Road. Just over the bridge I took this well trodden path righ that leads to the back of the church.

path off Heron

The statue on the edge of the parking lot is a monument to Taras Shevchenko (1841-1861), artist and national hero for his promotion of Ukrainian independence.

The church (or Sobor, or Shrine) was completed in 1987. An annual Capital Ukraininan Festival is held at this site.

Next destination is the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral at 1000 Byron Avenue. To get there I cut through the Experimental Farm, along Island Park Drive, then west along Byron. There is serious disruptive construction for the new LRT extension along Byron, thus the slight detour as one approaches our final stop. The Cathedral opened in 1978. More on it’s history can be found here.

Et voila – Slava Ukraini!