Statues of Mary

A few Christmases ago I posted a bike tour of statues of Mary located throughout the capital. It is as an interesting exploration of various styles and forms in which this iconic figure has been rendered using materials capable of withstanding our varied and sometimes harsh climate. This tour builds upon the original route with a few additional stops.

There are many more statues of Mary scattered throughout the region that aren’t part of this tour. I have identified them on the map with yellow markers, and have included their descriptions at the end of this post. They are mostly found on the grounds of Catholic churches or institutions, but not exclusively.

Our first stop is on the north side of St-Vincent Hospital just inside the hospital grounds. This version of Mary is placed within a grotto of uncoursed random masonry with a smaller female figurine knelt in prayer below. It is a depiction of an apparitions 14-year old  Bernadette Soubirous had in Lourdes France in 1848. Most statues associated with Catholic sites depict Mary in one of many Marian apparitions recognized by the church. This plaster casting of Mary is a replica of an original by Joseph-Hugues Fabisch sculpted in 1864, based on the description provided by Bernadette. During the apparition Mary instructed Bernadette to dig into the ground from which a spring of healing waters flowed. This association with healing explains may explain why this work was chosen for this site beside the hospital.

St Vincent’s Hospital

Second stop is at St-Patrick’s Basilica on Kent Street. Here she stands on a dome calmly gazing down with arms outstretched perched atop a fluted column. The bright white substrate in which she is rendered stands in stark contrast to the grey stone of St-Patrick’s Gothic Revival design. This pose derives from an apparition that the Catholic nun Catherine Labouré had in Paris in 1830. Based on Catherine’s description the image was reproduced as a devotional medal by the goldsmith Adrien Vachette and became known as the Miraculous Medal or the Medal of Our Lady of Grace. Mary stands on a globe representing the earth, crushing a rather distraught snake under her feet. The snake however was not included in Catherine’s original description of the vision. The medals became extremely popular when originally struck, and continues to be so amongst Catholics. Being such a recogniseable depiction of Mary, it was translated into sculptural form and is the most repeated pose in which Mary is depicted around town, as you will notice in the examples included at the end of this post.

St Patrick’s Basilica

Our next stop is infront of the Notre Dames Cathedral where Mary can be found holding infant Jesus way atop the peak of the front facade. Installed in 1866, it was sculpted out of wood by a Spanish artist named Carbona and is covered in gold leaf. Here the proportions and detailing are less delicate than other works seen on this tour, which works well relative to the width and height of the facade and the extended distance the sculpture is away from the viewer. Mary is also wearing a crown, popular in the Middle Ages as a representation of her as queen of heaven. The same arrangement can also be found at the top of the front portal of Laon Cathedral in France from the 12th and 13th century. She strikes the same pose on the front facade of Notre-Dame de Paris. The original reference of a sculpture depicting Mary in this pose was at the time of her first ever supernatural appearance in 40AD while she was still alive. As legend goes, St James was over in Spain having a tough time spreading the gospel so Mary appeared in a vision to cheer him on. The apparition instructed James to build a shrine in Zaragosa at the site of this miraculous vision. As Mary was transported to Spain by a bunch of angels, others angels proceeded to make a sculpture of her in Spain holding the baby Jesus and sporting a crown while standing atop a pillar. This event came to be referred to as Our Lady of the Pillar.

Continuing East into Vanier I rode up Pères-Blanc Avenue onto the grounds of what was once the scholasticate of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa but is now a park and interpretive facility run by the city. In the centre of a round-about at the end of the avenue there is a painted statue of Mary atop a stone pedestal. Mounted on the front of the pedestal is a bronze plaque that reads ‘NOTRE DAME D’AFRIQUE PRIEZ POUR NOUS A.D. 1955’ with an embossed outline of the African continent. The statue serves as a remnant of when the Pères-Blancs occupied this spot of land. The crown she is wearing is more massive than the medievel style seen on the cathedral. This larger crown is similar to the one she is sporting when depicted as Our Lady of Fatima, another vision reported in 1917 by three sheperd children in Fatima, Portugal. The Immaculate Heart of Mary is also included as a pendant. Her outer garment is blue, the colour most commonly associated with Mary. The historical use of Marian Blue as it is commonly referred to, is attributed to the great cost of Lapis Lazuli, a rare mineral used in the creation of blue pigment. Lapis Lazuli was more valuable than gold due to its rarity. As such blue was only used for the most precious applications, like in painted renderings of Mary’s clothes. Thus, the association stuck.

 

Our final stop is the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes also in Vanier. As the name suggests this is a direct reference to the original site in Lourdes France. Here we have Mary in a much larger grotto of stacked stone than the one at St Vincent Hospital accompanied once again by a praying Bernadette. The statue is painted to further ressemble the original in France. Attached to the walls of the grotto are mini plaques giving thanks for various cures that devotees have attributed to her. It’s quite the site. At the entrance there are placards filled with many more dedicated plaques installed throughout the years. Opposite and curling up the hill to the left of the grotto are a series of framed depictions in relief of the stations of the cross leading to a sculpture of the crucified Jesus. There are three of the stations that include Mary, easily identified dressed in blue.

The grotto
‘Meeting His Mother’
‘Jesus in Mary’s Arms’
‘Jesus is Buried’

Et voila!

There is a novella by the Irish writer Colm Toibin titled The Testament of Mary that I highly recommend. It gives a powerful humanised depiction of Mary told from her point of view near the end of her life. In this story she describes the events leading up to the crucifixion of her son. It provides a powerful contrast to the way Mary has come to be represented through various forms, in our instance sculptural. This novella was adapted for Broadway and was nominated for three Tony Awards, including Best Play.

The following are additional statues of Mary found throughout the region that aren’t part of the tour. Their locations are included on the above map and are identified as yellow markers.

Saint Charbel Parish – 245 Donald St (added Oct 2020)

Mary at the entrance to St Chabril Parish
St Charbel Parish Maronite Catholic Church

Saint Charbel Parish is a Maronite Catholic church. Here she is depicted in the Miraculous Medal pose. Her cape and the globe on which she stands is painted a light Marian blue Some lovely gold trim has been added to her robe. The Immaculate Heart rests on her chest, something not described in the original pose. The land on which the church is built was purchased in 1994 so it’s relatively new. The location of the statue, immediately to the right of the entrance, seems to have been chosen from the outset, as the pedestal on which she stands is clad in the same stone facing as the building. This is striking as it breaks the strict symmetry of the churches facade.

Madonna Care Community – 1541 St. Joseph Boulevard (added Oct 2020)

This statue of the Madonna surrounded by juniper bushes is located just infront of the porte-cochère of an Orleans retirement home that opened in 2007 and it is one of a country wide chain called Sienna Senior Living. None of the other homes in this coporate chain have religious titles or symbols in their name so I’m not sure why this one does. Possibly because Orleans has a high Franco Ontarien Catholic population so the name and statue are used to appeal to this segment of population(?). Regardless, it seems to have no affiliation with a religious order. This rendering of Mary seems younger than how she is usually depicted. Photos of this statue were often shown in the news media when 30 residents died of the covid pandemic in early 2020 along with two staff workers.

Statue of Mary infront of the Madonna Care Community (bottom left of photo)

Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church – 289 Spencer St (added Oct 2020)

Her name is in the title so, not surprisingly, she is prominently located right by the entrance. That said, she only appeared in this spot after this originally-Anglican-church switched and joined the Catholic faith in 2012. Catholics are known to be much more fond of statues, or as the protestant student noted in season 2 of The Derry Girls, ‘Catholics really buzz of statues and we don’t so much’ to which Sister Michael responded ‘I do enjoy a good statue, it has to be said.’. Biking by one Sunday I was fortunate to encounter one of the priests (past minister) who told me the statue just suddenly appeared after the denominational transition was complete. Here she is once again depicted in the popular Miraculous Medal pose. The priest put the red rosary around her neck, a replacement of a blue one I had noticed earlier in the year that someone had snatched. As it’s such an intimate little church the scale of the statue needn’t be large to be noticeable, especially right at the main entrance. It’s bright whiteness also helps it stand out against the brown stucco walls and black mailbox with sticky address numbers.

Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church

St-François-de-Sales – Pointe Gatineau (added Nov 2020)

This large church is located on the north shore at the confluence of the Gatineau and Ottawa rivers. While the church is quite grand, Mary’s statue is proportionally very small, located way off to the left at the entrance to an attached building. Here she is once again depicted in the Miraculous Medal pose draped in blue, mounted on an elevated round concrete slab with lots of room for offerings from the faithful. The concrete slab is a relatively recent addition as evidenced by it’s modern form and confirmed by the blue insulation peaking out at the base. The custom of including Miraculous Medal statues of Mary outside most Catholic churches in the region appears to be tradition that started sometime well after the older churches were built.

St-François-de-Sales – Pointe Gatineau

St Anthony’s Church – Corner of Gladstone and Booth St (added Dec 2020)

Located to the right of the stairs leading up into St Anthony’s Catholic Church, this white marble rendering of Mary in her role as Our Lady of Sorrows has the associated seven swords piercing her heart. The swords themselves were sculpted seperately from the rest of the statue and glued into place with a thick brown adhesive. Four of the sword handles appear to have broken off. The white vinyl text on the polished stone base lists those individuals along with two funeral homes that donated funds to purchase this statue in 2013, on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the church. The text is English and Italian as this church serves the Little Italy community in which it is located.

St Anthony’s Church
St Anthony’s Our Lady of Sorrow

St Monica Parish – 2080 Merivale Road (added Nov 2020)

What is striking about this statue is how disconnected it’s associated church in style and siting. St Monica Parish is a strict modernist design with minimal exterior embellishments, which was common to that period architectural style. In marked contrast, the statue of Mary is part of it’s own distinct landscaped installation of a much more haphazard design, located a generous distance behind and away from the church. Fronted by a semicircle of randomly cut flagstones on which two benches of different colours are placed, the statue is set amongst a pot-pourri of plantings and nick-nicks. Some are temporary, like the various flowers. Some are plantings, some are potted, and some are plastic like the one placed in Mary’s outstretched hand. Other embellishments are more permanent, such as the multicoloured stones set into a lump of concrete that forms the base of the statue. Many of these stones have words carved into each, such as ‘Prayer’, ‘Patience’, ‘Faith’, etc in a mix of fonts, most resembling Comic Sans. To the left of the statue there is an upright stone slab with fractured edges, engraved onto which are the words ‘In Memory of’ followed by a long list of names of various origins – Alfonso, Beaudoin, Connoly, Korezyn… etc. There is no space between the last name and the ground which makes it appear as if the list continues down into the soil. To the left of the statue a rosary constucted of sea shells hangs from a hanging planter frame. Someone has also placed solar powered walkway lamps in amongst the plantings. The statue itself is identical to the  Miraculous Medal  pose located outside St-Patrick’s Basilica on Kent Street. I would not be surprised if they were cast from the same mold. The whole installation has a cedar hedge and some nice big birch trees as a backdrop with the Greenbelt extending beyond.

St Monica Parish

St Bonaventure Catholic Church – 1359 Chatelain Ave (added Nov 2020)

This Miraculous Medal version of Mary is set into a freestanding niche, historically a way of placing sculptures of saints within the walls of churches and cathedrals. One may also associate this treatment, albeit in a minimalist abstract form, to the Our Lady of Lourdes apparition Bernadette Soubirous had of Mary standing in a grotto. This relatively common form of presenting Mary statues is often confused with old converted cast iron bathtubs. In this instance the flat front facing provides a smooth surface on which to mount a protective clear plexiglass. A planter holder is attached to the front in which offerings of flowers or other items can be placed. On either side are concrete plaques, the one on the right reads ‘LES PAROISSIENS(NES) DE ST. BONAVENTURE ET LEUR CURE’, and the one on the right,’ ANNEE MARIALE 1987-1988′. A Marian Year (or Année Marial) is one the Catholic church deems important that Mary be revered and celebrated. Pope John Paul II chose 1987 to be an international Marian Year so the concrete plaques seems to suggest this congregation took up his call and erected this statue.

St Bonaventure Catholic church

St Joseph’s Church and St Joe’s Mission– (added December 2020)

Here we have not one but TWO identical mini-Miraculous Medal statues. The first is at the corner of St Joseph’s Church, nestled under a sign at Wilbrod and Cumberland. The second statue is just half a block south on Cumberland, set in a bit from the street. The statues and inverted concrete planters on which they stand are exactly the same, probably cast from the same molds. They also have metal cables looped around them. The one on Cumberland is locked to something sticking out of the ground but the one by the sign isn’t secured to anything. Some unexplained history going on there…..maybe a few previous Mary’s went disappearing? Who knows.

The story of St Joseph’s church dates way back to when the the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate showed up to deal with a rough & tough Bytown as Ottawa was known then. A history of the church is described by Terry Byrne, in his book Where the Spirit Lives.

St Joseph’s Church Mary
St Joseph’s Church
Mary beside St Joe’s Mission

Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Parish 1153 Wellington Street (added December 2020)

There are two Mary’s at this location as well.

The first Mary is nestled in a niche above the entrance of what used to be called St George’s Home, once a holding house for immigrant orphaned children. There is a plaque outside that describes its history. Gilles Duceppe, past leader of the Bloc Quebecois, discovered that his grandfather, John James Rowley, was a resident of St George’s Home.

St George’s Home
Historical plaque describing St George’s Home

Here Mary is gazing heavenward with hands clasped together in prayer. There are red roses strewn at her feet. She is in a pretty sad state of abandon along with the whole facade on this side of the building.

Mary above St George’s entrance

The second Mary on this site strikes the familiar Miracle Medal pose. Here she is more down to earth, framed by a sign announcing the name of the church and directing worshipers to the public entrance on Grant street. The wreaths at her feet are temporary, however she is flanked by two planted rose bushes. Roses seem to be the linking theme for these two sculptures. The side of the building facing Grant Street is in much better shape.

Mary standing under the sign

The abundance of Mary statues located thoughout the National Capital Region may seem bewildering, however one must take into consideration the overwhelming historical presence the Catholic church had in the lives of devotees. For example, in June 1947 Ottawa hosted a huge Marian Congress that included a parade of numerous floats winding past parliament Hill each depicting Mary in different contexts. There was also an enormous stage set built in Lansdowne Park with a colossal statue of Mary soaring above. A documentary film depicting the enormity of this celebration can be seen here.

Biking from the Blair O-Train Station to the winery ‘Vignoble Clos Du Vully’

The new O-Train welcomes passengers with bikes! This opens up lots of bike exploring opportunities. Here’s a route from Blair Station, the O-Train’s furthest easterly stop, to a great local winery Vignoble Clos Du Vully just a short detour off the Prescott-Russell Trail. The Prescott-Russell Trail is a converted rail-to-trail multi-use path that starts just off Anderson Road.

Once disembarked from the train at Blair Station take the elevator up one level and walk your bike along the covered pedestrian walkway over the Queensway.

Exiting the station …. and accessing the pedestrian bridge over the Queensway

On the other side of the Queensway there are a series of connecting paths you can follow all the way to Innes Road. The paths aren’t perfectly allinged at a few street crossings but they all follow the line of hydro towers so you can’t get lost.

Path connecting Blair station to Innes Road

Cross Innes Road at the lights. Innes is a multi-lane artery road with bike lanes and lots of speedy traffic.

Bike lane along Innes Road

For those who aren’t comfortable riding along busy Innes’ unprotected bike lanes there is an off-road alternative to get to the Prescott-Russell trail that avoids having to ride along Innes and Anderson Road. I’ve indicated this option by the purple line on the map which I describe further down in the post.

For those who are OK with riding along the Innes Road bike lane, continue to do so until you arrive at Anderson Road, then turn right onto Anderson.

Exit off Innes onto Anderson Road

Anderson doesn’t have bike lanes but it does have broad paved shoulders you can ride along.

Paved Shoulder along Anderson Road

Keep right at the round-about to stay on Anderson Road and continue a short distance to get to the Prescott-Russell Trail. At the time of my visit they were in the process of re-paving Anderson just south of the roundabout but there’s still a good shoulder to follow. Hopefully they will include a generous paved shoulder the entire length of Anderson. Stay tuned for that.

Prescott Russell trail access on east side of Anderson Road

As previously mentioned, if you want to avoid riding along Innes and Anderson there is an off-road alternative to get to the Prescott-Russell Trail. (see purple line on map): Let’s go back to where the path from the train station reaches Innes Road.  Once across the lights at Innes ride through the Lowes parking lot to the front of the store, then  to the east corner of the parking lot where there is an opening in the fence leading onto a well travelled path.

Access to path at the south-east corner of the Lowes parking

Keep left along this path which will take you over an old train bridge.

Path leading over an old train bridge

The trail opens up a bit further along and joins another path that cuts along a field. turn right onto this path.

Path from woods to fields

Eventually this path meets the Prescott-Russell Trail. Turn left onto the trail.

Path through field…..leading to…. the Prescott-Russell Trail

The Prescott-Russell Trail continues on the other side of Anderson Road. This is where we left off with the Innes Road route.

The Prescott-Russell trail runs straight through a combination of woods and fields with a packed stone dust surfacing that my thin Gatorskin tires had no problem handling.

Carla pointing the way down the Prescott-Russell trail!

Turn right off the trail onto Sarsfield Road. Sarsfield is a packed gravel country road with very little traffic.

18 Sarsfield Road
Sarsfield Road

Continue south along Sarsfield then turn right onto Magadlry Road, which is also packed gravel. A short ride along Magadlry Road brings us to our destination,  Vignoble Clos Du Vully .

Arrival!

Here you will be warmly welcomed by wine maker/grape grower Jan-Daniel Etter. Jan-Daniel loves his craft! On weekends he offers samplings of his wines while describing the particular characteristics of each. You can also  purchase bottles of those you like. If it’s not too busy he will also give you a short tour of his wine making facility.

Sampling the wines

A section of this bike route is along part of the Ottawa’s self-guided Rail Trail & Winnery Ride .  There’s another winery on the city’s route that we visited but it seems to cater more towards large groups versus drop in cyclists.

Et voila!

 

Biking to Carleton University

Biking to Carleton University is always a good idea for lots of reasons ( it’s healthy, economical, good for the environment, etc) but it’s an especially attractive form of transpo these days as vehicule access onto campus has been a nightmare. I hear it’s due to re-routing for Hog’s Back Bridge repairs. Whatever the reason, it’s a mess, so I’ve put together this map of bike routes to campus from various directions described in previous posts. I’ve listed links to those posts below the map. Some of the links describe routes that go through campus or are described in reverse so a bit of interpretation may be required. If anyone needs a more specific route to campus please send me a starting cross street and I’ll get on it.

LINKS:

From the north (Hintonburg) : purple bike logo – click here

From the south (Riverside Park) : red bike logo – click here

From the east (Alta Vista) : green bike logo – click here

From the west (Centrepointe/Algonquin Campus) : yellow bike logo – click here

Finally, here’s a bonus link to a route describing a loop that starts on campus, goes along the Rideau River to New Edinburgh and back to campus along the Rideau Canal.

Biking to Algonquin College from Alta Vista

As the new school year begins many students are looking for a bike route to their campus. Susan requested one to Algonquin College from her home in the Alta Vista ward. Here’s what I came up with.

Our ride begins at the corner of Colson Avenue and Saunderson Road. Head west along Colson, a quiet residential street lined with big trees and a beautiful leafy canopy.

Riding along Colson Avenue

Turn left onto Haig Drive then cross Dauphin Road to get to Portage Ave. Portage becomes a dead-end for cars but merges into a bike path that runs along the edge of Lynda Lane Park.

Bike path along the edge of Lynda Lane Park

This leads you to Lynda Lane which is a slightly busier street but there is a bi-directional bike lane on the western side of the road that brings you a block over to Pleasant Park Road.

Bike path along Lynda lane to Pleasant Park Road

Pleasant Park Road is a busy street that cuts east-west through Alta Vista. Many cyclists tend to use it because it is direct and the lanes are wide enough to accomodate a car and bike. There are also a couple of stop signs that help calm down speedy drivers. Unfortunately it doesn’t have bike lanes.

Biking along Pleasant Park Road

An alternative to riding along Pleasant Park Road would be to cycle down Billings Avenue, which is a calmer street that runs parallel to Pleasant Park as far as Rodney Crescent (see orange line on the above map), however it doesn’t have traffic lights to get across busy Alta Vista Drive.

Pleasant Park dips down to where it meets Riverside Drive. There are lights to get you across Riverside to a bike path that links to the Rideau River East Pathway.

Path across from Riverside leading to Rideau River Eastern Pathway

Ride along the very picturesque Rideau River Eastern Pathway to Bank Street for a few hundred yards. This brings us to the the worst section of our route – crossing the Bank Street bridge over the Rideau River. One may chose to ride in the roadway but that would force you into in a narrow car commuter artery that barely has enough room for the existing four lanes of impatient drivers. There are sharrows (a bike logo with a couple of pointy lines) painted on the surface of the outside lanes that are barely visible. Research has shown sharrows to be worse than useless, they are dangerous as they instil a false sense of confidence in cyclists by suggesting they are safe bike infrastructure when they aren’t. A safer alternative to riding in the roadway over the Bank Street bridge is to walk your bike along the protected sidewalk. One small consolation is this bridge isn’t very long.

View heading north over Bank St Bridge shows two options – riding on the Road ….. or walking your bike along the protected sidewalk. I recommend the sidewalk.
Narrowness of Bank St Bridge over Rideau River, view heading south

Sadly, safe options for biking across the Rideau River in this part of town do not exist. I’ve shown an alternative route on the map at the bottom of this post that continues along the Rideau River eastern Pathway up to Hogs Back Drive, but Hogs Back Bridge is closed for repairs requiring you to walk your bike across the boardwalk detour over the canal. While this detour is nice and accomodating, the time required to access and negotiate it is most likely the same as walking your bike across the Bank Street Bridge. Also, working your way to and through the intersection of Prince of Wales Drive and Hogs Back Drive is a dangerous mess.

So, back to the suggested route. Once across the bridge take the path that circles under the bridge and up past the Olympic medal display to Warrington Drive.

Path continues past the Olympic medal interpretive display

Continue along Warrington Drive, a nice quiet street that runs along the river, then turn right onto Wendover Street which brings you to Cameron Avenue. Cameron is a one way heading east, however there is a bike lane heading west. Very convenient. Follow this path all the way to Brewer Park.

Bike lane heading west along Cameron Ave

Ride along the path that cuts through Brewer Park to the lights that take you across Bronson Avenue.

Lights across Bronson Avenue to the Carleton University campus. Whoever’s at the wheel in the red car is a lousy driver.

Once across Bronson cut through the Carleton University campus over to Library Road as per the above map. The only tricky spot heading across campus is the tunnel under the O-Train tracks. It’s a little narrow and has a sharp turn to the right at the western end.

Tunnel under the train tracks

Take the paved link from Library Road to the crossing at Colonel By Drive.

Paved path off Library Road to the crossing of Colonel By Drive

Once across Colonel By push your bike up the ramp to the canal.

Stairs with ramp to push bike up to the canal locks

Getting across the canal requires carrying your bike up and down a couple of steps and pushing your bike over the locks.

Crossing the Hartwell Locks

Take the path perpendicular to the canal that leads to a service road which doubles as the start of the Experimental Farm Pathway.

Path perpendicular to the locks that takes you to the service road (take either the dirt path or the paved one these cyclists are using)
Start of the Experimental Farm Pathway along the service road

Now you will be following the Experimental Farm Pathway for quite a distance all the way to Woodroffe Avenue. It is mostly paths with some stretches along quiet roads with a wonderful mix of scenery. Fortunately the pathway is quite well signed.

Sections of the Experimental Farm Pathway between Prince of Wales Drive and Fisher Avenue

The only messy spot is the crossing at Fisher Avenue. Fisher is a busy street that requires lights to get across, but the crossing doesn’t allign with the path on the west side of the Fisher and the trail sign isn’t visible from the lights.

Experimental Farm Pathway continues a short distance north of the crossing at Fisher

There also isn’t a bike lane heading north to get you from the crossing to where the path continues. This forces one to take to the sidewalk or ride along the space between the sidewalk and oncoming bike lane.

View north along Fisher to where the Experimental Farm Pathway continues west

So, the Experimental Farm Pathway at Fisher is a bit of a mess, but once back on the path on the other side of Fisher things continue smoothly westwardly.

Experimental Farm Pathway between Fisher and Woodroffe Ave

The Experimental Farm Pathway ends at Woodroffe Avenue. There are lights to get you across this very busy street. On the other side of Woodroffe the Watts Creek Pathway continues just to the left of the fire station.

Arrow showing where Watts Creek Pathway begins across Woodroffe Ave beside the fire station. My panorama camera setting created those teeny-tiny cars.

The path dips down along the transit way. Take the exit off the pathway where the sign points to Baseline.

Exit off Watts Creek Pathway towards Baseline

This path then crosses the transitway then goes under Baseline Road. Things get a little tricky just south of Baseline where the path circles around an OC Transpo parking lot. Most cyclists don’t bother with this mini detour and just ride infront of the bus parking .

You will see the Algonquin Campus on the other side of Woodroffe. I continued along the path beside the transitway and crossed over to the campus at College Avenue.

Et voila!

Here is the alternative route that continues along the Rideau River Eastern Pathway at and crosses the river at Hogs Back versus at Bank Street.

Ride to Champlain Park to see an outdoor exhibit on Bur Oaks AND a whole lotta Shakespeare going on!

A while back I posted a winter bike route to Champlain Park where one can check out a fascinating outdoor exhibit describing the few remaining majestic Bur oaks within the community that are descendants of an ancient Bur Oak Forest along the Ottawa River.  This month the park is host to a couple of works by Mr Shakespeare! August 9th A Company of Fools will be performing their popular production of Romeo and Juliet, while earlier in the month you could catch Bear & Co’s performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. (Update Fall 2019: The show’s were great!)

Here’s a summer route to Champlain Park starting from Centretown that follows bike paths pretty much the entire way.

A Company of Fools production of Romeo and Juliet (photo: Andrew Alexander)

Outdoor exhibit on the Bur Oaks on the west side of the Champlain Park Field House

Et voila!

Bur Oak canopy, Champlain Park

Biking from the Ottawa Airport to the Byward Market

Kathleen will be flying in to visit Ottawa in August. After happening upon my previously posted route to the airport from Centretown she enquired about a bike route heading in the opposite direction from the airport to the Byward Market. Here’s what I came up with.

Once off the plane you will most likely be retrieving your bike from the oversized baggage counter located behind this sculpture of Sir John A. MacDonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier. The official name of the airport is the Ottawa MacDonald-Cartier International Airport after these two gentlemen who played prominent roles in the founding of Canada as a country.

Bring a pump and any necessary tools to re-assemble your bike as they don’t have any to lend at the counter.

MacDonald & Cartier watching folks retrieve their luggage

 

Exit the terminal on the same level through the doors opposite the oversized baggage counter and take an immediate left along the sidewalk past the line-up of parked taxis.

Head north along sidewalk as soon as you step out of the terminal

This sidewalk leads you to a no-cars-allowed laneway with an opening for cyclists and pedestrians. Ride along this winding laneway to where it ends at a parking lot.

Opening to get you on the laneway

Cut through the parking lot to get to Paul-Benoit Driveway.

Cutting through the parking lot to Paul-Benoit Driveway

There is a paved path on the west side (your left) of this two lane street that runs straight all the way to Hunt Club Road, apart for a short section of concrete sidewalk near Hunt Club.

Path along Paul-Benoit Driveway

Cross Hunt Club Road onto Bowesville Road. Bowesville cuts through the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club. Hunting has long been terminated on the grounds of this private club so don’t worry about getting accidentally shot but keep your eyes peeled for golf carts as they still have right of way.

Start of Bowesville Road after crossing Hunt Club Road

At the northern end of the golf club there is a black gate with an opening to the left allowing cyclists and pedestrians to continue along Bowesville Road.

Path around gate to continue along Bowesville Road

Bowesville Road ends at Uplands Drive. I’m not a big fan of Uplands Drive as many drivers love to speed along this busy road that still doesn’t have bike lanes but it’s a short block to Riverside Drive where one can use the sidewalk to get there.

Uplands looking towards Riverside (traffic lights) from Bowesville

Along Riverside Drive there is a paved bit between the road and the sidewalk. These often exist along speedy roads throughout the capital. These strips are not maintained as a bike lane but this one is in OK shape. There is a bit of concrete sidewalk to deal with before it starts, as well as in front of a couple of bus stops.

1) Asphalt strip starts a bit beyond the Esso station. 2) Condition of strip is mostly like this. 3) Strip merges into sidewalk in front of a couple of bus stops.

The worst section of the asphalt strip along Riverside Drive is  just before Quesnel Drive.

Worst patch of asphalt strip along Riverside just before Quesnel Drive

 

Beyond Quesnel Drive the asphalt strip dissapears for long sections so I turn right onto quiet Quesnel Drive. There are some sweet examples of mid-century-modern and 7o’s style houses along this calm residential street.

Mid-century modern and 70’s style houses along Quesnel Drive

Quesnel is a dead end but there is a short path that links it to Upper Otterson Place, another quiet street.

Path from Quesnel to Upper Otterson

Upper Otterson Place also becomes a dead end but there is another short path that links it to Otterson Drive. I don’t know if these two Otterson streets were ever connected. Both were named after the Ottersons who settled here from County Tipperary in Ireland. These streets cut through their farms back in 1879.

Path connecting the two Otterson streets

Otterson Drive ends at Walkley Road and continues across the intersection as Springland Drive. This intersection has traffic lights. I then turned left onto Mooney’s Bay Place which took me to another set of traffic lights leading across Riverside into Mooney’s Bay Park.

There is a bike path that cuts through Mooney’s Bay Park. If it’s a hot day you could stop at the beach for a quick swim.

Path through Mooney’s Bay Park

The last bit of the path through the park is a packed dirt road before arriving at Hog’s Back Road. Turn left along the path over the bridge along Hog’s Back Road.

Path along bridge over the Rideau River at Hogs Back Falls

Don’t cross the second bridge over the canal, instead follow the path that curls under the bridge and becomes the Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway. This pathway normally continues all the way dowtown beside the canal and ending just a few blocks outside the Byward Market however a section of the path closer to downtown is closed for major repairs to the canal wall. There is an official signed detour if you choose to stay on the eastern side of the canal but this detour is horrendous with dangerous inadequate crossing lights across speeding Colonel By Drive with cars flying on and off at Main Street. Instead, before reaching the official detour, cross the new Flora bike/pedestrian bridge over to the Rideau Canal Western Pathway.

Bike bridge over the canal near Clegg St (Flora Bridge)

Continue north along the bike path and cross back to the Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway over the bike/pedestrian bridge at Somerset Street.

Bike bridge over the canal at Somerset (Corkstown Bridge)

 

View down the canal from the Corkstown Bridge Update Sept ’19: All those love locks have been removed.

Continue along the Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway to where it pretty much ends at the intersection of Colonel By Drive and Daly Avenue. Cross Colonel By at the lights.

Canal Pathway ends at the intersection at Colonel By and Daly. Cross to the other side of Colonel By at these lights.

The Byward Market is just a couple of blocks further north along Colonel By Drive which turns into Sussex Drive but there is no safe bike infrastructure to get you to the Market from the intersection. Accessing the Byward Market safely by bike is a problem. There is a sidewalk one can push your bike along from the Daly & Colonel By intersection for the few blocks if you want to avoid riding in tight traffic.

View north along Colonel By Drive from the Daly intersection

Et voila – have a great visit!

 

 

Biking to Windsor Park to see Romeo and Juliet!

A Company of Fools production of Romeo and Juliet

A Company of Fools is once again touring parks across the capital region throughout the summer. This year they will be performing Romeo and Juliet! Here’s a description of the show from an interview with director Nicholas Leno.

 Someone requested a bike route from Hintonburg to Windsor Park where they will be tonight on Saturday, August 17th.

Here is a map showing the route with a description below.

 

Starting from the corner of Fairmount St and Wellington St West, head south along Fairmount as far as Sherwood Drive, passing under the Queensway along the way.

Fairmont St after passing under the Queensway

Turn left onto Sherwood Drive and continue along until it ends at Carling Avenue.

Heading down Sherwood St towards Carling

Cross Carling at the lights and ride through Queen Julliana Park to Prince of Wales Drive.

Bike path through Queen Juliana Park

Cross Prince of Wales Drive at the pedestrian lights just west of where the bike path ends and head into the Arboretum. Ignore the sign on the gate that says it’s closed. The sign has been there for ages and I have no idea why it’s there – the Arboretum is open to the public all year round.

Entering the Arboretum after crossing Prince of Wales from Queen Juliana Park

The paths through the Arboretum are a combination of paved and stone dust surfacing.

Biking through the Arboretum

You will eventually reach the Rideau Canal. Ride along until you reach the Hartwell Locks. Push your bike over the last set of locks. The Fools will be playing at this location on July the 10th.

The top set of locks which are wide enough to push your bike across.

Cross Colonel By Drive into the Carleton University campus, and cut through the campus as per the above map to the pedestrian crossing at Bronson Avenue. At one stage you will be dipping under the O-Train tracks.

Path under the O-Train tracks while cutting through the Carleton U campus

Once across Bronson, continue along the path through Brewer Park to Cameron Avenue. Cameron is a quiet one way heading easy but it has a bike lane heading west so it’s safe to ride along it on the way back.

Cameron Ave heading east with the dedicated bike lane heading west

Before reaching Bank Street turn right onto Wendover Avenue which merges into Warrington Drive that runs along the edge of the Rideau River. At the end of Warrington one can access the Rideau River Pathway that continues along the river.

Accessing the Rideau River Pathway off Warrington Drive

The path goes under Bank Street and continues on merrily along the river. Windsor Park is a short distance further along this path. There is no sign off the bike path identifying the park but you will have no problem noticing the stage.

Set for Romeo & Juliet

Enjoy the show !

For a complete list of the parks that The Company of Fools will be performing throughout the summer, including maps, click here. If anyone needs a bike route to get there, send me a starting point and the park you want to go to and I’ll figure out a route for you.

An Ottawa bike tour of buildings designed by John W.H. Watts Architect

Many Ottawa cyclists will have noticed this beautiful old house located at the western end of the Laurier Bike Path overlooking Nanny Goat Hill. A recent real estate posting for the house claimed it was designed by architect John W.H. Watts , one of the most successful architects in Ottawa at the turn of the last century. Watts was born in Teignmouth, England in 1850 and died on August 26, 1917. He came to Canada in 1873.

The following 13km bike tour visits a number of buildings designed by Watts, starting with the grand old house at Laurier and Bronson.

Beautiful old house, corner of Laurier & Bronson.

 This map indicates our starting point as a green house icon. The purple line is our bike route. The one-block section of the route shown in orange is where I recommend walking your bike along the sidewalk for reasons explained below when we get there.

The next two houses are located along Wilbrod Street in Sandy Hill. To get there, bike east along the plowed Laurier Bike Lane as far as City Hall. Just beyond City Hall take the exit off Laurier towards the Queen Elizabeth Driveway.

Cross the Queen Elizabeth Driveway and ride along the Rideau Canal Western Pathway which is cleared in the winter. Head up and over the Corkstown pedestrian/bike bridge, then cut through the Ottawa University Campus to get to Wilbrod Street. 

Head east along Wilbrod, which is a one way street with a bike lane. The bike lane wasn’t entirely cleared of snow when I last rode this route, but it’s still a relatively quiet residential street. 

The first of Watts’ designs we come to along Wilbrod is Australia House. Built in 1910, it became the residence of the Australian High Commissioner in 1940 after its previous occupant, the Consul General of Germany, was expelled from the country after the declaration of war in 1939.

australia house - 407 wilbrod st
Australia House, 407 Wilbrod

Continue along Wilbrod to its eastern end where you will discover the magnificent Fleck- Paterson House. Completed in 1903, this house was built by lumber baron J.R. Booth  for his daughter Gertrude and her husband Andrew Fleck. It presently houses the Embassy of Algeria.

fleck paterson house 500 wilbrod st
Fleck Paterson House, 500 Wilbrod St

Our next stop is the former Adath Jeshurun Syngogue on King Edward Avenue in Lowertown. Completed in 1904 it was home to Ottawa’s first Jewish congregation.

To get there from The Fleck Paterson House ride one block north along Charlotte Street and turn onto Stewart Street. It’s a one way heading west- bike lane included! Cut north along Chapel Street which crosses Rideau Street into Lowertown. Circle along Beausoleil Drive to York Street and continue west for a couple of blocks to King Edward Avenue.

The section of the route along King Edward on the above map is drawn in orange. That’s to distinguish it as a short portion of the tour I recommend disembarking and walking your bike along the sidewalk for half a block to view the old synagogue. I do not recommend riding along King Edward Avenue as it is a brutal thoroughfare with speeding vehicules of all sizes including transport trucks heading to and from Gatineau across the MacDonald-Cartier Bridge.

Adath Jeshurun Synagogue

Continue walking your bike across Rideau Street, then along Rideau Street a short distance to Nelson Street. Mount your bike and head right back up into Sandy Hill along Nelson to rejoin Stewart Street. Cut through the Ottawa University campus and back across the Rideau Canal over the Corkstown bridge. Cross Queen Elizabeth Driveway into the Golden Triangle neighbourhood to MacLaren Street.

Head west along MacLaren to Metcalfe Street where you will discover the majestic house Watts designed for lumber baron John Rudolphus Booth. It was completed in 1909. More about this house can be found here.

Booth House, corner Metcalfe and MacLaren

Our final building on this tour is the Glebe-Saint James United Church on Lyon Street. To get there continue west along MacLaren to O’Connor Street. Hop onto the bike lane along O’Connor and head south under the Queensway into the Glebe neighbourhood. O’Connor suddenly loses its bike lane just south of the Queensway, however continue to follow it as far as First Avenue. Turn right onto First and ride all the way to Lyon where you will see the beautiful old Glebe-Saint James United Church.

Glebe-Saint James United Church

To complete the loop back to our starting point, continue west along First to Percy Street. Ride north along Percy where a bike lane starts just as you head back under the Queensway. Continue along the Percy bike lane to Flora, then turn right onto Flora for a block to Bay Street which has a bike lane heading north. Ride along Bay all the way to where it meets up with Laurier, two blocks east of the house at Laurier and Bronson.

Et voila!

I’d like to thank Hans for putting me onto the story of the big old house perched up on Nanny Goat Hill that is up for sale (UPDATE: Fall 2019- sold). Hopefully it will be preserved by future owners. I’d also like to thank David Jeanes of Heritage Ottawa who provided me with information on John W.H. Watts and the other fine buildings he designed within Ottawa.

If you are interested in checking out the interiors of some these buildings I suggest keeping an eye out for the annual Doors Open event when many exceptional local buildings are opened to the public.

Bike tour of Slack Bridges ‘In the Drought’ music video locations!

Slack Bridges is an Ottawa based neo-soul, funk, r&b band who will be performing at the NAC 4th Stage on December 7th! Last winter they put out a full length record called Joy of Joys. They also recorded a video from one of the tracks ‘In the Drought’ with their lead singer Matt Gilmour filmed in various wintry locations throughout the city while his bandmates waited for him in the warmth and comfort of Union613 on Somerset St, sipping on cider and playing board games. This bike tour visits those locations, but first – here’s the video:


 

We begin at the bottom of the Nanny Goat Hill stairs at Primrose Avenue. That’s where you’ll find Matt seated and singing 34 seconds into the video.

Primrose Stairs up Nanny Goat Hill

Next stop is a couple of blocks west where Matt can be seen hanging out in the Elm Street basketball court, first with his back to the net at 24 seconds, and then cross court at 1min40.

Elm Street basketball court

 

Our next stop doesn’t exist anymore! This is the pedestrian bridge over the Queensway at Harmer. It was torn down this summer and is the process of being replaced, which won’t be for another two years! Matt can first be seen strolling along this sorely missed walkway at 35 sec’s.

Harmer bridge construction site

There is a bike lane detour under the Queensway along Holland Avenue that requires cutting through the Fisher Park School parking lot.

Holland Avenue detour under the Queensway

Next Matt can be seen strolling along the National Capital Commission Scenic Driveway at 34 seconds into the video, which was pretty gutsy of him since there is no cleared shoulder and drivers tend to really gun it along this straightaway. There is a multi-use pathway adjacent to the Driveway that goes from Carling all the way to Prince of Wales Drive, but this important link is not cleared in the winter.

NCC Scenic Driveway

Fortunately Matt didn’t have to walk all the way to Prince of Wales as the next spot he was filmed is just off the Driveway aong the much quieter Ash Lane in the middle of the Experimental Farm. He is first seen there a mere 5 seconds into the vid.

Ash Lane

Next I headed through the farm, then down along the Rideau Canal before cutting through the Glebe, then Centretown along the O’Connor Street segregated bike lane that starts just south of the Queensway. Union613 is located on the north side of Somerset, just off O’Connor where Matt meets up with his band near the end of the song. The sidewalk sign seen in the video is missing in my photo as it was in the process of being replaced at the time. They also have hanging bike racks on the edge of the sidewalk, as seen in the photo.

Union613

Et voila!

Biking to the Great Canadian Theatre Company from points south-west along the Experimental Farm Pathway

The Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC) , located in the wonderful Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre at the corner of Holland and Wellington, is  Ottawa’s largest professional, independent theatre. The second show of the 2018-19 season, The Drowning Girls, runs from October 23rd to November 11th, 2018. UPDATE: November 12th, 2018 – The Drowning Girls run has come and gone but there’s lots more theatre where that came from! If anyone needs a different bike route to the GCTC other than the one described below, send me a start cross street and I’ll figure one out.

The Drowning Girls – GCTC, Fall 2018

The blue line on the attached map indicates a bike route patrons can follow to get to the GCTC from the Central Park neighbourhood located south-west of the theatre. This route may also serve riders arriving from points further west along the Experimental Farm Pathway as far as Woodroffe Avenue, as indicated by the pink line.

From our starting point we head east along the Experimental Farm Pathway between trees and houses before crossing Merivale Road at the lights.

Heading East along Experimental Farm Pathway…. across Merivale Road

The path then continues downhill past corn fields on the right towards Fisher Avenue.

Experimental Farm Pathway heading East towards Fisher Avenue

The crossing at Fisher is a little convoluted as the lights are located a short distance south. Unofficial bi-directional bike lanes have recently been added along the west side of Fisher to get to the crossing.

Experimental Farm Pathway crossing at Fisher, seen from where path meets Fisher arriving from the west

Once across Fisher the Experimental Pathway heads north.

Experimental Farm Pathway heading north parallel to Fisher

The path then takes a sudden turn east. To continue north, exit the Experimental Farm Pathway immediately beyond the turn, onto a path of packed dirt that runs parallel to Fisher through a section of beautiful tall pines.

Exit off Experimental Farm Pathway onto path through the woods

Magical path through pines parallel to Fisher

This path eventually meets the paved pathway running along the National Capital Commission (NCC) Scenic Driveway. Continue north along this path.

Where path through the woods meets the path along the NCC Scenic Driveway

If it’s rainy the path through the woods can get a bit muddy. An alternative is to take the bike lane on the paved shoulder along Fisher to where it ends at Tunis Avenue. Turn right onto Tunis, then left along the NCC pathway.

Paved shoulder/bike lane along Fisher (alternative to the paththrough the woods if it’s muddy)

The NCC pathway crosses Fisher at some traffic lights, then ends a short distance further north at Carling Avenue. Cross Carling at the traffic lights, then again across Island Park Drive to get to the bike lane that runs north along Island Park Drive.

Crossing Carling and Island Park Driveway where the path along the NCC Scenic Driveway ends at Carling

Follow Island Park for a short distance before turning onto Huron, just before reaching the big NCC sign.

Exiting Island Park Driveway bike lane onto Huron

Continue north along Huron before turning right onto Kenilworth, both pleasant residential streets. Cross Holland Avenue at the  traffic lights and continue along the bike path under the Queensway.

Bike lane along Holland heading north under the Queensway

Cross Holland at the lights just north of the Queensway  into the grounds of Fisher Park Public School.

Crossing Holland into Fisher Park Public School

One may be tempted to continue down Holland, versus crossing through the school yard to Harmer Avenue North, but the Holland bike lane disappears further north of and it all turns into a hornets nest of non-allgned intersections with cars and trucks jostling their way on & off of Holland. In two years one will be able to avoid riding along Holland entirely once the city has finished replacing the pedestrian/cycling bridge over the Queensway linking Harmer Ave North and South.

Stay to the right of the school and follow the path that circles the playing field, then exit onto Harmer Avenue.

Path around Fisher Park School field

Once arrived at Harmer on the other side of the schoolyard, continue north, then cross Byron Avenue to get onto the multi-use path.

North along Harmer….. then east on the Byron bike lane

Ride along the Byron multi-use path 1 block over to Huron Avenue (another quiet residential street), then continue to the corner of Huron and Wellington where you will see the GCTC marquee one block to the east. There are a bunch of bike racks along the Wellington sidewalks between Huron and Holland. There are also a few racks along Wellington closer to the theatre.

View towards the GCTC from Huron & Wellington

 

Et voila!