Aleutian Road

Interesting name. I don’t know if any of these reasons inspired the powers-that-be to name it as such, but I’m guessing it’s after the Aleut from the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, based on some of the surrounding streets named after other aboriginal peoples such as Mohawk Crescent and Sioux Crescent. Similar to the area of streets in Gatineau named after aboriginal groups, both neighbourhoods appear to have originally been developed around the same time, an assumption I’m making based on their period styles.

But before we get there, here’s an interesting building one happens upon en route along the Ottawa River Pathway. It’s the Belltown Dome. There’s a skating rink inside. It’s cramped, but very special in it’s uniqueness. My son has had hockey practice there so I got to go inside.

Belltown Dome

Aleutian Drive has great trees, like this huge oak.

Big Oak

Nanaimo Drive has a number of unique single-story houses such as this.

Eyebrow Arches

Heading East towards Greenbank Road, one comes across many two story houses with decorative shutters.

Decorative Shutters

Beacon Hill Beckoned

There are a number of houses in Beacon Hill with the brick work treatment shown below. The grout is left untrimmed, and the exterior walls are painted entirely white. It must must have been a popular style in the 50’s and 60’s, as there are a number of houses with this type of brickwork in Elmvale Acres as well.

Grout – gotta love it!

This style too, with protruding bricks to create a subtle pattern.

Intermittent Outies

At the top of Ski Hill Park along Naskapi Drive I noticed this interesting hedge, trimmed to avoid the side walk. Either that, or a very fussy and hungry deer lives in the neighbourhood.

Serious Hedge Trimming

Ending off with another glorious view of the Ottawa River, as seen from the boat launch at the end of Massey Lane.


Hickory Trail and Hydro Towers

An old friend said I might find more of Kiyomi Shoyama’s interpretive panel illustrations along Hickory Trail in Gatineau Park. After consulting the Gatineau Park Summer Trail Map I plotted out my route to the trailhead near the Southern end of the park.

Here are a couple of the eight interpretive panels I discovered along the trail.

2 of 8 Hickory Trail Interpretive Panels

Not sure if they are Kiyomi’s illustrations, but the panels are filled with great info on the many tree species found along the trail loop.

Another interesting hi-lite along the trail is this tree trunk tunnelled through at the base.

Hobbit Home?

It also seemed like a nice place for an early morning smooch, at least according to the couple I surprised on the pic-nic table in the clearing at the end of the trail. Shhhhh…… tee-hee-hee. No, I didn’t take a photo. I don’t know if they arrived in separate cars either, because I discovered another path at the opposite end from the trailhead parking lot. I hadn’t noticed this path on any map so I assumed it wasn’t official, until I happened upon this numbered snowshoe trail marker.

Snowshoe Trail

When I got home I looked up the Gatineau Park Winter Trail Map. Lo and behold, there it was – snowshoe trail 66. So what about all the other snow shoe trails that don’t correspond to any of the summer trails? Hmmm… more to explore. I’m hi-liting this section of my route in satellite mode to point out how this trail follows hydro lines most of the way.

Snowshoe Trail

Power line towers are impressive. They embody the modernist mantra Form Follows Function in large scale. Along todays route I happened upon no fewer than five variations of these monsters. Here they are.

Side Streets to Baseline and Clyde

Work required that I find my way near the corner of Baseline Road and Clyde Avenue, a heavy traffic zone not easily accessible by bike, especially as one gets closer to the destination. ‘What’s the safest way to go?’ say’s I. Well, this is why I love the bike option in Google Maps. It helps you plot out the safest way to get to your destination.

But before I go too far, I want to mention a couple of side routes around another tricky spot en route, someone other than Mr Google put me onto many years ago. Prince of Wales Drive just beyond Dow’s Lake towards the Experimental Farm is scary because of the crazy speeds motorists reach zipping up and down this curved hill. Below are two suggested ways to avoid this section.

Ways around Prince of Wales Drive

The route on the right, or east side of Prince of Wales, follows a gravel path up the hill along the edge of the Arboretum. On weekends one often happens upon events at the top of the hill hosted by the very dedicated Friends of the Farm. The route on the west side, which I took today, takes you through a large parking lot heading up the hill. Once at the top, a few dippy do’s brings you to architectural delights one hardly notices from the beaten path, such as the William Saunders Building shown on the right below, or this Victoriana greenhouse a little further along. It’s presently undergoing some construction. I hope they aren’t dismantling it.

Victoriana Greenhouse and the William Saunders Building

Now back to the really tricky section – getting from the Experimental Farm Pathway where it meets Merivale Road, to the area near Baseline and Clyde. You especially want to avoid Merivale and Baseline. Traffic here is so crazy – last Fall this trailer exploded into flames as I biked by.


But how does one navigate safely through this area? Well for todays route, here’s what I did: 1) I went to the Google Maps site; 2) I typed in ‘Baseline and Clyde’ in the search box; 3) I clicked on the ‘get directions’ icon; 4) In the box beside ‘A’ I entered the address I was taking off from, and then finally; 5) I clicked on the bicycle amongst the four choices of transpo icons. Without further ado, it plotted out a safe route, avoiding the dangerous area in question. It was a path I would not have imagined taking, and it was perfect. The map below shows the section of the route that got me around the trouble spot in question. Thank you Google Maps!

Elmvale Acres

I’ve covered streets in the Elmvale Acres housing development a few times already without even knowing it. Created by Robert Campeau‘s company in the 1950’s, it comprised 1600 homes built on acres of farmland. It was his biggest housing development at the time. Now absorbed into Alta Vista, its existence is alluded to on my paper map by the Elmvale Acres Shopping Centre. A friend mentioned he had grown up in Elmvale Acres, so with fresh info and renewed interest, I headed over to visit the few remaining streets in the area to be hi-lited on my map. Figuring out the boundaries of Elmvale Acres proved a little tricky. The most detailed description I found was on this real estate website, which I’ve outlined below. Hope it’s right.

Here are the streets within Elmvale Acres I covered today.

Some of Elmvale Acres

While the design of the buildings varied, it was interesting seeking out common details, figuring out which forms and proportions had survived the test of time. The varied flat stones on the exterior walls on this house, in combination with the rich red brick were a common detail, emphasized by the horizontal sills extending beyond the edge of the windows. I like it.

Campeau is described in one of his biographies as having very high standards of quality control. The number of houses within Elmvale Acres retaining their original form would support this argument. For example this house with it’s vertical bands of brick appears to be original.

Vertical bands of brick.

The house in the photo below also appears authentic. The one to the left beside it in the same photo must have been identical, having since been renovated with the addition of a wooden deck and matching siding, but never completely shedding its original proportions.

Similarly the house shown below, extensively renovated on the outside, will always retain it’s mid-century proportions.

‘A man’s home is his castle’

Those houses which have been renovated and taken on their own personality over the past 55 to 60 years have allowed this area to shed an overly dominant sense of repetitiveness that may have existed when they were built. The mature trees and gardens lining the streets contribute to this even more so. Tragically, on one of the last streets visited in the area today I noticed instances of the devastation being wrought by the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle, previously mentioned in this post. A sad sight, a time for rebirth.


One defining feature Elmvale Acres has as a housing development which it shares with developments that followed is the lack of businesses within the community, something my ex-Elmvale Acres resident friend laments. As he pointed out, older communities in Europe as well as some within our region retain more mixed use, such as Centretown and Vanier. I heard the same opinion expressed by Bruce Firestone, interestingly, at a presentation on Lebretton Flats awhile back, summarized in this bloggers posting. Important stuff to ponder as our region evolves.

Greenbelt Pathway – Pinegrove Sector

This morning I headed out to discover the Pine Grove Sector of the Greenbelt pathway.

Greenbelt Pathway – Pine Grove Sector

While passing Hawthorne Park on the way, I noticed this elegant baseball fence behind home plate, made out of chain-link fencing no less.

Dome behind home.

Still en route, I biked under the wires leading from this hydro complex along Russell Road, as they buzzed madly above me.


The first stretch of trail between Russell Road and Hawthorne Road is lined with Queen Anne’s Lace growing as tall as my handle bars.

Queen Anne’s Lace

The trail eventually bends just before the entrance to Pine Grove Forestry Trail. I didn’t have time to explore the trail, but I did notice the first of these small interpretive panels, the graphics for which are so beautifully layed out. The artist who rendered them is Kiyomi Shoyama. I will return with Carla and the kids to visit the Pine Grove Forestry Trail on the weekend.

Shoyama panels

There are a number of larger interpretive panels on the way to where the path crosses Davidson Road, to be studied when we return.

Cyrville Industrial Area and Beyond

Decided to cover streets in the Cyrville Industrial Area, right where the Queensway and highway 417 meet.

It’s a quirky place. A small residential area mixed in with light and heavy industries. Many of the houses on the periphery of the residential area have been converted to commercial use.

Some of Cyrville Industrial Area

This new house caught my attention for its seeming confidence of place, regardless of the industrial complexes surrounding it. I love how it is juxtaposed with the log structure off to the side whose sign reads ICE STORM 98. Most likely a tenacious victim of that incredible event.

Old & New

I’m guessing this was once a residential area before being converted to an industrial zone. I noticed a church in the distance, usually a sign of an established community, so I went to take a look. It’s the Portugese parish of Senhor Santo Cristo, and it looked like these parishioners were getting ready to celebrate! A little research suggested they were preparing for the procession of Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres, best described in this post.

Senhor Santo Cristo

Took Cyrville road over to the other side of the 417 which is more residential, even with the Telesat headquarters and dishes looming above.


To get to the other side of the Queensway you can walk your bike over this OC Transpo pedestrian bridge.

Up ‘n Over

Arriving home I was greeted by these two morning glories on either side of the front door.