Biking to the Ottawa Train Station from Centretown

The Ottawa Train Station is located a few kilometers outside of downtown. Here is a bike route to get there from Centretown.

I started off from the intersection of Laurier & Bronson avenues and headed east along the Laurier Bike Lane.

Laurier Bike lane starting at Bronson Ave
Laurier Bike Lane starting at Bronson Avenue

After passing in front of City Hall I took the exit towards Queen Elizabeth Drive and got on to the Rideau Canal Western Pathway.

Exit ramp off Laurier just beyond City Hall
Crossing Queen Elizabeth Drive to the Rideau Canal Western Pathway

I rode south along the Rideau Canal Western Pathway before crossing the canal over the Corktown bridge.

Up and over the Corktown Bridge

I traversed Colonel By Drive at the pedestrian lights and rode under the Nicholas Street tunnel, then up through the University of Ottawa campus.

Crossing Colonel By Drive towards the tunnel under Nicholas Street

After crossing King Edward Avenue at the traffic lights I rode straight down Somerset East before heading up and over the Rideau River on the Adawe Bridge.

Heading down Somerset Street East
Riding over the Adawe Bridge

On the opposite side of the river I turned right onto the Rideau River Easten Pathway.

Rideau River Easten Pathway

Just after riding under the Queensway along the Rideau River Easten Pathway I turned left onto a packed gravel path that leads to the intersection of Riverside Drive and Tremblay Road.

Gravel path off the Rideau River Eastern Pathway

Crossing the Riverside Drive and Tremblay Road intersection is the least pleasant spot along this route. Something about Riverside Drive seems to compel drivers to become impatient speedsters. The oncoming left lane is also a Queensway off ramp with a yield sign to compel drivers to let you cross. There used to be a path that went over Riverside Drive, thus avoiding this intersection, but it is blocked off (temporarily I hope) as the new transit line is being constructed.

Approach to Riverside Drive and Tremblay Road intersection
Crossing Riverside Drive and Tremblay Road intersection

Once through the intersection I continued along the sidewalk that runs parallel to Tremblay before it becomes a paved path leading up to the train station.

Path along Tremblay up to the train station

I passed all the taxis lining the circular approach to the front of the station to get to where there is a bike rack just to the left of the main doors. This location, along with the security camera hanging right above it, provides me with the confidence to leave my bike locked up to the rack when I go away on a train trip for a few days. It’s a huge improvement from a long time ago when the only option was to lock your bike to a post near the poorly lit car parking lot. That’s where I discovered my bike was stolen after returning from a weekend trip to Montreal. The bike rack out front is much better.

Bike parking at the train station

On the way back I retraced my route, except for the section along Laurier in front of City Hall. That’s because when heading west along the Laurier Bike Lane, the safe segregated section only starts at Elgin and Laurier. To get there I cut through Confederation Park as indicated by the purple line on the above map.

If anyone needs a bike route to the station from another area of town, send me a starting reference point by email or via the ‘Leave a comment’ tag.

Bike Tour commemorating The Day of Mourning

April 28th is The Day of Mourning honouring workers in Canada who were killed, injured or disabled on the job. The following bike tour visits a number of commemorative sites throughout the region alluding to the Day of Mourning. The route is entirely along bike paths.

The tour begins in Vincent Massey Park overlooking the Rideau River. Just off the bike path near the southern end of the park sits a carved stone memorial commemorating the Day of Mourning. The location of the memorial was chosen for it’s proximity to the Heron Road Workers Memorial Bridge, finished in 1967, one year after a previous bridge at the same site collapsed killing nine workers in the worst construction accident in Ottawa’s history.

Memorial in Vincent Massey Park commemorating the Day of Mourning

The tour heads south, up along the Rideau River Eastern Pathway. It then crosses over Hogs Back Falls before turning north along the Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway. Cross the canal over the Hartwell Locks opposite Carleton University.

The ride continues down along the Rideau Canal Western Pathway through the Arboretum and around Dows Lake. A short distance away from the northern edge of Dows Lake on Preston Street a construction site accident occurred on March 23, 2015 – the tragic death of Olivier Bruno who was struck by a falling chunk of ice while inspecting the construction pit.

Continue to ride all the way way downtown along the canal as far as City Hall. Before heading under the Laurier Street bridge, turn off the path onto the plaza infront of City Hall. At the north east corner of the plaza along Laurier you will see the Ottawa Firefighters Memorial. The memorial includes are number of black marble plaques depicting images of firefighters who have perished in the line of duty with accompanying interpretive texts describing their service, some dating back to the mid 1800’s.

Ottawa Fire Fighters Memorial

Head back to the Rideau Canal Pathway and continue north along the edge of the canal. Just before reaching Sappers Bridge that passes under Wellington Street, you will encounter two short sets of stairs. These have metal troughs along which you can push your bike to avoid having to carry it up the stairs. Ride under the bridge, then down the hill. The canal locks wil be to your right and Parliament Hill high up above to your left. Cross over to the other side of the canal across the second to last set of locks closest to the Ottawa River. Once on the opposite side of the canal you will notice a celtic cross. The engraving in the base of the cross reads,’In memory of 1000 workers and their families who died building this canal’. An accompanying interpretive panel helps to explain the context in which these workers found themselves and the hardships they endured.

Commemorative Cross dedicated to Rideau Canal workers & family members who perished

The bike tour continues up the hill to the left of the cross. At the top of the hill, turn left onto the bike path and cross the Alexandra Bridge over the Ottawa River along the wooden boardwalk. Once arrived on the Quebec side of the bridge, cross the intersection to the opposite corner where the Sentier de l’Île pathway begins. This path heads inland along Boulevard des Allumettières. Les Allumettières were female workers in the local EB Eddy plant who fabricated wooden matches from the 1800’s up until 1928 when the plant closed. The working conditions they endured were extremely dangerous and unhealthy. An interpretive panel along the path goes into more detail on the incredible challenges Les allumettières encountered.

Tribute to Les Allumettières

Thus completes The Day of Mourning bike tour. For those interested in further exploring the path along Sentier de l’ile check out this ride.

Remembrance Day Bike Tour (updated)

Many Canadians are drawn to the November 11th Remembrance Day Ceremonies held at the National War Memorial to pay tribute to those who have fought and given their lives in the service of our great country. There are also a number of lesser known Canadian war memorials throughout the capital commemorating groups within the Canadian military, or specific struggles in which Canadian soldiers have served. The following bike tour visits these memorials, starting from the National War Memorial and ending at the National Military Cemetery. This tour was originally posted last Remembrance Day and has been updated as a result of improved bike infrastructure introduced since last year, some detours as a result of construction, and a newly unveiled addition to one of the monuments.

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The National War Memorial was unveiled in 1939 to commemorate those who served in the armed forces during World War 1. Subsequently it has come to symbolize the sacrifice of all Canadian Armed Forces in times of war.

National War Memorial
National War Memorial

Immediately in front of the Memorial is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This tomb contains the remains of an unidentified Canadian soldier who died near Vimy Ridge during the First World War and represents the many Canadian soldiers who have no known grave.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

There are bronze panels on the east and west sides of the War Memorial that describe the significance of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the main sculpture – The Response.

interp-panels
Bronze interpretive panels

Leaving the War Memorial, Head down to the Rideau Canal behind the National Arts Centre, which is presently under renovation. There are two very short flights of steps just before reaching the walkway path along the canal that have troughs to push your bike. Head south along the canal for a short distance until you are past the National Arts Centre and have crossed under the Mackenzie King Bridge and turn in to Confederation Park to where the South African War Memorial is located.

South African War Memorial
South African War Memorial

Continue through the park to the sidewalk along Elgin Street where one can see the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument.

National Aboriginal Veterans Monument
National Aboriginal Veterans Monument

The tour crosses Elgin Street at Laurier Street and follows the Laurier Bike Lane heading west before turning north along the bike lane that runs along Bay Street. After crossing Wellington at the northern end of Bay, head east for one block to Lyon St. There is a gravel path through the park just to the east of the National Archives building that leads to Lyon. Looking across Wellington up Lyon Street, one sees the Veteran Memorial Buildings. Beneath the arch connection the two buildings across Lyon St there is a stone relief carved by Ivan Mestvovic in honour of those Canadians who fought in the First World War.

Veterans Memorail Buildings
Veterans Memorail Buildings

Head west along Wellington, which has a bike lane beginning at Lyon Street. This bike lane continues across the Portage Bridge. Just before heading over the Ottawa River there is a path off to the right that leads down to the Ottawa River Pathway. From the edge of the path one can see the Royal Canadian Navy Monument across the narrow stretch of river. The site where the monument is located is usually accessible but this year it is inaccessible due to construction.

Navy Memorial
Royal Canadian Navy Monument

Head back up to the Portage Bridge and cross over to the Quebec side of the river, then turn east along the Voyageurs Pathway that hugs the shore of the Ottawa River. One of the finest views of Parliament Hill can be seen from this section of path. The Memorial Chamber, located inside the Peace Tower, contains the Books of Remembrance recording every Canadian killed in service from Canada’s first overseas campaign, the Nile Expedition, to the present.

View of Parliament Hill from the Voyageurs Pathway
View of Parliament Hill from the Voyageurs Pathway

Our route heads back to Ottawa over the Alexandra Bridge to our next stop, The Peacekeeping Monument, dedicated to Canadians who have served as peacekeepers around the world. It is located on a traffic island along Sussex Drive between the national Gallery and the American Embassy. You can meander through the centre of this monument.

Peacekeeping Monument
Peacekeeping Monument
View through Peace Keeping Monument
View through Peace Keeping Monument

The next section of the tour continues north along Sussex Drive which has a bike lane. The Defence of Hong Kong Memorial is located at the corner of Sussex and King Edward Avenue. This Memorial is dedicated to those Canadian Soldiers who served in the defence of Hong Kong during the Second World War.

Defence of Hong Kong Memorial
Defence of Hong Kong Memorial

Cross Sussex and follow the path overlooking the Rideau Falls. There are three memorials on Green Island located between the two sets of falls. The first is dedicated to members of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery who gave their lives in battle. A sculpture of Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, created by artist Ruth Abernethy has been added to the monument this year. John McCrae was a doctor who participated in the First World War. He was moved to write the poem In Flanders Field in memory of fellow Canadian soldiers killed during the Second Battle of Ypres. It is from this poem that the red poppy was drawn to become the symbol of Remembrance Day.

Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery
Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery
Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, sculpture by Ruth Abernethy
Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, sculpture by Ruth Abernethy

Across the park are the Commonwealth Air Forces Ottawa Memorial, and the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion Memorial dedicated to Canadian volunteers of the Mackenzie–Papineau Battalion during the Spanish Civil War.

The Commonwealth Air Forces Ottawa Memorial
The Commonwealth Air Forces Ottawa Memorial
Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion Memorial
Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion Memorial

The tour continues along the path overlooking the second set of falls, then back across Sussex. On the opposite side of Sussex is the CANLOAN Monument, dedicated to Canadian soldiers who died while volunteering with the British army during the Second World War.

Canloan Monument
Canloan Monument

Head east along Stanley Avenue and the Rideau River Eastern Pathway. Then take the short gravel path that leads to Crichton Street and weave your way along Vaughan and MacKay Streets to where the bike lane along Beechwood Avenue begins. Further along one arrives at the entrance to Beechwood Cemetery. The National Military Cemetery is located within the grounds, as indicated on the above map.

National Military Cemetery
National Military Cemetery

the poem In Flanders Fields is cast onto a bronze plaque and mounted on a simple elegant plinth facing the rows of white tombstones.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McRae, 1915

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders Fields

New Bike Path Along Rue Jacques Cartier in Pointe-Gatineau

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

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


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

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

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

Lookout over the river
Lookout over the river

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

Pathway bench
Pathway bench

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

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

et voila!

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Bike tour of Ottawa Flower Gardens

All sorts of midsummer flowers are in bloom! There are a number of wonderful gardens that are open to the public and maintained with lots of tender loving care throughout the National Capital Region. Here’s a ride I took to visit a few of them that , starting along the O-Train path between Carling and Scott.

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First stop – Maplelawn, located at 529 Richmond Road. The NCC describes it as ‘…a rare example of a well-preserved 19th century walled garden, very few of which have survived.’, the Friends of Maplelawn Garden who play a large role in maintaining the garden are inspired by how it looked when it was built in the 1830’s.

Maplelawn  garden

Maple lawn Garden
Maple lawn Garden

Second stop – the First Unitarian Meditation Garden, located at 30 Cleary Ave beside the very cool looking modern church. As the name implies, this horticultural gem has a more organic groove to it with lots of wonderful discoveries to be made along its meandering paths. It is also maintained by a volunteer group of garden enthusiasts.

First Unitarian Meditation Garden
First Unitarian Meditation Garden

Third Stop – The Central Experimental Farm Ornamental Gardens, just off Prince of Wales Drive south of the round-about. Here’s a link to a detailed map that shows it’s location, along with a number of other gardens on the Farm. The layout of this garden is strict but the flora is fantastic! Another volunteer group plays a big role in maintaining the garden.

Ornamental Garden1

Central Experimental Farm Ornamental Garden
Central Experimental Farm Ornamental Garden

Fourth stop – Beyond the Edge: Artists’ Gardens, located across the street and a short distance further south along Prince of Wales Drive. The three art garden installations are located along a path that circles around a big Agriculture Canada research plot. This annual display is organized by the Candenses Botanical Garden Society.

Engelina Schmitz: Bee Haven
Engelina Schmitz: Bee Haven

Final stop – Fletcher Wildlife Garden, accessible by path just to the east of our previous stop. Lots of volunteers help maintain this magical network of paths that run through a mixture of natural habitats and gardens. Well worth a visit any time of the year.

Flercher1

Fletcher Wildlife Garden
Fletcher Wildlife Garden

Et voila!

An Enchanted Evening of Totem Poles and Landmarks Bike Tour!

Indigenous Walks is ‘A guided walk & talk through downtown Ottawa that presents participants with social, political, cultural & artistic spaces from an Indigenous perspective‘. I put together the following bike tour for Indigenous Walks with Alanis King.  Alanis is a published playwright and theatre director, as well as past Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts and Saskatchewan Native Theatre. If you are interested in taking this tour I suggest calling Indigenous Walks to see if they are planning any future group rides.

Here’s a map of the route, starting in front of the Totem Pole on Victoria Island, and ending in the plaza looking in to The Grand Hall of the Museum of History.

If anyone would like to come along for the ride, check out the link on the Indigenous Walks website to register.

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Start - Totem Pole sculpted by Walter Harris on Victoria Island
Start – Totem Pole sculpted by Walter Harris on Victoria Island
First stop - Totem sculpted by Henry Hunt, Confederation Park
First stop – Totem Pole sculpted by Henry Hunt
2nd stop - The Lost Child by David Ruben Piqtoukun
2nd stop – The Lost Child by David Ruben Piqtoukun
3rd stop - Anishinabe Scout
3rd stop – Anishinabe Scout
4th stop - Lookout across over the Ottawa River
4th stop – Lookout over the Ottawa River
5th stop  - The Three Watchmen by Chief James Hart
5th stop – The Three Watchmen by Chief James Hart
Exterior view of the totems within the Grand Hall
Last Stop – Exterior view of the totems within the Grand Hall
Last stop - Museum of History, Namaxsala (To Travel in a Boat Together) by sculptor Anne Barkhouse
Museum of History, Namaxsala (To Travel in a Boat Together) by sculptor Anne Barkhouse