Biking to the Costco in Gloucester from Overbrook

Having viewed a previous post on biking to the Costco in Gatineau, a resident of Overbrook was wondering if there was a similar bike route to the Costco off Innes Road. Bike lanes have recently been introduced along Cyrville Road creating huge improvements for cyclists trying to get to destinations south-east of the Queensway/401 highway split, such as the Costco in question. The following route includes the new lanes along Cyrville, pointing out a few challenging spots along its trajectory.

The Adawe bridge spans the Rideau River from Strathcona Park in Sandy Hill and touches down on the opposite shore of the Rideau River at the westernmost tip of Overbrook – a fine spot to begin our adventure.

I turned right and headed south along the Rideau River Pathway for a short distance before turning inland at the little green sign pointing towards Queen Mary Street.

Looking out over the Rideau River from the Adawe bridge…. and where to go once on the eastern shore.
Exit off Rideau River Pathway towards North River Road

I then turned right along quiet North River Road, then left onto Presland Road West.

Turn from North River Road onto Presland Road West

An extensively upgraded pedestrian and cycle crossing has been introduced to help traverse busy Vanier Parkway, connecting the two sections of Presland Road.

Approach to the Vanier Parkway crossing bike from Presland Road West

I continued along Presland, a residential street  which morphs into Hardy Street for a couple of blocks at the eastern end. I turned right off Hardy onto a short bike path link to a bidirectional bike path that runs along Coventry Road.

Link from Hardy to Coventry Road
Bidirectional path along Conventry Road

The path ends a short distance east at the lights crossing over to the St Laurent Shopping Centre. A bike lane then continues on the opposite side heading east. Things get a little hairy as the bike lane crosses a long extended merging lane onto St Laurent Boulevard.

Coventry Road bike lane approaching St Laurent Blvd

Once across St Laurent the path continues along busy Ogilvie Road which I followed for a short distance before turning right onto Cyrville Road.

Ogilvie Road and CyrvilleRoad intersection
Beginning of bike lane along Cyrville Road

Cyrville road once cut through the village of Cyrville, the centre of a farming community that supplied the Byward Market with bountiful produce. It gradually succumbed to a series of amalgamations and the land was taken over by heavy industries. You may notice lingering hints of the old community of Cyrville when passing through, the most predominate being the Notre-Dames De Lourdes church.

Notre-Dames De Lourdes church

The bike lane continues up and over the 417 for the first of two occaisions then, just beyond Labrie, it veers away from the edge of the road to become it’s own seggregated lane – always welcome.

Bike lane veering right slightly to become a segregated lane, just beyond Labrie Ave.

The lane eventually snuggles up to the road once again, then gets a little narrower as it passes over the 417 for a second time before easing off again once on the other side. Be aware of a telephone support cable stuck in to the centre of the path just before heading over the 417 again, particularly if you are pulling a trailer. I managed to squeeze my Wike trailer to the right away from traffic.

Crossing the 417, take 2: Telephone pole support cable…. and path narowing heading over bridge

The least pleasant stretch of Cyrville Road is the approach to Innes Road. After sharing space with a turning lane into the Home Depot parking, the painted bike lane then shares a long curved exit lane as it approaches Innes. Innes is as a multi-lane major road artery that leads to on/off ramps to the 417, so traffic can be pretty frenetic heading through this intersection.

Start of long curve heading towards Innes Road

The bike lane dissapears beyond the Innes road intersection requiring one to ride in traffic for 10 yards or so before turning in to the Costco parking lot.

View across Innes towards turn in to Costco parking

The bike rack is near the south west corner of the building so I stayed to the right while heading around the building, avoiding the usual route cars take, which is to head to the left upon driving on to the lot.

Bike rack

Leaving the site requires carefully negotiating with cars funneling through the same exit. Most are well behaved while leaving the lot as there is often a police officer guiding traffic.

I headed back the way I came with very similar conditions on the return route.

Et voila!

Discovery ride through Gatineau

Here’s a bike ride that works it’s way westwardly through the centre of Gatineau, starting from Jacques Cartier Park on the edge of the Ottawa River to just within the southern tip of Gatineau Park. The route follows a series of connecting paths along which there are a number of interesting sculptural installations and interpretive panels that describe the history of the area.


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Our adventure begins just to the east of Maison Charon facing a trio of bronze and stone interpretive displays. These describe, in turn, the entrepreneur Philemon Wright who settled in the area during the 1800’s and developed the logging industry; the importance of the Ottawa River as a trading route and meeting place throughout time; and the history of Maison Charon.

Maison Charon
Maison Charon

Interpretive displays at Maison Charon
Interpretive displays at Maison Charon
The Voyageurs Pathway runs behind Maison Charon. I followed it south a short distance to another grouping of panels that describe the Ottawa as a ‘River of many Stories’, including those of the First Peoples, the coureurs de bois, loggers and log drivers.

River of Many Stories
River of Many Stories

I followed the path that circles away from the river, up towards a landing overlooking Jacques Cartier Park and a series of panels that describe how the area has transformed from an industrial site in the 1930’s to the public space that it is now.

View overlooking JCP park
View overlooking JCP park
Jacques Cartier Park interpretive panel with view towards the Alexandra Bridge and the National Gallery
Jacques Cartier Park interpretive panel with view towards the Alexandra Bridge and the National Gallery

I spun around and headed straight out of the park to the corner of Boulevard des Allumettières and Rue Laurier, where there’s huge bronze sculpture of Montreal Canadiens hockey legend Maurice Richard.

The Rocket
The Rocket

The De l’ile pathway starts on the other side of Rue Laurier and winds it’s way west. Just before reaching the intersection of Boulevard Maissoneuve and Boulevard des Allumettières there is an interpretive panel describing who the Allumettières were: female labourers who worked in the local EB Eddy factories making matches, and their struggles for workers rights.

Les Allumettières
Les Allumettières

In the above photo one can see the huge stained glass installation by Montreal artist Hal Ingberg that allows for some spectacular shadows, depending on how sunny it is.

Inberg shadows
Inberg shadows

At the corner of Rue Laval and Boulevard des Allumettières sits a metal sculpture inspired by origami. Created by a group of local artists from the Tripode Group, it was commissioned to celebrate the International Year of the Family in 1994.

Monument to the Family
Monument to the Family

The next section of the De l’ile pathway is a pleasant meander through the local community as far as Rue Saint Rédempteur.

De'l'ile Pathway
De’l’ile Pathway

There is a signalized crosswalk to get across Rue St Rédempteur before the path continues between a high school and the Robert Guertin arena where the Gatineau junior hockey team Les Olympiques play.

Robert Guertin Arena
Robert Guertin Arena

The path eventually meets up with the Ruisseau de la Brasserie Pathway. Turning left where the two paths meet leads to a bridge with some fine views overlooking the stream (or ruisseau).

View from the bridge over the Ruisseau de la Brasserie looking north
View from the bridge over the Ruisseau de la Brasserie looking north

The path continues alongside the ruisseau. Part way down the path there is a french interpretive panel describing the biodiversity found in this area.

Interpretive panel along the pathway
Interpretive panel along the pathway

I turned off the Ruisseau de la Brasserie Pathway just before it continued under the Boulevard des Allumettières, and followed the path that goes alongside les Allumettières.

Exit up to Boulevard des Allumettières
Exit up to Boulevard des Allumettières

The path along Boulevard des Allumettières is generous and physically separated from the busy boulevard, however a few intersections along the way can be a bit nerve wracking. These include on & off ramps to highway 50, and a couple of round-abouts.

Path along Allumettières at seen from under highway 50
Path along Allumettières at seen from under highway 50

At the first round-about there is a french interpretive panel that describes the struggles and efforts members of the local population undertook to minimize the impact Boulevard des Allumettières would have on their community. The Boulevard was eventually completed in 2007.

Round-about panorama. Left side of image is where I came from. Right side is where I'm heading.
Round-about panorama. Left side of image is where I came from. Right side is where I’m heading.

The path continues west with sound dampening walls separating it from Boulevard des Allumettières. This stretch of path is interrupted only by a second round-about intersection before reaching the exit ramp to the Lac-des-Fées Parkway.

Path along Boulevard des Allumetteèrres
Path along Boulevard des Allumetteèrres

The route gets a tad wonky once arrived at the exit ramp. The end goal is to continue west along Boulevard des Allumettières, however to do so one must follow a distorted figure 8 by first riding down alongside the Lac-des-Fées exit ramp, then winding your way back up on the other side of the ramp. Wouldn’t be too confusing it was uninterrupted, but it intersects the Lac-des-Fées pathway heading north-south at two spots. Best rule to maintain is to stay right.

Riding down alongside Lac-des-Fées down ramp, before first of two right turns back up to Promenade des Allumettières
Riding down alongside Lac-des-Fées down ramp, before first of two right turns back up to Promenade des Allumettières

Once back up beside Promenade des Allumettières there’s another french interpretive panel describing the history and surroundings of the viaduct over which the path continues.

Le viaduc Oscar-Duquette
Le viaduc Oscar-Duquette
View north from the viaduct
View north from the viaduct

Crossing over the viaduct brings you into Gatineau Park. A short hill once across the viaduct leads to the Gatineau Park Pathway where our discovery ride ends.

Intersection with the Gatineau Park Pathway. Arrivée!
Intersection with the Gatineau Park Pathway. Arrivée!

For a fine alternative return route back towards the starting point, I would suggest one described in part on this post, Biking from Gatineau Park to Ottawa.

Et voila!

Bike Loop Through Gatineau Park to Old Chelsea

The village of Old Chelsea is a popular destination for visitors to Gatineau Park. They have a great information centre, some short hiking trails, and a favourite ice cream parlour, amongst other amenities and attractions. The following is a loop starting from parking lot 3 (P3 on all the maps) at the southern end of the park that mostly follows the Gatineau Park Pathway towards Old Chelsea. On the way back the route goes along the Gatineau Parkway. A separate route from Ottawa to P3 can be found by clicking here.


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Southern entrance to Gatineau Park at P3
Southern entrance to Gatineau Park at P3

I hopped onto the Gatineau Park Pathway at the northern end of P3 and followed it all the way to Chemin de la Mine. The pathway was a smooth pleasant ride with just a couple of small hills to climb.

Gatineau Park Pathway
Gatineau Park Pathway

I accessed Chemin de la Mine from the pathway and continued north.

Access to Chemin de la Mine from the Gatineau Park Pathway
Access to Chemin de la Mine from the Gatineau Park Pathway

Chemin de la Mine is a two lane winding road with speedy traffic and little or no shoulder.

Chemin de la Mine
Chemin de la Mine

It eventually intersects Notch Road. I continued north along Notch Road which becomes a two lane straight-away with packed dirt/gravel shoulders.

Notch Road
Notch Road

Notch road ends at Chemin de Kingsmere which has a fine semi-protected bike lane leading in to Old Chelsea.

Kingsmere
Kingsmere

A short distance north along Chemin Scott took me to La Cigale, popular for it’s yummy ice cream.

La Cigale
La Cigale!

AND they have the funkiest go-hut around!

La bécosse!
La bécosse!

A short distance north sits the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre.

Gatineau Park Visitor Centre
Gatineau Park Visitor Centre

Within the visitor centre is a great little exhibit describing the park, but ask the front counter because it isn’t obvious when you walk in.

Exhibit within the visitor centre
Exhibit within the visitor centre

From the Visitor Info staff I discovered that on Saturday mornings the Gatineau Parkway is closed to vehicular traffic between Chemin de lac-Meech and Promenade Champlain. Not wanting to re-visit the road conditions along Notch Road and Chemin de la Mine, I chose this option, fully cognizant of the serious climb I was in for.

Meech Lake Road has a fine bike lane that led me to the Parkway.

Bike lane along Meech lake Road
Bike lane along Meech lake Road

I must say, nothing approaches heavenly biking than the Gatineau Parkway sans cars. Apart from the freedom of not worrying about getting run over, the Parkways surface is in spectacular condition. It isn’t cleared or salted in the winter, keeping it from becoming the bumpier roads we northerners accept as standard. I switched into low-low gear and floated up the steady incline.

Riding along the carless Gatineau Parkway
Riding along the carless Gatineau Parkway

Traffic re-appeared where the parkway meets Promenade Champlain, however even drivers with lead feet gave ample space to the great number of cyclists along the parkway.

Cars passing cyclists along Gatineau Parkway
Cars passing cyclists along Gatineau Parkway

There is a nice resting spot at Pink Lake.

Pink Lake resting spot
Pink Lake resting spot

Then it’s down the long hill back to P3.

P3
Back at P3

Et Voila!

On Sunday mornings the Gatineau Parkway starting from P3 is closed to traffic, as is Promenade Champlain.

Visiting the Strutt House by Bike

James Strutt was an Ottawa based Modernist architect and professor at Carleton University. He designed a number of local jewels, including the Trinity United Church, and the Westboro Beach pavilions. My sister was one of his students and has fond memories of how everyone loved his class because of the passion he had for his subject and the support he gave to all his undergraduates.

This summer I rode to the house he designed for his family along Chemin de la Montagne on the western edge of Gatineau Park, popularly known as The Strutt House. A day after my ride the National Capital Commission, in partnership with the Strutt Foundation, announced their intentions to preserve the building and have it open to visitors in time for Canada’s 150th birthday celebration in 2017.

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This route begins on the Quebec side of the Portage Bridge and follows multi-use-paths all the way along the Ottawa River up through Gatineau Park as far as the info kiosk indicated by the red marker on the above map.

Multi-Use Path heading up through Gatineau Park
Multi-Use Path heading up through Gatineau Park

On Sunday morning the parkway is closed to motorized vehicles beyond this point. It’s in great condition for riding because they close the parkway in late fall, saving it from the freezing and thawing cycles that wreak havoc on all other roads plowed and salted throughout the winter.

The Gatineau Parkway
The Gatineau Parkway

After a healthy climb one arrives at the Notch Road overpass. There’s a short dirt path off to the right just before the overpass that I followed down to access Notch Road.

Path from the Gatineau Parkway down to Notch Road
Path from the Gatineau Parkway …. to Notch Road

Notch Road is a steep narrow incline down to Chemin de la Montagne.

Looking up Notch Road
Notch Road

Unfortunately Chemin de la Montagne is an unavoidable road with little or no shoulder room to ride along and lots of reckless speeding traffic.

Chemin de la Montagne
Chemin de la Montagne

A short distance along Chemin De la Montagne is a gravel driveway with a corrugated metal canopy structure off to the left.

Short driveway to the right off Chemin de la Montagne
Short driveway to the right off Chemin de la Montagne

A long set of wooden stairs to the right of this structure takes you up to The Strutt House.

Stairs up to the Strutt House
Stairs up to the Strutt House

The exterior of The house is in need of major restoration, so the recent announcement from the NCC and the Strutt Foundation to do just that is very timely. In the process of restoring this valuable work of architecture I hope efforts will be made to provide safe bike access to the site.

House1

The Strutt House
The Strutt House

Biking along Cyrville Road from Overbrook to Pineview

UPDATE- May, 2017: New bike lanes have been introduced along Cyrville Road, thus addressing many of Élise’s concerns described below. Her’s was a great description of the ‘before’ conditions. The new bike lanes along Cyrville are described in this post.

Bike access to the community of Pineview from areas west and north of it is very limited. The Trans-Canada Highway divides it from the west, while the Queensway separates it from the north. I’ve described one option that requires walking your bike over the Blair Transitway pedestrian bridge and carrying it down a set of stairs or taking the elevator at the north end of the bridge. Oof! Another access over the Trans-Canada along Innes is very dangerous and foolhardy to bike along, as described in this post. The other option is to ride along Cyrville Road over both the Queensway and the Trans-Canada. It unfortunately is less than stellar, with intermittent sections of bike lanes, gravel shoulders, rough road conditions, and lots of speeding car and truck traffic.

Élise lives in Pineview and recently described the ride along Cyrville road from Overbrook to Pineview in a series of Tweets. She was very kind to let me re-post them in sequence below. I’ve included a map charting where she took the photos along the route.

Her tweets did elicit a reaction from her city councillor who responded with encouraging signals he is pushing for safe cycling infrastructure to be introduced along the length of this important access to Pineview. Until such time, here’s what riders have to contend with.

All text and photos below credited to Élise Gauthier.

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Getting onto Cyrville from Ogilvie. The bike lane suddenly appears.
Photo 1: Getting onto Cyrville from Ogilvie. The bike lane suddenly appears.
Then you find this weird not-quite-a-bike-lane, where cars can park.
Photo 2: Then you find this weird not-quite-a-bike-lane, where cars can park.
On the Cyrville bridge, a surprisingly nice segregated bike lane.
Photo 3: On the Cyrville bridge, a surprisingly nice segregated bike lane.
Here I have a choice: scary gravel & huge potholes on the shoulder, or big trucks?
Photo 4: Here I have a choice: scary gravel & huge potholes on the shoulder, or big trucks?
Is this meant to be a bike lane?....
Photo 5: Is this meant to be a bike lane?….
Couldn't stop on 2nd bridge, but where am I expected to ride here?
Photo 6: Couldn’t stop on 2nd bridge, but where am I expected to ride here?
Ah, back to a nice, safe bike lane.
Photo 7: Ah, back to a nice, safe bike lane. And thus ends my death defying bike ride. It’s worth noting I saw four other cyclists, so I’m not alone.

Kurdistan in Ottawa – A bike tour.

Kurdistan is a geo-cultural region spanning a number of countries in the middle-east in areas where Kurds form the majority or significant portion of the population. This tour visits the embassies of those countries.

We begin at the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia at 7 Delaware Avenue, a Spanish Colonial Revival style mansion built in 1908. The monument ‘Armenia Immortal’, located in front of the embassy, was sculpted by Levon Tokmadjian and unveiled in 2002. The Kurdish population within Armenia is primarily located in the Western portion of the country.

Embassy of Armenia
Embassy of Armenia

Next stop – the Embassy of Iraq at 215 McLeod across from the Museum of Nature. Built in 1957 in the modernist style, It has fallen into disrepair. A 2012 Ottawa Business Journal article describes plans for it to be demolished and replaced by a four storey building that would continue to house the embassy.

A large number of the Kurdish diaspora that settled in Canada were escaping purges in northern Iraq by Sadam Hussein, as described in this story by Kurdish-Canadian Susan Mohammad (click).

Embassy of Iraq
Embassy of Iraq

The Embassy of Iran is located just a few blocks away up Metcalfe St, a one-way heading north. It’s not a great street to bike down at rush hour (7-9am & 3:30-5:30pm) when there’s no parking on the east side of the street as it becomes a three lane speedway. During the rest of the day it isn’t so bad, as the remaining lane beside the parked cars is ample, however watch out for drivers who still tend to go crazy fast in the two remaining lanes. Many of them must be on a lingering reckless Queensway adrenaline rush.

Mid-day ride down Metcalfe St
Mid-day ride down Metcalfe St

Housed in a post-modern style brick building, the Iranian Embassy must be pretty quiet as all Iranian diplomats were expelled from Canada in September of 2012.

The Kurdish population of Iran are located in the north-west part of the country in an area known as Iranian Kurdistan along the borders of Iraq and Turkey.

Embassy of Iran
Embassy of Iran

Next stop – The Syrian Embassy on Cartier St. It too remains quiet, as all Syrian diplomats were asked to leave in May of 2012 as a result of war atrocities committed by the government in the ongoing civil war.

Kurdish inhabited areas in Syria lie in the northern and northeastern regions of the country.

Embassy of Syria
Embassy of Syria

Final stop – the Embassy of Turkey at 197 Wurtemburg St. To get there I rode over the bike/pedestrian bridge across from Ottawa U. Hundreds of love locks are attached to the bridge railing overlooking the Rideau Canal. I then cut through Sandy Hill.

Love Locks over the Rideau Canal
Love Locks over the Rideau Canal

While the other four embassies are located in Centretown, the Embassy of Turkey finds itself on the edge of Sandy Hill overlooking the Rideau River in a sprawling Tudor style manor constructed in 1869.

Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Turkey, and are primarily located in the east and southeast areas of the country.

Embassy of Turkey
Embassy of Turkey

Et voila. Thus ends the bike tour of Kurdistan in Ottawa.

On my way back through downtown I happened upon a group of Kurdish Canadians demonstrating in support of their brethren who are defending the Syrian town of Kobané from the Islamic State on the border with Turkey. Here they are.

protestors

Second Annual GCTC Bike-A-Thon!

Last Fall’s inaugural Great Canadian Theatre Company Bike-A-Thon was such a huge success that it has become an annual fundraising event. This time riders had a choice of two routes. Both groups started off from the theatre on Wellington St W and followed bike paths along either side of the Ottawa River. We crossed the Island Park Dive bridge to Quebec, then back over the Alexandria Bridge, before returning along the Ottawa River Pathway towards the theatre. The red line on the following map is the 18km ride I led and describe below. An alternative 37km route branched off to Aylmer and back along the Voyageurs Pathway before completing the red loop. Both options are spectacular early morning rides. I forgot to snap photos on the day of the event, so the following images were taken when I went back and re-visited a couple of days later.

And away we go!

The theatre, corner of Wellington and Holland
The theatre, corner of Wellington and Holland

To get to the Ottawa River Pathway we headed north along Holland Avenue, through Tunney’s Pasture (which isn’t actually a pasture, but an expanse of government buildings where Anthony Tunney’s cows once grazed a long time ago), then joined the link just off Parkdale to the Ottawa River Pathway. Holland and Parkdale aren’t choice roads to ride along during weekdays as they are popular commuter links, but they are OK early on weekend mornings.

Biking through Tunney's pasture
Biking through Tunney’s pasture

We passed this collection of balanced rocks along the edge of the river which John Ceprano has been back to stack every summer since 1987.

River rocks
River rocks

The Island Park Bridge over the Ottawa River has generous bike lanes heading both ways.

Bridge over to Québec!
Bridge over to Québec!

On the other side of the river we headed downstream along the Voyageurs Pathway, sections of which follow the canoe portage the Coureurs des bois and Voyageurs trudged to avoid the Chaudières rapids.

We paused in Brébeuf Park, named after Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit missionary who passed through on his was up stream. Here he is commemorated in bronze just off the pathway, one hand clasping a cross, the other a paddle.

Jean de Brébeuf monument
Jean de Brébeuf monument

The route get’s a little hilly just east of Brébeuf Park, with a number of tight turns through wooded areas like so.

Voyageurs Pathway
Voyageurs Pathway

Things flatten out again in Parc des Portageurs, a fine spot to pause and admire this installation consisting of pipes from the EB Eddy wood mill that once dominated the area along the river.

EB Eddy pipes
EB Eddy pipes

There still is a paper mill in operation off the path between Rue Eddy and the Portage Bridge. That’s who owns these huge steam pipes on either side of the path heading under the Portage Bridge. Throughout the winter they hiss and pop in rapid intervals, echoing all around as you pass by.

Pipes under Portage Bridge
Pipes under Portage Bridge

One of the most spectacular views of Parliament Hill can be had just beyond the Portage Bridge as the path heads down along the river’s edge.

Parliament Hill as seen from the Voyageurs Pathway
Parliament Hill as seen from the Voyageurs Pathway

We wove our way up behind the Museum of History and crossed the Alexandra Bridge.

Pedaling over the Alexandra Bridge
Pedaling over the Alexandra Bridge

On the Ottawa side of the bridge there’s a steep lane off to the right which brought us down to the Rideau Canal Locks. We pushed our bikes across the second set of locks.

Up and over the Rideau Canal locks
Up and over across the Rideau Canal locks

On the other side we had a break and were treated to snacks and refreshments! This is the only photo I managed to take on the day of.

Bike-A-Thoners!
Bike-A-Thoners!

Then it was back along the path along the river towards the theatre. A fine outing indeed!

Back to the theatre