I headed off to Gatineau to check out Rue Deveault, which leads you up to the station where the Wakefield train used to depart. As this article explains, it hasn’t left the station for awhile and seemingly won’t be anytime soon, due to problems with washed out tracks. What I saw was a sad abandoned modern train station.
Across the street, however, was this bright po-mo fire station. I was fortunate enough to be there when various firetrucks were out front testing their emergency lights.
My way back to Ottawa was almost entirely along bike paths, even though Rue Deveault finds itself in the middle of a large industrial area.
Part of the ride takes you along the shores of Lac Leamy. It was disheartening to read about this recent creepy incident, as I have travelled numerous times along the paths that circle the lake and have felt perfectly safe. I would, however, recommend bringing a GPS, as there are a number of twists and unmarked turns along the way.
The initial section of the NCC Voyageur Pathway is reflective of the Chaudière rapids it follows – twisty with lots of ups and downs. The path smoothens out a bit before reaching the Deschênes Rapids, where you can pause and take in ruins of an old dam while looking out across the rapids.
A bit further on just above the rapids, one can admire the vastness the Ottawa River.
At this point the path veers inland, where you come upon a whole new development built over the last few years in the section of town called Wychwood. A friend told me that it had never previously been developed because it was on a flood plane. A bit further on I biked through the original housing area of Wychwood – a diverse mix of houses built over many years. Very intimate and human scale. Weaving my way along various streets, I arrived at the Symmes Inn Museum. Something to go back and visit some day. Right across the street was this interesting derelict building.
Heading back on Rue Principale I was reminded that la Fête nationale would soon be upon us.
UPDATE 2017:I recently re-visited the path along Boulevard de la Vérendrye, indicated on the map below, and was very pleased to see that the majority of it has been repaved and drastically improved over the last couple of years, particularly east of highway 50.
I biked a section of the path along Boulevard La Vérendrye, heading east from where it crosses Boulevard Gréber. It was a gradual climb, past housing and businesses on either side.
I continued along La Vérendrye after the path ended at Rue Main, then scooted down Boulevard Labrosse down to the edge of the Ottawa river. As I headed along a bike path beside the shore, I discovered a little foot path to a beach of small boulders and the remains of a well used fire pit. Crossing the path is a concrete sidewalk, a ghostly remain of some settlement in this area, now overgrown.
A bit further along Boulevard de la Gappe I happened upon La maison de la Culture. Across the street is the Cégep de l’Outaouais Félix-Leclerc campus, on one wall of which is painted this clever graffiti trompe l’oeil.
Most of the small Gatineau residential streets looked like this. Many garage sales.
To get to and from the eastern side of Gatineau I take the NCC bike path along the river shore on the Outaouais side. One section in Jacques Cartier Park is a raised board walk. I love this portion of the path, as it hovers above the waters edge, and allows for wonderful views such as this.
I chose a route through Gatineau that took me past the dépanneur on rue Laramée whose owner recently fought off two robbers with bear spray, spanking one of them as he jumped over the counter. Click here for more.