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.


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!






University of Ottawa Bike Co-op: How to Get There From the Main Campus

The University of Ottawa Bike Co-op is a great big work space with stands, tools, and on-site expertise to help you fix your bike. It’s free for undergraduate students and a mere $5 annual membership for everyone else. Lots more info can be found on their website, including hours, by clicking here.

The tricky part is getting there, as it’s tucked around the back of the Lees Avenue Campus building.  Here are a couple of routes to get there, starting from the main campus on King Edward Ave. The first route (blue line) is more direct and accessible in the winter, while the second is slightly longer route (purple line) but is much more picturesque, taking advantage of  the Rideau River Western Pathway. It also avoids a couple of testy traffic spots encountered on the first route.

Both routes start off from the entrance to the main campus at the intersection of Marie-Curie and King Edward Ave.

START : Marie-Curie and King Edward Ave

OPTION 1 – THE MORE DIRECT ROUTE (blue line on the map)

I crossed King Edward and headed straight down Somerset St East. There are bike lanes along Somerset which dissapear intermittently for a couple of blocks, then re-appear at the bottom of the hill.

Somerset bike lane that come and go as you head down the hill for a couple of blocks

I turned right onto Chapel St, a quiet residential street.

Turning right off Somerset East onto ….. Chapel St.

At Wiggins Private I crossed onto the sidewalk on the left hand side which becomes a multi-use pathway after a few meters.

Up onto the sidewalk at after crossing Wiggins

I continued along the pathway as far as the signalised lights across Lees Ave. For some strange reason the bike lane along Lees starts a few meters beyond the crosswalk so I made sure I had time to cross and get to the bike path before the light changed.

Crosswalk lights to get across Lees


Lees Avenue curls over the Queensway before reaching the traffic lights heading onto the Lees Avenue campus.

Riding along the Lees Avenune bike lane over the Queensway

I rode into the campus, past the front entrance to the main building.

Crossing Lees into the Ottawa U Lees Avenue Campus

I then turned right onto the path between the building and the Gee-Gee’s football field.

Turn right before the football field, continuing around the building

I continued around to the back of building to where the path joins the Rideau River Western Pathway. There you will notice some spray painted signs in the window facing the path indicating you’ve arrived at the Co-op.

Handmade Co-op signs

I continued around the corner to where the entrance door is located. There are no signs identifying this entrance, but there is a track on the side of the stairs to help push your bike up the stairs.

Around the side of the building… to the entrance with the bike ramp.

Once through the exterior doors there is a sign pointing to the Co-op.

Entrance sign to the Co-op shop

And quite the Co-op shop it is.

Co-op shop

An alternative to riding around the building is to enter through the main doors of the Lees Avenue Campus building and push your big through the hallways to the Co-op shop.

OPTION 2 – THE PICTURESQUE (& SAFER) ROUTE (purple line on the map)

This second route starts at the same location as the first route and similarly heads down Somerset, however rather than turning onto Chapel, it continues along Somerset all the way to Strathcona park on the edge of the Rideau River.

Entrance to Strathcona park at the end of Somerset

I took the path leading straight into the park, then turned right along the Rideau River Western Pathway, rather than over the Adawe Bridge (the one with the silver sphere sculptures).

Turning right along the Rideau River Western Pathway

It’s a very pleasant ride along the Rideau River Western Pathway.

Rideau River Western Pathway berween Strathcona Park and the Bike Co-op

The path goes under the Queensway and up beside the Gee-Gee football field to the Co-op with the signs in the window anouncing you’ve arrived.

Arrival at the co-op

Et voila! If anyone needs a different route to get to the co-op please send me a starting point and I’ll figure one out for you!




The Osgoode Ride

Last summer the City of Ottawa posted a series of self-guided bike tours  with the goal of encouraging cyclists to explore the countryside within Ottawa’s limits and surrounding areas. I’ve been meaning to visit a few sites in and around Osgoode so I decided to try out The Osgoode Ride. The city rates this 59km route as ‘experienced’. I’ve gone on many rides of varying difficulty within Canada and abroad so I figured I qualified. On Saturday morning I gave it a shot. Here’s how it went.

I  set out from the parking lot off Mitch Owens Road on the edge of the converted rail-to-trail Osgoode Link Pathway. This parking lot is conveniently located right beside The Wood Source where they have a great selection of types of wood not available in most lumber yards.

Parking off Mitch Owens Road along the Osgoode Link Pathway

I rode south along the Osgoode Link Pathway and turned left onto Gough Road to get onto the city’s recommended route.

The majority of this route runs along two lane straight-aways in various states of repair, from crumbling asphalt to fresher pavement. Most of the shoulders are a mix of loose and packed gravel.

Varied road conditions

I’m guessing the linear directness of these roads are what encouraged most drivers I encountered to push the pedal to the metal, regardless of the condition of the roadway. Tragically, last September alone there were two fatal collisions along this route, one at the intersection of Pathway Road and 8th Line Road, the other along Dalmeny Road.

If there wasn’t any traffic coming in the opposite direction most drivers generously moved way over to the opposite lane to pass. There were a few instances that required bailing out onto the gravel shoulder in hopes of survival. For example when this oncoming driver chose to move into my lane to pass another car.

Oncoming passing car

There are only a few small hills on this route. When they did appear, drivers were loathe to move over when passing me lest an unseen vehicule be cresting the hill in the opposite direction. The proper thing to do is wait until you are over the hill and sight lines are clear to safely pass, but this was not a popular option for some, like this guy who could be heard accelerating from a long ways off, making it quite clear he had no intention of slowing down as he flew over the hill.

Vroom Vroom heading over the hill

Another common circumstance that often necessitates taking to the shoulder is when a vehicule insists on passing even though the timing coincides with another car approaching in the opposing lane, leaving minimal or no room beween the passing car and the edge of the road. This was paticularly common along Victoria Street where traffic was busiest. Having a mirror is essential in these circumstances to be able to guage how close the encounter was lining up to be, and to assess the size of the vehicule coming up from behind, particularly in communities that often rely on wider than average vehicles as their mode of transpo.

Wide Load

The need to always be prepared to ride onto an unpredictable gravel shoulder in a moments decision means I don’t  consider this route to be safe for cycling. To do so there would need to be paved shoulders to provide riders with a safe means of escape in such dangerous situations. There are a few instances along this route where there are paved shoulders, such as when entering Metcalfe, and a short section where Dalmeny Road road turns onto Gordon Murdoch Road.

Paved shoulder approaching Metcalfe
Paved shoulder where Dalmeny Road road turns onto Gordon Murdoch Road

Optimally every road should have a paved shoulder or, at a minimum, along bike routes recommended by the city, similar to those along Albion Road and other roads frequented by cyclists near the airport.

The intitiative to encourage cycling through the countryside is admirable. It provides a boost to local economies, like at the vegetable stand I visited along the route and at the Metcalfe Farmers’ Market . It also allows for wonderful healthy outings for residents and tourists alike. But without proper infrastructure, routes such as this will remain accessible to only the most foolhardy of cyclists. Build safe bike infrastructure and they will come. Don’t and they won’t. I only saw 4 other cyclists on the roadway portions of this route whereas along the Osgoode Link Pathway I encountered over 15.

I leave you with a few fine discoveries made along the route.

Very curious cows
Metcalfe Farmers’ Market
Impressive farm
Heritage buildings in Osgoode
Heading north along the Osgoode Link Pathway…ahhhh….

Et voila!

Biking to Strathcona Park, where there’s a whole lotta theatre going on!

Strathcona Park is a picturesque tract of greenery that runs along the west bank of the Rideau River at the eastern edge of the Sandy Hill neighbourhood.  One can meander along a network of paths, past big old trees and features like the Strathcona Fountain sculpted by Mathurin Moreau , donated by Lord Strathcona in 1909, or the unique play ground structure designed by artist Stephen Brathwaite that incorporates carved blocks of stone recovered from prominent Ottawa heritage buildings.

Strathcona Park is also the staging ground for professional theatre throughout the summer! Odyssey Theatre has been performing Italian commedia inspired productions there since 1985. This is the opening weekend of their production Lysistrata and the Temple of Gaia.

Odyssey Theatre – Lysistrata and the Temple of Gaia
Clockwise from top left – Catriona Leger, David Warburton, Natalia Gracious & David DaCosta

A Company of Fools, Ottawa’s longest running professional Shakespeare company, performs their travelling show in the park every Monday evening throughout the summer. This year it’s the Bard’s comedy Twelfth Night you can catch them there, and in various other parks around the region for the rest of the week right up to August 18th.

Fools Twelfth Night
A Company of Fools – Twelfth Night
Left to right – Garrett Quirk, Kate Smith, Kate McArthur

UPDATE- September 2018: Another fine season of theatre has come and gone, but fear not! Next summer promises to once again be the staging grounds of more wonderful productions by Odyssey Theatre and A Company of Fools

With the 2015 opening of the Adawe Bridge over the Rideau River, Strathcona Park became much more accessible to cyclists from points east. This route explores how to get there from the west, starting in Centretown.  The purple line is an alternative deviation on the return trip to avoid having to ride amongst traffic on Laurier, as the west bound segregated bike lane only starts at Elgin. If anyone needs a different bike route to get to Strathcona Park let me know & I’ll figure it out.

We begin our journey at the western end of the Laurier bike lane at the intersection of Laurier & Bronson.

Start of Laurier Bike Lane heading east from Bronson

Head all the way east along the Laurier Bike Lane to where the path passes infront of City Hall after crossing Elgin Street. Just before Laurier heads over the canal, turn onto the sidewalk along the exit to Queen Elizabeth Driveway. Just a few feet along the sidewalk it becomes bi-directional shared pathway.

Exit off Laurier Bike Lane before going over the bridge.
3 - sidewalk to MUP
Sidewalk along exit lane becomes multi-use path

Cross Queen Elizabeth Driveway at the 4 way stop and head south along the Rideau Canal Western Pathway.

Crossing the Queen Elizabeth Driveway to the Rideau Canal Western Pathway
Riding along the Rideau Canal Western Pathway

Not too far along you will see the Corktown pedestrian/bike bridge to your left heading over the canal. Cross it.

Exit off the Rideau Canal Pathway onto the Corktown Bridge – follow that guy.
View up the canal for Corktown Bridge

Continue down to the signalised crossing at Colonel By Drive and ride under the transitway and up along the winding path to the Ottawa U campus.

Crossing Colonel By Drive heading under the transitway (they were putting down nice new pavers)

Ride straight ahead along Marie Curie Private and across King Edward Avenue at the lights. Head straight on down the hill along Somerset St East. Bike lanes appear a couple of blocks past King Edward that lead all the way to Strathcona Park.

Bike lanes along Somerset St East
Entrance to Strathcona Park at Somerset St East.
Path through Strathcona Park

Odyssey Theatre’s performances are at the northern end of the park, while The Fools set up a little closer to Somerset, as indicated on the above map. I’ve also spotted the location of the Strathcona fountain and the Brathwaite play structure on the map.

Play structure
Strathcona Fountain
View down the Rideau River from the path along the river’s edge

Et voila!

Biking to the Bells Corners Pop-Up Bike Lane !

Updated – July 23rd, 2018: On Sunday, July 22nd there was a pop-up bike lane installed along Moodie Drive in Bells Corners for cyclists to try out. The Healthy Transportation Coalition was behind this great initiative which you can read more about by clicking here. An important part of their goal is to demonstrate the need for safe cycling infrastructure on Moodie Drive in Bells Corners West.

Here’s a bike route for those located closer to downtown who are interested in riding out to Bells Corners! The purple line indicates the location where the pop-up bike lane was installed.

As the event landed on a Sunday, the first section of this route capitalised on the weekly Sunday Bikedays event when the Sir John A Macdonald (SJAM) Parkway westbound lane along the Ottawa River is closed to traffic, starting from the War Museum and continuing all the way west to Carling Avenue.

SJAM Parkway is re-opened to cars at 1pm on Sunday Bikedays, so the orange line on the map proposes an alternative return route from the Pinecrest Creek Pathway that is primarily along the Experimental Farm Pathway. Or one could ride along the Ottawa River Pathway that runs parallel to the SJAM Parkway.

Riding along the Sir John A Macdonald Parkway during Sunday Bike Days

Just before Carling there is an oppportunity to get onto the Pinecrest Creek Pathway just off the SJAM Parkway exit.

Getting onto the Pinecrest Creek Pathway (there won’t be any cars on Sunday morning like that red one)

The path goes under the Queensway and up to Iris St, then continues on the opposite corner of Iris, like so.

Corner of Iris & Transitway
Corner of Iris & Transitway

Further along there is a path off to the right. There is a sign (barely visible on this photo) pointing to it that reads ‘Baseline’. If you miss the turn off and wind up by the fire station on Woodroffe you’ve gone too far.

'Is that arrow still following me?'
‘Is that arrow still following me?’, thought Carla as she paused to wait for her partner to take another picture.

After curling up and under Baseline Road the official path circles around a bus parking lot, however most continue straight to avoid this detour.

Detour around bus parking at Baseline

The path continues parallel to Woodroffe, then veers west just before reaching the Legacy Skatepark. It then continues westwardly, twice crossing Centrepoint Drive.

Bike path west, away from Algonquin College

The path dips under the train tracks and ends a bit further at Craig Henry Drive.

Heading under the train tracks
Path just before Craig Henry Drive. Follow the light posts to avoid taking a wrong exit.

Craig Henry Drive has a painted shoulder but it is not signed as a bike lane so there is a chance you may have to bike around the odd parked car. Follow Craig Henry Drive all the way to Greenbank Road.

painted lane along Craig Henry Drive

On the opposite side of Greenbank continue along Canfield Road for a short distance before hopping onto another path. To access this path take the closest cut in the curb which is a few yards away from the start of the path, infront of some communal mailboxes.

Accessing the path heading west off Canfield Road

This section of path weaves it’s way through a wooded area before crossing McClellan Road, and then follows power lines all the way to Bruce Pit.

Woodsy section of path before crossing McClellan……and along power lines after crossing McClellan

Once arrived at Bruce Pit turn right and follow the packed stone dust path that circles the Pit.

Entering Bruce Pit onto the stone dust path
Gravel path around Bruce Pit

Cross Cedarview Road on the west side of Bruce Pit and then ride along the bridge, that has bike lanes, over the 416 highway.

Bridge over the 416

Once on the other side of the 416 cut through to the northwest corner of Bell High School campus. Just beyond the black chain link fence there is a short path off to the right that leads down to Stinson Avenue.

Path beyond the chain link fence leading down to Stinson Ave

Stinson Ave is a quiet residential street, as are Delta St, Evergreen Dr, Ridgefield Crescent, Longwood Ave, Tanglewood Dr and Hadley Circle which I followed as per the above map all the way to our final destination on Moodie Drive.

Looking south down Moodie Drive

Et voila!

Biking to The Merry Dairy for Delicious Ice Cream!

The Merry Dairy is a wonderful ice cream parlour at the corner of Gladstone and Fairmont Avenue, a perfect destination on a warm Summer’s day! Here’s a bike loop from the Trillium Pathway and back. (The Trillium Pathway is also popularly known as the O-Train Pathway. Some wayfinding signage uses this name as well).

We begin at the bottom of the path that comes down from Somerset Street and joins the Trillium Pathway. Head south along the pathway.

Starting off for ice cream! Mmmm….

After crossing Gladstone, the path continues under the Queensway.

Crossing Gladstone…. and heading under the Queensway

Just beyond the Queensway there is an exit to the right that crosses over the O-Train tracks along a pedestrian bridge to Young Street.

Exit off Trillium Path…across the bridge to Young St

Continue up Young Street all the way to Fairmont Avenue. Turn right on Fairmont Avenue and ride back under the Queensway.

Straight on Young St….. & right on Fairmount

Nota bene: The Merry Dairy also has an ice cream truck that attends various events around town. On the evening of July 21st it will be in Fairmont Park where A Company of Fools will be presenting Twelfth Night! To get there, turn left once you reach Fairmont Avenue and ride south for a couple of blocks. I’ve indicated this option in purple on the above map.

Twelfth Night in Fairmount Park on July 21st!

A block north of the Queensway you’ll find the ice cream parlour on the south west corner of Fairmont and Gladstone.

The Merry Dairy!

AND they love cyclists! For example, when it came time to purchase a bike rack they surveyed the Ottawa biking community via Twitter who overwhelmingly preferred this model.

Merry Dairy bike rack

The service is great and the ice cream is delicious!

Time for ice cream!

To get back to the Trillium Path, continue north along Fairmont across Gladstone to the lane opposite Duhamel Street. Turn right onto this lane which takes you to quiet Irving Avenue.

Laneway between Fairmount and Irving Ave

Turn left on Irving, them right on Laurel, and follow Laurel all the way to Breezehill Ave N. Turn left onto Breezehill. These are all pretty quiet residential streets. You’ll pass Devonshire Elementary School at the corner of Laurel and Breezehill.

Turning onto Laurel from Irving
Passingby Devonshire School on Breezehill Ave

Heading north along Breezehill takes you to Somerset. Turn right onto the bike lane over the Somerset bridge.

Breezehill and Somerset

On the opposite side of the bridge there is a right hand exit onto the path that leads dowm to the Trillium Path to where our adventure began.

Somerset Bridge bike lane to exit…..leading down the hill to the Trillium/O-Train Pathway

Et voila!

If anyone needs directions to the Trillium Path please let me know and I will post a route.