Briarcliffe

The small east-end community of Briarcliffe is attempting to have itself designated as a mid-century architectural heritage site. Read more about it here and here.  Made me think of the fantastic Mid-Century Modernist home depicted in the movie The Incredibles. I had to see what Ottawa architects were thinking at the time, so off I headed to Briarcliffe!

The architects success at designing homes in harmony with their natural surroundings made it a bit of a challenge to distinguish period details, especially since the natural environment has had a good fifty to sixty years to establish itself. However what can be seen of the houses in amongst the trees is wonderful. The community is also great to bike through, winding up-and-down quiet streets.

Mid-Century Modern Homes

Another wonderful portion of todays trip was spent further contemplating the strange Rothwell Heights ghost town described in my earlier post. The mystery of this abandoned land has been resolved. Since the military took off it has been embroiled in a land claim by the Algonquin First Nations. So the narrative may be clearer, but the eeriness of the place remains. However it won’t be long before all that changes, as issues surrounding the Land Claims seem to have been resolved.

Yield to Nothing

Biked back along the river. Try to make out the svelte early morning rowers in the distance.

Down by the River

Further up stream the New Edinburgh Boat Club is a lovely site to see.

New Edinburgh Boat Club

On the way past the GG’s, I paused to take in this landscape installation set into the round-about commemorating the streetcars which once dominated the city landscape. More on that here.

Remembering the Streetcars

Petrie Islands Park

Here is a fabulous ride to Petrie Islands Park along the Ottawa River Pathway. Starting from Centretown it’s a 27 km ride one way, or 54 km return.

It’s always a good sign when long sections of the chosen bike route are designated as dark green in Google Maps. That means bike paths.

The Ottawa River Pathway is the most serene ride in the region. Long stretches hugging the shoreline without interruption and the sound of the tight packed stone dust crunching beneath one’s tires is mesmerising, particularly in the early morning as the mist rises up off the river and teams of rowers can be seen gliding across the water’s surface.

Once arrived at Petrie Islands Park you can go for a hike along the Turtle Trail and River Loop Trail. The info centre is very precious, run by volunteers who are passionate about conserving this natural habitat. There’s also a very nice beach on Petrie Island.

On the way back I took advantage of the NCC Sunday Bikedays whereby on Sundays throughout the summer they close off major parkways under their jurisdiction to motorised vehicules. The level of participation I witnessed along the Rockcliffe Parkway was incredible – all ages, on all sorts of bikes and rollerblades. Very inspiring.