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. 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.
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.
Biked back along the river. Try to make out the svelte early morning rowers in the distance.
Further up stream the New Edinburgh Boat Club is a lovely site to see.
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.
Always a good sign when long sections of the chosen bike route are designated as dark green in Google Maps. That means bike paths.
I passed the fountain at Strathcona Park in Sandy Hill along the way and it’s operational! She’s a real beaut’.
One of the eeriest parts of town is Rothwell Heights, a neighbourhood that was run by the military, except the houses have disappeared. All that is left is a ghost network of roads, driveways, street signs, the occasional street light, even an overgrown basketball court. Now I don’t recommend trying to access this area because there are NO TRESPASSING signs all over the place, however if by accident you do find yourself wandering into the area, prepare to be wierded out. UPDATE – June 2018: Rothwell Heights is being re-developed but there are still a few sections that fit the above description. I didn’t notice any NO TRESPASSING signs this time.
The Ottawa River Pathway, which I joined from the Aviation Parkway 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.
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.