A journey through Ottawa by car may be a little uninspiring at times. Getting stuck on the expressway during rush hour is hardly a joyous occasion!
Have you ever explored the city on a bicycle using the extensive network of trails that connects the various landmarks, parks and neighborhoods together? We did and we decided to document the experience. Photographer James Hardiment spent several days over the summer months of 2016 documenting the pathways which connect Ottawa and Gatineau together.
Todays journey begins close to Vanier, more specifically Riverain Park. James heads in a southern direction towards Carleton and Hogsback Falls. The trip will be a large circuit taking him around the city to the various key landmarks and parks. The trip is designed to be as scenic as possible whilst still maintaining a flow. If you want to get to these places in a hurry there are much faster ways!
Sit back and enjoy this visual trip. In the summer months you too could get your bike out and enjoy some of these views first hand!
1. Riverain Park
Riverain park is a lovely place to start if you choose too or like me you happen to live close by to it. There is also parking available here if you want to follow the trail where I did. There are many facilities in the park including a baseball diamond, playgrounds and picnic tables. I will leave a link here below to a website which shows city parking:
2. Hogsback Falls
Hogsback Falls is an interesting sight for sure. If you go during the day there is a refreshment stand that also has a considerable menu of burgers, ice cream and other food treats! There are plenty of tulips blooming by the falls in the warmer seasons. Hogsback acts as an overflow protection for the Rideau Canal. The Canal was built in 1832 when the British were worried that there could be another war with the United States. Thankfully, no future wars ever occurred between the nations and the supply canal has been used for leisure ever since!
3. Rideau Canal / Carleton University
One of two major Universities located in Ottawa, Carleton is a great option in an amazing location! The school has the Rideau Canal on one side and the river on the other with plenty of great park space. If you are considering attending as a pupil the website is below:
4. Dow's Lake
Dow's lake is an artificial creation along the Rideau Canal. Constructed in 1832 the lake was built on a former swamp. You would never have guessed it's swampy beginnings as now the lake is completely surrounded by beautiful parks and skyscrapers. You can even rent or park your boat at the marina complete with facilities, restaurants and shops. Commissioners Park next to the lake is where the annual Canadian Tulip Festival takes place!
5. Landsdowne Park/TD Place Stadium
Landsdowne Park has existed in some forms since the 1870s when the space was cleared for the Ottawa Exposition Grounds. The Stadium took it's latest name in 2014 and is a regular host of Canadian Football and soccer teams. The Ottawa Redblacks, who are the cities official Canadian Football team, play here as well as Ottawa Fury soccer club! The Aberdeen Pavilion, pictured above the stadium, is where the various exhibitions are held.
6. University of Ottawa
The University of Ottawa is one of two schools in the city. The campus is located downtown which is very convenient for shopping and also restaurants! You can check out the schools official site here if you are thinking of becoming a student:
7. Confederation Park
Confederation Park is a beautiful green space right in the Centretown area. It is beside the Rideau Canal and also the Lord Elgin Hotel. There are many wonderfully constructed monuments in memory of those who have served the country as well as a gorgeous fountain that you can see in the picture above! The park was built to celebrate Canada's centennial back in 1967. Now in 2017 the country is about to turn 150!
8. Rideau Locks / Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill is a great place to see firework shows and other special events. You can also take the guided tours of the grounds. The Locks, pictured above, are quite the engineering feat. Canada is turning 150 years old in 2017 and this will be the place to be on July 1st, Canada Day! The Chateau Laurier Hotel on the left hand side was constructed by the Grand Trunk Railway Company in 1912. It was connects to the former Union Station across the street. By the late 60's passenger service to the city centre had ceased and the tracks into the downtown have since been torn up and built over.
9. Byward Market / CF Rideau Centre
In the Byward Market you can find all kinds of wonderful foods for sale, souvenirs and restaurants. Enjoy a Beaver Tail or maybe some ice cream on your bike ride. In the evenings there are plenty of nightclubs as well but I wouldn't recommend getting on your bicycle after a few drinks for everyones safety! If you enjoy shopping malls then the CF Rideau Shopping Centre is for you! 100s of high end retail stores make up the three levels of a shoppers paradise. Have fun and try to spend as sensibly as you can!
10. Rideau Hall / Rockcliffe Park
If you pedal down Sussex Drive you can take a brief detour to visit the Rideau Hall where the Canadian Monarch and Governor General resides. The Hall is open to tourists and there is a museum. The views from Rockcliffe Park are nothing short of breathtaking! You can watch the boats speed by during the warmer months of the year.
In conclusion, Ottawa is wonderful place to cycle with it's blend of nature, history and modern architecture. You are sure to find something that will bring a smile to your face. One piece of advice is to bring a camera. The city was made for photography!
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