Distance: 7.5 km (4.6 miles)
Time: 1 hour, or 5 hours if you stop at museums along the way
Ottawa is a beautiful, green-spaced city that offers more than 600 kilometres (372 miles) of recreational pathways. Offering a compact downtown core, it’s easy to make your way around the city.
Ottawa is also home to the Capital Pathway Network, which stretches from downtown, to the east and west of the city, as well as across the Ottawa River and all along the famous Rideau Canal, which is Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you’re in Ottawa, journey along this 7.5-kilometre route on which you can experience the city’s natural areas, parks, gardens and national sites. Spring, summer or fall, this is an Ottawa experience you’ll enjoy!
START – Head south along the Rideau Canal. Cross the Somerset Street bridge and turn right to make your way along the beautiful Canal.
2 km (1 mile) – Arrive at the Rideau Canal locks, secure your bike, and visit the Bytown Museum. Housed in the city’s oldest stone building, this museum places Ottawa into perspective (for the rest of your trip). Through an interesting artifact collection and multilingual audio-guides, you can learn about Ottawa from the early fur trade and lumber years, to the building of the Rideau Canal, and up to the present day.
After visiting the Bytown Museum, cycle west along the beautiful Ottawa River.
4 km (2.8 miles) – Cross the Portage Bridge (next to the Canadian War Museum) into Gatineau, Que., and cycle along the tree-covered pathway leading to the Canadian Museum of History.
OPTION: Stop and visit the Canadian War Museum. Special exhibit now on: Deadly Skies – Air War, 1914-1918, until Jan. 29, 2017.
5.5 km (3.7 miles) – Arrive at the Canadian Museum of History. If you’re hungry, enjoy a meal at the Museum at either Bistro Boréal or the Voyageur Cafeteria, which offers incredible views of the Ottawa River and the downtown Ottawa skyline.
A visit to Ottawa isn’t complete without experiencing the one-of-a-kind Canadian Museum of History. This museum, which is Canada’s most visited museum, is home to 1,000 years of human history as well as the world’s largest indoor collection of totem poles. Make sure to bring a camera as you’ll want to take pictures of the iconic Grand Hall!
After exploring the Museum, turn right and cycle over the scenic Alexandra Bridge back into Ottawa.
OPTION: Stop half way across for a breathtaking photo of Parliament Hill, the Ottawa River, and
the Canadian Museum of History.
7 km (4.6 miles) – Once over the bridge you have two options: Take a guided tour of the National Gallery of Canada or visit the Royal Canadian Mint.
The National Gallery is a visual arts museum of international stature and features the largest collection of Canadian art, including Inuit art. It lists exhibitions and collections of art from the Middle Ages to contemporary pieces. Or, take a guided tour of the Royal Canadian Mint and see how money is made. Be sure to visit the boutique to view their variety of unique Canadian collector coins. A coin is a great Canadian souvenir.
Once you have cycled through Major’s Hill Park, walk your bike along the road to the Fairmont Château Laurier. Congrats! You are now back in the downtown core and have completed 7.5 km (4.6 miles) of Ottawa’s scenic bike paths.
Didn’t bring your bike with you to Ottawa? No problem! Just across from the Fairmont, you’ll find RentABike. This local company offers 200 new bikes for rent that come complete with a helmet and a bike lock. Bike are available for rent by the hour or by the day.
On RentABike’s website, you’ll also find a list of cycling routes that go around the Ottawa area as well as east of the city and along the Ottawa River, to Orleans and Aylmer. Whether you’re a recreational cyclist or a serious competitor, Ottawa has an ideal route for you!