Day 41: Veteran’s Memorial Campground to Ottawa’s Parliament Hill

How Convenient

Today you will leave the buggy confines of rural northern Ontario and cycle into Canada’s national capital, Ottawa.

In Ontario, cyclists are not permitted on any HWY in the 400 series. At Arnprior, HWY 17 changes to 417, meaning you will have to detour. Arnprior is located at the mouth of the Madawaska River, where it enters into the Ottawa River.

As you bike into Ottawa you will cycle through the Greenbelt, which is a ring of parkland that circles Ottawa. Real estate development is strictly controlled here. The original plan for the land was to prevent urban sprawl and provide green space for future generations. The Greenbelt was proposed by Jacques Greber in 1950, and was intended to circumscribe an area large enough for 500 000 people. Presently, Ottawa has a population of 812 129, far exceeding the population Greber planned for.

The Ottawa River’s Rideau Canal connects Ottawa to Kingston, 202 kilometres away. The Duke of Wellington was an ardent proponent of this project and appointed Lieutenant-Colonel John By to oversee the task. When By arrived in Canada he set up shop near the mouth of the Rideau River and the area became known as Bytown. The canal was opened in 1832, and is still in use today. The construction of Rideau Canal was proposed after the War of 1812, between the United States and the British Empire. The canal is now a UNESCO world heritage site, operated by Parks Canada. A bike path runs along the side of the canal through Ottawa.

In 1855, Bytown was given the name Ottawa after the resident Odawa First Nations People. In 1857, Queen Victoria was asked to choose a common capital for the Province of Canada. Surprisingly, she chose Ottawa which was at the time a logging town. It was far from Upper Canada’s major centres of Québec City and Montréal as well as distant from Lower Canada’s major centres of Kingston and Toronto. This made Ottawa a compromise between the two sections of Canada. Also, Ottawa was surrounded by dense forest making it hard to attack over land, while the Ottawa River and Rideau Canal eased transport to both the east and west. In 1858, the Queen officially named Ottawa the capital of Canada.

No visit to Ottawa would be complete without visiting Parliament Hill. Stroll around the grounds of this architectural beauty or take a guided tour. Originally, Parliament Hill was the site of a military base in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It was developed after being named the capital by Queen Elizabeth.

There are five main buildings on Capital Hill. The Centre Block contains the Senate and Commons chambers. It was built between 1916 and 1927 to replace the original building which was destroyed in a fire in 1916. In front of this building is the Peace Tower, which stands in honour of the men and women who sacrificed their lives in World War I. This freestanding tower is made of Nepean sandstone and measures 92.2 metres from base to the top of the bronze flagpole.

Behind Centre Block is the Library of Parliament, which overlooks the craggy bluffs of the Ottawa River. The East Block was built in two stages; the main section was constructed in the mid-1800s, and in 1910, a wing was added to the rear. The building was originally designed to provide space for lowly government employees, not legislators, as this building is less ornate than the rest. The West Block opened in 1865, and was designed using Gothic Revival Style. Today it houses Ministers, Members of Parliament, committee rooms and the Confederation Room.

Ottawa is also host to many museums including the Bytown Museum, Canadian War Museum, National Gallery of Canada, Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography.

Camping in Ottawa is limited. The most convenient place to spend the evening is in the green belt at Ottawa Municipal Campground. This campground is over 20 kilometres from Parliament Hill and downtown Ottawa. I have included an alternate route to the Ottawa Municipal Campground to accompany the route to Parliament Hill.

Ottawa’s Barefoot Hostel and Hostelling International’s Ottawa Jail Hostel come highly recommended and both are close to Parliament Hill.

Kilometre Log
0.0Exit Veteran’s Memorial Campground on Astrolabe Road heading south towards HWY 17.
0.1Turn left onto HWY 17 and exit Cobden.
22.6Horton.
47.3Approach Arnprior and turn left at the intersection of HWY 17 & Pine Grove Road (W) / Division Street South (E) onto Division Street S.
49.9Follow Division Street South to the intersection of River Road (W) / Elgin Street W (E). Turn right here onto Elgin Street.
50.8Turn slightly left off of Elgin Street W onto Madawaska Street.
51.3Cross over the Madawaska River. Madawaska Street becomes Madawaska Boulevard.
57.6Madawaska Boulevard / HWY 17 intersects with Galetta Side Road. Turn left here.
60.8Cross over a small creek in Galetta.
73.4Remain on Galetta Side Road until it dead-ends into Dunrobin Road / HWY 9. Turn right here.
93.0Dunrobin Road / HWY 9 dead-ends into March Road / HWY 49. Turn left onto March Road / HWY 49.
To Ottawa Municipal Campground
101.1From March Road turn left onto Corkstown Road.
101.1From March Road turn left onto Corkstown Road.
To Parliament Hill
103.9Exit left into Ottawa Municipal Campground.
98.6Turn left off of March Road / HWY 49 onto Carling Avenue / HWY 38.
106.6Bike Past Andrew Haydon Park and Beltown Park, both on your left.
113.3Carling Avenue / HWY 38 crosses HWY 417.
117.5Carling Avenue / HWY 38 dead-ends into Bronson Avenue. Turn left on Bronson Avenue.
119.1Turn right off of Bronson Avenue onto Laurier Avenue W.
120.7Turn left on Metcalfe Street.
121.1Welcome to Parliament Hill.

Cobden Veteran’s Memorial Park to Ottawa Municipal Campground


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Cobden Veteran’s Memorial Park to Parliament Hill


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