When Ottawa Wakes up from Hibernation

Cycling towards down town along the east side of the Canal, a Unesco World Heritage Site: note the remaining ice.
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Talking about extremes.

The Ottawa winter has been odd, to say the least. The canal wasn’t open for skating for long; on the other hand, only a week and a half ago we were still skiing in the Gatineau. All of a sudden the weather turned around and Sunday, Ottawa saw 25.1 degrees (as in 77F) . The normals are +4 (40F) max and -7 (20F) minimum for March 18.

We hopped on our bikes and cycled along the canal to the Byward Market, and back along the Ottawa River via Parkdale Ave to Nepean. I have never seen so many bikes out as this Sunday. I am not exaggerating if I tell you it was in the hundreds.

Even CFRA wanted to interview me. I hesitated for obvious reasons but when the interviewer told me she cycles herself, I found my sister in arms. Our Trojan Horse. Our fly on the wall.

Here are a dozen pics from the weekend:

Cycling towards down town along the east side of the Canal, a Unesco World Heritage Site: note the remaining ice.
The benches were built in an era when no cyclists must have used the Multi Use Pathways (MUP’s). If the girls stick their legs out, we’ll ride right over them.
Wheel chairs can make it to the paths too.
Hundreds of cyclists out, manoeuvring through pedestrians, but all appeared to work well.
The Sassy Bead Co. gets it…I believe rules for outdoor chairs like this set up have apparently been loosened a bit, in certain cases you don’t have to sit behind a 5 feet metal fence any more.
Sorry Jay II, but the bike is faster in the Market.
Spending consumers on bikes: free parking, no traffic jams.
However, streets with lots of parking were not popular with pedestrians: who wants to watch tail pipes?
Here is the proof that you don’t need car park in front of your door. People just bike and have that $3000 sofa delivered. It is really not rocket science.
There are concerns that stores are losing out in the Market, being replaced by Horeca (HOtels, REstaurants and CAfes). There are some really nice stores still though.
William St at Rideau St, a small pedestrian only area seen from the roof of the Rideau Centre.
Three hundred meters from the Byward Market, a cold reception behind Parliament Hill, where snow is holding out in the shadows of the cliffs on which Parliament Hill is built.

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  1. It’s been spectacular. My 8 year old pestered me to ride to school with her the past two days after a trial run of the trip on the weekend. It’s been great as she’s packing her lunch and stuff, going o bed earlier and getting up earlier in order to do so. I sure hope the weather stays with us beyond this week

  2. We were out on the canal with the Weehoo and I found it hard to manage since I was less nimble. Lots of runners, groups, dogs. If the paths were just a liiiiiitle wider…

  3. I agree about the crowds. We live just a few doors from the canal and Sunday we walked into the market. The crowds! It actually looked like cycling may have been a frustrating experience along some parts of the canal.

  4. wonderful! I couldn’t get out sunday…I was hurting too much from St. Paddy’s, but the bike ride home yesterday was amazing.

    I think it’s funny that I started commuting by bike last week, when temps were between 0 and 10, and people at work thought I was very gung-ho. This week there are 3 other bikes in the racks at work…so I guess most people need +15 to ride to work!
    At least the ice has cleared up on the shadowed sections of the Rideau River trail..

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