Open: Ottawa River Pathway Behind Parliament Hill

Multi Use Pathway opens again.
Reading Time: 5 minutes

2024 update: the pathway is closed. It should open again in the Fall. There is work being done near the Supreme Court. There is a cliff where some rock came down several years ago. This is being worked on. More here:

Just before the first snow came down in the weekend of November 18-19 I thought I’d go for a bike ride to check out the repaired Ottawa River multi use pathway behind Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court.

pathway Ottawa River
So far so good: no changes
The lower part of the pathway: shoreline improvements

Shoreline and pathway washed out

As you remember, the path was closed since the heavy rain in spring and had to be repaired over the course of another year as the Ottawa river had washed out parts of the pathway. It was supposed to be closed until spring 2018, but work progressed faster than expected and so the path re-opened already early November.

The fences didn’t stop about one hundred people to set up their garden chairs along the river to see the fireworks in the summer.

Dozens of people setting up an impromptu viewing area in the closed section of the pathway along Parliament Hill. Canadians are not so law abiding after all it appears. This is only a small section of the people watching the fireworks.
The grass has been replaced by wood mulch. It saves mowing the grass too.
Steps to linger and dream of retirement. Or perhaps just to get your canoe out of the water. It clearly shows the reinforcements. The rocks should break the waves and stabilise the path further. 2019 flooding happening now will be the stress test if the redesigned path will hold up.
There is a landing towards Richmond Landing across from the Pooley Channel. The footbridge will be more to the left outside the photo. The white wall with the ball on top is the Navy monument on Richmond Landing.

Earlier this fall at a lecture in Nepean, I learned there used to be Esso fuel storage tanks on Richmond Landing until about 50 years ago.

Richmond Landing is earlier days. I borrowed the image from Urbsite. The tanks are gone, the parking lot is still there.

You can read a lot more on this area on the always well researched Urbsite.

Improved shore line

I don’t exactly remember how the path’s direct environment looked like before April 2017 though, but a quick look on Mapillary helped. There was not as much actual path gone as I had thought; it appears it was mostly the shore line that was destroyed. It looks like most of the work went into the reinforcement of the shoreline with rock. Lots of rock. And dirt. It stays level longer and than drops steeper towards the river.

Here is a part of the path that was replaced
bike path
From the Mapillary photo repository we can see how it used to look like before spring 2017. On the right is a heating plant. There is a system of large pipes running through downtown, transporting steam from this plant to several buildings such as Parliament and the NAC and beyond. I believe as far as the Museum of History.
sloping shore line
Grass sloping towards the water is now replaced by a a shore line level with the path. (Google Capture)
The same location. I am assuming there will be a foundation for a retaining wall here.

Dangerous post

I cycled a bit further and noticed the staircase to Parliament Hill appears open.  I didn’t see anyone running up the hill and I don’t think I am tempted much.

“There’s a lady who’s sure
All that glitters is gold
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven”

There is massive work going on along the path at the bottom of the Supreme Court rock face for storm sewer upgrades. The path that connects one of the parking lots (yes, we park in prime waterfront spots in the heart of the nation’s capital) with the MUP along the river has been rerouted and now has a very dangerous dark post in the middle. I asked the NCC to take a look into it as this can cause serious harm, being dark, around a corner and without any warning.We wish to inform you that the post is in place to stop vehicles from entering on the pathway. The Maintenance Manager will review the situation in order to find a safer and more visible alternative.”

This area is being prepped for better sewer overflow systems (in order not to dump untreated sewage into the Ottawa river during heavy rain fall, so it won’t mix with the nuclear waste disposal from Deep River further upstream)
The poorly visible post to keep vehicles out might also seriously hurt cyclists.

Below I want to show you how a post should be properly introduced with reflective road markings and rumble strips. Since the NCC post will be there for another 1.5 years, it is worth making a proper adjustment.

Post in bike path in the Netherlands: clearly marked, introduced by paint/rumble strips and likely covered with a soft material
One for the road: Museum of History, Alexandra bridge and National Gallery.

That is it for this week.


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