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The capital without a car: Ottawa by foot, bike and boat

August 6, 2018
The Weather Network

You don’t need a car to zip between the icons and cultural riches of Canada’s capital. The city has plenty of options for people who want to take in all Ottawa this summer has to offer by bike, boat, or even just on foot.

In fact, if you do opt to stow the vehicle and pound the pavement, the Ottawa region, along with the Outaouais region across the river, has some 600 km of recreational pathways just waiting for a pedestrian or cyclist.

“So definitely lots of pathways and lots of ways to explore within the city itself, as well as along the Ottawa River and in Gatineau Park,” Nives Scott, a spokeswoman for Tourism Ottawa, says.

The national museums and other major attractions of the capital are all within a relatively short walk of each other, such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian Museum of Nature, and the Parliament buildings, many with the backdrop of the Ottawa River.

If you want to meander through some of the city’s more charming neighbourhoods such as the Glebe or Wellington West, most are in reach for the patient walker at 30 minutes of a brisk pace. In fact, places such as the bustling ByWard Market are better off experienced on foot, the better to sample every part of it at leisure.

“It’s a very walkable downtown core. It’s a city made for pedestrians,” Scott says.

If you swap out your four wheels for two, your experience of the city becomes even larger.

Those 600 km of recreational pathways run all through the capital region. Within the city itself, a cyclist can take in all the same museums and culture spots accessible to pedestrians, while the trails run along the Ottawa River and through Gatineau Park, as well as along the Rideau Canal.

It’s not just culture that awaits you. The Ottawa River hosts several beaches, such as Britannia Beach to the west and Petrie Island — a perfect way to cool off during what has been a VERY warm summer, and easily reachable by bicycle.

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