Living Reese in Canada's Capital

Trek the Bike Paths Along the Rideau Canal!

Trek the Bike Paths Along the Rideau Canal


Hey, Readers,

I must confess: When I first came to Ottawa, I was in shock as to how different it was from my hometown of Toronto. It was smaller, quieter, and my inner compass was turned upside-down. For me, I made my bearings on downtown being south, as it is in Toronto, as opposed to it being north as it is here in Ottawa.


Trying to find my way around Ottawa when I first came…it was not easy at first.


Once I started venturing around town, I found a lot of things I loved about Canada’s capital. The museums, the downtown core, and the ability to get outside and take in nature helped me to see Ottawa in a new light. One of my favourite places to get out and enjoy the city is along the Rideau Canal. My family loves getting geared up and ready for a bike ride along part or all of its 8km of beauty.

For this tour around this part of Canada’s capital, we will be going from my alma mater, Carleton University to the Ottawa River along the Queen Elizabeth side of this pathway.



Hold on to your hats, Readers! Here we go!


Trek the bike paths along the Rideau Canal; girl standing on a bike


Close to the Hog’s Back Rapids along the Rideau River lays the first stop along this bike tour: Hartwell’s Lockstation beside Carleton University. This is one of the first sights I saw when I came here as a first-year student, and now, it is a spot my other half and I take the VPs on warm summer days. Students and residents alike are able to cross over the Locks 9 and 10 of the Rideau Canal system via foot bridges or watch as boats make their way up or down the locks on their travels.


Hartwell’s Lockstation footbridges with a lamp spot


Rideau Canal lock with low water


Hartwell’s Lockstation footbridge with buildings and trees


Some of the attractions riders can check out and visit from this spot are:

  • Carleton University
  • Fletcher Wildlife Garden
  • Ottawa River
  • Vincent Massy Park
  • Hog’s Back Park
  • Canadian Food and Agriculture Museum

A short ride away from the Hartwell Lockstation along the Rideau Canal is Dow’s Lake. It is a gorgeous area in the city. From festivals and events to boating, canoeing and family fun take place in this park and recreational space nestled in the city of Ottawa. If there is any place my family frequents all year-long along this path, it would be here. We take walks and taught our VPs how to ride their bikes along the flower-lined pathways in Commissioners’ Park, and visit the lake to watch boats as they pass by or skate during Winterlude as part of the 7.8 km of this waterway becomes a skateway to enjoy.


Trees and building across Dow’s Lake


Commissioners’ Park light post on bike trail


Flower bush along pathways of Commissioners’ Park at Dow’s Lake


Two ducks swimming on Dow’s Lake


Some places to visit at Dow’s Lake are:

  • Dow’s Lake Pavilion
  • Dominion Arboretum
  • Experimental Farms
  • Little Italy

Looking for an animal menagerie in the middle of the city? One of them can be found around another favourite haunt my family enjoys along the Rideau Canal: Brown’s Inlet. It is a park that is more like a rest stop for us just off of the Canal where we can sit, grab a gulp of water and snap some amazing photos. There is all manner of furry friends and feathery fowl to be found here. From spring until fall, different species of ducks are the usual residents of this area, along with the squirrels, rabbits and other woodland creatures. Fish, frogs and turtles are some of the favourites of our VPs to see. My personal favourite animal has to be the elusive Blue Heron. It seems to majestically rules both ends of this part of the park. I can only get so close before I scare it away.


Brown’s Inlet Holmwood end off the Rideau Canal


Bird on a tree branch at Brown’s Inlet


Brown’s Inlet along the Rideau Canal with flowers and trees


Blue Heron standing in water at Brown’s Inlet


A few peddles of your bike will get you to the Lansdowne area of the Rideau Canal. This area was revitalized by the city and its residents as a multi-purpose facility. TD Place is home to the Ottawa Red Blacks, the Ottawa Fury FC and the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s hockey team. There is also a commercial component set up where visitors can shop, dine and take in a movie. For more of a low-key day of fun, a park and green space are available to run, climb, skateboard, play basketball (or skate in the winter), or to just kick your feet up and watch the clouds go by.



Rideau Canal, bike path and cars near Lansdowne Park Complex


My son going up the climbing structure at Lansdowne Park Complex


Bank Street bridge with church, trees, and Rideau Canal near Lansdowne Park Complex


Some places of interest at this stop on our tour are:

  • Bank Street (Old Ottawa South)
  • Bank Street (The Glebe)

Along this stretch of the Rideau Canal, there are so many things to see and do! There are plenty of statues, flower beds, and bits of information about various parts of the pathway. These features encouraged me to pull off the path (getting angry glares from my family for stopping) to capture the beauty around us.

Fifth Street along the Rideau Canal


Kayak racing on Rideau Canal


View of Rideau Canal with trees and buildings


Pond and flower bed along Rideau Canal


If you wanted to veer off the path for a spell, here are some of the places you can visit:

  • Bank Street (The Glebe)
  • Elgin Street
  • Canadian Museum of Nature
  • Ottawa East
  • Sandy Hill

When arriving at the downtown core, you are able to see how well nature blends in with the tall buildings and landmarks of the city. Everywhere you look, there is a site to marvel at. Ottawa City Hall and the National Arts Centre and the Convention Centre flank you on your left, while University of the Ottawa, the Shaw Centre are spread out on your right. If you walk your bike up to Rideau-Wellington Street you can get a bird’s eye view of all of the action happening on the street and along the Canal. Underneath the hustle and bustle of downtown Ottawa is a world of architectural beauty to be seen.


Fairmont Chateau Laurier on Rideau Street


Rideau Canal with trees and buildings on the Rideau Street bridge


Convention Centre on Rideau Street


Here are some places you will want to explore along this part of the Canal:

  • War Memorial
  • Parliament Hill
  • Fairmont Château Laurier
  • Rideau Centre
  • University of Ottawa
  • Convention Centre
  • City Hall
  • Confederation Park
  • The Shaw Centre
  • Rideau
  • Elgin Street

As we cross over to the other side under the Rideau-Wellington Street Bridge, you will yourself staring at the end of our tour: The Ottawa River.


Steps up to Rideau-Wellington Street bridge


Bytown Museum through Rideau-Wellington Street Bridge


Bike path along Rideau River


Along with marking the end of our journey, it is the gateway to the border between the provinces of Ontario and Québec. It is an amazing spot to watch life stream by while standing still. In the distance on your right, you can see the stature of Samuel du Chaplain (holding his astrolabe upside-down) at Nepean Point in Major’s Hill Park. Other sites to be seen are the Alexandria Bridge connecting Québec and Ontario together and the Canadian Museum of History, in Gatineau, QC.


Samuel de Champlain Statue at Nepean Point at Major’s Hill Park


Visitors to Rideau River by Rideau Canal locks


Locks on Rideau Canal at the Rideau River


Rideau Canal locks at Rideau River beside the Fairmont Chateau Laurier


Take in these sites while you are at this end of the journey:

  • Bytown Museum
  • Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography
  • Parliament Hill
  • Fairmont Château Laurier
  • Major’s Hill Park
  • ByWard Market
  • National Gallery of Canada
  • Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica

Readers, I hope that you have had fun riding with me on the bike paths along the Rideau Canal. It is a very popular area for tourists and residents alike to travel, exercise and take in the beauty around them. Do you have small kids? We either walked with a wagon or had a buggy to pull them along on our journeys until they could hit the road on their own bikes.


Kids in a bike buggy


There are also bike rental companies in various locations in Ottawa so you can pick up and drop off bikes to hit the trails and start an adventure. I can’t wait to hit the trails with my family this year! If you are in Canada’s capital for Canada 150 celebrations, I encourage you to take this tour, or any tour of Ottawa while you are here!


My little tike smiling while riding his bike along the Rideau Canal bike path


Have you ever been on any of Ottawa’s bike paths? What do you like to see when on two wheels? If not, what would you like to see?

Until my next post, Readers!

















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  1. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says:

    That is such a beautiful area! I would love to bike around the area with my kids. It’s so pretty and pristine.

    1. reesespeaks says:

      Thanks, Stacie! The area around the Rideau Canal is one of the most beautiful in the city. I could spend hours trying to capture its beauty

  2. Jenny says:

    What a fun and scenic bike ride. I can’t wait until my little ones are old enough for longer bike rides.

  3. Dogvills says:

    What a beautiful place to explore. My twin granddaughters love hiking, I wish we had an area like this around here.

    1. reesespeaks says:

      Thanks Dogvills! We are really lucky to have areas like this so close in our city. We have a lot of fun whenever we leave our home

  4. Michelle Waller says:

    This looks like a lot of fun to do with the kids. Very scenic and an awesome opportunity to teach them about history.

    1. reesespeaks says:

      There are so many historic areas from one end of this tour to the other. It is a fabulous area to explore

  5. Emily says:

    Wow, what a beautiful place to explore! We love going on little adventures like this during this time of year. It is not too hot yet and always so much fun.

    1. reesespeaks says:

      Thanks Emily! We are just getting our nice weather now and we try to get out and explore in it whenever we can

  6. Victoria Heckstall says:

    I’ve never been to Ottawa but dreaming that one day I would have a chance to visit. I bet you had fun with the kids. The place looks amazing and perfect for bike trek!

    1. reesespeaks says:

      Thanks Victoria! It is always a new adventure whenever we get on the trails for some outdoor fun

  7. Karlyn Cruz says:

    You took great photos! I would love to also bike trek in that beautiful place! I like to explore places 🙂

    1. reesespeaks says:

      It is such a gorgeous area to get out and explore. It is hard keep my camera and phone down because there is so much beauty to capture

  8. Nancy at Whispered Inspirations says:

    This is such a beautiful area! Bike paths are a fun family trip and a great way to get some exercise.

    1. reesespeaks says:

      Thanks, Nancy! We love to get out with the kids and take in nature while getting a good workout

  9. Deb B. says:

    I absolutely love that you “brought” us with you on your bike tour. I am in love with Ottawa. I wish I spent more time taking in the beauty. For sure I’ll be doing that next time, and definitely on two wheels! Beautiful shots mama!

    1. reesespeaks says:

      Oh, Debbie, your family would have a blast on two wheels! It would take me a few hours to get from one end to the other because of all of the sites and beauty along the way

  10. Aeryn Lynne says:

    Love your bike path guide foe Ottawa!
    I’m with you on Ottawa downtown location, lol. Totally got turned around thinking I needed to head south for it!

    I was really impressed with the bike traffic I saw while exploring on foot. There was a section of a bike path that was busier than the road beside it!

    1. reesespeaks says:

      Thanks for understanding, Aeryn! The paths can get busy because so many people want to take in the gorgeousness of the area

  11. Aimee Geroux says:

    My family loves to bike, especially my better half. This is totally something we would do next time we visit Ottawa.

    1. reesespeaks says:

      Thanks, Amy! If you do visit Ottawa with your family, this bike path would be great to do!

  12. Sandy says:

    I live here and have missed so many of these great areas along the canal! Thanks for sharing this info, Lian! I really must get out and explore more! Great article!

    1. reesespeaks says:

      Thanks so much, Sandy! It is a truly amazing part of Ottawa to live in and explore

  13. The Cubicle Chick says:

    This is a beautiful scene. I would love to walk it although I plan to get me a bike this fall. Thanks for sharing. – yolonda

    1. reesespeaks says:

      Thanks Yolonda! Anyway you choose to take in this tour, you will be surrounded by goegeousness!

  14. Jeni Hawkins says:

    This looks like it would be such a great time outdoors! I would love to visit here and bike the trails.

    1. reesespeaks says:

      Thanks Jeni! I hope you get the chance to visit Ottawa and hope on a bike to trek this trail!

  15. Zwitsal says:

    What a beautiful place to take the kids! I always bring my only son to the nearby mall. But maybe I should bring him to a different place soon, something like this would be so much fun! Thanks for sharing!

    1. reesespeaks says:

      This area is so wonderful to visit. The kids love looking at the animals and the plants around them. The Rideau Canal is also gorgeous to capture.

  16. Lianna says:

    Very interesting article. As for me Canada is in my list of visiting countries, would like to check some of the above mentioned destinations.

    1. reesespeaks says:

      Thanks Lianna! Canada is full of wonderful places to visit. Canada’s capital is a gorgeous spot and there is so much to take in. I hope you make a stop here if you choose to visit.

  17. Christie Moeller says:

    Wow gorgeous view! This looks like such a fun adventure!

    xoxo Christie

    1. reesespeaks says:

      Thanks Christine! Every trip along the Rideau Canal is an adventure!

  18. Sarah says:

    What a beautiful biking trip! My kids and I love taking walks on the paths in our town, and this one would be at the top of our list!

    1. reesespeaks says:

      Thanks Sarah! This path is an amazing one to trek along. The Rideau Canal is a great place to go for walks, runs, and of course, bike rides!

  19. Helene says:

    Oh my goodness, this looks like such a lovely bike path! I’ll have to find one near me that’s as pretty as this one!

    xo, Helene

    1. reesespeaks says:

      Thanks Helene! I love hitting the bike paths. There is so much to see and do along them

  20. Cara says:

    Looks like a beautiful place. Love the picture of the kids in the bike buggy.

    1. reesespeaks says:

      Thanks Cara! They were beginning to get upset because we were not moving yet. They love being pulled along behind my other half’s bike for a longer ride

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