Ottawa is a great city for outdoor activities. On my solo trip to Ottawa I chose an overcast day to walk from Wellington West to Dows Lake and along the Rideau Canal to the Ottawa Locks near Parliament Hill. I wanted to visit the Rideau Canal since I was a kid in Calgary Alberta. I wanted to go ice skating on the Rideau Canal because I saw video clips on the news every winter and it looked so beautiful. Now that I’ve lived in Austin Texas for over 15 years the thought of winter frightens me a little. I still think it would be fun to skate the Rideau Canal on a not-too-freezing-cold winter day.
Walking from Wellington West neighborhood I saw plenty of flowers.
Closer to Dows Lake I saw an adorable little chipmunk scampering around the park looking for a place to hide his treasure. I hadn’t seen a chipmunk in ages – we don’t have them around Austin. When I lived in Calgary I used to see chipmunks whenever I went camping in Banff National Park. I had forgotten how cute they are!
I had intended on going kayaking or canoeing on Dows Lake but the strong wind gusts out on the lake convinced me otherwise and I stuck with walking along the shore.
I did enjoy watching Crosby jumping from the dock to rescue his tennis ball.
Dows Lake was around a third of the way for my walk from Wellington West to the Ottawa Locks – I started out in Wellington West neighborhood – my fingertip on the top left of the map points it out. It was just over 3 km to Dows Lake. There were several maps along the pathway I walked – useful for the directionally challenged individuals like me!
I loved watching the ducks along Dows Lake and the Rideau Canal – they were so animated and amused me for a good while. I was pleased to see signs posted asking people to NOT feed the birds and help keep the wildlife wild.
I continued on my walk east of Dows Lake and followed the Rideau Canal to central Ottawa. The roses had finished blooming leaving behind colorful rose hips except for one lone pink bloom.
There were all sorts of lichen on the trees – pretty colors! Also some interesting insects.
The Rideau Canal pathway is a busy place for outdoor enthusiasts – I saw people cycling, rollerblading, running and walking. I stopped to sit on a bench for a moment and there was a guy running along behind his two kids on bicycles. “We’re not stopping!!” he hollered out to them as they were about to join me on the bench.
I spotted a bunch of mushrooms growing along the pathway – I don’t know if they are the edible type but they look interesting.
There are also boats along the Rideau Canal – to get from the Ottawa River to the Rideau Canal they must pass through the set of locks at Ottawa Locks near Parliament Hill. It takes around 1.5 hours to make it through all 8 locks with a total lift of 79 feet.
I finished my walk near the Ottawa Locks just a couple of blocks from Parliament Hill. It was a perfect day to spend a few hours walking along the Rideau Canal. The total distance from Wellington West to Dows Lake and along the Rideau Canal to the Ottawa Locks was 10.5 km (6.5 miles). I rewarded myself with a tasty meal at Petit Bill’s Bistro after I took a bus back to my neighborhood of Wellington West.
Next time perhaps I’ll be brave and visit Ottawa in the winter so I can go ice skating on the Rideau Canal.
Walking is my favorite way to explore a city – how about you, what is your preferred means of exploring a city?