Friday, August 03, 2012

Travelling (Running) Ottawa Part 2

My previous entry on Ottawa here has apparently made a friend or two that used to study there remember the city. I am glad the write up and photos sort of brought them back to their university days. Carrying on from that entry, as promised, is another major photo posting. This time, photos I've captured while running Ottawa.
Believe me when i say that the best way to know a new place is by running or cycling. As i was devoid of a bicycle (though i can rent one), I decided to let my feet bring me around Ottawa. As some of you following the series would know that i arrived Ottawa on Monday July 9, 2012. Because of the time differences and unable to sleep, i went for a run at midnight.
Day 1 : 5km Midnight run
I ran without my camera that night as i did not expect to see much things in darkness. But i was surprised that the streets were pretty much lighted up and i actually felt safe. Evidence of people still waiting for public buses past midnight sort of tell me that the place should be safe to run past midnight. Also, the air was getting chilly and it felt like a 20degreeC from how my fingers felt numb after the 5km run. I ran in smaller loops around the block after 3km as i was (yes) afraid i might get lost. Thinking back, it will be impossible as long as your sense of direction is OK. That was also when i learnt about the "block" concept; where a block typically meant a block of building demarcated by two streets intersection. Essentially, i ran around a 6x5 block. :) Details of the run per below.
I slept almost like a baby soon after at about 1am. As the sleep was like an "afternoon nap" back home, i was awake by 5am. Since i was not expected to be ready for breakfast until 8am, i decided to chart another run.
Day 1: 15++km run Along Rideau Canal
Here comes my favourite part of the run. Knowing the legacy of Rideau Canal as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. I know from the time the trip was confirmed, that i should chart a run along the Canal to see what it is all about. Rideau in French meant "curtain". 
Run Route!
According to Wikipedia : The name Rideau Canal is derived from the curtain-like appearance of the Rideau River's twin waterfalls where they join the Ottawa River. The canal was opened in 1832 as a precaution in case of war with the United States and is still in use today, with most of its original structures intact. The canal system uses sections of major rivers, including the Rideau and the Cataraqui, as well as some lakes. It is the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America, and in 2007 it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage SiteIt is operated today by Parks Canada as a recreational waterway. The locks on the system open for navigation in mid-May and close in mid-October.
Below is the details of the 15++K run.
Running the route has it's perks, big time. Not only i was exposed to what typical Ottawa citizens does at 6am in the morning, i get to enjoy super fresh air and cool 15degreeC weather. I did not sweat until i complete the first fast 5km. Enjoy some of the photos and captions below. I was a tourist let loose - on the RUN, literally.
Running into the Sunrise - but that's the wrong direction!
One of the Church i ran past
Also known as the Golden Triangle. This building and surrounding houses the Government of Ontario, Courthouses and Land offices
City Hall. The high structure on the top is actually bells that chime every hour.

Closer look at the bells

Running past the Golden Triangle, i cross the street and reached Rideau Canal

How it looked like from the bridge on the top. You can see running and cycling/commuting path well laid out on both sides.
Rideau Canal is about 202km long if the river way are included. The portion that i ran can be completed in a 16km loop. This same loop actually turns into the world largest skating rink during winter. Yes, you read me right, In winter, the water are reduced by about 10feet and the left over water are left to freeze. This will create a long skating rink of at least 8km long - one way! 
Personal yacht - truly elite
Reminded me of CSI:Miami
Nice, with a movable platform for the bike for immediate landing on the wooden boardwalk
Pretty Yachts All In A Row
See, not even sweating! Sorry for the less than friendly face, was cold, shivering.
I realised that wearing a sleeveless running vest puts me directly as a tourist. Most runners i noticed wore sleeves or long sleeves due to the cold chilly air. I guess it was that obvious and the camera ain't helping
Big adjoining park along the canal to walk your dogs, or let your dogs walk you
Campus of University of Ottawa
Seagulls aplenty, though there is no SEA in Ottawa. The Ontario lake is so huge it look/feel like sea!
Imagine this as a Skating Rink
See, locals run with sleeve running-t. Tourist in bright orange sleeveless vest
Or wear a sleeve -T over a vest.
The other side of the Canal where residential houses were These are century old houses too!
House that is a legacy. Cool
Since 1912!
It was a very pleasant feeling to know that some of these old houses are well maintained and still has people staying inside them. Unlike most 3rd World Country where legacies such as these were replaced by modern looking home with no character.
Old building in Modern world charm
I soon ran past this bridge, which was built many years ago catering for steam boat that rides up the canal. The bridge is still functioning today and it can be raised up to allow larger boats passing under it.
The middle section is movable.
Here you go. From near.
signage explaining the reason for the bridge
Lt. Col. John By sure contributed a lot to Ottawa

Photos showing how the locks and bridges work
I've fascination of the squirrels in Ottawa as well. They are larger than what I've seen in Malaysia and comes in two color - Brown and Black. Attempt to get a closer pic of them failed as they were human shy and fast.
That's a Squirrel!
Nicely paved.

water station along the canal. You don't need to bring water for run
OK. Bad photo of me sweating and struggling. Really China man
So, after i U-turned at the historic bridge and had a sip of water, I turned back towards town centre. I ran past the same yachts and went under the bridge to find some river cruise boats parked along the canal. Now i wish i had the time to hop onto one of them for sightseeing minus the running type.
Long Boat - Ottawa Style
As i ran past the boat and under another bridge, i came out right at the Rideau Canal's Lock that i photographed the day before.
The locks are still manually controlled. Coolness. Modernisation doesn't meant destroying heritage for automation.
Wheels to open up the locks
The canal's water level are pretty much controlled from this first lock

So, if a boat wants to get to the Ontario Lake, it has to wait for water to fill up the second lock, so it can slide into this, while the third lock fills up. Process repeat for the 6 locks until the boat is safely down at the Lake.

Not sure what it is, i supposed is the Lock's controller's office.

Looking back up is the Iconic Chateau Laurier

The 6th Lock
Looking towards the Lake is Quebec City
OK, a lil less tired look. 
I was surprised that the running route or commuting route will take me along the lake passing by the back of the Parliament Hill and a few other notable landmark such as the Archive and also Museum that resides by the lake.
Scenic - i can do this everyday
Sun at 7am.
The metal bridge connecting Ottawa and Quebec City was pretty iconic too. 
Quebec City with more high rise and also hint of industrialisation with those power plants
Most people in/around Ottawa commutes daily on the bicycle to work. Dedicated lanes like how you have seen in most of the photos above can stretch as far and as long as 20km away. It is possible for someone to commute daily and get a good workout. What impressed me much was that they casted a small tunnel-like structure (which resembled an inverted U-culvert) as protection for cyclists/commuters as the cliff might be subjected to rock-slide or landslide like the photo below.
Looking back 2km running by the lake. 
Further up, i noticed that a section of the lake/river way has been turned into some canoe sports slalom course.
No, this is not for hanging pirates.
Further up the canal
A control station resides at the end, which dictates to what grade these "white water" will be for the sports.

I got lost for a while due to "unplanned run to this far out of Ottawa" and luckily, there were sufficient signage to guide me. I saw that there could be a dam that opens up from Ottawa River to the Ontario Lake and was enticed by the "waterfall" like feature and decided to run across the bridge that overlook the dam.
Yellow lines is the paved commuting lane. Dotted yellow is gravel or sidewalk road. Red is traffic road. I want to run across the river
I got to the edge of the park and was standing near the National War Museum - a sign i was on the right road.
Ottawa love their Firemen, this badly taken photo was a tribute to them, apart from another one at City hall building
Can we in Malaysia have this too?
Running across the river, i was disappointed that i heard no rushing water sound - an indication that the dam was not opened.
Not sure what those pontoons were for, rubbish trap perhaps.
I ran past this bridge linking Ottawa and Quebec City
Original since 1828! Coolness!
10km in 1:11. Nice. This is plus sightseeing and all the photos above!
Since i was already that far, i though why not run across and check Quebec City a bit?
Quebec City. Yeap, I ran all the way from Ottawa ;-)
I then entered the park on the Quebec side and chance upon this sculpture that overlook the "dam". 
Nice metal sculpture showing a boat and two wolves overlooking the Ontario Lake
I ran all the way here hoping that the dam will be opened. WOuld be a sight to see water falling!
Happy with my journey so far and i have less than 30minutes to get back and get ready for the day's meeting, i started running back again via the same way and called it a day's run of 16km! I am a happy runner!
Groundhog! Huge mudder!
The next day, i took it a bit easier and decided to walk the Rideau Canal again. Think of it as recovery walk and to catch sight of Ottawa that i might had missed out from the run.
Passing mostly what i did on the 16km - but only on the Ottawa University side.

Here are some of the photos i am sharing. Enjoy the last 7km of the walk.
Wild cheeries, not sure if edible. Dare not try.
Canal sustaining duck and duckling
Signboard for toilet even. You can see a cyclist commuting
Raven making a meal out of another bird carcass
Vandalism in First World Country - it happens
Postcard Like Scenery
Long clean well paved roads for exercising and commuting

They are pretty artsy fartsy too. This is a bronze meditating scuptulre.
Since 1966 - i am impressed, as it is STILL there.
It was a good 28km run and walk around Ottawa over 36hours. Wished i had more time and chances to explore the city better. I've charted a few runs but failed to followed any of them as nothing beats the curiousity that will guide the body and soul to see what they wanted to see. Ottawa is truly beautiful place to be in the Summer. With longer daylight and nice weather, with good link of roads for commuting and running, with a lot of sights and fresh air to see and smell, i hope one day i will return to this place for more run. I hope you enjoyed this as much as i posted this!


  1. Does Ottawa have a total population of 5? Where are all the people? Hahah.

    Nice pictures and coverage Stupe. Makes us want to visit there someday. Hmm... Ironman Canada maybe? Haha.

  2. Kev - you were almost right! they maybe have 7! ;-)

    Anyway, yes, the place (Ottawa) is really nice and quiet and many places are reachable within an hour drive (countryside).

    IM Canada is at British Columbia. That area i did not visit. :) Maybe one day.

  3. I always pack my running shoes when I travel as well! Exploring new routes, getting to know the people. It also gives you a different take on your surroundings (as opposed to drivinglah).

    Very little people hor Canada? :P

  4. UnkaLeong - haha! Yes, not many people in Ottawa! I wonder where they are. Maybe in SUmmer they all went for holiday somewhere, likely in Malaysia!

    Running is the best way to look around. Lately, i been getting the itch to get a foldable bike and bring it along when i travel!