Participants should feel comfortable cycling on city streets as there are few bike paths along the route. Note that the portion of the ride along Riverside Drive will be on the bike path.
There is one significant hill on the route going up from Riverside Drive to the neighbourhood of the estate.
Cycle along with us as we guide you through one of Ottawa’s earliest suburban neighbourhoods – Alta Vista. On this leisurely ride, you will discover some of the historic landmarks and landscapes that shaped this community from its beginning in 1812 to the present day while learning about the lives and accomplishments of members of the Billings family.
Please note: This is a bike tour, not a walking tour. The tour is approximately 7.5 km total. Participants must bring their own bike and safety equipment.
Registration required: Participants will be limited to 20 people, so please contact the museum at 613-247-4830 or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot.
Billings Estate National Historic Site is an 8.5-acre historic site located in the Alta Vista neighbourhood in Ottawa. The main feature of the site is the 3-storey house, built in 1829 for the Billings family, which contains a museum consisting of four permanent exhibit spaces and two temporary exhibit spaces. Six outbuildings, gardens, ample park space and a pioneer cemetery are also present on the site, which is the final remnant of a 1,400-acre farm. The original Billings farmstead was the first permanent settlement of the former Gloucester Township but the once-rural estate was overrun in the mid-20th century by the city’s urban expansion. The site is a unique reminder of the past located in the urban core.
The tour will start on the ground of the Billings Estate and make its way northeast along the Rideau River following Riverside Drive. We will then return to Billings Avenue, head east to Fairbanks Avenue, and then west along Kilborn Avenue. After a stop at the river near Billings Bridge, riders will return to the museum where they are encouraged to tour the exhibits.
Brahm Lewandowski is a curator at the Billings Estate National Historic Site.