The tour will be mostly on recreational pathways.
The NCC multi-use paths along Ottawa’s waterfronts are a real treasure for Ottawa residents—and also for the tourists who are able to find them. But they are not well marked, not consistently identified as trails, and it is not uncommon in the summer to find sweaty tourists lost on the Western Parkway staring at maps with no idea where they are, or where they are going.
But in this bike tour, local storyteller and community activist DenVan asks: what if we could mark key central paths on the Ottawa River and Rideau Canal with a regular series of themed “Touchstone Places”? These small plazas or parklets would provide distance markers and directional signage for walkers, runners, and cyclists, but could also enliven the path system by creating interesting gathering spots, and provide a chance to highlight themes and tell stories about the Capital’s history and growth.
Along the way, DenVan will highlight some lesser known tales of our history that will surprise even Ottawa natives—epic tales of battles, betrayal, incredible heroism, and even a bit of well-deserved cannibalism. And he swears that (at least most of) these stories are completely true.
From our starting point at the Queen Elizabeth Driveway at Patterson Creek and the Canal, we'll ride north to the Ottawa River pathway and follow it west to the Champlain Bridge.
Dennis Van Staalduinen is a Local Storyteller, community activist, and co-founder of the Champlain Oaks Project. He loves discovering the hidden connections between cities, stories, and history. His walks of previous years have been well-attended and well received. He will also be a presenter at Jane's Talk at Arts Court on May 1 (see Jane's Walk home page for details).