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Explore Ottawa on the run!

Noel Paine was born on the east coast in Halifax, but he’s lived in Ottawa for more than a decade. A running fanatic, he’s been involved in the discipline since the age of 12. The track and long-distance runner has participated in a significant number of marathons, including Boston’s famous one; run in ultramarathons as well as in the Grand Canyon, and now enjoys race walking as well. He knows the streets of Ottawa and its surroundings like the back of his hand, including all its little secrets. Here, his suggested routes allow us to discover the city from every angle.

Departing from Le Germain Hotel Ottawa

I love running here, starting from the heart of downtown Ottawa, just steps from the renowned Rideau Centre shopping mall and the Rideau Canal. The city’s beauty never gets old—nor does the speed at which I can shift from one environment to another.

For instance, a run of barely 5km treats me to a multitude of stunning viewpoints that allow me to appreciate Ottawa's unique location: at the water's edge, bordering Quebec, between urban and rural.

From the hotel, I head up Dalhousie Street to Rideau (the main thoroughfare), then continue along Dalhousie past the local boutiques and on to the interprovincial bridge that traverses the Ottawa River. Now I’m on the Gatineau (Quebec) side: turning left after the bridge, I follow the trails through Jacques Cartier Park (2.25 km) until I reach Alexandra Bridge (3.25 km). Nearby is the Canadian Museum of History, whose curvaceous architecture reminds me of waves, or the ripples in a riverbed.

I run along the wood pedestrian/bike path that follows the bridge and catch a glimpse of Canada's Parliament Hill. Near the bridge’s exit (4 km), I pass close to the incredible National Gallery of Canada. From the bridge I take St. Patrick Street, go back onto Rideau Street, turn left onto Dalhousie… and I’m back at the hotel!

For a 10k, I love going along the Rideau Canal: there’s a paved, mixed-use path, I hardly need to stop, it's quiet, and the view is spectacular. From the hotel I hang a left to Daly Street, then go left again on Nicholas Street. There I pass by the National Defense headquarters—a place I know well, since I moved here because of my job in the air force.

I turn right onto the Laurier Avenue Bridge. From there, I have the option of taking either the stairs or a path down to a trail that follows along the Rideau Canal. I run 5 kilometers to the Bronson Avenue Bridge (at the mouth of Dow’s Lake, where the canal widens). At that point I either turn around and run back, or I go to the other side of the canal and cross at the Laurier Bridge to return to the hotel.

-> Strava route (5 km)

Departing from Alt Hotel Ottawa

Here again, I have some fun over on the Quebec side: it's really a classic midday route. Lots of people leave their offices in the city’s business core, where Alt Hotel Ottawa is located, to do this loop or part of it. I'm rarely alone when I run it and I enjoy exchanging nods with fellow joggers.

I turn right out of the hotel and head to Bank Street (0.45km), a great place to dine and shop. This is where you’ll find Sports4, the oldest running boutique in Ottawa. I turn right onto Bank Street and run to Wellington Street (with the Bank of Canada Museum on the corner). On the other side of the street, I veer left and pass the Confederation Building and the Supreme Court of Canada. I often get the feeling I’m running through the heart of everything that has shaped the history of this country.

I continue on to the Pretoria Bridge and savour the superb view of the Ottawa River, above the green space of Victoria Island (1.55 km). Here I can stop for a little break if I want, before aiming towards Gatineau (Quebec).

At the end of the bridge, I take a paved path on the right (2 km) that leads to a quiet riverside trail near the Canadian Museum of History. Then I head up to the Alexandra Bridge (3.25 km) where there’s a wooden pedestrian/bike path. From here, you have a great view of Ottawa and Parliament. On the other side, I turn right into Major's Hill Park (4 km) and follow the trail, enjoying a side view of Parliament and the Ottawa Locks before climbing the stairs to Rideau Street (4.85 km).

Finally, I turn right on Rideau (which becomes Wellington), pass the Houses of Parliament and the Centenary Flame, and retrace my route to the hotel by going back to Bank Street and turning left on Slater Street (5.5 km).

-> Strava route (5 km)

The 10 km route is a delightful path of discovery through several Ottawa neighbourhoods. I turn right out of the hotel and run to Bank Street, then take a left. There I encounter a row of charming local boutiques before heading down to Somerset (0.6 km), in the vicinity of Ottawa's LGBTQ neighbourhood. I turn right, go back up Somerset and pass Dundonald Park (1 km) and a building where some fascinating episodes of espionage took place (in the park you’ll find a plaque that tells the story; it's worth stopping to read it).

I pass beneath the arch that marks the entrance to Chinatown (1.3 km) and make my way through a changing landscape that reminds me every time of the cultural richness of this country. About 3 kilometres in, I arrive in Hintonburg and a marked shift in ambiance, thanks to the area’s trendy atmosphere. The street name then changes to Wellington. The return point of my route is just after Island Park Drive and the 5 km mark is near Hilson Avenue. Here I have a choice: I can turn around and go back by the same route, or run to Island Park Drive, turn left and go down to Scott Street, follow that back into the city centre via Albert and Slater Streets, and arrive at the hotel… with a little over 10km under my belt through the heart of this beautiful city!

-> Strava route (10 km)

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Germain HôtelsJune 29th, 2022
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