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The original name of the Ottawa River was Kitchi Zibi (big river) has it is know in Algonquin. It is 1270 Km long, the river takes its source at Lake Capimitchigama and takes you to the Saint-Lawrence river near Montreal. It is a big river and has waterfalls larger than Niagara, many rapids and in some parts forms large lakes.

At Ottawa below the cliffs of the Capital you can take a river cruise and this is what we did yesterday. It is very nice and so quiet on the river, difficult to believe that a city of one million is up there on those cliffs. Every effort has been made to preserve the green aspect of the surrounding area. Not to mention the National parks which extend to the river and go up into the Gatineau Hills. The park extends around the Gatineau river on the Quebec (North) side of the Ottawa river.

We also got up close to the Rideau River Falls which are at the mouth of the Rideau river (146 km long) which crosses for 10Km the Capital before going into a series of lakes and more waterfalls and the rural area.

The cruise boat docks at the foot of Parliament Hill and you reach it by walking down the stone staircase along the 8 locks of the Rideau Canal. From the bottom of the hill if you look up you will see the Gothic Spire of the Library of Parliament amongst the trees.

Here are some photos of what we saw on this river cruise.


The 8 locks from the Ottawa River up to the canal waterway. Nowadays it is mainly pleasure boats travelling on the river and on the Canal.

Ottawa river

The Ottawa River looking towards Montreal and the St-Lawrence River 157 Km down river.

canal locks

View on the Ottawa River the entrance to the Rideau Canal system, the first gate to climb up to the canal above. The Castle on the left is the Chateau Laurier Hotel (1912) and the hill on the right is Parliament. The boats dock just to the right out of sight here. The Rideau Canal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage. Built 182 years ago by Colonel John By, Royal Engineer. It stretches all the way to Kingston, Ontario some 202 Km away. It is one of the great engineering feat of North America.

library roof

The top of the Library of Parliament in the afternoon sunlight around 3:30 pm, the Sun is in the West.

NGC roof

View of the National Gallery of Canada dome designed by Moshe Safdie to mirror the form of the Library of Parliament on the opposite hill. The idea being that one is a Library with rare books and the other a library with art, both bring knowledge.

Parl hill view

A view of Parliament Hill, the Central block is currently under renovation, the first since  1919. It is said to last at least until 2028. Complicated work given the numerous architectural details and sculptures, stained glass windows etc.

ottawa general

general view of the City of Ottawa, the Rideau Falls so named by Samuel De Champlain in 1613. When the Algonquin guided him up the river from the St-Lawrence. Rideau is a French word meaning curtain. The Rideau river cuts through the City from North to South with parks and quiet residential neighbourhoods all along.

falls rideau

The Rideau Falls, if you follow the road to the left of this photo, you will arrive in the neighbourhood of New Edinburgh, Rideau Hall, Rockcliffe Park, a very exclusive area of the City.

Gatineau hills

The view across the river, the City of Gatineau and the Gatineau Park in the Province of  Quebec. The Ottawa River is a border between the two provinces, Quebec and Ontario.

History museum

Across from Parliament Hill, the City of Gatineau formerly known as Hull. With the Museum of Canadian History formerly Civilization, and the Alexandra Bridge. The architecture of the museum designed by Douglas Cardinal is inspiring. The site has been a meeting point for the Algonquin for thousands of years and the museum reflects the link with this indigenous people. The outside walls are clad in fossil stone.

gatineau river

Gatineau River mouth on the Pointe Gatineau seen from the Ottawa river. The river is named after a lumberjack/logger Nicolas Gatineau who drown while working the logs floating down the river in 1700. His family lives on in the region. This river was used until 1985 as a road to bring down the logs from the lumber camps. Large paper mills still function further down on the Ottawa river though no more logs are being floated, it is now a vast new forest with cottages here and there.


US amb house

The Rockcliffe Boat house and restaurant, above the Residence of the US Ambassador once in 1880 the house of a lumber baron.

 ottawa hull view

Panorama view of Ottawa on the left and the City of Gatineau on the right. Gatineau or old Hull, has the second largest Office complex in the world housing government services, Place du Portage c.1979, the other is in Moscow.

24 sussex

The stone mansion in the centre is 24 Sussex Drive the Official Residence of the Prime Minister. Hopefully a new tenant will arrive after 19 October. The house with the dark green roof on the right is the Official Residence of the Ambassador of France.

hill parlement

Another view of Parliament hill, the building are cladded in tarpaulin to facilitate the cleaning of the stone and the replacement of the copper roof and cleaning of the wrought iron decorative elements. The architectural style of the building is called Canadian Gothic, not heavy like Victorian Gothic.

west block reno

The West block of Parliament which is being revealed renovated with a new shiny copper roof and stone work cleaned, a first since 1864. Quite beautiful to look at, completion of the work inside should be done by 2017. The House of Commons will sit in this building while the Central block is completely renovated.

All in all it was a very nice day on the river, gives a new perspective of the river and the City.