Ottawa is Canada’s national capital. The greater Ottawa area, which includes Gatineau, Quebec, is home to about 1 million residents. It’s a modestly sized, quiet city, with few high-rises, and countryside just a few minutes out. There’s fantastic running in Ottawa, with hundreds of km of multi-use paths looping around the city’s important sites and along the Ottawa River, the Rideau River, and the Rideau Canal. The anchor is the Capital Pathway Network, consisting of more than 100 miles of mostly paved trails linking sites, parks, and waterways in the ‘National Capital Region’, as it is known.
Running highlights in Ottawa include a tour of the main National Capital sites and important museums; lovely paths on either side of the Rideau Canal; paths along the Rideau River and the Ottawa River; the Experimental Farm Pathway near Carleton University; and trail running in Gatineau Park. Most of the running right in Ottawa is generally flat, but it becomes progressively hillier out toward Quebec and the Gatineau hills. The Ottawa River separates the Ontario and Quebec sides: eastern side is Ontario, and western side is Quebec.
Ottawa is fairly compact, so most of the iconic routes are accessible from the main downtown hotels. Public transportation consists mainly of bus routes, run by OC Transpo on the Ontario side. There is also a light rail system called the O-Train, which is currently being expanded. Note: Ottawa is among the coldest capital cities in the world. Winter is the real deal here, with lots of snow and frigid temps. Come prepared.