by Maryam Siddiqi

One hundred and fifty years ago this July 1, the British North America Act kicked in, creating the country of Canada. Sure, it’s a humble origin story, but it’s, of course, quintessentially Canadian in many ways. For your Canada 150, dear Canadian cyclists, why not try something slightly ambitious. Mark the occasion with a 150-km ride: one click for each year of Confederation. If you are in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Quebec City, Vancouver or Charlottetown, the routes below have you covered. Riders in those respective cities charted things out for you. If you’ll be riding in another fantastic locale in this big country on Canada Day, use these rides to inspire your own 150-km jaunt on two wheels.

Canada 150 ride for Ottawa

Canada 150 ride for Ottawa

Canada 150 ride for Ottawa

Ride Stats and Facts

Elevation gain: 923 m
Provinces included: 2
Border crossings: 5
Cultural institutions on the route: 5

Buildings that, at one time, could withstand a five-megaton nuclear blast from 1.8-km away: 1
A visit to the Ottawa region is a must this year. This ride will take you past some of the country’s most iconic architecture and historic points in both Ontario and Quebec. This loop—designed by Kris Westwood, a former professional cyclist and longtime navigator of the streets and routes in the capital city—starts and ends at the Parliament Buildings in downtown Ottawa. Begin at the Centennial Flame, in front of Parliament, which was first lit on Jan. 1, 1967 to mark Canada’s centennial. Then pass the War Memorial, cycle along the Rideau Canal, pass TD Place Stadium, home of the 2016 Grey Cup champion Redblacks, and 24 Sussex Drive. Using the bike lane on the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge, head into Quebec and follow the Gatineau River. The ride goes through the community of Chelsea—home to the fantastic restaurant Les Fougères, which has a gourmet food shop adjacent if you want to pick up a tourtiere for post-ride nourishment – toward Meech Lake and past Pink Lake before crossing back into Ontario. Cycle through Carp Village, home to the Diefenbunker, and Alice’s Village Café at Kilometre 97, a great place for a refreshment break, says Westwood. The route eventually hits the Trans Canada Trail, a railway turned gravel pathway, and the Ottawa River pathway before you cross back and forth between the Ontario and Quebec borders a couple more times, passing the acclaimed cultural sites of the Canadian War Museum, the Canadian Museum of History, the National Gallery and the Canadian Museum of Nature. And from there you’re 1 km back to Parliament Hill and the day’s finish line. (Download the Canada 150 route for Ottawa, care of Kris Westwood, for your bike computer.)

Canada 150 ride for Winnipeg

Canada 150 ride for Winnipeg

Canada 150 ride for Winnipeg

Ride Stats and Facts

Elevation gain: 643 m
Red and Assiniboine River crossings: 5
Canadian cyclocross championships held at The Forks: 2
Polar bears: 9

“This is a low-stress ride that touches all four major parks—St. Vital, Assiniboine, Kildonan and Kilcona—and pretty much all corners of the city,” says Mark Cohoe, executive director of Bike Winnipeg, a cycling advocacy group in Manitoba’s capital city. The ride begins and ends at The Forks, one of the city’s most famous public spaces, and home to the Forks Market, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Winnipeg Railway Museum. Spot spirit carvings in Bois-des-Esprits Park (at around the 12.5-km mark) en route to some trails along the Red River. Pass through the University of Manitoba campus, before heading north to Assiniboine Park—an ideal place for a pit stop and some polar bear watching at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. Loop out near the edge of town before heading back, via the Yellow Ribbon Greenway Trail, toward the core and up over the rail line—a great place to stop for a view the city. Ride around the edge of the Garden City neighbourhood before heading to Kildonan Park and hopping on another of the Red River’s riverside trails. “The path on the west side of the Red River is flood prone near the Redwood Bridge, so you may have to detour,” Cohoe advises. Cross to the other side of the river and head up and around to Kilcona Park, then back into the city. The last leg of the ride takes you through the heart of the city. Cibo, a waterfront restaurant with park and riverside views, is a good spot to enjoy a well-deserved end-of-ride meal. (Download the Canada 150 route for Winnipeg for your bike computer.)

RELATED The top 10 climbs in Canada for road cyclists

Canada 150 ride for Quebec City

Canada 150 ride for Quebec City

Canada 150 ride for Quebec City

Ride Stats and Facts

Elevation gain: 1,104 m
Riders from Cap Rouge who have ridden the Tour de France: 1 (David Veilleux)
Award-winning directors from Deschambault: 1 (Denys Arcand)
Editions of Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec to date: 7

This waterfront, out-and-back route, begins and ends at the Promenade Samuel-De Champlain, just outside Quebec City’s core. The park, which stretches just more than 4 km, was a gift to the city from the provincial government in 2008 in celebration of the provincial capital’s 400th birthday. Louis Carpentier, director of La Route Verte development for Vélo Québec, an association that promotes cycling in the province, recommends this ride. “It’s just beautiful. It’s a fabulous postcard for the region,” he says. After the Promenade Samuel-De Champlain, turn in from the water a bit and pass more parkland in the community of Cap-Rouge: Plage-Jacques Cartier and Nautique de Cap-Rogue parks. Wind along the St. Lawrence, through the historic small villages of Le Calvaire, Neuville (home to the Marais-Léon-Provancher nature reserve), Donnacona and Deschambault before arriving in Grondines. The turn point is just after the stunning Saint-Charles-Borromée Church. A peek inside is worth it if the church is open when you arrive. Natural light illuminates the white and gold ornamentation. Mark the halfway point at Le Pop Café, a kitschy dépanneur and café that is a gathering point for locals. Return to the city via the same route, enjoy the waterfront views. If you still have some energy when you return to the Promenade Samuel-De Champlain, follow Champlain Boulevard 5 km more to get to the historic battlefield of the Plains of Abraham. ((Download the Canada 150 route for Quebec City for your bike computer.).)

Canada 150 ride for Vancouver

Canada 150 ride for Vancouver

Canada 150 ride for Vancouver

Ride Stats and Facts

Elevation gain: 5,291 m
Steepest grade: 26.7 per cent
Year B.C. joined Confederation: 1871
Age of Stanley Park on Sept. 27, 2017: 129

You’d expect climbs when cycling in Vancouver, so why not embrace elevation gain fully by tackling this variation on the city’s famed Triple Crown—a ride that takes you up Mount Seymour, Grouse Mountain and Cypress Mountain. Sebastian Salas, co-owner of Musette Tours, which specializes in custom cycling experiences in Vancouver, has created this route, which starts and ends at the cycling-friendly Musette Caffé. After a quick warm-up across the Burrard Street Bridge for a loop through the Kitsilano neighbourhood, ride along Sunset Beach Park and English Bay up to and through Stanley Park, up the east side passing the rose garden and Beaver Lake. Past the Lions Gate Bridge, ride up Capilano Road alongside the park of the same name until Montroyal Boulevard, where you turn right to head east across the top of North Vancouver and around the western periphery of Mountain Forest to the first big climb at Mount Seymour. It’s a 12.2-km climb—”the most challenging of the Triple Crown,” says Salas. On the way down, reward yourself with a fuelling stop at Bean Around the World in Parkgate Village. Then, retrace your pedalling, heading back west toward Capilano Road. Take in the stellar views of downtown Vancouver, before a short climb up to the base of Grouse Mountain. On the Cleveland Dam, stop for some B.C. beauty with views of the water reservoir and surrounding mountains. Head west to the bottom of Cypress Mountain. You face 10.5-km of climbing, but Salas advises that 3 km up, there’s a great vantage point worth stopping for. “You can see all of Vancouver including Stanley Park and U.B.C.” Once you make it to the top, it’s a descent back into the city, through West Vancouver neighbourhoods and the west side of Stanley Park, ending back downtown at Musette Caffé for well-deserved refreshments. (Download the Canada 150 route for Vancouver for your bike computer.)

RELATED Everesting in Canada: Climbing 8,848 m on five iconic Canadian inclines

Canada 150 ride for Charlottetown

Canada 150 ride for Charlottetown

Canada 150 ride for Charlottetown

Ride Stats and Facts

Elevation gain: 1,321 m
Fathers of Confederation who attended the Charlottetown Conference in 1864: 23
Yearly visitors to Green Gables Heritage Place: More than 125,000

It’s only right that this ride starts and ends steps from Confederation Landing Park, a highlight of Charlottetown’s waterfront and parkland that marks the site of the landing of the Fathers of Canada’s Confederation in 1864. Mark Carr-Rollitt, who was part of the team that launched the GranFondo PEI, designed this ride and says it’s both beautiful and challenging. “There is not a lot of elevation on the route, but there are plenty of rollers in the countryside,” he says. Hug the water and head through Victoria Park, before going north toward New Glasgow to cycle across the island. Pass through New Glasgow, home to the idyllic Garden of Hope, and then continue northwest toward the island’s north coast, passing farms and roadside stands filled with fresh produce. At Cavendish Road, turn right and cycle through the famed Green Gables – it wouldn’t be a visit to Prince Edward Island without a stop here – and up to Gulf Shore Parkway West for some oceanside cycling and sightings of the province’s famed red dunes. Get your camera out for another vista in North Rustico Harbour, then get pedalling again eastward on the island. You’ll get more waterside cycling on Gulf Shore Parkway East, before heading south through small towns and back across the Hillsborough Bridge to downtown Charlottetown. (Download the Canada 150 route for Charlottetown for your bike computer.)


Related

2 Comments

Leave a Reply