Scenic Parkways in Canada’s Capital Region

Photo of a cyclist and in-line skaters enjoying the Rockcliffe Parkway
Cyclists and in-line skaters enjoying exclusive access to the Rockcliffe Parkway during NOKIA Sunday Bikeday

There are over 52 kilometres of scenic parkways in Ottawa and over 38 kilometres in Gatineau Park. The parkways are gateways into Canada’s Capital Region and offer beautiful perspectives of the Capital to locals and visitors travelling by car.

Nature and shorelines are key features of the parkway system. The parkways also link important sites within the Capital, including Parliament Hill and many national museums and institutions. As such, the parkways are considered cultural landscapes.

Commercial vehicles are not permitted on the parkways. Traffic regulations on the parkway are set out in the NCC Traffic and Property Regulations.

Parkways in Ottawa

Aviation Parkway — 4.3 km (1988)

Features: The Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

Colonel By Drive — 7.9 km (1950s and 1960s)

Features: The Rideau Canal, Mooneys Bay and downtown Ottawa.

Experimental Farm Drive — 2 km (1930s)

Features: The Central Experimental Farm and the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum.

Island Park Drive — 3.5 km (1920s)

Features: The Central Experimental Farm, the Ottawa River and many embassies.

Lady Grey Drive — 0.6 km (1930s)

Features: A cliff-top view of the Ottawa River and the National Art Gallery.

Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway — 9.5 km (1961)

(Previously known as the Ottawa River Parkway)
Features: The Ottawa River and the Canadian War Museum.

Queen Elizabeth Driveway — 5.6 km (1905)

Features: The Rideau Canal, downtown Ottawa, Dows Lake, the Central Experimental Farm and Lansdowne Park.

Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway — 13.6 km (1900)

Features: Scenic lookouts by the Ottawa River, Canada Aviation and Space Museum and the Rockcliffe Village diplomatic area.

Parkways in Gatineau

Lac Philippe Road — 4.5 km (1950s)

Features: Philippe Lake, a popular spot for camping, canoeing, kayaking and swimming. In winter, the parkway becomes a cross-country ski and snowshoe trail.

Leamy Lake Parkway — 2 km (1930s)

Features: Leamy Lake Park, Leamy Lake Beach and the Casino du Lac‑Leamy.

Parkways in Gatineau Park

Champlain Parkway — 10.7 km (1959)

Features: Gatineau Park Lookouts onto the Ottawa River Valley, the Mackenzie King Estate, King Mountain and the Eardley Escarpment.

Fortune Lake Parkway — 4.4 km (1957)

Features: Access to Fortune Lake. In winter, the parkway becomes a cross-country ski trail.

Gatineau Parkway — 18.4 km (1959)

Features: Meech Lake, Camp Fortune, and Pink Lake.

Lac-des-Fées Parkway — (1950s)

Features: Access to Gatineau Park and Lac des Fées.

Alcatel-Lucent Sunday Bikedays

On Sunday mornings throughout the summer, many parkways are closed to motorized traffic for Alcatel-Lucent Sunday Bikedays. Cyclists, in-line skaters, runners and walkers can take to the streets on over 50 kilometres of the parkway system.

Races and Public Events

The parkways are sometimes used for public events such as running and cycling competitions. A permit is needed to organize an event on one of the parkways.