View Centretowner’s SXSW Cycle route in a larger map
Recently in an Images of Centretown post, the author happened to mention one of his favourite cycling shortcuts through Centretown – a simple but effective jog over from O’Connor to Lyon via Lewis, Bank, and James – a route that as the post says is “a very convenient bike route for going south-west through Centretown, because it has low traffic and few red lights”.
Even though much of my week is spend in an office building on Lewis I had never tried this route; it was as if it had been hidden in plain site all along. So last week I hopped on my bike and gave it a try, and it’s really true – it covers a lot of ground in a hurry, with little traffic and no lights, until you come to the end of the jog at Lyon.
There are some interesting Easter eggs on the route, too. The jog takes the cyclist right past the “Google Centre” of Ottawa; a backyard on James Street. To see this for yourself, just enter Ottawa, Ontario, in Google Maps, and see where the “A” pin appears. Or just click here to see what we mean.
As noted in a recent World Wide Wednesday post, artists are starting to have fun with this new version of geographical town centering; we wonder if the people at 98 James would appreciate one of these in their backyard?
Also the jog has the benefit of terminating at the beautifully-preserved “Hollywood Parade”, a 19th century row of heritage townhomes that is well worth seeing if you’ve missed it before in your explorations of Centretown. The wonderful structure is well-loved in the neighbourhood, and could serve as an object lesson to our current generation of condo-erecting developers. Will their buildings be so warmly regarded 120 years hence?
One more architectural gem is just one block farther west, at 178 James – a sumptuous, veranda-studded, saffron-stuccoed, Frances Sullivan “dacha” built in 1915. For the full view, be sure go around the corner and see the Bay Street frontage.
Do you have any bike shortcuts that make the journey more pleasant or more interesting than the usual “beaten path”? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section, or tweet us at @spacingottawa.