Scotiabank Ottawa Half Marathon Sightseeing Tour (2016 Edition)
Running the 2016 Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon? Click here for your course tour!
The Scotiabank Ottawa Half Marathon course takes runners on a nice 21.1km tour of the Nation’s Capital including the Rideau Canal, Dow’s Lake, Lebreton Flats, Gatineau and the Alexandra Bridge. Here’s a few spots to look out for along the way.
Elgin Street (0.4km)
From the start, runners head south down Elgin Street and the Rideau Canal. That’s the opposite direction from the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon route, so if you are out to see friends off for their race, don’t be surprised when you line up on the other side of the start line. Elgin features some nice shops and restaurants, and the crowds will be out early to cheer you on as you start your race.
Rideau Canal (2.5km)
Not long after the start, you’ll hit Queen Elizabeth Drive and the Rideau Canal. Enjoy the views to your left and imagine what it looks like in the winter when the canal is transformed into the world’s longest skating rink. The be thankful that it isn’t -25ºC on race day.
Dow’s Lake (5km)
Look to your left as you sweep around the edge of Dow’s Lake, a man-made lake that’s part of the Rideau Canal system. The big building next to the lake is Dow’s Lake Pavilion. A good “did you know” fact is that the O-Train Trillium Line runs underneath Dow’s Lake in a tunnel.
Wellington St. W. (7.5km)
This quaint village setting is lovely to run through with shops and restaurants lining the street here. Expect good spectator support while you do a little mid-race sightseeing yourself. Resist the temptation to stop for a coffee and pastry!
Scott St. (9.8km)
Look left along Scott St. for the easy-to-spot tower of the Ottawa Mosque. Shortly after you pass the mosque, you’ll turn left, crossing over the Transitway and towards Gatineau, Quebec.
Canadian War Museum (13km)
Look to your left as you pass this spectacular museum dedicated to Canada’s military history. Built in 2005, it’s drawn praise for it’s sustainable design including a green roof and architectural features that are meant to evoke a bunker. If you’re staying in Ottawa for a few days after the Race Weekend, put a visit to the Canadian War Museum on your must-see list.
Chaudière Bridge (13.8km)
Across the bridge into Quebec we go. The Ottawa Half Marathon is unique in that it takes place in two provinces! Make sure to look left over the bridge for a view of the Chaudière (Cauldron) Falls. It’s quite the sight! Over the next few years, this area will be transformed into Zibi, a world-class sustainable community and redevelopment project.
Alexandra Bridge (16.5km)
Some of the most spectacular views of the entire race are here. To your right before you get on the bridge is the Canadian Museum of History. Then once you cross the bridge, look to your right and up the river bank for a stunning view of the Library of Parliament and the Peace Tower. The Library of Parliament survived a fire that destroyed the Centre Block of the Parliament in 1916.
US Embassy and Major’s Hill Park (17.4km)
As you climb up from the Alexandra Bridge towards Wellington St., the US Embassy will be on your left, with Major’s Hill Park on your right. The park is home to events year round, including Canada Day festivities and was named for Major Daniel Bolton who was the Superintending Engineer of the Rideau Canal and lived on-site in a residence that was destroyed by fire in 1848.
Shaw Centre and Marathoners (18km)
On your left is the gleaming glass facade of the Shaw Centre which is the home to the Ottawa Race Weekend Expo where you picked up your race kit. This is also the point on the course where the marathon and half marathon routes come together so be sure to give some words of encourage to the marathoners that you’ll be running alongside. Who knows, maybe you’ll get inspired to come back next year and run the full marathon yourself!
Pretoria Bridge (19.9km)
The turn for home! Heading over the Rideau now and you make the u-turn over the Pretoria Bridge and the north towards the finish. Expect the crowd to start to swell here. Look to your right for views across the canal at all the runners on the other side that you are ahead of. Give yourself a pat on the back if it’s your first half – you’ll be done soon!
The Finish (21km)
The crowds here will be nuts, pushing you to the finish. It’s the greatest finish line anywhere in Canada. Draw energy from the crowd as you push through the last 200m to collect your half marathon medal!