a peek inside the fishbowl

27 Jul, 2011

Guest post: Four Fabulous Lowertown Walks for Dogs and the People That Love Them

Posted by andrea tomkins in: dog stuff|Guest postings|Ottawa

This guest post is by Erika Cuccaro.  Erika is a freelance writer based in Ottawa (she blogs too!) who loves sharing her days with her boys – 6 month old Matteo and Cooper the Cairn Terrier. She tells me that when she’s not exploring Lowertown on foot, she’s busy writing, cooking, baking, knitting, or relaxing with her husband Joe.

Sidebar: Since her post is dog-related, I couldn’t resist this opportunity to drop in a recent photo of Piper and her BFF, Coco, who hung out at our house for awhile while her doggy parents went away. Coco looks like she’s trying to burn a hole through the box of doggie treats with her eyeballs, and Piper doesn’t look very impressed at all. Cracks me up.

Dawgsittin'

Anyway, thank you Erica for this great post about downtown doggy walks! It’s definitely inspired me to check out a few of these routes with Piper. As for the rest of you, read on!


Dog-lovers with a downtown address aren’t confined to walking their dogs in a concrete wasteland or driving to the suburbs to take advantage of the Conroy or Bruce Pits. Ottawa’s Lowertown offers boundless opportunities to stretch your furry friend’s legs while you soak up vibrant culture or peace and tranquility. The four suggestions below offer countless variations; you’ll return from your walk feeling refreshed in body, mind, and spirit.

The Urban Ramble
Enjoy the sights and sounds of Ottawa’s Byward Market while you get your daily dose of exercise. Window shop down Sussex Drive’s swanky shops and art galleries, then catch the steamy notes of live jazz as they linger beneath the Rainbow Bistro (76 Murray St.). Breathe in the rich scent of garlic bread and steak frites coming from the patios along Clarence Street. If your canine companion gets thirsty, stop at one of the many dog-friendly stores, like Paper Papier (18 Clarence St.) and Funk Your Junk (110 Parent St.) that thoughtfully put out a cool bowl of water. When you’re feeling especially indulgent, sneak a treat from the doggie cookie jar at Schad (521 Sussex Dr).

Parkland Promenade
In the mood for a more serene walk? Try Major’s Hill Park. Flanked by the Parliament Buildings, the US Embassy, the National Gallery and the Byward Market, Major’s Hill Park’s well-tended gardens surround a large field that’s often full of people playing catch, enjoying a picnic, or flying a kite. A favourite park of urban dog-walkers, Major’s Hill Park also houses rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks so dogs have lots of great smells to keep them busy. Across the street at the National Gallery (380 Sussex Dr.), your dog may be temporarily awestruck by Maman, the 30-foot spider made of bronze, stainless steel, and marble, but will soon move on to the main attraction: a wild, rocky garden artfully stark with moss, long wispy grasses and thorny bushes. Continue further up the hill behind the National Gallery and you and your furry friend will find yourselves in a two-acre park complete with lilac bushes, a view of the Ottawa River and often, other dogs to make friends with.

Government Gadabout
Who knew that Canada’s public service has so much to offer its canine citizens? At 125 Sussex Drive, the Lester B. Pearson building is HQ to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. With an enticing green front lawn and a tangle of pine trees and rose bushes in the back, your dog will follow his nose to find many groundhog holes. If a blond security guard stops you, don’t fear, he won’t ask you to leave the premises. He only wants to say hello to your dog. A small price to pay for a lovely jaunt. Across the street is the National Research Council of Canada’s Research Facilities (100 Sussex Dr.). Rabbits and groundhogs abound in the tangles of the coniferous bushes in the front yard. The property is adjacent to the Rideau Falls, where the Rideau River empties into the Ottawa River. Stop on one of the two bridges to soak in the magnificent view of the Ottawa River and the shores of Quebec. Enjoy the thunder of the water as it rushes below and feel the cool spray hit your cheeks. If all this water is too tempting for your pooch, cross over to Green Island where the grounds of Ottawa’s Old City Hall (111 Sussex Dr) afford many opportunities for your dog to wade in the Rideau River.

Mutt’s Mecca
Still craving some off-leash time? Don’t head for the suburbs just yet! Take Sussex Drive north and head east on Stanley Avenue. When you cross Union Street, you will enter into Stanley Park, a canine utopia. Tall trees border the grassy field where dogs chase each other, tennis balls, and frisbees rain or shine throughout the year. The Rideau River flows along the west side of the park and dogs often slip down the banks to swim. Along the south end of the park is a dirt path that leads to a beach for dogs that is especially popular in the summer but it has to be pretty cold before a dog will refuse a swim. A favourite with dogs, it’s also a great place for dog-lovers to meet other people who share their interests, swap stories, and pick up training tips and advice.

Thank you Erica!

Do you have any favourite places to walk your dog here in Ottawa? If you do, please share!


2 Responses to "Guest post: Four Fabulous Lowertown Walks for Dogs and the People That Love Them"

1 | While we are out of town… «

July 30th, 2011 at 12:05 am

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[…] Cuccaro blogged over at A Peek Inside the Fishbowl about four fabulous Lowertown walks for dogs (and the people that love […]

2 | Shannon Whittle

August 9th, 2011 at 9:16 am

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All of these are great walk suggestions are perfect for people sans-dogs too! I especially enjoy seeing the dogs wading in the river at Stanley Park and thinking – “Looks like so much fun, but I’m sure glad I don’t have to bathe him tonight!”

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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