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Shirleys Bay, to the west of Ottawa, is a provincially significant wetland and the largest marshland in the Greenbelt. It’s also one of the best spots in Canada’s Capital Region for birdwatching. The bay is an old channel of the Ottawa River, and it has a launch for small boats. Within the conservation area, there are seven kilometres of hiking trails and two recreational paths: the Watts Creek Pathway and the Greenbelt Pathway West.

Things to do at Shirleys Bay

Shirleys Bay is great for outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, boating, cycling, birdwatching and picnicking. During the winter, the bay area offers cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing.

Wetlands and birdwatching

Shirleys Bay is part of a series of wetlands and uplands, and is one of the Ottawa Valley’s most diverse and undeveloped wild areas. This provincial class one wetland supports a variety of plants and animals, some of which are rare and regionally significant. The wetlands help maintain the water quality, and control the flow of the Ottawa River. Shirleys Bay is on an important bird migration route along the Ottawa River. More than 270 bird species have been seen in the Shirleys Bay area over the years.