News Release

Published on April 30, 2021

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCC has been creating more public space for safe physical distancing and to promote outdoor activities for people’s physical and mental well-being. This summer will be no exception.

Whether people want to bike, walk, hike, run, camp, discover a shoreline, have a picnic, swim, relax on the beach or enjoy local fare, there’s something for everyone in our #SummerCapital. Here is an overview of our offerings.

NCC Weekend Bikedays, presented by Nokia — Increasing space for active use

We are proud to announce that we are quadrupling the space for activities to promote physical and mental well-being, under our expanded NCC Weekend Bikedays program, presented by Nokia. Every weekend, from May 1 to October 11 (Thanksgiving), active users will have exclusive access to the Capital’s scenic parkways for their physical and mental well-being.

Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway (9 kilometres): 8 am to 4 pm 

Both westbound lanes of the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway, located on the south side of the Ottawa River just west of the downtown core, from Vimy Place to Carling Avenue.    

Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway (8 kilometres): 8 am to 4 pm 

Both lanes of the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway, running along the south side of the Ottawa River, just east of the downtown core, between the Aviation Parkway and St. Joseph Boulevard in Orléans.    

As the purpose of the parkways will be to provide space for exercise, and to discourage crowding, the free bike clinics, water stations and Young Entrepreneurs Program will not be offered this year.

A big thanks to our partners, Nokia, Claridge Homes, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada and ServicePlus, for helping us expand this offering!

Gatineau Park parkways — providing more space for outdoor activities to promote well-being during the pandemic

Starting May 1, to build on the results of the online public consultation, the second year of our pilot project will see Gatineau Park parkways reserved for active use most of the time in 2021, balanced with motor vehicle access on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays after 1 pm.

The North Loop of the Gatineau Parkway, between parking lots P8 and P9, is temporarily excluded from the parkway pilot project due to rehabilitation work on Chemin du Lac-Meech, and will serve as a detour for motor vehicles.

Parkways for People

Queen Elizabeth Driveway (2.4 kilometres): 9 am to 5 pm this weekend, moving to 8 am to 8 pm, seven days a week, from May 3 to June 30.

To create more space in this densely populated core area, both lanes of the Queen Elizabeth Driveway, located on the west side of the Rideau Canal, from Fifth Avenue to Somerset Street, will be open exclusively to active users.

Colonel By Drive (5 kilometres): 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Beginning July 2, and running until September 6, to accommodate construction work on the Colonel By retaining wall, Colonel By Drive will be closed to motor vehicles and open for active use only, from Daly Avenue to Canal Woods Terrace.


As the official gardener of Canada’s Capital, the NCC plants close to one million tulips of 100 varieties, in 120 designed flower beds, across 30 different locations. To demonstrate our thanks to our region’s health care workers, special tulip planters will brighten the entrances of The Ottawa Hospital’s Civic Campus and the Hôpital de Hull – CISSS de l’Outaouais again this year. The Canadian Tulip Festival invites everyone to experience the tulips online through the festival’s immersive virtual experience.

Capital Pathway network — Over 200 km of pathways in both Ottawa and Gatineau

The multi-use pathways are shared by pedestrians, runners, cyclists, in-line skaters and people with mobility impairments. We ask that all users follow the rules (including the 20 km/h maximum speed limit) to help keep the pathways safe and enjoyable for everyone.

Greenbelt — 20,000 hectares of green space

Explore farms, forests and wetlands in Canada’s Capital Greenbelt, with over 150 kilometres of natural trails, linking to the Capital Pathway network, the Rideau Trail and The Great Trail of Canada.

Keeping people safe and active

To encourage off-peak use of our assets and help people avoid crowds, we’ll continue to report weekly usage numbers for many of our popular sites — and help make it easier for people to rediscover less-visited areas and hidden gems of the Capital with our summer activities interactive map. Just select an activity, and the sharable map will suggest options within the downtown core, the Greenbelt or Gatineau Park!

At all times, users are asked to do the following:

  • Be COVID-safe — follow local and provincial public health directives.
  • Practise physical distancing from those outside your household.
  • Avoid crowds — go to less-visited destinations, and visit popular sites at off-peak times.
  • Leave no trace — be respectful of nature and other users by following the rules specific to your activity and location.


“With the NCC Weekend Bikedays, presented by Nokia, the NCC will provide over 20 weekends of increased space for national capital residents to safely enjoy the Capital’s shorelines, green spaces and symbolic landmarks — quadrupling the time opportunities available for them to do so. This success of this program, which attracted over 650,000 visits last year, is due to the efforts of our sponsors, partners and employees. We thank them wholeheartedly.”
  • Tobi Nussbaum, Chief Executive Officer, National Capital Commission
“We are very pleased to again be part of the expanded Weekend Bikedays program which will offer more safe outdoor spaces for people to enjoy during the pandemic. Our ongoing partnership with the National Capital Commission means that people in our Capital Region can keep active, exercise and increase their overall well-being.”
  • Andy Thompson, Vice-President, Transformation, Nokia

Media Information: 

Sophie Boudreau
NCC Media Relations
343-549-7203 (cellular)

Dominique Huras 
NCC Media Relations
613-286-0886 (cellular)

Maryam El-Akhrass
NCC Media Relations
343-551-6149 (cellular)