The Capital Pathway Strategic Plan provides a framework for long-term planning and day-to-day management of the multi-use pathway network in Canada’s Capital Region. This 10-year plan presents directions and strategies to make the pathway network the best it can be.

View of the Parliament from the Capital Pathway.

What is the Capital Pathway?

The Capital Pathway is a network of over 220 km of off-road multi-use pathways. It is a popular discovery route, and a means of accessing a range of destinations through many different landscapes.

Covering such a large and diverse area, the Capital Pathway offers residents and visitors experiences that reflect the natural beauty, cultural heritage and symbolic importance of Canada’s Capital Region.

About the plan

The NCC Board of Directors approved the Capital Pathway Strategic Plan in October 2020.

The role of the Capital Pathway is based on four key ideas, or fundamental premises. They constitute the basis for the planning, design and management of the network.

  • Multi-use: It welcomes pedestrians, runners, cyclists, in-line skaters and people with mobility impairments.
  • Showcases key points of interest: It links natural areas, parks, gardens, museums and major destinations in the Capital.
  • High-quality experience: It provides a safe, comfortable, convenient and scenic experience.
  • Supports active mobility: It connects seamlessly with the municipal trails, bike lanes and sidewalks.


An exceptional pathway network where all can enjoy invigorating and inspiring experiences in the heart of magnificent Capital landscapes.

Strategic directions

The following strategic directions point the way forward to an improved pathway network. They will focus the decision making and prioritization of all works on the Capital Pathway.

This is only a snapshot of what’s in the plan. To learn more, read the Capital Pathway Strategic Plan, 2020.

Integrated and resilient network

The Capital Pathway serves as an active mobility network that stretches throughout the National Capital Region. The pathway network will be continuous and well connected to the municipal networks. It will also be adaptable to environmental and social change.

Safe and user-friendly

The Capital Pathway provides a safe, comfortable and convenient experience for all users. Within the plan, the network should

  • be easy to access and navigate
  • mitigate hazards along the pathway
  • create a clear and intuitive pathway-sharing environment
  • promote a user-friendly code of conduct

Adapted and co-creative management

The Capital Pathway is managed in collaboration and partnership with municipal and federal agencies, stakeholder groups, and the public at large. These items are identified in the plan:

  • winter use of the network
  • dynamic and enriching programs and amenities
  • clear, collaborative management structure
  • inclusive public participation

Separation and widening

To help to make the user experience of the network safer and more enjoyable, the plan includes new standards for the design of pathway infrastructure:

  • Separating pedestrians and cyclists in busy areas where both groups take up a large part of the pathways.
  • Introducing “slow zones,” and using traffic-calming methods in areas with high pedestrian traffic.
  • Promoting respectful user behaviour.
  • Requiring that faster pathway users yield to slower and/or more vulnerable users.

High standards of design and maintenance

The Capital Pathway strives for high-quality and long-lasting infrastructure that creates unique opportunities, and showcases the Capital’s diverse points of interest. Areas of focus will include

  • clear and consistent design
  • beautiful, context-sensitive installations
  • durable, high-quality construction and maintenance
  • dependable capital and operation funding

Public engagement

As part of this planning process, we engaged various stakeholder groups. These included the City of Ottawa, Ville de Gatineau, municipal first responders, federal stakeholders, non-governmental organizations (including cycling groups and environmental groups) and members of the general public.

We also sought feedback throughout the project from the NCC’s Advisory Committee on Planning, Design and Realty, and the Board of Directors.

For an overview of what we have heard throughout this process, see the public consultation reports:

Stay informed

Cookie Notice: Our website uses tracking technologies (cookies) to learn how our visitors interact with our site. This helps us to improve our services, and provide you with valuable content. Read our privacy policy.