Until October 1, lifeguards will be on duty on weekends, from 10 am to 6 pm. The swimming area is closed on weekdays.

The NCC River House is a century-old heritage building that is universally accessible year-round. It is located on the Ottawa River along the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway.

It features shoreline amenities, a free public dock to swim off of or launch a kayak or canoe, and food and beverage services.

Visit the NCC River House

NCC River House on a sunny summer day


Location: 501 Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway, Ottawa

Car access: Limited parking is available at P3 (15 to 20 spots) across from the NCC River House or at P4 (40 spots), east of the NCC River House, within a short walking distance along the Ottawa River Pathway. A drop-off lane is located along the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway for universally accessible drop-offs.

Cycling and pedestrian access: The NCC River House is accessible via the Ottawa River Pathway along the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway. There are bike racks around the site on the upper and lower landscape and along the shoreline.

Watercraft access : Motorized watercraft are not permitted to dock at the NCC River House for the 2023 season. However, there are docking spaces available on a first-come, first-served basis for canoes, kayaks and other non-motorized watercraft.

Food and beverage services

The NCC River House features an outdoor patio with panoramic views of the Ottawa River. Grab a snack at the Bytown Catering kiosk or bring your own lunch. The Bytown Catering kiosk does not accept reservations.


  • May 1 to October 31: 9 am to 8 pm
  • November 1 to April 30: 10 am to 2 pm

Menu: The all-day menu varies and includes light fare such as sandwiches, salads, pizza, baked goods, pastries, ice cream, beer, wine and cold and hot beverages. Visitors can contact Bytown Catering for further information on menu offerings and availability.

During private events, a section of the second-floor patio and the lower covered patio remain open to the public.

Person swimming in the enclosed lanes at the NCC River House


The NCC River House boasts a free enclosed and supervised swimming area and two 25-metre swimming lanes. Swimming conditions at NCC River House can vary depending on river conditions. Water depth can range from 1.5 to 2.7 m (5 to 9 ft.).

Capacity is limited to 125 swimmers at a time on a first-come, first-served basis. There are no reservations for the 2023 season. The swim area can reach capacity quickly: swimming at off-peak hours is recommended.

Accessible change rooms and a lift for the swim area will available later in summer 2023.


  • July 25 to September 4, 2023: Lifeguards are on duty daily, from 7 am to 7 pm.
  • September 9 to October 1, 2023: Lifeguards are on duty on weekends, from 10 am to 6 pm.

Water quality

Regular bacteriological testing is conducted by Ottawa Riverkeeper and the results for water quality at the NCC River House are posted on the Swim Guide website.

Boat launch

From the public dock, you may launch your own small, non-motorized boat (e.g. canoe or kayak). There is no equipment rental service at the moment.

Motorized watercraft (boats or jet skis) are not permitted on the dock.


You may fish from the shoreline with a valid Ontario fishing licence. Fishing from the dock or close to the dock area is prohibited.

Room rentals

The NCC River House ballroom is available for event bookings through Bytown Catering. The space can generally accommodate 150 to 200 people. Please contact Bytown Catering directly for details.

View of the universally accessible pathway leading to the NCC River House


The NCC River House includes several universally accessible upgrades, including elevator access to all three levels, universally accessible pathways to the docks and accessible washrooms. Accessible change rooms and a lift for the swim area will available later in summer 2023.

There are two universally accessible parking spaces available in P3, located 160 metres from the NCC River House. There is also a drop-off lane along the parkway for universally accessible access, approximately 80 metres from the building. Due to the site’s unique location on the Ottawa River, the drop-off lane is the shortest universally accessible route. There is no parking in the drop-off lane.

Additionally, a universally accessible pathway extends approximately 570 metres from P4 to the base of the docks of the NCC River House.


  • Parking: Bike racks are available on the upper and lower landscape and shoreline. Limited vehicle parking is available at P3 and P4. For easier access, we encourage you to use active transportation.
  • Washrooms: There are accessible washrooms in the NCC River House.


  • Dogs: Leashed dogs and pets are permitted on the shoreline but are not permitted at the NCC River House or on the docks.
  • Food: You may bring your own food to enjoy on the patio. Glass containers are not permitted on the docks.
  • Alcohol: You may drink items bought at the NCC River House on the patios or inside the building. No alcohol is permitted outside on the site, including in the landscaped areas. No alcohol is permitted on the docks.

About the NCC River House

The NCC River House is a landmark asset in the NCC’s portfolio. Designed by architect C.P. Meredith, it was constructed between 1914 and 1925 for the Ottawa New Edinburgh Club (ONEC). For nearly a century, it has been an ideal area for canoeing, boating and recreational activities along the Ottawa River.

In 2010, the boathouse was designated a recognized federal heritage building due to its longstanding links to the history of canoeing in Canada. Its architecture is a rare example of early boathouse design, and its unique setting on the river gives it special historical significance.

From 2019 to 2023, the River House revitalization project brought required repairs and upgrades to this heritage property to make it usable year-round. It now provides new opportunities for public access and shoreline animation.

Current tenants

Current tenants include: Bytown Catering, Ottawa Riverkeeper and Ottawa New Edinburgh Club (ONEC).