Advisory

Please take note of the following before your visit.

NCC River House on a sunny summer day

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

In all seasons, it features options to enjoy the shoreline. It also has food and beverage amenities. In summer, there is a free public dock to swim from and launch a kayak or canoe. In winter, you can ski, snowshoe, bike and walk on a multi-use winter trail that leads to the NCC River House.

Visit the NCC River House

Directions

Location: 501 Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway, Ottawa

Limited parking is available at P3 (15 to 20 spots, including accessible parking spaces) 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 parkway for universally accessible drop-offs.
The NCC River House is accessible via the Ottawa River Pathway along the Sir George-Étienne-Cartier pathway. In summer, there are bike racks around the site on the upper and lower landscape, and along the shoreline. In winter, there are ski racks available at the entrance of the building, on the outdoor deck.
In summer, there are docking spaces available on a first-come, first-served basis for canoes, kayaks, and other non-motorized watercraft. Motorized watercraft are not permitted to dock at the NCC River House for now.
Tables and chairs installed inside the building

Food and beverage services

The NCC River House features an outdoor patio with panoramic views of the Ottawa River. You can also enjoy a snack at the Café & Bistro. In winter, there is indoor seating available. However, it is closed when the ballroom is reserved for events. The Café & Bistro does not accept reservations.

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

Menu

The all-day menu can vary, but includes light fare such as sandwiches, salads, pizza, baked goods, pastries, ice cream, beer, wine, and hot and cold beverages. Visitors can contact the Café & Bistro for further information on menu offerings.

Schedule

7 days/week, 9 am to 4 pm
Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am to 2 pm (closed on Monday and Tuesday)
Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am to 2 pm (closed on weekdays)
7 days/week
  • Monday to Thursday, 10 am to 4 pm
  • Fridays and Saturdays, 10 am to 8 pm
  • Sundays, 10 am to 6 pm

Community-groomed multi-use winter trail

The Ski Heritage East winter trail leads directly to the NCC River House. A team of volunteers maintains the lower trail all winter. Winter trail users can stop in for a snack at the Café & Bistro and warm up during business hours.

Swimming

In the summer, 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 ft. to 9 ft.).

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

Accessible change rooms located on the lower level (level 1) will be available in summer 2024. A lift for the swim area is expected to be installed in summer 2024.

Regular bacteriological testing is conducted by the Ottawa Riverkeeper and the results for water quality at the NCC River House are posted on the Swim Guide website.
The 2024 swim season schedule will be announced soon.

Boat launch

In the summer, you may launch your own small non-motorized boat (e.g. canoe or kayak) from the public dock. There are no equipment rental services.

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

Fishing

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

Accessibility

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 2024.

There are two universally accessible parking spaces available in P3, located 160 m from the NCC River House. There is also a drop-off lane along the parkway for universally accessible access, approximately 80 m 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 m from P4 to the base of the docks of the NCC River House.

Rules

  • Dogs: Leashed dogs and pets are permitted on the shoreline but are not permitted at the NCC River House or on the docks.
  • Food: Glassware is not permitted on the docks.
  • Alcohol: You may drink items bought at the NCC River House on the patios or inside the building. No outside alcohol is permitted onsite, including in the landscaped areas. Alcohol is not 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).

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