Maybe you glance at the river from your office window everyday. Maybe you’ve crossed its bridges on your daily commute. Maybe you’ve taken early-morning strolls along its banks. But have you ever actually been on the river downtown?
On Sunday morning, hundreds of people will be out to paddle, sail, row, motor and cruise the Ottawa River. A grassroots charity, Ottawa Riverkeeper, is hosting the parade which follows a route from downtown Ottawa to the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum. All kinds of boats are expected to join for a celebration of the waterway – which is a source of drinking water for more than one million people.
Whether you have or haven’t a boat to float, you can turn up for the parade and get out on the water. Ottawa Riverkeeper hosts a hop-on Party Cruise and has spots available if you’d like to jump in to help paddle one of their 15-people Voyageur canoes. There will be an official viewing party at the Ottawa Rowing Club (10 Lady Grey Drive) for landlubbers to take in the parade ashore.
The Ottawa River is key to the health and well-being of the over 1.7 million people who live within the watershed. Over 1,200km long, it unites towns, cities, and provinces. With a diverse species of plants, animals, and aquatic life, the river has been a home, a highway, and a playground. It has stood witness to trade, development, change, and even injustice. The Ottawa River is at the core of so many lives, and deserves to be celebrated.
Ottawa Riverkeeper is a citizen-based action group that brings people together to protect and promote the ecological health and diversity of the Ottawa River and its tributaries. Expert and independent, the organization advocates for responsible decision-making, public education, participation, access to information, and compliance with protective regulations, for the benefit of our river and our communities.
The 2017 Ride The River Parade will launch from Richmond Landing (behind Library and Archives Canada) at 9am on Sunday September 10. Visit riverparade.ca for registration and more details.