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Princess Louise Falls. Photo: James Peltzer/Flickr.

613 Geotours: Princess Louise Falls, a hidden gem in Orleans

By Bruce Burwell on September 8, 2020

This week’s geotour is a scenic spot with some nice walking trails around it. If you haven’t been to Princess Louise Falls in Orleans before, then it’s definitely worth a visit. It looks like something that you should be seeing in a tropical jungle in South America, not in the suburbs of Ottawa.

Princess Louise Falls in wintertime. Photo: Shawn Nystrand/Flickr.

You can access the falls from two different directions. The falls is almost on St. Joseph Boulevard, so if you come at it that way, you will be very close to the base. For a bit of a hike on some nice trails, though, come at it from above and park on Brookridge Crescent.

I was recently there in late summer, which was very pleasant. Supposedly in spring it’s a lot prettier, with a much higher volume of water coming down Taylor Creek and feeding the falls. If you go in the middle of summer, you may find it totally swarmed by Instagrammers in bikinis, judging by what I see on Instagram. And yes, it’s been declared one of Ottawa’s most Instagrammable spots by the elites who decide these things for us.

Kids enjoying the falls in summertime. Photo: James Peltzer/Flickr.

So who was Princess Louise and why are the falls named after her? She was a daughter of Queen Victoria and eventually became the “Vice-Regal Consort,” or spouse, of the Governor General. And yes, you’ve definitely heard her name before — Lake Louise is named after her. In fact a whole province carries her name. Big hint: Her full name was Louise Carolyn Alberta. Closer to (your) home, the Fourth Princess Louise Dragoon Guards in Ottawa also carried her name.

Princess Louise in 1881. Photo: Wikipedia.

Louise was an interesting character and seems to have been worthy of having things named after her. She was a talented artist who sketched scenes around Ottawa, a strong supporter of the arts in Canada, and a proponent of women’s rights. The story is that she took a carriage out to these falls and drew them. However, there has never been any proof of this, so it may just be a good story.

So if the weather’s nice, get your bikini on and head out to the falls.