Ottawa has a wonderful Greenbelt Trail system that connects to the Rideau Trail, the Trans Canada Trail and the Capital pathway. We are slowly exploring different trails around the city and all are different and beautiful.
Prime Minister King appointed a French urban planner named Jacques Gréber work on a master plan for Canada’s Capital. In 1950 Gréber proposed that the Greenbelt would protect the Capital and the rural land surrounding it from unchecked spreading of urban sprawl. This met with complaints from developers who called him “Jacques Grabber”. Following his plan, the Federal Government began acquiring land in 1956 that today encircles the Capital from Shirley’s Bay (west) all the way to Green’s Creek (east). Now we have 20,350 hectares of beautiful land to enjoy and 200 square kilometres (124 sq mi) of greenbelt in the downtown core alone. Merci Monsieur Gréber.
This past weekend we visited Jack Pine Trail. It is a popular trail because friendly chickadees and other birds will eat right out of your hand. Hanging out with good friends and the gorgeous weather inspired us to enjoy the outdoors with the kids. It is an easy, flat terrain and there are a few loops to choose from depending on ability. We filled containers with birdseed and off we went.
Unfortunately, I did not stop to think that the great feeding stories all took place during the winter months. Maybe it was the time of day, the abundance of bugs and other food, or our large group but the birds were not interested in our birdseed…or us. We did a lot of standing around with our hands outstretched and it was disappointing. We even tried singing “Ah-a-aah-ah” just like Cinderella calling the little creatures over to the window…to no avail. Could it have been our singing?
“This is the worst hike EVER!” my daughter informed us when the bird feeding activity tanked. (Made our friends feel special – I’m sure) Thank goodness, things perked up once we saw other interesting things like ducks, a beaver, fish, minnows and at the bottom of the pond…a large camouflaged snapping turtle. Can you spot him/her in this photo? The turtle discovery brought the fun back to a memorable level. Whew!
If you are looking for a free and fun outing, the Nation’s Capital Greenbelt is definitely worth exploring. Bring your camera and maybe a picnic – it’s marvellous.