Toronto to Ottawa on a Bicycle

03 May - 07 May 2008

Andrew Smith

This is about how I made it from Vaughan (that's just north of the GTA) to Ottawa on my mountain bike in 5 days. That's approx. 450km, which is approx. 90km per day. I was pretty lazy with the camera so there are only a handful of photos, but hopefully at least the motel information you will find useful if planning the same trip.

As always with my trips I didn't do any planning, and as always (save one time) it worked out ok anyway.


Started from Dufferin & Rutherford in Vaughan (or Maple according to some or Richmond Hill according to others).

This turned out to be pretty unpleasant. Started raining 10 minutes after I left the house, and by the evening it was pooring so badly I felt like I was in a cold shower with my clothes and shoes on. It's probably why I didn't get very far - only to Oshawa.

Tried to find a motel in the phone book, but it turned out to be a big pain without a map of Oshawa, and when I finally had the brains to call the place I realised it was out of business anyway.

I normally avoid staying at hotels (too expensive for what you actually get) but it was getting dark and I didn't feel like peddling through the water any longer so I turned back to the last hotel I saw on the road - the Comfort Inn (605 Bloor St W, Oshawa - 125$). Place was nice and clean, but I fail to see why it cost double what a nice and clean motel would cost.


The day cleared up and I got some help from the wind blowing in my back so I covered a decent distance. Got as far as Brighton - a nice quiet place. These photos I think are all from that day.

For some reason I found that bullocks, cows, and horses are very interested in me. When I would pass a bunch of them they would all stare intently. If I stopped they would come closer and stare a few minutes more. I didn't even do anything, just sit there. Here's one small group:

Later the same day I was going on a small road (nothing like a highway, I got a bit lost) and came across these structures. From a distance they looked like old houses falling over, but from up close they looked like some child's failed attempt at building houses. It may look like I didn't hold the camera straight, but that's mostly an illusion since the things are on a hill. They really are't straight! And they don't have a foundation either. I wish someone would tell me what the purpose of building them was:

The motel wasn't bad. Clean, but no phone for some reason. Presqu'ile Beach Motel on 243 Main St W, that's on Highway 2 - 65$.


Another nice day. This is where my face and hands started to turn red. You can get burned just as easily when it's cool as when it's hot, as long as the sun is shining at you for enough hours in a row!

This little pony was too cute to not photograph. It was lying on the ground when I got there and got a bit scared as I approached. I don't know if that's his mother or not:

Got to Kingston this day. Didn't go into the city, just stopped at the first motel on the way, turned out to be ok. Welcome Traveller Motel, 3100 Princess St - 55$


This is where I turned away from the 401 (I've been going within 10K of it up until now). Instead of following it further east than I needed I took highway 15 north. Turns out there isn't much between Kingston and Ottawa about there :)

It's a mix of mostly farmland, some 'untouched' land (forests, hills), and very small towns. Unless you have food with you I recommend you eat as soon as you see a place you like, because it may be hours before the next place to eat.

By the end of the day my face and the top of my hands have been burned completely. I don't even know what would be a way to avoid that - maybe a straw hat and biker's gloves.

Stopped for the night at Smiths Falls - the biggest town between Kingston and Ottawa. It also happened to be right in the middle between them. Best Inn Motel on 241 Lombard St (it's the first motel as you enter the town from the south on Highway 15). The 50$ it cost me is just another piece of evidence to that price doesn't reflect hotel quality. I liked it.


Easy day. Though the wind turned against me it was weak, and the distance turned out to be smaller than it looked on the map. Or maybe it was the excitement of getting to the destination.

The only interesting thing I remember on the road is that the 'Welcome to the city of Ottawa' sign was up about 10-20K before the actualy city :)

Stayed at the first motel I called from the phone book (it started to rain before I got a chance to call another). I strongly recommend that you do not stay at the Richmond Plaza Motel. There've been some junkies upstairs yelling until late in the evening and starting early in the morning, the room is very small, it's expensive (93$) and to top it all off there was a syringe and a rubber band in the bathroom. I thought that maybe they provide a clean syringe for the junkies who inevitably end up spending the night there, but the syringe was used! Yes, it had dried blood on it, and it was right on the counter in the bathroom of the room I payed 93$ a night for.

There are lots of motels to choose from in Ottawa. The one I stayed at the next day wasn't that far away (Prestige Inn Hotel - 215 Montreal Rd), reasonable walking distance from Parliament. It wasn't very pretty but for the price (60$) it was a great deal, considering the area.

Here are some photos I took of Ottawa the following day. I don't know what that animal is - it's too pretty for a rat and too small for a beaver - I've seen 3 or 4 of them in Ottawa, one in the Rideau Canal. And did I mention it was the Tulip Festival? If you're there that time of the year go to the Commisioners Park, there are lots of pretty tulips there to look at.

Oh, I almost forgot my workhorse! This is a photo from a couple of years ago but it hasn't changed since:

General points of interest:
In conclusion: I had fun, used a lot of my muscles and little of my brain, got away from everyday life troubles and returned perfectly relaxed. Everyone should do something like this once a year.

If you have questions for me, please use this form.

Other trips of mine.