Dog-Friendly Water Taxi in Ottawa!
There was a new addition to our neighborhood last year: a water taxi! This small ferryboat spends most of its day quietly shuttling up to twelve people and their bicycles or wheelchairs between Ottawa and Gatineau, alongside the Alexandra Bridge.
The water taxi arrived a little late in last year’s season. So, we didn’t have a chance to see it in action. We ran out of time to try it ourselves. But we did have an opportunity to ask the French (from France) owners if their new method of transportation is dog-friendly. The answer was yes!
It is important to note, dear readers, the significance of this water taxi being pet-friendly. No public transportation in our National Capital Area is pet-friendly: not the bus or the train, and I dare say that if we had a subway, it wouldn’t be dog-friendly either.
We finally had the opportunity earlier this summer to try out the water taxi ourselves.
Au feel de l’eau (a clever little play on words!) operates only electric boats. The owners are committed to this and our first crossing showed us why. Because the boats are electric, they do not add chemical or noise pollution to the river or surrounding area. With silent operation and no pollutants going into the river, I wonder why more people haven’t embraced electric boating options? Communities on small lakes would especially benefit from an electric-boat-only policy.
Yes, riding on an electric boat is that pleasant. Our ride was a quiet glide on the river, not disturbing a duck, goose or fish. This is especially important where the water taxi crosses. The Alexandra Bridge already contributes an inordinate amount of noise pollution. This is not entirely due to the traffic, but is a result of the metal grid that forms the Ottawa to Gatineau bridge. This metal grid (versus concrete or asphalt paving) is the source of a constant hum we locals refer to as the “angry bee” sound. Dad says it’s more like hornets. But I digress.
Here is the water taxi’s itinerary, running from May to October:
9:00 a.m. Departure from the Casino du Lac-Leamy.
10:00 a.m. Arrival at the Ottawa wharf, located where the Rideau Canal empties into the Ottawa River, near the Bytown Museum.
10:15 a.m. The mini ferry begins to shuttle back and forth between Ottawa and a site on the Gatineau side of the Ottawa River near the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
12:20 p.m. Departure from Ottawa for the Casino, leaving the Casino again at 1:30 p.m.
2:35 p.m. Trips back and forth again between Ottawa and Gatineau.
6:15 p.m. Final departure from Ottawa, arriving at the Casino at 7:15 p.m.
The cost is $5 per person (tax included) for the Ottawa-Gatineau shuttle and $20 per person for the Ottawa-Casino shuttle. If you are staying at the Château Laurier, ask the concierge for pre-paid tickets for hotel guests who wish to go to the Locks Museum and then hop across the river by water taxi to the Museum of Civilization. I think this is a brilliant addition to the Château’s services since the water taxi departs Ottawa from the locks next to the hotel.
Au feel de l’eau also offers private group bookings for rides in a swanky little boat called the “river limo.” A small group of people can enjoy a picnic meal on the river limo while listening to a tour guide, or they can just enjoy being on the water. When we passed the river limo one day, a guide was explaining to his small group of 5 guests the history of the Rideau locks, their construction and that of the Alexandra Bridge. As we sailed away, I heard the tour guide begin to tell one of the legends of the Ottawa River.
I was thinking: the river limo would offer an ideal stage for marriage proposals. I can just see it now!
In Review: If ever you are visiting our fair city and want a fun, dog-friendly water activity, we highly recommend Au feel de l’eau. Take the water taxi to the Museum of Civilization and enjoy the walk back with your dog, or take it all the way to the Casino and walk (or bike) back. Either way, you will enjoy the calm and fairly-priced activity!