Rideau Canal Crossing - Overview

Environmental Assessment Study

The City of Ottawa has initiated an environmental assessment (EA) study to identify a recommended plan for improving multi-use (pedestrian/cycling) linkages over the Rideau Canal in Midtown Ottawa (between Pretoria Bridge and the Bank Street Bridge). The overall objective of this study is to identify a distinctive, functional crossing that is respectful of the Canal’s scenic, natural and cultural heritage context.

About the Study

This EA study will be planned as a Schedule ‘C’ Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA). The main activities include:

  • Assessing the need for a new multi-use crossing
  • Defining planning, design, and aesthetic parameters
  • Examining potential crossing locations and their impacts on surrounding areas
  • Examining design alternatives
  • Identifying a recommended plan detailing the preferred functional design, mitigation strategy, project cost, and required approvals.

Specifically, this study will address the ‘Five L’s’: Linkages; Location; Length; Landing and Looks.

Phase 1 Problem or Opportunity


  • Does the Rideau Canal represent a barrier to pedestrian and cycling connectivity in Midtown Ottawa?
  • If so, how does this barrier affect travel behaviour?
  • Is there an opportunity to enhance linkages between neighbourhoods in Midtown Ottawa?

Phase 2 Alternative Solutions


  • What is the preferred planning alternative?
  • Do nothing
  • Improve existing connections (Pretoria and Bank Street Bridges); or
  • Construct a new crossing?

Phase 3 Alternative Design Concepts for Preferred Solution


  • What are the key opportunities and constraints in the study area?
  • How do different crossing locations affect planning and design considerations?
  • Where is the most desirable location for a crossing?


  • How does the crossing location influence the length of the crossing?
  • How does the length of the crossing affect aesthetic and design concepts?
  • How does the length of a crossing influence project costs?


  • How will crossing approaches/landings impact the canal, adjacent roadways, recreational pathways, and green spaces?
  • How will the crossing connect to the neighbourhoods on either side of the canal?
  • How will the crossing connect to existing pathways?


  • How will study area constraints and associated structural design considerations influence the architectural design of a new crossing?
  • What aesthetic features are desirable for the crossing?
  • What aesthetic features are appropriate for the crossing, given the cultural heritage of the Canal?

Phase 4 Environmental Assessment Documentation

Phase 5 Detail Design and Implementation will be the focus of future

The City of Ottawa, the National Capital Commission, Parks Canada, other interested agencies, and the public will work together throughout the EA study to explore opportunities to enhance pedestrian and cycling connections across the Canal. The study will culminate in the design of a crossing that will better connect residents, workers, and visitors of Midtown Ottawa.

Additional information about this study is discussed in the Statement of Work approved by City Council on April 7, 2010.

If you have questions about this study, please contact:

Colin Simpson MCIP RPP
Senior Project Manager
City of Ottawa
110 Laurier Avenue West, 4th Floor
Ottawa ON K1P 1J1
Tel: 613-580-2424, ext. 27881
Fax: 613-580-2578
E-mail: colin.simpson@ottawa.ca