The illuminated Flora bridge, a recent addition to our active transportation network, came into view. The sun was not yet up, although the sky showed signs of dawn. That bridge lit the way, at least for a few minutes. I would pass the rest area on the right, go around the Lansdowne bend, then marvel at the Bank Street bridge, also illuminated. Glide under its heavy arches and begin journeying along a stretch of the canal that appeared sunken into the landscape – good as it sheltered me from the wind.
By the time I arrived at the comparatively ugly Bronson bridge, the sun was almost ready to come out. Next: Turn right towards the Dow’s Lake pavilion and go to the end for the magical moment when you turn around and boom, sunshine hits you in the face.
The long stretch back to the canal itself appeared endless. The orange light made the snow glow. The maintenance trucks and that modified Zamboni thing parked to the side look almost poetic.
Turn right again towards the official “end” marker near Carleton University and Hartwells Locks. I think I saw a snowy owl there once. After, I smiled at that spot every time I skated by. (I hear it’s good for your karma even if there is no snowy owl.)
Turn around and go back, looking at the same sights in a very different light. Less orange but still hazy. Continue on past Patterson, going under the magnificent Pretoria bridge and the cavernous Queensway overpass. That those two structures get to live next to one another like that is quintessentially us.
This content was originally published here.