When I went out to New Edinburgh in February, my first shots of the day were those that follow today and tomorrow. This is the east channel of the Rideau River, looking south, just upstream from the Rideau Falls. I was on Sussex Drive where it crossed the river. Over to the left is New Edinburgh. To the right is Green Island. The river meets its end here, breaking up into two channels around Green Island and spilling into the Ottawa River. On the south side of Sussex Drive, the island is occupied by the John Diefenbaker Building. Along with the Lester Pearson Building over on the west side of the river, the two buildings, named after former prime ministers, house the headquarters of our foreign ministry.
You might notice in this shot that there are people on the ice at the end of this open channel by those bridges. There's a good reason for that.
Crossing the street, I took in this view of the end of the river. Both branches of the falls have dams and walkways behind them, and maintenance work was being done on both of the walkways, so they were closed. Ice floes were headed towards the open portion of the spillway here on the east branch, headed for the Ottawa River, still frozen in the background.
There is a viewing platform on the east side of the falls, which I'll show tomorrow. Here we have a view of the frozen Ottawa River, with Gatineau over on the other side.
The far shore as seen here gives us Leamy Lake Park, the woodland park I went through last summer. The Gatineau River comes through several channels in that park, meeting the Ottawa River, so this area serves as the meeting place of three major rivers. For thousands of years pre-contact, this area was well known and well used by First Nations peoples. Samuel de Champlain came up the Ottawa River for the first time in 1613. The Rideau, falls and river, is from a French word- it means curtain- an apt term for what Champlain and his expedition would have seen from the base of the falls.
Looking back to the west, at the left of this shot, open water can be seen on the left, at the base of the falls.
I mentioned that there was a good reason there were people on the ice in the first shot. When I arrived around Green Island, there was a notice on the sidewalk about blasting ahead, and I could hear muffled bangs, so I knew what was going on. I went down to the bridge you can see in that first shot and took these. The ice on the Rideau River is blasted each year, starting in the second half of February. This is a preventative measure to alleviate flooding along its length, and given that this is where the river ends, that weekend had probably been when they were getting started on it. In this shot looking southwest from one of those bridges in the first shot, you can see vehicles and cut lines in the ice closer to the bridge. Crews were working on cutting sections, and their work included detonating the ice. Parliament Hill's spires can be seen in the background.
This view on the other side of the bridge includes two crew members on the ice near the open water. Others were closer to the bridge. I should have photographed that, but didn't- I noticed the ice was moving beneath their feet as they moved from slab to slab. Would that be something you'd be inclined to want to do?