Monday, May 13, 2019

The River At Its Crest

Spring has brought high waters to the Ottawa Valley, among other areas. Today I want to document some of that. This first shot dates to April 16th, along the Ottawa River. I had come down here to photograph from the Portage Bridge downstream, something I do a couple of times a month for a post I'll have in the fall. Coming back, I descended down the parkland area called Richmond Landing towards the river's edge. Ice can still be seen in the background, and the water was high enough that the path below this point was under water. Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court can be seen at right, while landmarks like the Alexandra Bridge, Nepean Point, and the National Gallery are in the background.

I returned to the area a week ago today. The river had hit its high point before that weekend. I first went up to the Portage Bridge to photograph from both directions. This view looks upstream towards the Chaudiere Bridge. Some days earlier the Chaudiere Bridge had been officially closed down for the duration of the high water, as it's lower to the water than the Portage- there was probably no more than six feet of space between the bottom of the bridge and the raging waters. I have never seen this river this high. The Chaudiere Falls, upstream from the bridge, would be quite different right now, but the viewing platform would definitely be off limits at present. I came back the following day to film a video, which you can see right here at this link.

From there I returned to Richmond Landing. This is a monument to the Royal Canadian Navy, largely undisturbed by the river when it was at its height, though the river had intruded into the shallow bowl between sections, as seen in the line of driftwood on the grass.

A channel of the river lies between here and the main shoreline. The water is above its normal limit here, as seen with where the trees are. And over on the other side, the bike path that normally leads to Parliament Hill comes to an end, submerged in water. That is the case all the way to Parliament Hill, from what I've seen from above.

Compare this take to my first shot. The bike path you could see in that first one curling around the point is under water. The floating dock in the shot is tethered to the shoreline. 

I headed up to the Supreme Court, where this view is from an outlook behind the building, looking towards the Parliament Buildings. Normally you would be able to see the bike path down below, but not right now.

Coming to the other side of Parliament Hill and descending the Ottawa Locks to where the Rideau Canal meets the Ottawa River, I photographed this perspective of the river. The bike path comes to an end down there- a floating dock had been taken out of the water, blocking the rest of the path, which was submerged beyond there.

This really brings home how high the water is- those light posts should be on dry ground.

I crossed over to the east side of the Ottawa Locks, and took this perspective, with people sitting on top of the structure on the west side. 

A bike path leads up from here towards Nepean Point and Major's Hill Park, but at the moment the water is between the two stretches of the path, and you have to go up into the woods at right to get around it, assuming you're ignoring the 'do not cross' signs. Just days earlier, there was enough water here to strand this long submerged tree trunk on the shoreline.


  1. Nice photo story. The water is churning like it is upset!

  2. Like a wild and untameable beast passing through the city. A fine set of photographs documenting the changes in times of high water.

  3. Always swampy waters give me creeps ... I'm afraid of water ...

  4. The video is scary. Ottawa´s flooding sure was in our news and I was glad to read nothing on your blog assuming you´re OK.
    Hubby´s apartment flooded twice, it smelled so bad. Luckily he was with me in Braunschweig when it happened, it was dangerous in his place... Nature´s force is really big.

  5. A very nice area ! but what an agitated water !!

  6. The water is happy to be flowing freely once again.

  7. Frightening situation! So much flooding,

  8. Fun thing to do, document the water level. We had a pelting rainstorm here last night. Lakes should be full!


  9. I read about the high water in the Ottawa River in the newspaper overhere.
    Good that you have taken some photos and video shots of it, specially the video shows how powerful and wild the river is.

  10. Stay safe from all that flooding. I am thankful that my daughter lives far from the river and on high ground.

  11. ...the rivers are swollen here too!

  12. A lot of water in Italy too and our rivers are also very full...

  13. @Linda: I've never seen it like that.

    @John: it is a mighty river.

    @Ella: I've never had a problem with water.

    @Iris: I live near the river, but on high ground.

    @Gattina: it was very agitated.

    @Nancy: that's one way to look at it.

    @Laurie: there's been a lot of it.

    @Francisco: thank you.

    @Janis: it is good to document these things.

    @Jan: I figured it was a good idea to add a video.

    @David: I'm on high ground, just not far from the river.

    @Tom: it's been a common theme in many places.

    @Italiafinlandia: floodwaters know no boundaries.

    @Maywyn: that is true.

  14. Hello, the river looks rough in places, I guess when it was at it's highest level. The river views are beautiful. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

  15. It looks like a different river when it is calm and when churning like that.

  16. What a collection of river rising...all that water that wants to go to it's lowest of natures's forces to be reckoned with.

  17. It feels like the rain will never stop!

  18. Water can be a very powerful control. Here you show all kinds of things water has changed things and also changed our lives for a while.

  19. Oh wow! I think this is the video I saw when I mentioned it before William, I didn't realise you were Eiger6. Excellent piece of work here, it certainly was mind boggling to see the river so high. You should make more videos, the tulips would be nice to see on video ✨

  20. This reminds me so much of growing up in Illinois right on the Mississippi River. It would flood like this every year and all the low lying farms would be covered in water for weeks on end. That rough water in those three photos shows just how rough it can get. I guess the Midwest is seeing similar high water right now too.

  21. There's still plenty of water around here too.

  22. You've had so much rain. That river looks really angry!

  23. A lot of snow and water here too... and windy.

  24. That is a lot of water moving downstream. I hope there are no homes along the bank that will be flooded.

  25. That water can be dangerous. Stay safe.

  26. The flooding has been terrible. The debris washing up has been a horrid part of it, too.

  27. Water is so much more powerful than people realize.

  28. Here’s hope the water recedes quickly after cresting.

  29. The river has gone wild. Be careful and stay safe.

  30. @Eileen: if you fell in there, you'd be done.

    @DJan: we can use a couple of weeks of dry weather to bring down the water levels.

    @Barbara: that is true.

    @RedPat: today it looks threatening, but for the most part it hasn't quite materialized.

    @Red: this has caused disruptions, to be certain.

    @Grace: yes, I use two Youtube names- this one and Eiger6.

    @Sharon: spring waters can be quite unforgiving.

    @Anvilcloud: your area drains into the Ottawa, after all.

    @Jeanie: it was ferocious.

    @Karl: and at some point we'll be feeling like summer.

    @Fun60: there are areas on both sides of the river locally that have faced flooding issues.

    @Michelle: definitely not a good idea to tread close to the water edge. That last shot is as close as I got.

    @Jennifer: and at least one life has been lost.

    @Happyone: that's true.

    @Marie: I'm hoping the worst is over.

    @Bill: wild indeed.

  31. You have had so much rain, the river is so full.
    Stay safe.

    All the best Jan

  32. That water is really high! Has there been more snow that usual in the north to supply so much more meltwater than usual? Plus it's been raining for a week I suppose. Lots of water.

    1. It was a lot of snow that winter, but also the melt was too fast. It needs to be a slow melt.

  33. Wow! the power of the river ~ great captures ~

    Happy Day To You,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  34. i keep falling behind ... always love your water views. so pretty!! ( ;

  35. It looks like you're having a rip roaring spring. I hope it doesn't stay flooded for long.