OTTAWA -- COVID-19 has kept many of us home, or prevented travel to a far away place this spring and summer. While you may be disappointed your summer vacation plans have changed, it gives you a chance to explore your own neighbourhood in Ottawa.

Is there a Hidden Gem in your neighbourhood that you’ve discovered?

Like many of us, Paul Masson has been at home during the pandemic. Early on, he decided to get some fresh air in Ottawa.

"This gave me kind of a reason to go and look; to seek places that I haven’t been to before.”

He explored his own neighbourhood, and found a spot that he’s never been to - tucked away, in a wooded area of Bells Corners.

“I decided to follow the paths, kind of like the Robert Frost poetry; you take the path less travelled… I came across really nice little brooks and trickling water.”

He is not alone; many have taken to exploring their own neighbourhood. Tamara Hinternberger is used to travelling.

“Normally, I’ve always left town to do my adventuring and my discovering; and, because of the pandemic that took that out of the equation for me. So, I needed to find new places to go, to help ease the isolation and the loneliness, so I started just walking around the neighbourhood… I’ve seen so many things that I never knew were here.”

She started off close to home.

“One day when I was sitting at the locks, I saw the trail behind and I walked behind the Parliament buildings; and I found the staircase that leads up to the summer pavilion there.”

One step - leading to many more.

“Walked up - I think its 287 steps; and, I could see different parts of the Ottawa River and into Quebec, and it was just stunning how beautiful it was.”

She expanded her walk to head out even further; eventually walking 10 to 20 kilometres per day.

“I’ve just walked around, you know - only probably a small portion of the city; but I’ve seen so many things that I never knew were here.”

Coming across various pathways, trails, wooded areas; all, while meeting people also out for the first time.

“Now, I found that people are friendlier; they’re very respectful of social distancing, but people will stop in the park and talk to you - and everyone just seems to have a genuine concern for how people are doing now.”

Ashley Gentile found a spot that she’s never noticed before near the Earl Armstrong Bridge - which, connects Barrhaven and Riverside South,

“There’s like a dock, where you can view the sunset; and then there’s a path across the river - the Rideau River… Because of COVID, I’ve been trying to get outside more and started walking more.”

Hidden Gems

It has given her a change of scenery from work and school at home.

“It’s been great to like, discover my neighbourhood more; and figure new spots; I’m really glad that I discovered that spot.”

Hinterberger realized she does not necessarily need to travel all over the world to find something new,

“It’s been great to like, discover my neighbourhood more; and figure new spots; I’m really glad that I discovered that spot.”

Hidden gems in Ottawa

Ottawa has many trails, bike paths, and spots to explore in your own neighbourhood. If you’re heading out somewhere new, be safe. The City of Ottawa reminds everyone to keep physical distancing and be aware of any dangers, such as ticks or drowning.

For tips on avoiding bug bites and staying safe outdoors, check out Ottawa Public Health’s website. To learn more about Ottawa’s natural areas, visit the City of Ottawa's website. 

Here are some of your favourite spots that you have shared with us already:



"Any of the trails off Anderson Road in the Greenbelt. The bog loop is probably the most popular but there are a few other trails that are awesome"


" There's a beaver dam just off the MUPs near Junction Ave in Heron Park. I'm not sure anyone else cares but I think urban beavers are cool."


"There's a nice little creek off Chimo Drive in Kanata - Cattail Creek. There's a path to follow and some little bridges to cross. Quite lovely actually."


"A bike path was built along the LRT line between uOttawa and Hurdman. I’m not saying it’s pretty, but it’s special for cyclists because it makes getting from centretown to Alta Vista/Trainyards way easier/shorter/safer."


"Brighton Beach in Old Ottawa South. Scenic and tons of kayaks, canoes, and SUPS."

Emailed to CTV News Ottawa:

Tamara Hinterberger:

“One of my favourite spots is a five minute walk from here at Bordeleau Park where there is a small dock. I'll sit out on the dock and ruminate and enjoy the peace and tranquility. Such a treat as my neighbourhood can be quite chaotic”

Lynne Dunlap:

“I live in Orleans and we have the most marvelous greenspace here, but I have discovered the Greenbelt trail which I did not know existed.  Runs along the Ottawa River all the way from Petrie Island to downtown. The scenery is breathtaking and each morning I have discovered different birds and plants. Have been going before 6 a.m. to beat the heat and to enjoy the stillness of nature and the scents of the different flowers. A good reminder that despite all the craziness there is peace and goodness out there!"