The Pumphouse

Pumphouse training times and paddling time-slot availability can be found on the Events Calendar. If you wish to paddle during National Team and Advanced Development Group Training Slots, please ask the coach, or contact us.

Usually it is fine to paddle during these slots if you are not a large group and ensure that you stay out of the gates that are being executed by the athletes. The only fully restricted times for paddling would be when races are being held or the course is blocked for SRT training.

The ORR’s enthusiasm to nurture paddling year round is facilitated by our outdoor site at the Fleet Street Pumping Station tailrace in Ottawa, through weekly trips to local rivers in the spring/summer/fall and finally via winter pool sessions.  More advanced paddlers are encouraged to develop via higher level coaching up to the National level.

The Pumphouse facility provides a class 2 whitewater site within the city, as well as a moving water beginners area below, where the outflow meets the Ottawa River at Victoria Island.  Use of this area is via an agreement with the City of Ottawa, requiring users to be ORR members and abide by specific rules.  The site upgrade included removal of contaminated soil (legacy of its industrial past), stablization of earthen banks and finally  landscaping to blend into the LeBreton Flats renewal.  This occured over the span of 2004 – 2008. It now provides spectators a good view of activities from a lookout and from a fenced path alongside the whitewater.  The club provides limited boat storage at the Pumphouse facility for a fee, and this is presently offered via locked containers.

The ORR puts substantial financial and volunteer resources into maintaining the Pumphouse/Tailrace course. We have a policy that all individuals or companies running courses at the facility, and charging for those courses, remits 10% of their course revenues to the ORR. In addition, it is recommended that course instructors be club members.

Even if you are a member of another local paddling club, we recommend you become a member of ORR to take advantage of, and to support, the Pumphouse facility, or you may elect to pay the $5 day-use fee. The latter can be done by putting money in the pay-box that it is at the take-out stairs near the clubhouse.

Refer to the following Map for location in Ottawa:

The above photo was take at in 2009.  The Pumping station or ‘water works’ as it was known, is shown today and had been nicely restored.  It also is fully functioning and supplies much of the drinking water for downtown Ottawa.  You can see the ‘water works’ on the Ottawa Map 1894 in our historical section:

History of ORR and the Pumphouse

In April, 2009, Ottawa Magazine, published an article entitled “Troubled Waters” on the Pumphouse, written by James Hale, with photographs by club member, Harry Nowell. You can read it here.

Below is a photo of the Fleet Street Pumping station as it first looked with the original mansard roof.  The later modified second story is shown in the post card at the bottom.