Westboro Beach is our community's special and much appreciated natural resource located on the historic Ottawa River. Native paddlers as far back as 8500 years ago would have used the beach as a stopping place perhaps before negotiating the falls downstream or on their way upstream. European explorers beginning in the early 1600s followed by missionaries and fur traders may well have done the same thing. Later the beach would have been part of the Ottawa River lumbering era. An excellent book on the history of the beach and the surrounding area is "Early Days in Westboro Beach" by Robert Grainger, published by the Westboro Beach Community Association.
Nowadays the beach serves as a four-season destination not only for active recreation and but also for enjoying the beautiful sunsets, experiencing the wind and the waves on a stormy day, watching ice formations in winter, or just chatting anytime on a bench overlooking the river. In the summer sunbathers and casual swimmers share the waterfront with canoeists, kayakers, and stand-up paddle boarders. Beach supervision may be available in the summer as provided by the City of Ottawa. In the winter, children make good use of the hill for sledding and toboganing (helmets please). Cyclists in spring, summer and fall and cross-country skiers in winter pass through as they enjoy fresh air and exercise on the parkland trails along the Ottawa River. The beach appeals to all ages year-round.
We are fortunate that, while the beach area has some built structure, its natural character remains and has not been overcome with development. Westboro Beach is part of the internationally recognized and globally significant Lac Deschenes Important Bird Area. This designation is given due to the area's importance to a number of bird species for spring and fall migration. For further information on this designation see the "Nature" section of this website.
In recognition of its value to the Westboro Beach community and to the city, Westboro Beach is a high priority for the Westboro Beach Community Association (WBCA) in particular regarding protection of the natural integrity of the beach area, recognizing its history, and minimizing conflicts and disturbances that may impact the surrounding residential neighbourhood. As well, WBCA prizes the beach as a location for Westboro Beach community festivities such as the winter bonfire and the fall beach closing bonfire. WBCA volunteers also clean-up the beach periodically.
A canteen, patio and washrooms are available in the summer.
Westboro Beach is located at 745 Sir John A. MacDonald Parkway on National Capital Commission property and, as such, falls within their jurisdiction. The beach may be accessed from Lanark Avenue at Kirchoffer Street, from the riverside multi-use paths, or from a free parking lot located to the east of the beach just off the Parkway.
The beach location may be seen here.
Westboro Beach Map