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River Runners - Training Canada's Olympic Kayakers in Downtown Ottawa

Posted by on Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Photo: Amanda McNaughton

On the edge of downtown Ottawa, just steps from the National Archives of Canada and Parliament, is a gully that leads to one of the city's hidden treasures. Traveling down its grassy slope you can hear the rush of white water and soon see a short stretch of river that kayakers from all over the world come to paddle.

It's on these waters that many of Canada's former and future Olympic kayakers have honed their skills. Every summer this man-made and natural boulder-strewn watercourse becomes a playground for the Ottawa River Runners, a team who coach up-and-coming Olympians and novices.

But this length of river isn't just a paddler's paradise, it's also home to a fragment of Ottawa's history. At its south end sits the Fleet Street Pumphouse. Built in 1874, it was Ottawa's first water pumping station, and it continues to provide drinking water for much of the city's center.

Join the River Runners below as they navigate a slalom course on the rapids during one of their practice sessions.

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