Interprovincial zip line linking Ottawa and Gatineau opening next summer

A planned zip line between Ottawa and Gatineau is delaying its opening until 2021 amid disruptions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Orkestra

The national capital region is soon getting a new interprovincial crossing — and it’s not another bridge.

A 1,400-foot zip line linking Ottawa and Gatineau is set to open next summer, the team behind the million-dollar attraction – marketing agency Orkestra and the Zibi development– announced on Thursday.

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It’s believed to be the first interprovincial zip line in the world.

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According to the partners involved, the ride will carry people 120 feet above the Ottawa River and offer “unparalleled” views of landmarks on both shores — including the Supreme Court of Canada and the Canadian Museum of History.

“When we think about this unique viewpoint that nobody’s ever had before — Parliament on your right, Chaudière Falls on your left, the two skylines as you’re going across the river and looking at the Gatineau Hills straight ahead of you — it’s phenomenal,” said Michael Crockatt, president and CEO of Ottawa Tourism.

“It’s just going to spur and spark so many stories about our community.”

A zip line between Ottawa and Gatineau is opening in summer 2020, marketing agency Orkestra and the Zibi development announced on Dec. 5, 2019. Screenshot / Orkestra

At a news conference on Thursday morning, Ottawa mayor Jim Watson said in French that the zip line is “a big win” for the local tourism industry.

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It also represents the first time Ottawa and Gatineau have partnered “to deliver a permanent visitor attraction in our region,” he said.

“I see this project as a great representation of the special connection and relationship that the two cities and the two provinces have,” Watson said.

“I’m really confident that this project, this attraction, will change the way people look at our region, bringing a bold new look and a lot of excitement to both of our cities.”

Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin (left) and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson (right) celebrate the announcement of an interprovincial zip line that will open at Zibi next summer. Beatrice Britneff / Global News

Neither the City of Ottawa, nor la Ville de Gatineau spent municipal dollars on the private project, the two cities’ mayors confirmed. But both supported the new attraction and have worked with the organizations on the necessary approvals and permits.

The zip line is called “Interzip Rogers” after its title sponsor, Rogers Communications.

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Because it’s hosting the attraction, Zibi — a mixed-use community under construction on Gatineau’s waterfront and on Chaudière and Albert islands — is also funding the zip line in part, president Jeff Westeinde said.

I think one of the things that our region really needs is to celebrate our waterfront more and this is a great opportunity for people to actually see our waterfront firsthand,” Westeinde said.

The new interprovincial zip line is the brainchild of Alex Van Dieren, Orkestra’s co-president, who set the idea in motion about two years ago. He said he expects it will cost between $1.2 million and $1.5 million to build the attraction. Construction is scheduled to start this spring.

Orkestra doesn’t yet have an opening date to announce but Van Dieren said people will soon be able to make reservations online to be among the first to ride the zip line.

“It’s an ambitious project,” he said. “It’s going to be a structure of 85 feet that needs to be raised up, so engineers are working really hard to make it happen [quickly]. We would like to open as quick as possible.”
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Skyline Ziplines, which operates zip lines in more than 20 countries, will build and operate the Ottawa-Gatineau ride. According to Orkestra, the zip line will start and finish at Zibi.

Van Dieren said the zip line will be an all-seasons attraction that can operate in any weather condition, with the exception of lightning or very high winds.

Alex Van Dieren is co-president of Orkestra and Jeff Westeinde is Zibi’s president. The two groups have partnered to bring an interprovincial zip line to the national capital region in summer 2020. Beatrice Britneff / Global News

Prices also haven’t been confirmed but Van Dieren said an adult might pay between $30 and $40 to ride the zip line, while children would ride for less. Package deals for families and with museums are in the works, he said.

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Riders will have to weigh at least 60 pounds and Van Dieren said his team is exploring offering days with special staff on hand who can assist people with certain disabilities who want to try the ride.

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