This Hidden Swimming Hole Is One Of Ottawa's Best Kept Secrets
Clean swimming water? In Ottawa? It's a thing.
Hidden in Rockcliffe Park is the so-called "Pond", a small swimming hole hidden in the bushes behind some high-end houses. The mansions themselves are something to admire, but the Pond a sight to revel in this wealthy part of Ottawa. The man-made swimming area used to be a sand and gravel pit up until the late 1940s and has since been a popular swimming hole amongst residents from Rockcliffe and beyond.
The small pond, which is about 170 metres long, is the perfect early morning getaway. You'd hardly believe how close you are to the city when you're there - the place is absolute blissful solitude.
The Pond itself isn't too difficult to find, even being as secluded it can be.
To get there, head towards the Pond via the Rockcliffe Parkway (or, I guess the Sir George-Etienne Parkway, as it's formally called) and turn onto Hillsdale Road. Continue down the road until you see the Caldwell-Carver Conservation Area entrance. If you're arriving by bike, you can just lock it on the fence at the entrance - the area's pretty high-end and isolated.
Continue following the black fence through the conservation area entrance, following along MacKay Lake, until you see the smaller body of water that's the Pond.
The only downside (or an upside, some can argue) about the Pond is that there's some pretty stern restrictions in place. Again, the little body of water is right in someone's backyard, so there's strict rules in place to prevent too much noise and rowdiness. While there is no supervision or lifeguard at the Pond itself, you can't swim between 2:00pm and 7:00am. It all sounds like a bluff, but there are almost always city workers there to enforce the rule.
The area is also a conservation area, so it's advised that there's no dogs allowed or bikes. Also, please don't litter. Let's keep this place a paradise for everyone.