Zip Zip Hooray

Photos: Courtesy InterZip Rogers

Imagine looking around the glorious scenery of our region, 120 feet above the Ottawa River, then jumping off a platform and flying and screaming with delight across the River from one province to another. This weekend is the last time for the season to experience the latest cool thing to do in Ottawa/Gatineau:  the first interprovincial ziplining experience, InterZip Rogers.

It is the brainchild of Alexandre Van Dieren, vice president of a local marketing agency, Orkestra. “Five years ago, I was on the river thinking about how the bridges across our provinces were full and I was imagining what might be a fun way to cross over.  I had just been to Costa Rica and saw the ziplining experience there and the idea hatched to have one here. There are not many urban ziplines and certainly none between two provinces so attaching two provinces and three communities (Ottawa, Gatineau and Indigenous communities) seemed like a great idea. I am proud of our region, and in Ottawa/Gatineau we have a lot of potential to be fun.”

Here we are today, with that opportunity thanks to his vision and the hard work to make it happen. “I was probably a bit naïve about the whole thing, but once we were committed we did it.”  That is a good thing because of his dedication to the project, we now have an exhilarating and breathtaking experience for people of all ages.

Van Dieren connected with Zibi (the community being built by Portage Bridge and Waterfront Quarter to the East and Chaudière Crossing and Albert Island to the West) and the zipline project began to take shape.

‘Zibi’ is the Algonquin Anishinabe word for ‘river’ and Zibi is a site of great importance to the First Nations people of the area. Zibi has been working closely with the Indigenous community as full partners in their community development and at the bottom of the zipline, there is a beautiful work of art by an Indigenous artist. 

The InterZip Rogers reception desk is located at 40-Z, Jos-Montferrand street, in Gatineau, on the Zibi site (InterZip Rogers’s landlord). You check in there, get your gear there then walk to the tower. 

There, a thorough security briefing follows, including braking tips, and then you climb the tower (equivalent of 9 floors high. Unfortunately there is no ride up but enjoy the journey and look around.  There is no hurry.) 

At peak this summer, there were an impressive 800 rides per day. “We opened late because of COVID because the provinces were closed” but InterZip Rogers took off.  It is their hope to open in the winter in the years to come and be a year-round experience, but that is unlikely this year.

While it took a while to muster up the courage, I took my daughter and did it for myself and it was exciting. There are two ziplines so you can go down on one line while a loved one can join you on the other one. You can purchase a video of your ride to share with others.

While I had to find courage to do it, it turns out our local seniors are an adventurous bunch. InterZip Rogers is intergenerationally popular and the experience exploded in that demographic. Part of that reason is the reassurance you have right from the start.  The staff walk you through every step of the way, and the harnesses are strong and you just feel safe.

Even though the weather calls for rain this weekend, don’t let that stop you.  It doesn’t stop InterZip Rogers. Going 40 km an hour crossing the Ottawa River is not to be missed.