Ottawa Orienteering Club
The sport of Orienteering was developed in Sweden early this century by running/exercise enthusiasts who added the element of navigation to their training runs. They upgraded their government issue maps to include topographical and man-made details which could be used as "control points" to search for during their walk or run. The participants carried only the O-map and a compass to keep them "on course".
Modern orienteering events are now just a formalization of that original concept. Host clubs, like the Ottawa Orienteering Club (OOC), prepare highly detailed maps of the most interesting and accessible parkland near Ottawa, set up control points (brightly colored markers like the web site icons) at detailed features on the map, and invite the public to enjoy a hike or run around one of the planned courses. There are always simple courses where the markers are all on trails as well as advanced courses where the markers are placed out in wooded terrain where very precise navigation is required.
There have always been "X-treme"themes in Orienteering such as the military "survival" version and ultra-long endurance events shown on TV but they do not represent the safe and controlled participation event that is typical in Canada and forty other countries around the world.
So why should you try orienteering? Well, if you don’t like the outdoors then you won’t like orienteering. If you don’t like an exercise that includes an element of problem solving and discovery then perhaps this is not for you. But if you enjoy the great outdoors - in all seasons - you are looking for an occasional outing with the family or friends or for a lifetime sport to test your physical and mental skills then come give it a try. The only equipment you need is a compass - and we can rent you one. The only gear you need is what you would wear on a hike (or cross-country ski) for the given weather conditions.
Residents of the National Capital area don’t have to go far to find an opportunity to orienteer. Many of the city parks and forested greenbelt areas have been mapped and are excellent areas for beginners. There will be events at those sites during our annual "Summer Solstice" evening series in June. These events begin at 6:30 p.m. and are an excellent opportunity for newcomers to try the sport. You will discover one of the many fun variants of orienteering - "score-O" where you try to find as many markers as you can in one hour. If this sounds like a big outdoor treasure hunt with maps instead of clues then you are on the right track.
On Sunday mornings in April, May, September to November events are held in forested areas from Almonte to eastern Gatineau, from Lac Philippe in the north of Gatineau Park to the Baxter Conservation centre south on the rideau River. These all have varied courses from novice level to advanced.
Other variations of the sport, which we hold from time to time, are:
We have even held canoe-O's on Lac Philippe
In April, May, and September to November, on Sunday morning you will find us in Gatineau Park or other nearby woods. Keep checking this web site for a comprehensive schedule of events and links to other O-sites.
The U.S. federation has assembled several "how to" links for their education page. For a sample course, try this 'tryO' game.
See you in the Woods!