Basics and Beyond

COVID-19 Update

Updated 2021-08-11

As it stands right now, Orienteering Ottawa is planning on going ahead with our Basics and Beyond program this fall. Last fall, we unfortunately had to cancel our adult programs in order to focus on running our youth programs in a safe and organized manner. With case numbers decreasing and more Ontarians, and Quebecers getting vaccinated, we are confident that we will finally be able to plan and run Basics and Beyond, whether it would be with or without any COVID-19 modifications i.e. social distancing, smaller group sizes, etc.). That will ultimately depend on what specific social distancing rules the provincial government will be enforcing at that time. 

Programs will start mid-September and will run for 8 weeks. 

In the mean time, if you have any questions please contact our Program Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Our Basics & Beyond program is an 8-week program for adults where we teach the basics of orienteering and then move beyond that to guide you through the first skills required to comfortably complete novice and intermediate orienteering courses. This is a skills course, in which we emphasize the development of basic orienteering skills rather than physical fitness. In other words, during the program you may run or walk at whatever speed you wish! Over the course of the eight weeks we will go over the following skills:

  • Basic map-reading and compass skills
  • Understanding standard orienteering map
  • Route choice and navigation systems
  • Navigation using surrounding terrain features

Please note that the program does not teach declination or similar skills that are not used in orienteering, nor does it put a strong emphasis on compass skills. For those wanting to learn those types of skills we recommend a different organization.

Teenagers who would prefer to learn in an adult environment are also welcome in this program.

Have kids that are looking for a new sport? Our Basics and Beyond program is offered at the same time as our youth programs so the whole family can learn orienteering at the same time!

Times and Locations

We offer our Basics and Beyond program twice a year, with a spring season and a fall season.

Each season runs for 8 weeks and visits two different venues for 4 weeks each.

For some of our locations, we offer sessions in several time slots. When you register, you can specify which time and location you are signing up for.

Fall 2021 (September - November)

Locations Times Dates Venue 1 Venue 2 Events & Competitions
Ottawa West


6:30 - 7:30

September 14, 21, 28

October 5, 12, 19, 26

November 2

Cedarview (Greenbelt P13, next to Bell High School)

(Sep 14 - Oct 5)

Britannia Park (Beach Parking, NOT Ron Kolbus Centre)

(Oct 12 - Nov 2)

Ottawa Central


11:00 - 12:00

September 18, 25

October 2, 9, * 23, 30

November 6, 13

Hog’s Back Park (601 Hog’s Back Rd.)

(Sep 18 - Oct 9)

McCarthy Woods (Hunt Club-Riverside Community Centre)**

(Oct 16 - Nov 13*)

* Due to a separate orienteering event that the club will be hosting on October 16, the Ottawa Central program will have a gap week with no program session taking place that Saturday. The Ottawa West program will be unaffected by this.
** Currently, there are large amounts of wild parsnip growing in and around McCarthy Woods. If it is still there by mid-October, we may have to relocate the October 23 – November 13 sessions elsewhere for the safety of our participants. Although no backup location has been assigned yet, please stay tuned for updates about those program dates.
For info about Fall programs see our COVID-modified programs page.

Info Sessions

Each season we offer a free info session 1 or 2 weeks prior to the start of our programs. We will discuss how our programs work and offer you a chance to ask any questions you might have.

For the 2021 fall season we have two info sessions organized:

Tuesday, September 7; 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM at Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre

Saturday, September 11; 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM at Hunt Club-Riverside Community Centre


The Basics & Beyond program does not include participation in any official competitions.

We normally include some fun additional events as part of the program. We are still determining what those may be.

Coming Prepared

Please bring the following with you to the program each week:

Running Shoes

Running shoes with good tread are ideal. Trail running shoes are even better! We do not recommend wearing rain boots, sandals, or flat sole shoes.

Long Pants

We will be running in long grass and in the woods. Long pants will help prevent scrapes and scratches.

Clothes (That Can Get Dirty)

We guarantee that you will get to enjoy the mud at least once!

Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is never a bad idea. There will be a spot where you can leave a water bottle for the hour so you won't need to carry it with you.

Safety Whistle

A basic precaution for all Orienteering Ottawa events and programs.

Headlamp (Tuesdays Only)

Your headlamp should be at least 120 lumens.

A Sense of Adventure!

Do we really need to explain this one?

Coaching and Lessons

Each Basic & Beyond group will be led by 1-2 experienced orienteering instructors. Each session will consist of a combination of instructions from your instructor, independent learning, and a chance to practice new skills at hand.

Weather and Safety Policies

Orienteering is a rain-or-shine sport. Only in the event of dangerous conditions (e.g. lightning, frostbite warning) will a program session be canceled, in which case we will send out an email no less than 2 hours prior to the start of the session.

We do not guarantee refunds for cancelled sessions. If we cancel more than one session in the season we will look at how we can compensate families for the missed sessions.

Ticks, poison ivy, and wild parsnip are common wildlife risks found in the Ottawa area. We will teach about basic safety precautions in the first week of the program. It’s also a good idea to read through our safety page (page de sécurité et éthique).

To see the club’s full weather policy as well as our program behaviour and safety policies check out our policy manual.


All official communication for this program will be done via email. We will be adding participants to an email list after they sign up. Please do not unsubscribe from this list as you will no longer receive important notifications about the program. We clear the list at the end of each season before adding the next season’s participants to the list.

You will receive an email confirmation when you register. You can also expect to receive emails 1.5-2 weeks prior to the start of the program and also a few days before your first session with pre-season program information and details.

Note that program emails are sent from a mail list server and some email systems will sort our emails into junk or spam boxes. Please check for our emails there if you do not get them when you expect to.

For urgent inquiries during program hours, we recommend contacting our on-site program coordinator, Tomas Graham via call or text at 613-408-6836 rather than by email. That way, issues can be sorted out faster.

Registration info


Cost (per participant): $130 (plus tax)

This cost includes:

  • 8 one hour program sessions
  • 2022 (including 2021 fall season) club membership (value $20)

If you require financial assistance, please contact our program coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


See our refund policy in our policy manual

Any questions can be directed to our This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..