Ottawa’s Hidden Treasures: Crysler Beach

by DaniGirl on August 3, 2009 · 7 comments

in Away we go, Ottawa Family Fun, Ottawa's hidden treasures

Looking for a perfect “stay-cation” adventure near Ottawa? How about a miniature train ride and a day on the water at Crysler Beach? It’s a lovely hour’s drive through the charming small towns along highway 31 to the St Lawrence Seaway — totally worth the drive on a sunny summer day that also happens to be your birthday, especially if your in-town beach plans were marred by a colossal sewage dump a couple of miles downstream from your favourite (Britannia) beach.

We visit Upper Canada Village almost every year, and we’ve taken a spin on the miniature train almost every time… but we’ve never gotten off the train at the far terminus of Crysler Beach before. After hearing it recommended a couple of times, we decided to try it out with my brother’s visiting family and my mom last Saturday.

We got a slow start to the day, so it was nearly lunch time when we arrived at Upper Canada Village. We stopped for our favourite lunch of Village-made fresh bread and cheese, and a few other goodies from the snack bar, and enjoyed them on the patio.


You don’t have to pay the admission to Upper Canada Village to enjoy the snack bar and gift shop, nor to ride the train. There is a small fee for the train ride, though — I think it’s $5 for adults and $3 for kids over four or something to that effect. The train runs every half hour, and you can get off at the Crysler Beach station or stay on for the full loop.

train at the station

The train ride to Crysler Beach is a lovely little 15 minute jaunt, complete with a ride under a covered bridge and a run alongside the St Lawrence River. The point you can see is the breakwater just on the edge of the beach.

St Lawrence Seaway

The beach itself is quite a bit larger than I was expecting. It has covered changerooms and washrooms on site, and apparently there’s a play structure, too, but we didn’t make it that far. I’d’ve liked it a lot better if there were a lot less goose poop and a few less rocks — there’s about two feet at the very edge of the surf that are painful to walk on, and then the bottom gets sandy again.

Tristan and Simon

Of course, sometimes rocks are not a bad thing. Lucas’s new word for the day, in fact, was an enthusiastic “RRRROX!”

fingers in the surf

It’s a good beach for little kids, because while the slope is a little steeper than the gentle grade at Britannia, it’s still fine for kids who are steady on their feet. My not-quite-three year old niece had a blast! And even on a calm day, there’s just enough surf to be fun to play in.

dad and daughter

Of course, you don’t need to get wet to enjoy the beach…



Once you’ve had your fill of sun and surf (and stones), just wander back to the train station and catch the next loop back to Upper Canada Village.

Crysler beach station

A game of tag with Granny helps to pass the time while you wait for the train…

catch me

here comes the train

And if you happen to have a few extra minutes before you hop in the car for the hour-long drive back to Ottawa, Lucas has an excellent suggestion for the perfect end to your adventure, at the Upper Canada Village store:

great idea

Next time we go, I’d love to do an overnight camping trip at the St Lawrence Park (they have sites with both pre-pitched tents and little cabins, from what I understand) and make our way over to see the dinosaurs at Prehistoric World!

(As always, there are even more pictures on Flickr…)

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barbara August 3, 2009 at 7:34 am

Good recommendation, Dani. We spent last Labour Day weekend in and around Morrisburg. We enjoyed Crysler Beach, Upper Canada Village, Prehistoric World and the cinnamon-sugar waffles at the Macintosh Inn. Ken wanted to go up to the Iroquois Canal to watch some lake freighters go through but we didn’t get a chance. There’s also the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary, which looks beautiful, but we haven’t been there either.

2 glidinglara August 3, 2009 at 2:01 pm

RT @DaniGirl Ottawa’s Hidden Treasures: Crysler Beach An excellent family day trip – trains, beach and ice cream!

3 smothermother August 5, 2009 at 6:35 am

Aweseom recommmendation. A train and a beach? The jellybean will be in heaven. We’ll have to try that soon.

4 Jean August 6, 2009 at 1:53 am

Really great idea you have here. I have to try this with my family. Great post too. By the way, there’s a new social networking site dedicated to parents and kids, it’s called – it’s a place for Moms, Dads, and Kids! Now, there’s even a chance to win a free iPod Nano!. It would be so nice of you to join our parents’ forums and polls. Thanks a lot and have a great day!

5 Rebecca August 20, 2009 at 10:39 am

We just got back from Chrysler’s Farm and Prehistoric world yesterday (did a picnic etc. ) We’d already done Upper Canada Village in June. It was great! We agreed that we should plan a trip to the beach next time.

Prehistoric world was great with the kids (my son 2.5 and nephew almost 6) we had a lot of fun.

Upper Canada is a great place to go each year!

6 Arlene August 25, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Went today. It was an okay day after we finally arrived. Things have changed. I guess the economy is affecting everyone. One thing to note is that you have to pay $11 for parking. The train was late and it was difficult to purchase train tickets. There was no bread and we would have had to wait for over an hour to get some more.

At the beach, beware of the bird poop. It is everywhere. I made sure to carry the kids beach/swimming shoes so they were okay.
Yes I would go again. It was a nice family outing.

7 Arlene August 25, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Sorry I should clarify, you pay $11 at the beach to park and $2 at Upper Canada Village.

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