Orienteering Ottawa is a strong community of runners, orienteers, and adventure racers who enjoy the exceptional outdoor spaces in the National Capital region. Ottawa boasts one of the largest and strongest such communities in Canada. With our 40 year history we remain at once close-knit and welcoming with old friends across the country and new friends joining regularly.
We host dozens of events on our 50+ maps every year for members and newcomers alike including our popular Spring and Fall Series on Sunday mornings, and our Summer Solstice Series in June. In addition, our multi-day annual Ottawa Orienteering Festival (Ottawa O-Fest), is one of the largest regular orienteering events in the country. Held over two days in September the Ottawa O-Fest weekend includes food, fun and games, clinics for new-comers, races for Canada’s top orienteers, and everything in between. Periodically O-Fest is paired with a larger, Championship event, such as the North American Orienteering Championships as in 2014 in Arnprior. Since the first Canadian Orienteering Championships at Camp Fortune in 1968, Orienteering Ottawa has hosted the Canadian Championships several times, the most recent being in 2010 on the Carp Ridge, and in 1996 in Wakefield.
It is very important to us that everyone have the opportunity to explore orienteering at their own pace. Every season we host introductory clinics for those wanting to learn about our sport. We also have adult intermediate and advanced skills programs for the majority of our members and a running program led by a certified track and field coach. For kids, we offer our Kids Running Free program for ages 8-14 and an Intro to Competition which runs twice a week for those older kids and teenagers that would like to do a little more orienteering.
Our diverse membership ranges from newborns who accompany Mom and Dad in backpacks to the 80+ folks who continue to bring in national championship medals. Our family groups have their youngsters in our junior programs and our adventure groups work to improve their navigation skills as a team. Our more competitive members include numerous athletes on Orienteering Canada’s National High Performance Program and Team Canada. In 2012 member Emily Kemp became the first North American to win a medal at the Junior World Orienteering Championships with her bronze medal run in the Long Distance in Poland.
Whether you consider yourself an experienced athlete looking for a new challenge or simply enjoy the outdoors we encourage you to join us. Come out to learn about our high speed navigation sport, to improve your map and compass skills for your next adventure run, or to simply enjoy a hike or run in our parks and woodlands.
Orienteering is the sport of skilled navigation. The goal is to find a series of checkpoints (called controls) shown on the map, choosing routes both on and off trail to find those checkpoints, and return to the finish.
These controls are marked in the terrain with an orange and white flag and on the map by a pink circle with a control number. They also feature a timing unit to check in with and a verification code to confirm you’re at the right one (this code is also on your map).
With only the course map and a compass to guide you, navigation is all important. To stop participants from simply following others most events start competitors individually a few minutes apart. Other events use other methods to spread people out.