Okay, the Princess Louise Falls is not completely unknown, but I believe that very few people from outside Orleans know about it. Which is rather surprising, because there are not a lot of waterfalls in the Ottawa area and this one is particularly pretty.
Princess Louise Falls is part of Taylor Creek and flows along the escarpment south of St. Joseph Boulevard in Orleans. As it is a few meters high and flows over several levels of sedimentary rocks, it is rather impressive and looks more like the type of waterfall that you could see along the Niagara Escarpment rather than in the suburbs of Ottawa.
The waterfall is named after Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria and wife of John Campbell, Canada’s fourth Governor General. Local legend has it that Princess Louise occasionally visited the area to sketch the fall, but as such sketches have never been found among those she left, it is difficult to know if there is some truth behind this story.
In front of the falls are the ruins of a culvert marking the spot where St. Joseph Boulevard passed before it was slightly moved and straightened. It should be noted that the St. Joseph Boulevard is still very close to the waterfall (you can actually see it from the road) and the constant traffic takes away some of the charm of the place.
Nevertheless, there is a small network of trails along the escarpment which makes it possible to view Princess Louise Falls at its base, but also at its summit, where a pedestrian bridge passes over the gorge dug by the stream. At times, one could almost forget being in Orleans. Almost.
The place is particularly photogenic and is often used as a backdrop for wedding pictures. I think that the waterfall has also gained popularity in recent years because it is known as being particularly “Instagramable” (I must admit that when I visited it, I was a little annoyed by all the people that I saw trying to capture that perfect Instagram pose in front of the waterfall).
So maybe Princess Louise Falls is no longer a well-kept secret … But it’s still a pretty natural jewel of the region!
And if waterfalls are your thing, don’t forget to go check Hog’s Back Falls in Ottawa!