Spring and Fall Series

orienteer enjoying her run

Our most popular series of events, our Spring and Fall Sunday morning events, give participants the opportunity to experience the best of Ottawa's forests and natural areas. We specifically host these series over 8-10 weeks in the Spring and Fall when area forests are at their nicest. We start the spring series sometime in April (depending on when it looks like the snow will be gone) and run into mid-June. In the Fall we start early September and run into November, catching the best of the fall colours and that perfect fall exercise weather.

"Whether you want a day in the woods with your family or are ready for the ultimate orienteering challenge these events are for you."

A low-key drop-in series, we encourage everyone to try these events. There is absolutely no need to participate in any number of events and with on-site registration there's no need to let us know you're coming in advance. Just show up on the morning of the event and find us at the information tent to sign in and pick up your map and any instructions you feel you want (orienteering? what's that?). Then, when you're ready, visit the starter and begin your day's adventure.

If you are bringing a group, please give us advance knowledge by email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) so we can be sure to have sufficient maps and, if needed, instructors to give your group an introduction to the sport in the language of your choice.

Event Format

These events are typically of the classic 'point-to-point' format. Start at the 'start triangle' in the map and you must visit all of the check points (or controls as we call them) in the numbered order shown on the map connected by lines. Your race time starts when you leave the start triangle and finishes after you've visited all the controls and return to the finish. If you don't visit the controls in the right order though, miss one, or accidentally check in at the wrong one your time won't count - what we call a 'mispunch'.

To lessen the chances of somebody catching up to you each person must start at least one minute after the person in front of you on your chosen course. If you want to run in a group you can - you will show up with a single result in the results list.

Periodically, events in other formats will be included in this series. These events and their interesting formats will be clearly highlighted in the schedule with specific details and instructions accessible by clicking on the event.


Whether you want a day in the woods with your family or are ready for the ultimate orienteering challenge, these events are for you. With 4 levels of difficulty and varying course lengths these events are specifically designed to accommodate everyone from children to seniors and never-before orienteers to national team members.


sample novice map

New to the sport? Choose the novice course with just enough of a challenge to whet your appetite for more. Perfect for children, new-comers, and families, there will always be an Orienteering Ottawa volunteer ready to get you oriented and headed off in the right direction on this course.

First time? Check out our Try an Event page to get started. You can always get some basic instructions at the event too!  At most events there will be a 'mini-clinic' at 10:30.  Be registered and with your map in hand and you will get some basic pointers to get you started.



sample Intermediate map

The first step off trail, this course offers you the opportunity to find a control in the woods but still having the comfort level of staying near trails and traveling any major distance on trails. At times you will find yourself following a stream or broken stone wall for guidance. You will have to be sure to stay in contact with your map to be sure to know where to leave the trail, fence or stream to find the control. You will learn to read more and more of the details of the map such as identifying contour changes,

Short Advanced

sample advanced map

A technically challenging course for those who have successfully completed the intermediate course and want a greater challenge. Designed both as a stepping stone to the long advanced and also for those who want the technical challenge with greater route choices and more detailed features to identify, without the greater physical challenge. Distances, 'as the crow flies', might be about 4 km but the actual distance traveled, depending on route choice, might be 6km.

Long Advanced

sample advanced map

The most physically and technically challenging course can also be the most rewarding course to complete. Designed for our most experienced athletes these courses typically take our national team members 50-80 minutes to complete and the rest of the competitors finish the course in anywhere from an hour and a half to 3 hours.

These courses vary in length anywhere from 6 km to 10 km and take you completely off trail and into the heart of the woods. Don't forget to time yourself to be back by 2:00 PM at the latest.


At 10:30 each day there will be a mini-clinic for those who are new to orienteering or need a refresher.  We ask that you arrive early enough to have registered and have a map in hand at the clinic.  There is no charge for this 15 minute clinic.


Timing  - 

The Sunday Morning Series run from 10:00 until 2:00 most Sundays in the spring and fall. See the table below for the standard Sunday event schedule. Some events, particularly those on other days, will have different times.  Please see the specific event for details.

Time Event
10:00-11:00 Registration desk is open
10:15-11:30 Start window
2:00 Courses close

*Note that it is very important that you are back at the finish by 2:00. We start our missing persons protocol at 2:00 for anyone who has not checked in at the finish and download stations by 2 p.m.

With refreshing post-race snacks and drinks on hot days and warm drinks on cold days, we run regardless of the weather.  However, always check this site if there is an extreme event.


Please note that although we do have credit and debit available at most events, sadly things don't always work right. Please be prepared to pay with cash or e-transfer if necessary.

Costs may vary but a typical meet cost for a single race event is :

Standard Meet Costs per start Adults Jrs (8-20 yrs) group * family ** Child (0-7 ans)
Annual members $10.00 $7.00 $24 $24 free
Day-members $14.00 $8.00 $35 $35 free
* group = all members of the group running the same course with one timing stick
** family = one household of parents and children - individuals can be running different courses
* ** group/family - For Novice course only - $15 if first registrant is a member, $22 if no members in the group/family
Additional fees
Timing chip rental (no charge for the novice course) $2.00
Compass rental $2.00 + $10 rental deposit
Whistle purchase (whistles are mandatory) $2.00