Barack Obama’s visit to Ottawa will close roads, bridges, museums, waterways and (almost) everything

The visit of an American president always requires some pretty intense security measures, and Barack Obama’s day-trip to Ottawa this week for the Three Amigos summit is no exception.

Large swaths of the national capital’s downtown core will be blocked off as Obama’s motorcade makes its way to various venues on Wednesday. There are dozens of road closures planned, and the Alexandra Bridge linking Ottawa to Gatineau is also going to be shut down.

Leaving the car at home won’t necessarily help. Cyclists and pedestrians may find themselves similarly blocked from accessing streets at various points during the day, according to the City of Ottawa.

You can check out a full run-down of all the closures here.

Folks in boats can also expect to see their movements severely restricted. The Rideau Canal lock station at the base of the Hill, which leads from the canal down to the Ottawa River, will be closed for the entire day.

On the river itself, nobody will be permitted to anchor, moor or stop their boat (seriously, don’t even slow down) in a special exclusion zone immediately surrounding Parliament Hill and the nearby bridge.

City of Ottawa

Flying into or out of Ottawa on Wednesday? Well, so is the American president, so from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and again from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., you can expect delays and road closures.

The airport authority is urging passengers to be extra vigilant and arrive at the airport two to three hours prior to their flight to ensure they don’t miss it. Once you get there, you could then be facing flight delays for both arrivals and departures.

WATCH: Preview of ‘Three Amigos Summit’ in Ottawa

ChangSha Night Net

All fun officially cancelled

It’s not just commuting that will get complicated on Wednesday. Leisure activities in downtown Ottawa are also going to grind to a near-halt when Obama touches down.

Want to take a bike ride or go for a run along the Ottawa River below Parliament Hill? Sorry, the path is shut from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In the mood for some Picasso at the National Gallery of Canada? Forget it. The building is closed on both Tuesday and Wednesday for events linked to the summit.

READ MORE: PM Justin Trudeau, Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto continue state visit in Ottawa 

Ok, so how about a tour of Centre Block? Ha! Nope. All government buildings on the Hill will be closed to the public, and the people who work in the Parliamentary Precinct on a daily basis need extra-special passes on Wednesday.

The Changing of the Guard and the mass-yoga class normally held on the front lawn will also be cancelled. Even Ottawa’s newest tourist attraction, the Rideau Street sinkhole, won’t be receiving visitors due to the road closures.



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Overall, locals and tourists can expect to see heavy police presence just about everywhere downtown (at street level and above). Everyone is being encouraged to be patient, and if at all possible to avoid the whole mess by sticking to parts of the city not besieged by a security lock-down.

The closures will wind down in the evening, with everything re-opening slowly starting around 7 p.m. after the president addresses Parliament and heads back to the airport to board Air Force One.

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