While in upstate New York, we took the opportunity to visit Canada’s capital, Ottawa, Ontario. Unfortunately, it took us about 20 minutes to get through customs processing, which bordered on inclusion of a strip search. I don’t know what threw things off course, but I have a strong hunch.
When questioned what the purpose of our trip to Ottawa was, I remarked “We’re going there for dinner.” When asked where we lived, I answered “Texas.” After being asked to roll down our back windows and upon seeing the inside of our Honda which looks like a family of gypsies lives in it, I was promptly directed to quarantine. What didn’t make sense to them was that someone would drive 1,800 miles for an overnight stay in Ottawa, especially with a carload of crap that included a very large cooler. After multiple explanations regarding the fact that we left our home in a local campground on U.S. turf, and the passing of a criminal background check, they let us go. Lesson to all: How you ask the question is as important as the answer.
As cities go, Ottawa ranks at the top of my list. It is clean. It is safe. It is modern. I’ve always enjoyed going there except when it was blistering cold one winter as I visited Bell Canada. My God, it was cold. And the snow was 2 feet deep. Aside from that, it is a very pleasant city to visit. I liken it to Oslo, Norway in terms of being cosmopolitan and clean while also maintaining its rich heritage in architecture.
We only spent the evening there, but it was very delightful. We visited the parliament area, as well as the Rideau Canal and the Byward market area. We enjoyed evening cocktails at the rooftop bar at the Hyatt Andaz while overlooking Parliament and the Byward Market.
Before capping the night off, we spent about 20 minutes viewing the light show at Parliament. It appears to be put on each night around 10 p.m. It runs through Canada’s rich history from the 1700’s to present day. Following that, we enjoyed a Brussel sprout pizza at the Bier Market.
As cities go, you should put Ottawa on your list. It is A-okay in my book.