Canada’s Capital City – Ottawa, ON


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.

Canada’s Parliament at Parliament Hill. First opened in 1866, the original building pretty much burned to the ground in 1916 during the time of Canada’s participation in World War I. Some believe the fire was a deliberate act by the German saboteurs, but no firm conclusions exist. The current version began completion in 1927

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.

The clock tower at the Parliament as well as the tower of east block which is used for parliamentary members much like U.S. congressional buildings

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.

I have no clue what this building is on Rue Wellington, but Alayne liked it enough to take a picture. It quite possibly could be the office of the Prime Minister
This is Canada’s National War Memorial. Like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the U.S., it has guards stationed. Unlike the U.S. version which is guarded 24 by 7 by 365, guard duty seems to be a 9-5 job in Canada, as they were there in the p.m. but were gone by 6 p.m. I was disappointed in that and think Canada should strive to do better.  In fairness, they just started guarding it in June 2018

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.

This shot overlooks the Rideau Canel and the Ottawa River, which separates Ontario from Quebec
Operating the locks at the Rideau River is still very much a manual process
Boats awaiting exit from the Rideau Canal. First established in in 1832, the Rideau canal joined Ottawa with the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario
This was our view of Parliament Hill from atop the Hyatt Andaz hotel. I could not believe my lucky fortune that 16 oz. craft IPAs were only the equivalent of seven dollars U.S. And I shortly found out, that was on the high side!
You can see Parliament in the back, and Byward Market in the middle in this shot
This is a shot of The Aude Dubliner in Byward Market. My only objection to our visit was the number of people smoking pot out in the open, especially being that Ottawa’s Byward Market is family-friendly (notice the stroller on the far left). Folks, if you don’t see open liquor on the street, there’s no reason to suspect people want to see you smoking pot!
This is the very famous Fairmont Chateau Laurier located alongside the Rideau Canal. I had the pleasure of staying there once in the dead of winter and watching ice skaters leverage the canal when it was all lit up. It was very pretty (I apologize to my French friends, but WordPress seems to have a hard time putting special accents above characters in captions)
This is an evening shot looking alongside the Fairmont Chateau Laurier at the canal bridge

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.

The first of several shots as people await the light show at Parliament
This image shows the original Parliament before it was burned to the ground on February 3, 1926. Only the library remained thanks to the quick thinking of a clerk who sealed it off from the rest of the building
Part of the laser light show at Parliament
The end of the lightshow
The street we hung at started rolling up at 11 p.m., so if you go to Ottawa, hold your expectations of night life in check. Notice the bum sleeping on the sidewalk in the lower right. Pot will do that

As cities go, you should put Ottawa on your list. It is A-okay in my book.

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