July 7 – 9, 2019 Ottawa – A Capital Place

We rounded the last bend of the Rideau and there before us was the city of Ottawa, capital of Canada.  It’s a lovely sight when boating into the city.  The old stone buildings stand high and proud.  The best part was that the canal runs through the center of the city, so there we were and there we STAYED.  Boats can tie up to the canal walls, so we were in the heart of the city.  Even had electricity! The Canadian Senate (temporarily housed in the old Railway Station) was right next to our boat.

We wasted no time. Friends on Steadfast were already there and were ready for a bike ride.  So we quickly unloaded the bikes and off we rode.  The city is VERY bike friendly and SO many people ride their bikes in Ottawa.  We rode thru part of downtown, past several embassies and stopped at Rideau Hall, home of the Governor General, the Queen’s representative in Canada. The position is currently held by Julie Payette, who was previously one of Canada’s astronauts, and who flew two missions in space.  I like her official motto – PER SPEREA AD ASTRA (Through hardship to the stars). The grounds of the home are like a huge park – so beautiful.  We took a tour of the home, saw the Changing of the Guard at the entrance, then were off on our bikes – all the way to Quebec!  OK, to be honest, we rode to the Province of Quebec, which was over a bridge to the other side of the river.  The city of Quebec would have been MUCH farther. 

So what else did we see in Ottawa?

The Senate Building– the government buildings are currently undergoing MAJOR renovations to bring them up to the 21stcentury. The Senate is now in the old railway station – a beautiful interior – and right next to our boat.

The East Block– this is the building on the east side of the Parliament building.  Originally home to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Members, some of the offices have been restored to their original interiors.  Tours take people through these offices and through history.

The Royal Canadian Mint – makes collector coins, Olympic medals when events are held in Canada, as well as coins for many other countries.  We asked about free samples and the answer is always the same – “That’s on tomorrow’s tour.” Interesting Note:  The medals from the Olympic winter games held in Canada – if all assembled together – would form a picture of the Orca whale –“powerful and knowing no boundaries.”  Each medal recipient was given a drawing of the total picture with an indication of what part of the picture was on their medal.  Thus, each medal, was unique.  The same was done for the Paralympic winners.  Their picture was of a Raven – “ a supremely creative and agile transformer.”

The By Ward Market– BIG indoor/outdoor market area with fresh produce, meats, cheeses, bakeries, artisan crafts, clothing – you name it. Fabulous.  Got a flat of fresh strawberries for $8 Canadian. That’s about $5.60 US.  

The Changing of the Guard at Parliament Hill – Daily ceremony at 10 AM has two military bands, one a bagpipe band, and SO many red coats and black furry hats!

Chateau Laurier –One of the Fairmont Chateaus, it is a BEAUTIFUL hotel built in the early 1900’s as part of the Railway’s plans to give people destinations to travel to via the railway.  That being said, today the owners want to build an addition in a style of architecture that is so incongruous with the original building that it is just plain UGLY.  The people are up in arms, but the hotel seems very intent on following through with their plans.

Ottawa’s Notre Dame Cathedral– the interior has so many statues, that it is rather overwhelming to see.  The ceiling looks like a starry night, with gold stars on a deep blue background.  There are several pillars in the church that look like they are made of marble, but are actually painted wood.  A truly awesome place.

The Stair Step Locks– there are 8 locks in Ottawa that are consecutive and form what looks like a staircase.  We were not continuing past Ottawa, so we chose not to do the locks in our boat, but boat friends were continuing, so we went along for the ride and to take pictures for them.  Ed rode with a sailboat that was being singlehanded on the trip – his assistance was much appreciated.  At the end, we disembarked, said  “au revoir”  and walked back into town.

Confederation Park– home to several sculptures and lovely walking paths.

Lord Elgin Hotel– Although not as grand as the Chateau Laurier, it is still an elegant hotel and was quite the place in its heyday.

Bakeries– I don’t think we have spoken much about the bakeries in Canada, but they have many of them and Ed hasn’t found a one that has disappointed him!  So many delicious items – but SO many calories to walk off. 

Carillon Concert– The bell tower in the Parliament Building, also called the Peace Tower, does a daily concert of music.  Lovely to walk the grounds and listen to the music, an eclectic mix – something to appeal to everyone – Beethoven to the Beatles.

The Grand Finale – the Light Show on Parliament Hill– this year entitled “Northern Lights.”  Performed at dark – 10 PM – the show is projected onto the Centre Block on Parliament Hill and the narration tells the story of the history of Canada.  Visitors fill the grass grounds in front of the building.   It’s a fabulous show and we were so glad to be there for opening night.  We would have missed something special if it had started any later in the month.  Of note:  at an earlier lock, we had met the mother of one of the computer technicians who designed the show.  He was quite surprised when Ed approached him and said “Your Mother wants to know if you are busy working here.”  This provided a quick intro to a conversation with him. He couldn’t imagine how we knew his mother!

Three days was hardly enough.  Ottawa is a beautiful city and has so much to do.  Even in winter, the city is alive.  The picture below was copied from one of the information boards.  Perhaps another trip…but not at that time of year in a boat!

3 thoughts on “July 7 – 9, 2019 Ottawa – A Capital Place

  1. Lyndia Jackson says:

    Wow! Everything is beautiful and sounds so exciting. It is amazing to see so much beauty and thanks for allowing us to see it through your eyes.

  2. Gordon says:

    Amazing adventure! Great photos and wonderful descriptions. Did you realize the new friendships you would be making?

    Gordon and Carole

  3. Lyndia Jackson says:

    Just fascinating. Love everything about this post. Thank you so much for allowing us to experience this journey through your eyes.

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