A Travellerspoint blog

Ottawa

July 21st to August 2nd

The answer to the trivia question of 'What is the capital of Canada' is ....... Ottawa. After travelling from Montreal and Quebec City, predominately French speaking areas, we are quite happy to be arriving in Ottawa, located in the Province of Ontario and the familiarity of street signs in English.

Although we are staying in Ottawa for a week and a half, we are actually staying in 3 different places. We firstly booked an apartment in Kanata, a suburb in Western Ottawa for 4 nights, Wednesday to Saturday. The apartment is located in a fantastic neighbourhood with the grocery store about 15 mins walk away, bus from right out the front door and a park/playground/water play area right across the road. That said, as we are here during the week, school work is the priority but Alyssa did get a few opportunities at the park.

After our stay in Kanata we hired a car for a weekend in the country in the small town of Renfrew. Now Renfrew isn't on most people's radar but it is actually the birthplace of the National Hockey League. Hard to imagine for a town of 8,000 people but I digress. We are actually visiting Renfrew to stay with new friends Bob and Shelia. We met Bob and his son Dharma when we were travelling in the RV through Colorado. I happened to notice the number plate on Dharma's car showed British Columbia and I asked a few questions about Canada in anticipation of our future journey North. Long story short, after a few suggestions from them both on the best locations in Canada, Bob requested we stay with them for a weekend as they are only located an hours drive from Ottawa. The irony of our stay though was we stayed in their RV for the 2 nights, so the visit was a little reminder of our larger RV trip. The good news for Alyssa was their 10 year old grand-daughter Gilian was staying for the week so Alyssa and Gilian played together the entire weekend. Alyssa has made so many new friends on this trip.

After a great weekend with Bob and Sheila, we decided to drive a more country route back to Ottawa. Our journey took us through White Lake and Almonte, a small town on the Mississippi River (not the famous one). Here I was amazed to discover that it is the hometown of Dr James Naismith, who you may recall from our Boston blog was the inventor of Basketball. Actually, Almonte is a wonderful little town with a great atmosphere and laid back feel. A good couple of hours was enjoyed exploring the galleries, boutiques and antique shops.

Naismith

Naismith

Anyways, we arrive back in Ottawa and are staying in an apartment on the Northern side of the Ottawa River, Gatineau in fact, which is actually in the province of Quebec where you guessed it, they predominately speak French. What are the chances of that. Now here's the thing. Whilst we were staying in Montreal we often saw TV ads about visiting Outaouais, which is the French prenounciation of Ottawa...'Only a 2 hour drive from Montreal' they kept saying. Turns out the marketing was to only visit the Northern side of the river and not Ottawa itself. You see, we have never really stayed in a location that is separated by 2 cities, little alone 2 provinces and especially considering the 2 provinces are so different. Its kind of like alternate worlds. The good news is the apartment, although being across the river, is only a 15 minute walk to Downtown Ottawa so the need for public transport was redundant.

Being the Capital city you would expect Ottawa to have wonderful sites and plenty of history. This is certainly the case. The Parliament building is high on the bank of the river and overlooking Gatineau. It is located right near the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, a building that looks like a castle directly from a Disney movie and the 2 are separated by the Rideau Canal, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and in Winter, when frozen, becomes the worlds longest ice skating rink. This 175 year old, 202 km long system connects Kingston with Ottawa through 47 locks.

Rideau Canal

Rideau Canal


Rideau Canal2

Rideau Canal2

Gatineau (North side of the river) is home to the Canadian Museum of History and after getting a tip from Bob to visit after 4pm on a Thursday when entry is free, we ambled the 5 minutes from our apartment to visit. The Grand Hall of the museum is the architectural focal point and house the world's larges indoor collection of totem poles. The First Peoples of the Northwest Coast is an exhibition that shows traditional houses, contemporary and historical works of art, ceremonial clothing and also includes recreated archaeological digs that were undertaken between 1966 and 1978. The children's museum is a world of fun and discovery with activities designed to excite their interest in the world around them as they are presented with Passports on entry and have to collect stamps as they travel through the International Village.

Totum poles

Totum poles


Museum

Museum


Childrens museum

Childrens museum



Parliament Hill, overlooking the Ottawa River is where the Parliament building is located. The main building, known as the Peace Tower is the highest structure in the city and during summer the Northern Lights show is projected onto the Parliament building and is presented in both English and French. We caught the 30 minute show on our last night in Ottawa and it is a sight to see. Hopefully the couple of photos that follow, including a short video gives you an idea of how magnificent the production is.

Parliament hill

Parliament hill


Parliament building

Parliament building


Parliament building2

Parliament building2

Next stop ...... Toronto.

Posted by V3USA 17:13

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