Canada’s capital city of Ottawa is one I’d highly recommend for a visit. It’s small (even if including its twin city of Gatineau across the Ottawa River), has many interesting museums and sites for tourists to visit, is home to some fine restaurants and a great market, and is very easy to explore on foot. It makes an excellent long weekend get-away destination.
My most recent visit to Ottawa was my third so I had a pretty good sense of the city and where I was going. I was traveling with my brother and cousin, both less familiar with Ottawa than I was, but we all had a great time wandering and exploring and catching up with what’s happening in each other’s lives.
I think the best place to start your visit to Ottawa is at the Houses of Parliament (top photo) — home of Canada’s federal government. The building is beautiful and interesting to tour. We’ve previously featured Parliament’s great library in a prior blog post.
On our way to the Houses of Parliament, we encounter a statue of Canadian hero, Terry Fox, whose Marathon of Hope continues to inspire Canadians in their fight against cancer. Terry lost his leg to osteosarcoma and, thinking he was cured and wanting to raise awareness of the disease, began to run across Canada (a marathon a day). His cancer recurred about half way across the country and he sadly died of recurrent tumor shortly thereafter.
As we continue wandering through Ottawa, we passed a tribute to Oscar Peterson, before encountering what I believe was a 10k run. We worked our way along the Rideau Canal to Majors Hill Park, which is a lovely park with terrific views of Parliament Hill, the Ottawa River and Gatineau.
We pass the National Gallery of Canada — no time to stop in today, the cross the Alexandra Bridge into Quebec. And we’re at the Canadian Museum of History, which is architecturally beautiful and fascinating to look at. It has extensive collections, but today we’re mostly focused on seeing Grand Hall, with it’s spectacular displays of native totem poles and other Aboriginal artifacts….
After wandering the museum for some time, we’re about to leave when I saw this lovely old bronze coat of arms. It’s from the Toronto Post Office (1940s) and weighs almost 700 kg (1500 lbs).
We head outside to Ottawa River where we’re treated to Gatineau’s perspective of Ottawa, including Parliament Hill, the magnificent hotel, Chateau Laurier, and the Rideau Canal as it enters the Ottawa River. Our Aqua Taxi arrives and wisks us back to Ottawa where we head for a nice dinner and conversations — after a memorable day.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)