The Big O

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Ottawa is a beautiful city. Although its selection as the capital of Canada was a surprise to most Canadians when the place was announced as the nation’s capital back in 1857, it has certainly developed into a very attractive city that in my opinion is more than worthy of being named Canada’s capital city.

After arriving at Chateau Laurier, arguably the city’s most impressive hotel, we took a stroll down the Byward Markets for an outdoor dinner at a sidewalk pasta restaurant. The weather in Ottawa was absolutely perfect the whole time, so the next day we made the most of it by taking in as much of the city as possible. After a quick breakfast of bagels down at Byward Markets again, we wandered back up the hill to the Parliament buildings to watch the changing of the royal guards. It was colourful and all, and the red coats looked great against the backdrop of the green grass of the Parliamentary square, but I really don’t get the whole royal guard thing. They look a bit silly if you ask me.

We took a tour around the city on an Amphibus - a bus that can drive around on the streets and then drive right into the waters of the Ottawa River and turn into a boat. It was pretty cool actually, and we go to see the embassies, the Prime Minister’s residence, the park area along Rockcliffe Drive, and then we ventured over to Gatineau on the Quebec side where we cruised up the Ottawa River for a bit. The view from the water was great, and well worth it. After a quick lunch at Tim Hortons we caught a bus back over the river to spend the afternoon at the Canadian Museum of Civilisation. It was an interesting museum, housed in an interesting building, full of interesting stuff. We even caught an IMAX movie running in full Dome mode... Quite an amazing experience!

The kids went back to the hotel for a swim and I took the opportunity to take a stroll in the balmy afternoon sunshine down to the base of the Ottawa Locks. It was so pleasant I actually went back to the hotel to get my camera and talked Donna and Rob into coming for another walk with me back down alongside the Locks and then along the Rideau Canal.

As the light began to fade and the night rolled in, right through my favourite time of night for taking photographs, I really appreciated what a beautiful and vibrant city Ottawa is.

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