Welcome to another instalment of Travelling Thursday on this little blog. Today I take you with me to Ottawa, Canada’s capital.
I was kind of glad to leave Québec City behind me, mostly for language reasons because being in Ottawa meant being in another province – Ontario – where most people speak English. Ottawa was specially picked to be the capitol because it’s right on the border of Québec, only separated through a river and thus as close to the French part of the country as possible while also being away from the US border. Canada has two official languages, English and French so everything in Ottawa is bilingual, kind of like Montréal only here, the english description is on top followed by a smaller french version. Leaving the province of Québec also meant leaving a cheap and tourist friendly public transport system behind. Ontario is not as gracious and a bit more expensive so we tried using the bus as seldom as possible whereas we used the hell out of our prepaid cards in QC.
Ottawa is not big and full of government buildings and offices. Also museums. Only, we were slobs and didn’t manage to visit one single museum *facepalm* We did visit the Parliament and Supreme Court though. We got to Ottawa right before Labour Day and stayed until after Labour Day. I mention this because it changes a lot of things, like where to register for a tour of the Parliament or the fact that you actually have to register for a tour of the Supreme Court as Labour Day marks the end of tourist season or something like that.
The tour of the Parliament was fantastic, free and we didn’t have to register for anything. We just showed up and waited a couple of minutes for the next tour. Our guide was probably a law student and she did her thing very well.
For the tour of the Supreme Court we had to register in advance which we didn’t actually do (see above) and it was also free. However we wrote the visitor’s centre an e-mail the day before we wanted to go there because after Labour Day, there are no scheduled regular tours. It was not a problem even though we didn’t end up being on a list, they still let us in. There wasn’t as much to see as in the Parliament but there was a nice photo-op where we were allowed to dress in judges robes and sit in their seats. Actually, this was my highlight for Ottawa.
We also managed to see the last instalment of the Mosaika Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill. So. Worth. Seeing! I only managed to take crappy pictures as I didn’t have a tripod and it was dark but the thing was amazing and I can only recommend seeing it, before Labour Day that is ;-)
Other than that, we spent one day by the outdoor pool of our hotel partly because the weather was nice, we were relaxing before getting to Toronto and we had to do laundry.
There is also a fantastic and huge bookshop I could have spent days inside only I didn’t have the time to do so. There is a lot to see in Ottawa if you like museums which I don’t mind but just picking one out of the many was a hard thing to do. Also, one day it was too hot to walk there the other day it rained like crazy and we needed another bus pass to go there as they were technically in Québec or exact change in coins. I don’t know. It was just a bit too much logistics involved. I actually don’t mind that we didn’t go to a single museum. Sure, it would have been nice but museums are also much alike, at least the standard Natural History and what-are-their-name ones. It was nice to have some downtime as it was after all a holiday and we knew we would have a lot to see in Toronto.