A Trip to Canada’s Capital City
Is it the end of the month already? Where did the whole month go? 🙂 This month’s guest post is by Cux, who talks about her foray into one of the very interesting cities of Canada.
Toronto is a great city… spectacular architecture, a great array of lovely restaurants and a buzzling arts and cultural scene… all add to its charm. But it is the classic international city! Very multicultural and diversified, it somehow lacks a unique identity. Having lived here for a while, I was determined to get around and explore other Canadian cities.
When a couple of my friends from the Czech Republic turned up in Toronto, it was the ideal opportunity to go visit Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City. These cities were so different in their architecture, culture, signature food, and the outlook of their inhabitants that it was a real pleasure to be there. It was fascinating, to say the least.
Ottawa, the main center of the Canadian government, is a quiet, introspective city which mesmerized me with its colonial buildings and Victorian structures. The many walking trails that weave around the city gives one the opportunity to investigate its varied environments. Whether it is the Discovery walk that begins at the Canadian Museum of Civilization on the banks of the Ottawa River, and ends at Parliament Hill, or the walking trails around the Provincial Parks, all of them provide unique experiences.
My tour companions were seasoned walkers and helped me keep up my enthusiasm for walking throughout the trip.
The beautiful Alexandria bridge that connects Ottawa to Quebec is a beautiful sight. Ottawa has the most well-kempt parks and gardens. Also, it is home to the Canadian Tulip festival.
We saw the Rideau Canal which totally freezes over and becomes the world’s largest skating rink in the winter. The canal was opened in 1832 and is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The National Gallery of Canada houses the most creative art that I have seen in Canada till date including a landmark sculpture of a spider in front of the building. The sculpture, named Maman by the artist Louise Bourgeois, is among the world’s largest sculptures, measuring over 30 ft high and over 33 ft wide. It is made of bronze, stainless steel, and marble.
We sat in for a parliament session as well… it was interesting to watch the proceedings in the House of Commons though we were more taken in by the stained glass paintings and the intricate architecture of the hall! Do take a look…
The Byward market is the happening place in town, lined with posh cafes and shops. Interestingly enough, adjacent to it, was an old old farmers market. This, I thought, was a perfect blend of tradition and modernity. I found the best cookie shop in this market where I tasted cookies designed as Canadian flags.
The friend in Ottawa who hosted us was a good cook and lived in a lovely house in a great locality. He introduced us to homemade maple butter, the next best thing to chocolate. Since then, I am hooked on it.
At some distance from the city, on the way to Montreal, we checked in on Plaisance National Park, which has a beautiful lake and some scenic wetlands, spread across the Ottawa river.
That was the best hiking trail of the trip.
It felt like walking in the wilderness of a natural forest. Protected by forest range officers, this huge park is good for camping. I hope I can go back there with my family sometime in the future.