Ottawa — the Canadian Capital

Follow-​up from : Huntsville — center of tourism in Muskoka

This is the forth part of my multi-​part essay covering my fall vacation in Canada.

On my round trip through central Canada I did not want to miss its capital, so I included a stop over in Ottawa on my way from Huntsville (Ontario) to Montréal (Québec). After my early arrival — around 07 :00 a.m. — from Huntsville (with a transfer in North Bay) I took the short walk from the Ottawa Central Station (the main bus terminal) to my hotel by foot.

Despite the lack of a comfortable bed or decent sleep I still felt fit to explore the city by foot.

As I was way to early for check-​in I deposited my luggage at the reception and repacked my backpack for the day. The hotel was located at Parliament Hill so I could visit the parliament buildings easily by foot.

I explored the beautiful park around the Library of Parliament and enjoyed the panoramic view over the Ottawa river and Ville de Gatineau.

Because of my early arrival I was not distracted from tour busses full of visitors yet…

Then I tried to obtain a free ticket for a guided tour of the historic parliament building. I succeeded but the next english tour started an hour later.

Fortunately the Peace Tower was already opened :)

The views from the top of the tower are great and I was lucky that the weather remained warm and sunny. The time went by quite fast in the observatory but I still had some time to visit the chapel inside the parliament building before the tour started.

My guide was very friendly and well informed — as a consequence the tour of the parliament went by quite fast. She gave gave our group some insight about the history of Parliament Hill and Canadian politics in general.

In comparison with the guided tour of the United States Capitol (in Washington D.C.) this tour gave more insight in the general manors of a county’s parliament than the buildings’s history. The Canadian building itself lacks the grandeur of the huge building in the US and its marvelous interior architecture (e.g. rotunda and statues).

The Peace tower itself reminded me a lot of London’s Big Ben — which is no surprise when one considers the history of this Canadian region.

After the tour was finished I took a small snack in a nearby mall and enjoyed the scenery around the Rideau Canal. I then explored the area between the Rideau Canal and the Royal Canadian Mint.

At approx. 4 pm I decided to walk back to my hotel in order to took a shower and change clothes. At this time I was enjoying the architecture of the Fairmont Château Laurier, so I went down the canal and took a stroll at the Trans Canada Trail to Potage Bridge. Check-​in went smooth and the room was comfortable and quiet — despite the ongoing construction at that time.

After finishing my check-​in procedures I opted to walk to Major’s Hill Park again in order to welcome the sunset over the Ottawa River and Parliament Hill.

It was a warm cozy evening so there still was no need for warm clothing; only some insects distracted me while setting up my camera gear…

Later the evening I took my dinner in downtown Ottawa and returned to my hotel.

The next morning started sunny again, so I decided to explore the Québec (QC) side of the Canadian Capital — also known as Ville de Gatineau. After crossing the Ottawa River at Portage Bridge I clearly could see a change of the primary language from English to French — primarily in street names.

I walked the city center and enjoyed the beautiful area around the Canadian Museum of History and Children’s Museum with its panoramic view of Parliament Hill.

Then I spent some time in the small park in front of the museums before I crossed Alexandra Bridge to Ottawa.

Back in Ontario I strolled through Byward Market with its shops, bars and restaurants were I bought some groceries for my trip to Montréal and had my lunch — fish and chips.

Next up I walked upstream the Rideau River — passing by Conference and Convention Centre — to Ottawa’s City Hall.

After visiting the Fire Fighers Memorial I had to collect my luggage from the hotel before I could leave Ottawa from its Train Station.

The station is not located directly downtown Ottawa anymore (it once was located in the Conference Centre) so I had to make a short bus ride with Line 94 from my hotel in order not to miss my train…

I arrived right before the boarding process started. Because of my luggage’s size the garment bag had to be checked in for transportation to Montréal (but no additional fees were required). Major Canadian train stations feature baggage claim belts so I was not afraid to board the train carriage with nothing but my carry-​ons.

To be continued with an essay covering my stay in Montréal, QC