It was just past 2 in the afternoon when we finally rolled into Ottawa… and then promptly left again. While I had known that our hotel was across the river from the Parliament buildings, I hadn’t realized that meant it was in an entirely different city and province! Gatineau, Quebec spreads out across the east side of the river while Ottawa rules the west bank. It’s a relationship that reminds me of how Edmonton and Strathcona used to be two cities parted by the North Saskatchewan River back before their amalgamation in 1912.
Our exploration of the Quebecois culture will be a goal for later in this trip, however. As soon as we settled in our hotel room, Dad and I caught a taxi to Parliament Hill in order to take in the sights of our nation’s fine capital.
While we arrived too late to get tickets for a guided tour of the Parliament buildings, we were still able to see so very much. Our self-guided touring included, in no particular order:
An exploration of the Parliament grounds and its various statues. My favourite was of the Famous Five because a) yes to gender equality and b) hurrah for Albertans!
A trip up the Peace Tower, during which we got the chance to view some of the Carillon bells and pay our respects in the Memorial Chamber. What a sense of reverence to see all the names displayed in each book of fallen soldiers and realize how many men and women have sacrificed themselves for our country. I could have spent an entire day soaking in the details of that room.
A tour of the Supreme Court of Canada building. Which was spontaneous but so very worth it as we got to see two of the court rooms and learn some of the history of both the building and the Supreme Court itself!
A trip to Nordstrom’s, during which I tried on a dress for fun and it turned out to fit me perfectly first try. How often does that happen?
A stroll down Sparks Street, where it only occurred to me halfway through that the Nicholas Sparks it was named after is not actually the bestselling author. (Ooooooh, that makes so more sense.)
It was a fascinating day. While we also have tomorrow morning to spend sightseeing before our schedule demands a return to the Trans-Canada Highway, there is no way it will be enough to fully appreciate all Ottawa and Gatineau have to offer. Clearly, this is a place to which I will have to return for a longer period of time. For now, however, I have more of this country to see before settling into my new life (for the next two years) in Halifax!