Friday 10: Scenes from Ottawa

This time last week, I was on a short trip to Ottawa with the ladies of S's family. We had beautiful weather and packed a ton of sites into a few short days. Here are 10 of my favorite photos and places.


After our long drive, the first thing we did was go for a short walk and stopped to watch the activity in the Ottawa Locks. What I love about Ottawa is that it feels like a city, but there are reminders of nature everywhere you turn. The locks, nestled between Parliament Hill and the Fairmont Château Laurier, have a lovely view of the Gatineau Hills across the river in Québec.

I don't have great pictures of the canal, but it stretches 7.8 km all the way to Dow's lake with lovely paths beside it. People are constantly running, biking, and walking its length. In the winter, it becomes the world's largest skating rink


I got up early every morning for a short run. It was such a lovely to see the city. The area around the Peace Tower/Parliament is usually fairly busy, but this morning it was so quiet and still. 

byward market veg.jpg

One morning, I ran down to the Byward Market to get fresh fruit for breakfast. It seemed like a great idea until I started running back with a bag of peaches and plums. I felt pretty silly with a big plastic bag in one hand and my other arm stuck out like a chicken wing to counterbalance the weight. I just imagined myself as the Great Fruit Bandit and ran faster. 

What I loved about the market was how lovingly everything was displayed. Each stall has signs telling you whether they are a vendor reselling produce or if they are a producer selling only what they grow. Love that! 

We ended up going back to the market almost everyday and took a trunkful of produce back home. 


One day we took a Greyline Hop-on Hop-off double decker bus tour. It was a perfect way to get acquainted with the city and see some beautiful views. This one shows Parliament Hill to the right. The National Gallery of Canada is the crystal-shaped building to the left and the spires next to it belong to Notre-Dame Cathedral


The Canadian War Museum apparently looks like a plane when viewed from above. Its fin spells out "Lest We Forget" in morse code in English and French. 

We didn't get to go inside, but I've added it to my long list of "Museums I need to visit in Ottawa."


A quick view of the Prime Minister's house, 24 Sussex Drive (the grey mansion on the left). It's difficult to get a picture of it from the road because former Prime Minister and ladies-man extraordinaire, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, had trees planted for added privacy from paparazzi. I imagine the view over the river is lovely. 


We also saw the Canadian Museum of History. I visited the museum a few years ago when it was called the Canadian Museum of Civilization and loved it. The rebranding, according to CEO Mark O'Niell, will broaden "its focus on Canadian historical themes." They are currently working on new exhibits for Canada's 150th Anniversary in 2017. 

The graceful curves of the building emulate the land when humans first arrived in Canada, from the bedrock of the Canadian Shield to the receding glaciers. 


We also had a great view of the generating station and Rideau Falls, where the Ottawa and Rideau rivers meet. The surrounding park is 2.89 hectares. Just another example of how much nature you can find in the city. 


On Friday we got up early to catch the ceremonial changing of the guard, which starts at 10 am sharp. We got to Parliament Hill around 9:30 and had a pretty fantastic view. 

We were right next to a Canadian Forces medic and her stretcher, which added an extra level of suspense to everything. "Will someone pass out?!?"

It's not easy standing around for an hour in a bearskin headdress and a heavy uniform when it's really, really hot out. So I'm happy to report everyone made it through like champs.


And my last picture is a reflection of the Confederation Building next to Parliament Hill. I love how it seems like a few of these newer buildings were built to serve are mirrors. 

So that's it for Ottawa today, a of my favorite photos to share.

It was such a whirlwind trip, but I'm so happy I was able to go. We even made a stop in the quaint little town of Merrickville (they have Mrs. McGarrigle's famous mustard there, if you're into that sorta thing) for lunch and some shopping. Not only did I get to know S's family better, I fell in love with Ottawa a little bit. I already miss running by the river! 

I have a feeling there's so much more to see and experience from museums to parks to food. There are about a zillion restaurants in the Byward Market area alone. 

Have you ever been to Ottawa? Any favorite places to recommend? 

The city is really gearing up for Canada's 150th Anniversary, so the next couple of years are a great time to visit if you are interested.

Have a great weekend!