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!



Friday 10: Ottawa bound

I'm on the road to Ottawa this week for a little getaway. It's going to be an adventure! Check my Instagram feed for pictures from the road. 

In the meantime, here are a few articles and links that are inspiring me this week:

First, I'm brushing up on "How to Plan the Perfect Road Trip" via Lifehacker. I'm wishing Roadtrippers would expand into Canada already so I could test it out already.

It's been a long time since I've been to Ottawa, but I remember loving the ByWard Market. It's one of the oldest public markets in Canada and is full of interesting food vendors, shops, and restaurants. I can't wait to get back and see what it's like now. 

I'm tucking this list of restaurants near the ByWard Market in my notes so we can keep our bellies full when we need a break from shopping.

Paradise Lost by Gustave Doré | via  Wikimedia Commons , uploaded by  Holger Thölking

Paradise Lost by Gustave Doré | via Wikimedia Commons, uploaded by Holger Thölking

Keeping my fingers crossed that we will see the Gustave Doré (ends 14 September 2014) exhibition at the beautiful National Gallery of Canada. Doré (1832-1883) was and artist, sculptor, and printmaker, but he especially well-known for his illustrations and engravings. 

Since a tour of Parliament may be in order, here are the CBC's 5 secrets from Parliament Hill and a bonus 4 to follow-up. Who doesn't love knowing there are secret stairwells, special scotch, and that each year $4000 to $5000 is collected from the fountain around the Centennial Flame to fund disabilities research? 

Travel = new books for me. I'm using NPR's "Book Your Trip" feature to find some recommendations. Just choose your mode of transportation and you'll get a list of books inspired by that kind of journey. Perfect! I was also recommended The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt twice this week, so that might have to be first on my list. 

Now that my Whole30 is over, I'm sticking with Paleo eating for awhile and finding advice on healthy travel snacks from Nom Nom Paleo.  

Condé Nast Traveler's 2014 list of friendliest and unfriendliest cities in the US is out. I can't say I'm surprised by most of it, but when we were in Detroit for the Winter Classic, everyone we met was lovely. We didn't venture too far off the beaten path, though. 

These photos of Italy's most beautiful beaches make me long to book a trip right now. It's been a cold Canadian summer up here and I can't imagine how glorious one or all of these would be.

A French hospital opened a wine bar to help "restore longing, taste, desire, and even pleasure" to terminally ill patients, once again reminding us how important it is to take time and enjoy life. 

Falling in love with the Chesapeake Bay all over again through Tim Neville's beautiful story of a father-son fishing trip in the New York Times

That's it for this week! Are you off to anywhere fun? Have any great road trip advice? Let me know!