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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

My last day in Canada

Suddenly it was my last day!  At least I had the whole day, as my flight didn’t leave till almost midnight.  The plan was to go to Ottawa and spend some time there then Gail and Peggy would take me out to the airport.  So, bags packed – that case was pretty heavy – we loaded them into the boot of the car and prepared to  leave.ottawa etc and nr kamloops 012 so just a last couple of photos of the house in Buckingham,  with the halloween decoration Peggy had put out,




buckingham gail raking leaves2

and the piles of leaves in the garden that Gail and I had raked some days before, with Maggie the dog acting as overseer.



ottawa etc and nr kamloops 010

Maggie hadn’t been speaking to me that last morning and wouldn’t let me take her photo, so here’s one I took earlier with Gail!  She’s a lovely dog.

So at last  I said farewell to Buckingham  and we were off to Ottawa.  I’d only seen little bits as I came from the train station the week before, and on the night we met Pascale.

When we arrived in Ottawa it was another glorious day and with lots to see ahead of us we parked the car and got going.

ottawa skyline 3

This is a view of the skyline of Ottawa from Nepean Point.  On the extreme left are the twin silver spires of Notre Dame Cathedral.  The three glass triangles, as I think of them, are part of the National Gallery of Canada.  The high tower in the centre of the picture is the Peace tower, part of Ottawa’s Parliament buildings, and to the right of  it  is the library. The Rideau Canal emerges down a series of locks, the bottom of which you can see in the centre. On the skyline at the top of the locks is another of the Fairmont hotels, the Chateau Laurier.  I have been trying to find out what the castellated building is to the left of the Chateau, but without success.  I’ll have to ask Gail!

Rideau Canal Locks

Getting a bit closer, here’s the Chateau on the left with the canal in the centre.  It was a major feat of engineering, completed in 1832, that allowed boats to navigate their way from Montreal to the Great Lakes, by-passing the St Lawrence River, after  conflict with the Americans on the British colony made the latter route too hazardous.  Only 10% of the route from Kingston on Lake Ontario to Ottawa  is actually manmade.  The rest is made up of lakes and rivers, including the Rideau river from which it gets its name.

In winter the canal passing through the city is closed to boat traffic, and  becomes the longest skating rink in the world when it freezes over, and the Winterlude festival ensures everybody has a good time, with stalls selling hot drinks and food – including Beavertails – all along nearly 5 miles of frozen canal with skaters and people generally out on the ice to have a fun time.

ottawa parliament and library  Here is the parliament building on Parliament Hill, taken from the beautiful Major’s Hill Park.  The peace tower is to the left with the library the squat building on the right.  The autumn colours here were just stunning.

ottawa anishinabe scout 1918Also in the park is the statue of a native Indian scout .  He used to be found over on Nepean Point beside Sam de Champlain, but was moved here recently.


parliament hill ottawaI pinched this picture of Parliament Hill!  I’m not that good an artist.  However I didn’t get a picture of the front and this  is probably much better! The House of Commons meets in the main block with the Senate in the west block to the left of the picture.  

ottawa the clown towerGail told me that the tower on the east block is known locally as the Clown Tower. See the face?

There were loads of young people milling about here, mostly in fancy dress costumes, and obviously bound for Parliament Hill.  ottawa student protest It must have been some kind of student protest but we never did find out what it was about.

I didn’t know it at the time but they must have been crossing the top of the Rideau locks here. I never saw the locks properly, so something else for next time!ottawa samuel de champlain

The skyline photo above was taken from Nepean Point where Samuel de Champlain stands on his pedestal, holding up an astrolabe, which apparently is a historical astronomical instrument which Frenchman Samuel would have used in his extensive explorations and mapping of North America.

Ottawa astrolabe theatre Just below where he stands is the open air Astrolabe Theatre constructed for the Canadian Centennial of 1967, a great place from which to see the fireworks over Parliament Hill!  It has a stage and is used for concerts in the summer.   In the background here you can see the “three triangles” of the National Gallery roof.  ottawa national gallery of CanadaWe took a peek inside to see the “sails”  in the tower/dome… what would you call the three triangles roof?

Further along outside the gallery is a very unusual sculpture.  It is called “Maman”  -   French for Mother - and it towers over pedestrians who can walk directly beneath it.  The sculptor says it reminds him of his own mother who was a powerful creative person, who wove tapestries. Well, Maman certainly does weave, so let me introduce her.  Here she is!!     Maman

ottawa maman



  She’s a 30 foot tall spider, one of 6 such castings by Louis Bourgeois.  I think she’s rather lovely!



ottawa.spider, notre dame

Maman faces the Ottawa cathedral of Notre Dame, founded by Monsignor Joseph-Eugene Guigues, first Bishop of Ottawa, in the early 1850s.


ottawa notre dame founder


His monument stands outside the cathedral.



 ottawa notre dame chancelIt has recently had a facelift inside and is beautiful.

I must show you just a few more pics.


ottawa notre dame pillars


Just look at those beautiful pillars….

(We were waiting for Peggy, who was attending Mass)


ottawa notre dame ceiling

…and take a look at this view up to the ceiling.



 ottawa notre dame looking back


…and looking back towards the door, and the organ gallery above  It’s stunning!




ottawa view to hull


This picture taken late in the afternoon looks across the Ottawa River to Hull. Soon it was dark.  We had a last meal together in the city before it was all too soon time to make for the airport.

Last pics then  - Gail and Peggy,

ottawa airport gail and peggy

 ottawa airport me and gail and me and Gail, at the airport before we said goodbye.

So that was it!  Holiday over and now I can’t wait to go back!  I had such a great time.

Thanks Don and Nancy, Jean and Jimmy, Peggy and Gail for making it so special!

Talk again soon.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Woweeee... what a trip & some great photos, especially the cathedral. Aren't they wonderful creations!!! I too love the spider.