Monday, May 23, 2011

The Nation's Capital

I spent the Easter weekend in Ottawa between teaching engagements. My husband flew out from Victoria to join me and we had a wonderful time touring around the city, seeing some of our country's best museums and famous landmarks.  First stop (very near our downtown hotel) was the Parliament Buildings - the home of our national government. The election campaign was going on at the time so no tours were available during our stay.

Just a bit further to the east is ByWard Market - an area full of restaurants, small shops and great people watching. We stopped for coffee and a treat at Le Moulin de Provence, known for its impressive baked goods. It was hard to decide what to sample - so we stopped again a few days later!  We also had breakfast at Zak's Diner - just as a good 50's diner should be.

We toured 3 museums during our stay in Ottawa: the National Gallery where I enjoyed seeing paintings by The Group of Seven and several by Emily Carr. This is a huge gallery and we didn't really have enough time to tour it well. Oh well, another trip perhaps.

The Canadian Aviation and Space Museum was top of my husband's list and I found I enjoyed it too, especially since we had a mini-tour from one of the staff who explained many of the details about the exhibits (much of which my husband probably knew but it helped me immensely).

We visited the Canadian War Museum, an extensive history of our country, even before we were a country. The exhibits in this museum are superb with well thought-out text to accompany them. I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in Ottawa - allow at least 4 hours for this one.

Another important landmark is Reconciliation: The Peacekeeping Monument, near Parliament Hill. This special monument honours both the living and the dead. Since 1948, more than 110,000 Canadian peacekeepers have served in zones of conflict around the world. As Canadians  we can be very proud of their service.

That's Ottawa in a nutshell - so much more to see and do but with only a weekend I think we covered quite a bit!

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