I finally made it to our nation’s capital. Linda had been here before but for all our travelsI’ve never made it to Ottawa. Over the years I always heard good things about the many attractions it has to offer so when our final house sitting was going to be Montréal and with a few days off beforehand we made a side trip. Instead of going to a hotel or motel we found an Airbnb listing with a great view of the river on the top floor of an apartment a short ride from the main sites. We checked with Trip Advisor and narrowed down our list to the Parliament buildings area and the Canadian War Museum.
On Sunday we found free parking a few blocks from the Peace Tower and arranged a group guided tour. It was pretty cold for us (getting soft I know) as the wind was blowing but we walked the grounds first as we waited for our designated group time. I have to admit it was pretty impressive seeing these buildings you’ve seen on TV, magazines or newspapers in person. There’s many statues on the property of our founding fathers, the first women rights suffragettes, the monarchy, war heroes and peace keepers. Due to construction, I think they’re getting everything spruced up for next year’s 150 year celebration, areas behind the buildings were not accessible. Once inside we were led through the Senate Chamber, House of Commons, and the Parliament Library by a very knowledgeable tour guide. Being Sunday there was no house business going on but it was still impressive to see.
On our own we went up the Peace Tower which offers a great view of the surrounding area. Also up there they have a small room of remembrance acknowledging all who have lost their lives serving our country.
We left the building, crossed the grounds again and visited the National War Memorial and Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. It was also fenced off for repairs but we did get to pay our respects.
Lastly we walked a few blocks to the ByWard Market area. Restaurants, cafés, bakeries, and outdoor stalls offer something for everyone and since we were hungry we had a nice light lunch.
Monday took us to the Canadian War Museum, again a short drive from our apartment. Unlike Sunday, today we had to pay to park under the museum. We were prepared to spend time here because we heard there’s lots to see and there is. We walked through four linked galleries that exhibits our history as a nation from a war perspective. From our first nation beginnings, conflicts with France and America, two World Wars, Korea, the Gulf war’s there’s tons to experience.
Another special exhibit was on the beginnings of Air Warfare, very interactive and informative.
The Royal Canadian Legion has an exhibit honouring our dead as well as a model of the War Memorial. This was a great experience and I know it’s about war and maybe we shouldn’t glorify it but it’s reality and it’s sad so many either risked or gave their life for all of us.
This museum is very educational and it’s tailored to all ages but I’m not sure an adult could spend enough time to absorb it all if they brought their younger children.
Overall we’re glad we experienced these attractions and Ottawa has a lot more to offer if we had more time. Earlier in the month on our US east coast road trip we spent a day in Washington D.C., it too is a great city to visit. That’s two great capitals in one month and sure we’ll be back to see more of both.
Happy Trails… Mark and Linda