24.10.2011 - 27.10.2011 3 °C
We’ve discovered an unpublished rule that any nation’s capital must have an appalling public transport system. After the really efficient Metro in Montreal, we’re let down by the sub-standard bus routes we have to piece together, to get around in Ottowa. It’s also the first time on our trip we have to catch a taxi. We stay in the ‘Queanbeyan-like’ area – just East of the city. Ottowa experiences freezing cold weather (a few weeks after we leave it drops to minus 37 celcius), and it’s pretty cold while we’re there. We bus it into the city and do the Parliament tour. It’s a gorgeous and old set of buildings, and we get to check out the Parliamentary Library – a beautiful old timber room - very Harry Potter-ish complete with massive timber bookcases extending up to the ceiling, and quirky timber ladders on wheels to access books up high. A trip up the top of the Peace Tower at the Parliament gives good views over the city.
Our second day is a visit to the War Museum which includes uniforms and artifacts from as far back as the 1700’s, and I discover the poem “In Flanders Fields” is written by a Canadian Army Doctor. On display was a somewhat gory special exhibit of War Medicine, including various bottled body parts from anonymous German soldiers from WWI. Our museum experience continues at the Museum of Civilisation, where we see massive totem poles and amusing and life-like displays of various impacts on Canadian culture across time (chinese laundries in the 50’s; the construction of the trans-canadian railway, lumber and timber industries and fishing).
We do a night ghosty tour of Ottowa which is a little lame, and bloody freezing but we learn some interesting stories about Ottowa’s past (it’s built on a cemetery!), and get to see the Rideau Canal (oldest canal in North America, and in winter it freezes over and becomes a massive ice-skating rink).
Three days is enough, and we’re off to Toronto Via train again.