On my last visit to Montreal, my sister and I decided to visit Ottawa for the day. Canada’s capital was pretty accessible from Montreal, after a two and a half hour bus ride we arrive at one of the seventh coldest capitals in the world.
At this point, I didn’t know much about the Canada’s capital and what is there to see except for the fact that we are having lunch at Nandos!
Let me show you how we spent the day in this cold, cold city! It was so cold, We had to find the nearest mall and buy an extra jacket!
Fun fact: Visitors in Ottawa can stay in a hostel that used to be a jail in the 19th century.
Being the capital of the country, the Canadian parliament is located in this city. Called the Centre Block it is where the Parliament hill, House of Commons and Senate chambers can be found.
Of course I was captivated by the architecture, designed in the gothic revival style, all the buildings were elegantly preserved. Tourists can tour the grounds with a guide which we didn’t know at first but we are happy just walking around.
Édifice du Centre, in french, is where the memorial chamber and confederation hall can be seen as well.
I thought I had to goto Amsterdam to be able to see tulips, but they were so abundant in throughout the city even during November. What a sight to see!
Every May Ottawa is host to the Canadian Tulip festival which claims to be the world’s largest tulip festival. I can already see how beautiful every nook and cranny of the city will be! A reason to come back!
National Gallery of Canada
From my previous blogs I mentioned that I have started visiting more museums as it is such an enriching experience. And when I found out we were touring the city, I couldn’t not see Maman! (You’ll find out later)
Being Canada’s national art museum and one of the largest art museums in North America, I was so excited to see the exhibitions inside this massive museum composed of 46,621 square metres, with 12,400 square metres of space used for exhibiting art.
After touring exhibit after exhibit from Canadian, Indigenous, Contemporary, European, American and Asian collections, my soul was full of history and awe.
I couldn’t really figure out what my favorites were, but here are some notable pieces
Hold that thought, Kelly Mark, 2006
Firuzabad (Variation), Frank Stella, 2006
Maman by Louise Bourgeois, displayed outside the museum. Maman, a spider stands 30 ft high and over 33 ft wide. It is actually one of the world’s largest. This spider has been exhibited in New York, Russia even Brasil!
Up close it looks so real, it even has an abdomen and thorax that are made of ribbed bronze.
Not far from the Centre block, anyone can walk to see the Rideau Canal, another must see in this city. I can just sit here and look at the view, unfortunately, it’s been raining the entire time we were here.
Of course when we knew that there was a market in Ottawa, we had to go and visit it. Great part of this city is that most of the tourist spots are close to each other and are very much walkable.
When we arrived, there wasn’t must activity, I guess because of the time we arrived and that the rain didn’t help much.
Much like Marche Jean Talon, this market had a great mix of stalls and speciality food shops selling farmer’s produce to the maple syrup, of course!
With over 600 business in the area there is alot to do in this retail and entertainment district. This place also reminds me of covent garden in London and I can only envision this place bustling during evenings with the large number of bars and restaurants in the area.
Check out their website here https://byward-market.com/en/home/
Ottawa, a good stop over
I found on the internet that locals joke around that a temperature of -15 degrees is warm is definitely an understatement for a tourist like me. While the city is certainly not small, there isn’t much to see here for a tourist for more than a day.
I am sure there is a lot of activity here, however I learned that it has become normal for the Ottawans to travel to Montreal to do lots more.
Overall, Ottawa is a great stop over for a tourist passing through, simply spending a day would be more than enough.