The bus conductor took one look at us and and nodded in a “your lucky I’m in a generous mood to tourists” kind of a way. She didn’t want our money even though we had made sure we had the right change. Annie and I were loaded up with our backpacks and camera gear, tripods etc ready for a day in downtown Ottawa, so it wasn’t as if we looked poor (or did we?). We gratefully sat down and contemplated how this transit system could afford to be so generous to strangers who were willing to pay?
We had our day planned out starting with Changing of the Guard at Parliament House at 10am. The Parliament buildings provided a beautiful backdrop to the ceremony which as you can see by the photos is more like a scene from London. A big crowd watched on for the best part of an hour. I reckon the soldiers would have been getting pretty hot out on the parade ground as temperatures were once again in the 30’s. There are a few more photos in the Gallery
On my way to the Canadian Museum of Civilisation (on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River), the view of Parliament House and the Library (dome shaped building at the back) perched on the hill was pretty impressive.
The other clever bit of engineering we noted on the way to crossing the Ottawa River was the series of locks. The Rideau Canal connects the city of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on the Ottawa River to the city of Kingston, Ontario, on Lake Ontario. The canal was opened in 1832 as a precaution in case of war with the United States and is still in use today, with most of its original structures intact.
Both Annie and I were also very impressed with the Canadian Museum of Civilisation which presented history in a very vivid and interactive way. They also had a special exhibition on the world of the ancient Maya civilisation. It is very timely to get a greater appreciation of Canada’s history particularly as we are about to travel close to some of the areas where some of the turning points in their history occurred. I could have easily spent more time here but I was also keen to get over to the Canadian War Museum.
The War Museum was also very well done. They have a good collection of artefacts, particularly heavy armoured vehicles, trucks and weaponry from various conflicts. The museum is very well laid out in terms of timelines and Canada’s involvement in so many of the worlds conflicts. They were also running a special exhibition about the different perspectives the Canadians, Americans, British and Native Americans had on the 1812 war. This museum is also well worth a visit if you are coming to Ottawa.
John had meetings off and on today, but one thing he is particularly pleased about is he managed to get a parking fine waived. Yesterday when we dropped the bikes off to have new chains put on etc he had parked too close to a fire hydrant, hence a ticket. Anyway his pleading of ignorance about a 3 metre rule was accepted without too much fuss.