Ottawa, The Capital Region of Canada, October 2011 – Day 2

Our second day in Ottawa promised to be a good one.  Our reconnaissance of the previous day gave us a plan and we now moved to act upon it.  First part of the plan was to have breakfast at the conveniently located Chez Cora.  Lori’s brother John introduced us to this spot in Winnipeg, and they have since opened locations in Calgary.  It is a high end breakfast place, started up in Quebec,  If you get a chance, do it.

Breakfast at Cora (5 of 8)
MMMM Breakfast

Full, we embarked on part 1 of our day, the bus tour.  We have done bus tours in several places, especially when the sites are spread out over a large areas as they are in Ottawa.  The convenience of being able to hop on or off at designated spots is appealing.  We hopped off at Rideau Hall, the home of Canada’s Governor General.   The current holder of this office (Queen’s representative in Canada) is David Johnston.  The grounds are large and the home is, as expected, stately.

Rideau Hall - Ottawa

There are some interesting traditions here.  One of the most famous, and coolest, is the planting of trees on the grounds by visiting dignitaries.  There are trees here that have been planted by such varied people as Eleanor Roosevelt to William and Kate.  Each tree has a plaque near showing who’s tree it is and when it was put in the ground.

William and Kate's Plaque
Will & Kate's Tree

From Rideau Hall, , we hopped back on a bus and continued our tour.  I snapped a quick picture of an unusual statue.  Don’t really understand the significance but am sure some artist somewhere was quite pleased with thier paycheque for this.

A Spider??

The next stop on our tour was a boat ride on the Ottawa River.  We have done river tours on the Thames in London, the Seine in Paris and the canals in Amsterdam.  A very good way to see the sights from the “other side”.  We recommend them as a vital tool to kill some time and snap some dramatic photographs.

Parliament Buildings
24 Sussex Drive - Canada's White House

The boat tour ended, much to the delight of the tour guide as it was the last tour of the season for her.  When we last saw her, she was hopping up and down on one foot, yelping with glee that she would not have to say the same thing for the 2,578th consecutive time.  On our way back to to the Bywater area, (supper) I stopped and took a photo of the Rideau Canal, looking up from the river toward the Chateau Laurier.

Rideau Canal

The visual (touristy) portion of our day having now concluded, we moved on to our favourite part of travelling, the cultural side.  We had been given a recommendation by our server the previous night to go to a restaurant called Mama Grazzi’s.  She said it was authentic Italian, reasonably priced.  We located the establishment and got a table.  The meal was enjoyable and the wine was good.  What I especially liked was the ambience.  We were on the second floor with a good view of a square behind the building.  The service was decent and I would not hesitate to recommend the place to you.

Supper at Mama Grazzi's

After lingering over wine, we decided to head out for a: more wine and b: dessert.  We wandered through the Bywater area (definitely the place to be) and stumbled upon Must Wine Bar.  The place was packed, but we lucked out and got a table inside, right against the street window.  We ordered some wine and proceeded to watch Ottawa pass by our window.  A very busy evening, great for people watching.  After a glass we ordered some tapis off their menu and, surprise, some more wine.  The ambience was great, the wine great and the food was perfect.  I would easily recommend to our friends.

We enjoyed the evening, but we had to hit the road in the morning (after Cora’s of course) as we had booked for a short stay in Mont Tremblant.  Fall season was beginning to really hit and we were anticipating a beautiful, colourful drive through the Laurentian Mountains to our destination.

Ottawa, The Capital Region of Canada, October 2011 – Day 1

We arrived at Ottawa’s airport from Winnipeg in the early afternoon and grabbed a cab to our hotel in downtown Ottawa, Ontario. We stayed at a Day’s Inn on Rideau St. We were not impressed as it is need of a renovation. Once getting settled, we headed out for an abbreviated day in Ottawa and find food, drink and most importantly, our bearings. On the food side, we found that we were very close to the Bywater District, a wonderful people area of shops and restaurants in the downtown core. This is a shot off of Rideau St at the beginning of the area. It encompasses a large area and appears to be the go to area for nightlife and dining.

Bywater in Ottawa, Ontario

We settled on a pub that looked like it would have a nice lunch and sat in. The place was called “Aulde Dubliner” and it served excellent pub food. In my worldwide quest for the perfect beer, I ordered a local brew called “Hogsback Vintage Lager“. It was definitely vintage. I would rate it about 80 on my 100 scale. I liked it so much, I had 2, or maybe it was 3. Who knows, it was good and they tasted like another one every time I finished one.

Hogsback Vintage Lager

After lunch, we headed off towards the Parliament Buildings. I had seen them twice before, but for some reason they seemed much more impressive this time around. The place was crowded with people even though it was not the greatest of days. I was impressed by both the amount of security coupled with one’s ability to still get up close to all the important pieces of the complex. One pretty much had complete freedom in all areas of the grounds, yet you were completely aware that you were being watched. A nice balance. As it was getting late, we snapped a few pictures and took off.

I own this place

The obligatory picture.

The Library of Parliament

The Library is a beautiful piece of architecture. The building was started in 1859 and completed in 1876. In its history it has caught fire twice, once in 1916 and again in 1952. It’s original roof was ripped off by a tornado in 1888. The library contents were saved in each event.

The Other Side of the Canal

There are spectacular views in most parts of the Parliament grounds. this picture of Lori was taken from above the Rideau Canal on the opposite side from the grounds.

Ottawa River

This is a shot from behind Parliament looking upstream on the Ottawa River. Gatineau, Quebec is on the right.

We ended our sightseeing, now secure in knowing our way around and with a plan for a busy day tomorrow. We made our way down a very busy Rideau St and turned in for the night.

On the Road – Winnipeg, Ottawa, Mont-Tremblant and Montreal

Just a quick note.  We have spent a few days in Winnipeg, then Ottawa and Mont-Tremblant.  We are currently in Montreal for a few days then off to Quebec City.  So far, the trip has been spectacular.  We are so happy to have made he decision to head for Mont-Tremblant prior to Montreal.  The Laurentians are beautiful at this time of year.  I have uploaded a couple of pictures and will do some full posts over the next few days (I hope).


Parliament Buildings

We took a boat tour along the Ottawa River, very pretty, although the foliage has not quite changed yet in this part of the river.  The Parliamentary Library is a beautiful bit of architecture.


The top of Mont-Tremblant


We took the ski lift to the top of Mont-Tremblant.  As you can see, Lori found a shop up there.


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