Friday, February 20, 2009

Ottawa - by Dave Ashmore

The temperatures were well below zero and there were tonnes of snow on the ground, but the welcome in Ottawa was very warm. From the Front Desk at the Lord Elgin to the staff at the Ice Hockey stadium everyone was friendly and happy to welcome visitors to their city. Ottawa maybe Canada’s capital, but might not be the first thought of people looking for a city break in Canada, it is however, definitely worth a visit and will, undoubtedly, exceed expectations.

The city has plenty of historic sites, not least the Rideau Canal, which runs through the heart of downtown and was a major artery of the development of the country itself. In the winter, the canal has a further attraction – it becomes a massive outdoor skating rink, with many people using it as a route to work. The small, but interesting, Bytown museum charts the development of the canal and the city and the larger and dynamic Museum of Civilisation, across the water in Gatineau, traces its people and the origins of the country as a whole. The city is home to many other museums too, perhaps most interesting of which is the magnificent Canadian War Museum, with its detailed historamas and extensive collection of weapons and tanks. Our visit to Ottawa also took in the Canada Aviation Museum and the Parliament Buildings. The tour of the latter is enjoyable and the view from the top of its Peace Tower stunning.

Further afield we visited a delightful restaurant, L’Oree du Bois, in Chelsea, Quebec, for a lovely dinner, which was made all the more appetizing following as it did an evening snowshoe trip with a First Nations guide and storyteller, Daniel Richer. We also spent an evening watching the Ottawa Senators play at Scotiabank Place – Ice Hockey at its best in a 20,000-seater indoor stadium. We also travelled to Sucrerie de la Montagne, in Rigaud; a traditional sugar shack and log-built restaurant with a larger than life owner Pierre Faucher and his equally friendly pet wolf.

The ultimate highlight of the trip, however, was the morning we spent dog-sledding. Hosted by Aventures Nordik we spent three hours with the dogs and out sledding in the woods. A truly memorable experience.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dave, we are so glad that you chose the Lord Elgin for your Ottawa visit and that we made an honorable mention in your blog. You visited some of the best nuggets that many locals are not aware of. Thank you for writing about what I think is such a beautiful city - but then I am biased. My family goes back here over 200 years.

Ann Meelker (nee Fournier)
Director of Sales & Marketing