Wednesday, September 26

Ottawa

Ottawa is the national capital,of Canada. It's metropolitan area is home to more than 1.2 million people. The city was founded in 1826 as Bytown. In it's ealy years it served as a base for workers constructing the Rideau Canal. It was renamed Ottawa in 1855, before being chosen two years later as the capital of the British Canadian Provinces. It's selection was very much influenced by location, midway between Toronto and Quebec City. Even today part of the city sits in Quebec and part in Ontario. Today I took my parents on a walking tour of the city's most prominent highlights. We began our tour at Parliament Hill where the elegant, green copper roofs of the national parliament dominate the skyline. As with every national capita., the grounds host an array of bronze statues. My favourite is the Women's Sufferage memorial which deplicts some stout women celebrating their newly won rights.
It was then on to the National Gallery to have our photos taken under the popular Marman statue. This is a giant spider-like creature sitting in the midst of an otherwise empty plaza. A quick look at the Ottawa River and Parliament's equally elegant rear was next before heading off to the ByWard Markets for lunch. The markets take up several city blocks including a mix of street stalls and carefulky restored buildings.
After lunch we crossed the Ottawa River and spent the rest of the day at the Canadian Museum of Civilisation. This is the Canada's national museum and as such is filled with a myriad of cultural icons including totem poles, native costumes and plenty of artifacts from 460 years of European settlment (if one excludes the Vikings who reached the shores of Newfoundland in 1000AD. The museum had a special display on Queen Elizabeth II's association with Canada. Mum loved the throne on offer and had herself comfortably seated before Dad and I could draw breath. Clearly some of us are destined for greater things!

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