In Ottawa

It’s Canada day, the country is turning 150 years old. At 9am we decide to drive to Ottawa to be in the capital for the big event. After 2 hours driving in the rain, 45 minutes of bus, 3 hours lining up in the crowd, we finally make it to Parliament Hill. The event is completely disorganized. People are lining up all around the hill to get in, but most lines lead to nowhere as there are no signs and no staff. We made it but missed the formal show with the Prime Minister, Charles and Camilla, and even Bono from U2. We saw all that on a screen but without any sound!

Once in, at 3pm, we sat on a bit of pavement (the hill is soaked in water) and watched the various shows and speeches. Then the storm arrived and we had to stand up under the umbrella from 7pm. The big evening show was meant to start at 8 but started after 9.30 instead because of the weather. They didn’t even put music on while we waited. But once it started it was great, the PM Justin Trudeau was back as a presenter, and we got treated by a show from the Cirque du Soleil. The fireworks behind the Parliament tower looked quite good too. Overall, it was a long and hard day, mostly waiting, but I’m glad we decided on going there, it was an experience! Happy birthday Canada!  

Sunday we relax in Gatineau Park, a preserved area in the province of Quebec, just across the river. Monday we drive around the park before returning to the capital. It’s the Canada day observance day and the city is quiet, the structure on Parliament Hill are being removed.

On our fourth and last day in Ottawa we drop Sully for a service and go to the Canadian Museum of History. The museum tells us the story of the natives, the arrival of the French and the English fight for possession. There’s also the stamp collection from the birth of the Canadian Post to today, an exhibit about ice hockey, an iMax dome with a movie celebrating the 150 years, a collection of totems, and more… we did all of it but couldn’t finish reading about modern days Canada. Fun fact, “Canada” means “village” in Iroquoian. Jacques Cartier recorded the name in 1534 and it was used to name a settlement in the Saguenay area. Later, the St Laurent area became known as Canada, it came to be synonymous of the whole colony called “New France”. When the English took possession they renamed it using the native word.