On the Hill

August long week­end, Kath­leen and I took a lit­tle trip, just a cou­ple hours in a West­jet 737.  We flew out to Ottawa for a fam­i­ly reunion of my mom’s side of the family.

See, Mom lives in Man­i­to­ba, along with me and my mid­dle sis­ter. My youngest sis­ter — who end­ed up not mak­ing it to the reunion, and she was sore­ly missed — lives fur­ther west, in Alber­ta. My uncle R lives in Nova Sco­tia, out on the east coast, and one of my aunts, M, lives in either Man­i­to­ba or Chi­na, depend­ing on if school’s in ses­sion. So my oth­er aunt, V, who lives in Ontario — in the Cap­i­tal Region — decid­ed, Hey, I’m right in the mid­dle! So we had the reunion out at her place.

We arrived on Thurs­day after­noon, and were picked up at the air­port by V.  We went to her house — in a bed­room com­mu­ni­ty about 40 min­utes from Ottawa prop­er — and set­tled in. Most of the fam­i­ly was there already — my sis­ter and her fam­i­ly had arrived ear­li­er in the day, hav­ing dri­ven from MB instead of fly­ing. Brave, that; they have four chil­dren, and it was about a four-day dri­ve.  R was there, and M, and my mom.  Most of V’s kids were float­ing around, too.

On Fri­day, we went into the city to do some tourist­ing.  Kath­leen had nev­er been to Ottawa, and my last vis­it was when I was 17, so the time was right.  We got dropped off about a block from Par­lia­ment Hill, and toured around the grounds for a bit before tak­ing the free tour of Cen­tre Block, which is the build­ing that hous­es both the House of Com­mons and the Sen­ate.  Gov­ern­ment was­n’t in ses­sion, so we got the full tour (except the Peace Tow­er, which was closed).

Pho­tos from our tour (click through for descriptions):

The House of Commons

The Senate

The Peace Tower

The Library

Manitoba's shield


Y Ddraig Goch?

Things I learned on our tour:

  • The Queen is not allowed to set foot in the House of Com­mons*.  Appar­ent­ly it stems from an inci­dent when Charles I tried to storm the Eng­lish par­lia­ment, and got told, in short, that the House of Com­mons was meant for the com­mon­ers, and he should piss right off depart if it should please His Majesty.  When the Cana­di­an House is in ses­sion, there’s a brass bar that sym­bol­i­cal­ly marks where the Queen is sup­posed to stop.
  • After a fire destroyed most** of Cen­tre Block in 1916, it was rebuilt using Tyn­dall stone, which is a type of lime­stone found only in Man­i­to­ba. Which explained why all the walls had the stri­a­tions I asso­ciate with Tyn­dall stone.

After the tour, we had about an hour and a half before our sched­uled pick-up, so we wan­dered around down­town Ottawa for while.  We found a lit­tle place called Byward Mar­ket­place (I think) and had some samosas and naan from a lit­tle Indi­an food kiosk. Mmmm.

Byward Market

Then we wan­dered some more, and found a park to rest our tired feet and fin­ish off our naan.  The park had a view of Parliament.


Mmmm, naan

A bit more wan­der­ing, and we found the Nation­al War Memo­r­i­al, which fea­tures the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The War Memorial

Le Soldat Inconnu

After that, we found the buskers’ fes­ti­val, and for some rea­son I have no pho­tos of that.  After that, we got picked up by one of my cousins, and we returned to V’s house.

Tomor­row: a few more pho­tos, most­ly of family.


* She’s wel­come in the Sen­ate, though.  They have chairs for her and her hus­band in there.

** The Library survived.

Inter­est­ed in prints of my pho­tos? Let me know, and we can work some­thing out.

One thought on “Ottawa

  1. Your a dif­fi­cult guy to con­tact so I try­ing through this back door. Patrick my home­town is also Ste Rose. For many years I have dri­ven by the old swamp shack where you took a col­or pho­to of and it was placed in Flick­er. I am not tech savvy and I lost all of my old pho­tos of the swamp shack from my cam­era. The shack has now col­lapsed. Is it pos­si­ble for you to fwd to me one copy of your pho­to for mem­o­ry sake to my email address.

    Much Appre­ci­at­ed

    Ron Adam

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