Ottawa: By Water

Mon­day morn­ing we went down­town and stum­bled into the very last Rideau Canal tour of the sea­son (the tours were sup­posed to end on Sun­day, but a group had already booked on Mon­day’s ride, so they ran it). Since they also offered an Ottawa Riv­er tour, with an almost 20% dis­count on com­bo tick­ets, we decid­ed to do both.

The canal tour was on the world’s largest ful­ly-elec­tric boat, and we passed a great many inter­est­ing build­ings, includ­ing the Armen­ian embassy (whose fence, unlike the Amer­i­cans’, was low enough you could fall over it if you crashed into it while rid­ing your bike), a scaled-down repli­ca of the UK’s Crys­tal Palace used for big events (still vast inside, tens of thou­sands of square feet, with no pil­lars to hold up the roof), the Ottawa Red­Blacks’ sta­di­um, etc. Ottawa Uni­ver­si­ty, we learned, has 45,000 stu­dents and 1,200 fac­ul­ty, which is pret­ty close to the entire pop­u­la­tion of Brandon.

We had lunch at a bagel place in Byward Mar­ket, then took a tour of the Roy­al Cana­di­an Mint, where we learned that all the cir­cu­la­tion coins for Cana­da are made in Win­nipeg. (I seem to recall know­ing that already.) Also they’ve pro­duced 7 “mil­lion-dol­lar” gold coins at 99.999% puri­ty, one of which was stolen in Ger­many; anoth­er serves as a Qatari gen­tle­man’s end table.

Then the riv­er tour, where I took many, many pho­tos. We saw more embassies and ambas­sado­r­i­al res­i­dences, the Nation­al Research Coun­cil, a brown build­ing shaped like a sphinx named for Lester B. Pear­son to com­mem­o­rate his involve­ment in the Suez Canal cri­sis (if I recall cor­rect­ly), the Mint’s back side, 24 Sus­sex, and more. Par­lia­ment is gor­geous from the riv­er. We learned that Gatineau’s name derives from an unfor­tu­nate gen­tle­man who drowned in the riv­er in the 19th century.

We returned to the hotel for some down­time — there’s a lot of walk­ing in a day like that.

In the evening we went down for the ghost walk, which was metic­u­lous­ly researched (so the thes­pi­an guide claimed), but some­what under­whelm­ing (we both would rather lis­ten to our friend Marc spin tales of the curi­ous goings-on at the Artillery Muse­um in Shi­lo, hon­est­ly). Got a cou­ple pho­tos but it was most­ly pret­ty dark.

Drawn by the promise of Mon­day’s spe­cial (all meat pies on sale!), we supped at Dar­cy McGee’s, but this time we ate inside. The host­ess told us it’d be nice and qui­et in the back room, which it might have been if there had­n’t been a coterie of drunks in suits at the door to the back room. Super, super loud, and the wait­ress ditched us. We were less than impressed.

11:50 PM: jack­ham­mers on the cor­ner just out­side the hotel. I snarked on Twit­ter to @ottawacity, who sug­gest­ed I call 311. But right after I tweet­ed, the ham­mer­ing stopped, so either I’m a wiz­ard or some­one else called 311. I’m lean­ing toward the for­mer, honestly.

Step count: 16215 (!).

Series: Ottawa Trip 2017

The entire series: Ottawa: Sun­day; Ottawa: By Water; Ottawa: Par­lia­ment Hill; Cana­di­an Avi­a­tion Muse­um / Rideau Hall; Muse­um-a-palooza; Nation­al Gallery; The Week­end.