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 (!).