Touring visitors around Ottawa is one of those pleasures that just gets better and better as you uncover more intricate history, attractions and unique sights. The Capital City of Canada, Ottawa, could also be dubbed 'The Museum Capital of Canada'. With over 13 major museums, a dozen government attractions, and an extensive Art Gallery, there is something to satisfy every curiosity, every history buff, every art connoisseur and every entertainment taste. You could literally spend months touring this Museum Gem of Canada.
Chatting with the local guides, Members of Parliament (MPs), security persons and even Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has uncovered a few 'off the beaten path’ attraction anomalies that add to the intrigue and beauty of the Canada's National Capital Region.
1)The Acoustic Anomaly of the Baldwin-LaFontaine Statue on Parliament Hill. Tucked to the right and behind the main Parliament building, up behind the statue of Queen Elizabeth II sitting on a horse. Robert Baldwin and Louis LaFontaine established responsible government in Canada with the 1841 reunion of Upper and Lower Canada. Stand front and center and face this monument that looks like a mini stage. Speak in a normal voice and listen. . The sound has the natural acoustic amplification qualities like those of a mini Red Rocks Colorado amphitheater. Don't leave yet! Sit two people opposite each other; one at the extreme right and one at the extreme left edges of the ‘stage’. Have the two whisper a conversation back and forth. WOW!
2)The Cat Sanctuary on Parliament Hill is to the left of the main Parliament building. For over 18 years and counting, volunteers have fed the 26 plus colony of stray cats. Formality and compassion in harmony. You can't get any more Canadian than that, eh!
3)Drive along Sussex Drive from Rideau Street and continue through the round-about at 24 Sussex and Rideau Hall (across the street) on up to the RCMP Musical Ride Training Facility. You might even get to feed the horses through the fence! On the return drive enjoy the Ottawa River look-off, zip up into Rockcliffe Park to see Embassies, Ambassadors’ Homes and homes of the Ottawa elite. Park near Rideau Hall, walk its beautiful gardens and capture the Changing of the Guard.
4)No trip to Ottawa is complete with out a drive up into Gatineau Park, a short drive to an entrance just over one of the 5 bridges between the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. This park is a mecca for mountain bikers. On one excursion we watched a black bear eating by the side of road just a short distance inside this park. Drive right up to the Champlain Look-off, which overlooks the Ottawa Valley and Ottawa River. Gatineau Park is on the edge of the Canadian Shield. An incredible site any time, but particularly a perfect place in the Autumn. You might be lucky enough to view the excitement of hang gliders or para-gliders against this pristine valley backdrop. Oh! You must exit the park through Chelsea so you can enjoy the homemade ice cream and waffle cones of La Cigale.
5)Bicycle along the miles and miles of pathways throughout the National Capital region. And if that is not enough, every summer Sunday morning, sections of the River Parkway are blocked to regular automobile traffic for your biking, walking and running pleasure. Ottawans are serious cyclists – even through the cold and snowy winters!
6)Early September (Labour Day Weekend) is the time to catch the fun and color of the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival. Since 1988, this annual festival has been attracting huge crowds and hundreds of balloons. To view these Aerial Art Flotilla drifting over the Ottawa River and the Peace Tower of the Parliament Buildings is a photographers delight. Just listen to that distinctive deep ‘whooshing’ sound as they ignite the burners.
Most of Ottawa can be enjoyed with a walking tour. But treat yourself to one of the river or canal boat tours, bus tours or hop aboard the old Wakefield stream train for a step back in time. Nature. History. Geology. Outdoor Activities. Politics. Animals. Take a little time to enjoy Ottawa's other amenities.
And what does Ottawa offer during those cold Winter months? That's another story for another day.
Carl Chesal's years of experience in Business and Channel Development, Training, Internet Marketing and Photography is highlighted at the Bizfare Enterprise Inc website. Carl with wife, Janet, also operate a number of e-commerce web-sites: