Friday, August 12, 2011

Ottawa: Parliament Hill

I grew up in Toronto; Canada’s biggest city.  Unfortunately, my mindset growing up was that the rest of Canada must be boring.  This was because I always watched American television and thought the US was much more exciting.  I was especially attracted to New York City, and any downtown industrial area.  But as I grew up and would visit the US, I started to appreciate Canada more.  I guess it took leaving it for a while, for me to appreciate how much I loved it.  So for the past few years I decided to enjoy my home country more by trying to do as much as I can in it.  I began to garden outside, go skating in the winter, visit museums and galleries, and go to farms to buy locally grown and made products.
However the one thing I still never did was travel around the country.  I guess it was because of lack of funds, and also I didn’t have any friends I could visit.  The only place I did visit when I was younger was Niagara Falls.  That place was beautiful, but I would only go for the day and come back.  So in my mind I still never really travelled anywhere.  But as life goes on and friends move away, I soon started to get friends asking me to visiting them all over the country.  I never took them up on their offers because I always felt mentally paralyzed to travel.  Then this year my friend asked me again to visit her in Ottawa.  I told her I was broke, and she said it didn’t matter because I could crash on her couch.  I then started thinking that there really wasn’t any other excuse for me not to go, and so I bought a train ticket to visit.
I decided to travel on Via Rail because I felt a train would be faster, and I would get to see more of the country side.  I was also hoping to make a video of my train travel experience, from Toronto to Ottawa.  Unfortunately when I boarded the train I sat in an aisle seat and was unable to film anything.  Luckily that was the only misfortune about my trip because everything else turned out perfect.  The weather in Ottawa was nice and sunny, and I didn’t think it was as humid as Toronto.  The people are very friendly and easy to talk to, especially since my friend has a dog that brought me a lot of attention when I walked it.  The city is pretty much the same as in Toronto, except the downtown core has a lot less people, and not many tall buildings. Other great features about Ottawa are Parliament Hill and the rivers and canals.  It must be nice to live there and see that every day.
Besides visiting my friend, I also went to Ottawa to visit Parliament Hill.  Again growing up in Toronto I never really cared about Government, but then I took a Canadian politics class in high school and I became interested.  I like Parliamentary Government because it seems easy to understand (compared to US government) and to do things, and because I found previous Prime Minister’s fascinating and admirable.  So before I went there I decided to do some research about visiting.  I became very excited to learn that tours of Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court are provided free of charge, and that in the summer there is a Changing of the Guard ceremony.  Both the tours and the Guard ceremony are amazing to watch, and are very educational.
As if that weren’t enough there are tons of other things to do in the surrounding areas such as visit the museums and galleries, spend a night at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier and enjoy the view, walk around or take a boat ride on the Rideau Canal, or just have a great meal in a trendy area known as ByWard Market.  The Market was one of my favourite places because of the atmosphere; with amazing restaurants, great little boutiques, and a farmer’s market featuring a variety of products.  This was a trip I will never forget and I’m sure I will visit again in the future.  I would also encourage every Canadian and tourist to plan a visit to Ottawa as well.
Parliament of Canada:
Parliament Hill wiki:
YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHO29L23lIc

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