Thursday, March 12, 2020

To Eastern Canada and Back, Part 2: Ottawa and Montreal - two great cities we had no clue about

At long last, the post no one has asked for but is getting anyway. I haven't been idle on le internet, I've simply been working on other things, such as art and more art and I started a blog on that process as well and it is HERE.

But in the back of my mind, I was always thinking: I never finished writing about our Canada trip, entitled To Eastern Canada and Back (Part 1, covering Niagra Falls and Toronto is HERE). Better late than never and here it is: Ottawa and Montreal.

We arrived in the nation's capital city Ontario in the early evening, in time to make the 15-minute walk from our hotel to Parliament Hill to see Northern Lights, the light and sound show on the history of Canada. I had no idea what this was, but it was super-cool. You sit on the lawn in front of the Parliament building, which is beautiful and has one of many skyscraper-sized brick clock towers that we saw on our trip (theoretically to look more English than the English—at least that's my theory), with digital projections, narration and sound effects that summarize this nation's past, present and future. Here are some shots of this pretty show.

Besides covering the history of the indigenous populations, as well as European exploration and expansion (i.e., land grabbing), the show has an overall theme and that theme, surprising to us scrappy highly individualized capitalist U.S. citizens is: cooperation and collaboration. Coming from a land that had drilled the Give me Liberty or Give Me Death anti-English philosophy since age 5, this was refreshing to see projected onto a government building. Cooperation and collaboration: imagine the possibilities, U.S.!

The Centennial Fountain is a nice fire/water feature at night.

Ottawa is pretty and walkable. Also boatable. You can take the aqua taxi to Gatineau, Quebec, where everything starts getting very French, very fast. A brief clip of the aqua taxi ride with musical accompaniment supplied by the firework-competition rehearsal on the banks of the Ottawa River (WHAT?! Read on...).

The majestic view of Parliament Hill from the aqua taxi.

The Canadian Museum of History, a gorgeous and fabulous building full of historical artifacts, Canadian art and postage stamps is on the other side of the river.

The cavernous main hall in the Museum, with totems.

The Spirit of Haida Gwaii by Bill Reid
To be continued...

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