OTTAWA

Flew into Toronto on a Thursday afternoon, jumped into a rental car and drove the 422 km (275 miles) to Ottawa. Ottawa was cold. Went to Parliament House (political), the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (quiet) and the Royal Mint (secure).

This is a statue of Maurice "The Rocket" Richard in Hull, Quebec, the city across the Ottawa River from the city of Ottawa. He was not from Hull, so I don't really know why it was here except that he was a player for the Canadiens of Montreal and the Frenchies wanted to stick it to the Ontarians across the water.
The river was almost completely frozen over. My hotel in Hull was just across this bridge from Ottawa. The walk across was quite breezy and chilling.
Parliament Hill from the bridge.
It is quite a nice building. This is where all the exciting legislative action of the Canadian federal government takes place. Well I would imagine that the Canadians think it's exciting. The roof of the building is copper. They must have replaced it recently because they were selling pins made from the old one. I bought one.
Hallway inside the Parliament Building headed toward the library. The library was the only part of the building that survived a fire in 1916. A spectacular domed room featuring ornate woodwork and a white marble statue of Queen Victoria in the center. They allowed no photos in the library. Pity. It is a beautiful room.

The Senate chamber. The setting is similar to that of the parliament of Great Britain with rows of desks facing each other. parliament3.jpg
The Royal Mint. There was a nice tour. Most of the coinage is now struck in Winnipeg. They mostly do commemoratives, medals and tokens here, as well as coins for foreign nations.
It was Winderlude in Ottawa this weekend. Jacques Cartier Park in Hull was converted into a winter wonderland with lots of things for people (mostly kids) to do. Here is a shot of one of the ice slides. Yes, I took a slide or two myself.
A snow sculpture themed after Jules Verne's 20,000 League Under The Sea. That's the giant squid attacking the Nautilus.

Ruminations on Ottawa. It is a nice little town. It is somewhat like Washington, D.C. in that both are capital cities and both are situated on rivers separating states or provinces. The difference is that they don't speak French in Virginia as they do in Quebec. Ottawa represented to me the Canadian schizophrenia of wanting to be both the U.S.A. and Great Britain. Took advantage of the British influence one night when I grabbed dinner at a pub called The Earl of Sussex where I had a burger and a pint of Strongbow! (Actually a pint and a half.) Yea! So you can get it in North America. Just not anywhere near Nashville. On the "We're not the U.S." side, I noticed that all the American food companies, like McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, etc., all have a little maple leaf inserted in their logos. Talk about image conscience. Funny for a country with no identity of its own outside of hockey.

Drive the 461 km (286 miles) from Ottawa to Quebec