Ottawa: First stop, city tour

One of the joys of an early morning flight is arriving at your destination with a full day ahead of you.  We’re checked into our hotel and off on our first day in Ottawa by 9:30am.  After a stop at Bridgehead Cafe for a much needed coffee jolt and at Parliament to pick up tickets for an afternoon tour, we decide on a city tour to kick off our trip.  It’s a common travel pattern for us – use the first morning to quickly get an overview of a city before exploring it in more depth during the rest of the trip.

It’s a sweltering day with the temperatures already pushing 30C when we hop aboard the bus.  Taking a seat on the top level, I’m glad I liberally applied sunscreen before leaving the hotel.  Here we are just as the tour is about to get started:

Me and my love on the tour busThe 90 minute tour covers the downtown Ottawa area, loops over to Gatineau, meanders in through Rockcliffe, back through the Byward Market, and then takes a scenic route along the Rideau Canal to Dow’s Lake to finish up.  Here are some pictures of the highlights along the way.

Locks of the Rideau Canal beside the Chateau Laurier:

Rideau Canal locks, downtown OttawaParliament Buildings (with the remains of the Canada Day stage in front starting to be dismantled after the previous night’s festivities):

Peace Tower and the Parliament BuildingsCanadian War Museum (didn’t make it inside on this trip, but will on my next visit).  Notice the Morse Code pattern on the windows on the “fin” on the upper right – it spells “Lest we forget” and “N’oublions jamais”:

Canadian War MuseumAfter crossing into Gatineau, QC, here’s a statue of Maurice Richard:

Statue of Maurice Richard in Gatineau, QCOttawa as seen from across the river in Gatineau:

Ottawa as seen from Gatineau, QCThe gates outside Rideau Hall:

Rideau HallThe gates to the Prime Minister’s House at 24 Sussex Drive:

Gates to 24 Sussex Drive. Sad that Harper wasn't there to greet us.Maman” sculpture outside the National Gallery of Canada:

Maman sculptureNotre Dame Cathedral:

Notre Dame CathedralAlthough I lived in Ottawa back in the 90s, this tour showed me a few things I hadn’t seen before and it was a good introduction for Jodi who didn’t have much time to explore the city while attending a busy conference.  All in all, it was a great start to the first day.

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