All for less than a cup of tea


Monday, first day in Ottawa. Although the weather was cloudy, cool and with promises of rain, I was ready to explore. Ottawa, capital city of Canada so, first port of call had to be Houses of Parliament and government buildings.

Not to be daunted by the interruption of major road works, I walked up Elgin to Westchester so that I could get good views of the buildings. Unfortunately, there was major construction on the tower and Parliament buildings also, which limited photograph and visiting possibilities. Was I also a little disappointed as to a similarity to a certain building in London, England?

By this time the promised rain was producing a grim outlook and decidedly cool conditions; the centennial fire memorial became an appealing sight. 4

First constructed in 1967 as part of the centennial celebrations of Canada being a confederation. The fire burns natural gas and is surrounded by a fountain. Around the rim are shields of the Provinces, originally 13, as Nunavat was not a Province until 1999. A shield for Nunavat was added in 2017.

A further interesting fact concerns the money that generous tourists throw into the fountain. The money is collected and is given towards the Centennial Flame Award, providing funds ” to a person with a disability to enable him or her to conduct research and prepare a report on the contributions of one or more Canadians with disabilities to the public life of Canada or the activities of Parliament”. (News Release: Centennial Flame Research Award for Persons with Disabilities,” Subcommittee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities(2005): accessed January 24, 2012.)

Suitably warmed by the flame and its origin it was time to move on. Taking the walkway, leads you around the back of the building including magnificent views of the river, the architecture of Ottawa, the bridges and across the river back to Quebec.

By now the sun was playing with us, appearing every now and then to provide warmth and a brighter outlook which prompted more exploration on my part.

Finding my way down to the canal and lock system was a good start.

Notice the evidence of highwater and flooding.

The canal was started in 1826 and completed in 1832, an amazing feat of engineering, skill and hard graft by mainly Irish and French-Canadian labourers. It was built primarily for military defence, but it quickly became an important factor in Ottawa’s commercial development. The architect and supervisor of the canal was John By; with other manufacturers assisting during construction. Well known names such as John Redpath and Thomas McKay.

The remains of the storage facility, office, and store has been beautifully conserved and is now a museum.

There were was so much to see, it was impossible to take time to photograph everything. Not only did it give details of building the canal, but also insight into the history of the area and prominent families. A little gem possibly not as well known as some of the tourist spots.

Browsing in the shop, later, I found this cute wooden container of Maple tea. It will be a tasty reminder of my visit to Ottawa.

Wooden canister of maple tea

Satisfied with this days viewing, with much to consider and try to remember, I made my way back to the apartment. Once back, and fed and watered, I thought about all that I had done, all I had learned, and distance I had walked realising that I had done all this all for less than the cost of a cup of tea.

Good job!

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