Canada, Ontario, Ottawa

Thursday’s Adventures

Thursday, May 24th started with a trip to Tim Horton’s and a visit to the store for sunscreen. Then I decided I wanted my hair dye touched up, so I spent a few hours there.

Around 4:00, I headed to the day’s next adventure: Dow’s Lake, which is a  small man-made lake on the Rideau Canal.

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I headed to Dow’s Lake Pavilion for a margarita and some lunch before heading to the kayak rentals!

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I was nervous to take a kayak out because I haven’t been in years, but I really enjoyed it. It was about $20 CAD (about $15 USD) to rent a kayak for an hour, and then $12 CAD for each additional hour. I went for one hour and went on a short loop towards the right side of the lake, rather than farther down the Rideau Canal which can bring you all the way downtown!

Canada, Ontario, Ottawa

Canadian Parliament

After the War Museum, I finally got a chance to tour Parliament! While the tour is free, it can be tough to get tickets. So, I suggest arriving as soon as the ticket office opens!

As a political science student, I really enjoyed studying Parliament and the structure of Canada’s legislature. I learned a lot, and it caused a lot of critical thinking about the various systems and pros and cons of each.

Blocs of Parliament

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The Centennial Flame outside of Parliament, which commemorates Canada’s 100th anniversary as a Confederation.

 

Video of the inside of the library, which is the only standing part of the original Parliament after a 1916 fire burned the rest of the building.

At the top of the Peace Tower, which is a 306.5 foot clock tower situated in the center of the Centre Block of the Canadian Parliament buildings.

Video of the three Parliament blocks from outside of Centre Block.

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Canada, Ontario, Ottawa

Canadian War Museum

The next stop on Wednesday was the Canadian War Museum, one of Ottawa’s highlights. The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum regarding military history “from the first recorded instances of death by armed violence in Canadian history several hundred years ago to the country’s most recent involvement in conflicts” (Wikipedia). I paid $13.00 USD for the museum and spent about three hours there.

There are 3,000,000 artifacts and items in their collection and 500,000 annual visitors. The museum has its origins in 1880 where it was a collection of military artifacts. Its current location opened in 2005. “The Museum’s collections are among the finest military holdings in the world, including rare vehicles, artillery, uniforms, medals, personal memoirs” (About the Museum).

 

Here are a few of the artifacts that I saw that really stood out to me:

Adolf Hitler’s Car

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A piece of the Berlin Wall

Weapons used by the Hutus during the Rwandan Genocide

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A fragment of one of the airplanes that flew into the World Trade Center on 9/11

The Regeneration Wall was awe-inspiring. “The highest point in the museum is called Regeneration Hall. This strikingly narrow space features angled walls that tower dramatically over visitors. Rising up with a tightly framed view of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill, Regeneration Hall is a physical representation of hope for a better future” (CWM: The Regeneration Wall).

And here is another round of general pictures from around the museum:

And photos from the LeBreton Gallery, which “contains the most extensive collection of military technology in Canada” (CWM: The Lebrten Gallery).

Canada, Ontario, Ottawa

Supreme Court of Canada

Wednesday started with yet another attempt at a Parliament tour… I arrived at 9:10 AM, and they were booked until 5:30! I got a ticket and decided to do a few other activities on my to-do list for the day.

First, I went to the Supreme Court of Canada. They have three levels: the trial courts, the Federal Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court. The SCC also offers free tours (check on the dates and times because some require a reservation) which was great. The Court was in session, so we were not able to view the chambers. The public gallery was also full, so we couldn’t watch the case directly, but we were able to watch it from the lobby. We learned a lot about the history of the SCC, its creation in 1875, and how it functions today. I will write more about social and political differences between the US and Canada later on! Stay tuned for the Parliament post, too!

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After, I decided to walk aimlessly around and explore this part of the city. I found a place to have lunch, stopped into a LASIK clinic for a consultation (whoops, impulse decision anyone?), and then found myself suddenly near the Ottawa Locks! This was beautiful, and I took a few moments to just be mindful by the water before I headed to my next stop….the Canadian War Museum, one of Ottawa’s highlights!

Canada, Ontario, Ottawa

The Rest of Tuesday

After going to the Royal Canadian Mint and the Bank of Canada, I didn’t do any other major activities for the rest of Tuesday. I went to lunch and then decided to do another loop on my Hop On-Hop Off bus tour from Lady Dive Tours. It was worth going through again because there were some lovely sites of the river, and we also drove by houses of many ambassadors and even Justin Trudeau’s!

I finished around 4:30 and decided to wander around until my Parliament Tour. I decided to go and get a piercing….surprise surprise! I did this and then was pretty wiped out from a long day and decided to post-pone my Parliament visit until Wednesday.

And then I was off to some Netflix and sleep after a busy Tuesday!

Canada, Ontario, Ottawa

Bank of Canada Museum

After the Royal Canadian Mint, I was off to the Bank of Canada Museum!

The Museum is situated next to/attached to the actual Bank of Canada; the guide explained it like that glass triangle next to/above the Louvre!

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Courtesy of Bank of Canada Museum

This museum was free, which was really cool! Upon entering, you go down to the basement and get a digital bracelet which allows you to interact with various exhibits and displays.

I really enjoyed looking at Canada’s economy, particularly how their government goes about borrowing money. It was interesting to see how they also included a lot about economies and monies from other countries.

This video is sideways and I’m not tech savvy enough to know how to flip it….sorry.

Canada, Ontario, Ottawa

Royal Canadian Mint

Tuesday, May 22, started with a trip to Parliament Hill to pick up free tour tickets at 90 Wellington. Well, despite arriving an hour after they opened, they had no more tours until 6:30! So, I picked up a ticket and went on my way to other activities.

The first being the Royal Canadian Mint! Now, if you remember my post for yesterday, I had already tried to go to the Mint….and landed myself confused and lost in the National Gallery of Canada!Royal_Canadian_Mint_Logo_(2013-).svg

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I was only able to take photos outside and in the gift shop, so I don’t have a lot to show, and there’s not a lot online either! The tour was really interesting and lasted about 45 minutes. It only cost $6 CAD (about $4.65 USD), which was also really great. This is definitely a tour I recommend!

There are mints located in both Ottawa and Winnipeg. The Ottawa Mint makes collection coins and investment coins, while the Winnipeg Mint makes circulation coins and oversees the production of bills. While they do change the inside as technology changes, the outside is preserved in its castle-like form.

 

The first photo is the outside of the Mint, the second photo is just a moose from the gift shop, and the bottom photo is me holding 28 pounds of gold, worth $650,000!

Also look at this cute and kinda weird Canadian maple leaf doll I got:

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So, I guess when I was dropped off outside the National Gallery, I didn’t realize that the Mint was behind me — I walked away from it and kept looking and looking, when it was only three minutes behind me! Eh, it’s funny to laugh about now. Wasn’t so funny when I was lost and didn’t know why!

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Next….onto the Bank of Canada!

Canada, Ontario, Ottawa

National Gallery & Notre Dame

Next stop was the National Gallery of Canada, but the funny part is I wasn’t actually trying to visit the Gallery. I thought I had gone to the Royal Canadian Mint (more on that tomorrow), and it took me a little longer than I’d like to admit to realize I wasn’t in the right place. After quite a few walls of art, I realized I had ended up in the wrong place and just decided to go with it. Art museums aren’t high up on my list of favorite things in the same way they are for some people, but I did enjoy it and walking around. Click here for a detailed floor plan from their website.

 

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After I finished exploring the Gallery, I decided to walk around and see if I could find the Mint. No such luck, but I did land upon the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica! I took a few minutes to explore this, which was really interesting seeing as I recently went to the Notre Dame in Paris.

 

 

Next, I took a very brief stroll through ByWard Market, which is a tourist hub filled with shops, restauarants, and farmers’ markets. This was not my favorite place because of how busy it was and because I wasn’t really in the mood to window shop, but it was still interesting to walk through. I can definitely attest to the “tourist hub” part.

 

Canada, Gatineau, Ontario, Ottawa, Québec

Canadian Museum of History

After crossing the Ottawa River from Ontario, and entering Gatineau, Quebec, I took my first stop at the Canadian Museum of History. This place was huge, which makes sense as Canada’s natural history museum. The museum used to called the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and its purpose, past and present, has been to collect and study objects regarding the history of Canada and its cultural diversity.

 

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Courtesy of Canadian Museum of History

 

Special Exhibitions 

 

 

Canadian History Hall 

 

 

 

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Lower Level and Outside