Wednesday, May 21, 2008


The hubby and I took a random long weekend trip to Ottawa. West Jet had $12 tickets on their 12th anniversary, so who could resist? I hadn't been there since my Grade 8 graduation trip (oh, the memories), and so I figured it was time to get reacquainted with our nations capital. There are so many things to love about Ottawa:

  • The man-made beauty- the gorgeous architecture of Parliament and the Chateau Laurier, the imposing Supreme Court buildings, the modern National Gallery, the alien-like Museum of Civilization, and the hard lines of the War Museum
  • The natural beauty (with some human help)- the Ottawa River, the Rideau Canal, the tulips, the lilacs, the trees, Dow's Lake. I loved the walking trails by the river, and all of the flowers. The city smelled great!
  • The culture and learning- art at the National Gallery, the history and sociology of Canada at the Museum of Civilization and the War Museum, the books and exhibits at the Archives, the informative tour of the Parliament and the Supreme Court, learning all about money at the Mint
  • The pedestrian and biker-friendly layout and bylaws of the city. Like the fact that the city shuts down Colonel By Drive on Sunday mornings for bikers, walkers, skateboarders, and Rollerbladers, and there are thousands of people in the city who commute via bicycle. We walked everywhere (except for Gatineau) the whole weekend, and it was great! I am so in love with my Birkenstocks right now, it's not even funny. Can't live without.
  • The proximity to Quebec. Two minutes and you're across the border for cheap beer and good food!
  • The real-estate prices. Housing in Ottawa is cheap!
  • The transit system- dedicated bus lanes everywhere, a bus subway-type system, and easy access to the airport
Things I didn't, however, enjoy so much about Ottawa:

  • The tourists. I don't need to be surrounded by screaming children and tour groups of 13 year olds twenty-four hours a day, thank you very much.
  • The food. Certainly nothing spectacular. I did thoroughly enjoy The Works for burgers and Mello's for a greasy spoon breakfast, but no other meal was particularly inspiring. Then again, I still don't think that I've found anywhere in Toronto that quite replaces my two favourite Halifax hangouts, Rocco's and The Cellar. The Victory Cafe is the only place that really comes close.
  • The price of transit- $3.00 one way? Really? You've got to be kidding me! And I thought Toronto was bad!
  • The soulessness of downtown. But then again, we were there mostly over the weekend, and it was a long weekend, so it wasn't exactly representative.
I really liked Ottawa, though. It's a nice midsized city with a lot of great amenities, a good cultural scene, and lots of interesting people to meet who are coming to check it out. I'd definitely consider taking a job there. Going on vacation is tiring, though, so I'm off to bed.


Purple Mangos said...

If you didn't like the food in Ottawa, then you're not eating in the right places. Let me know next time you're going and I'll send some recommendations.

Melissa said...

Thanks, Mangos! Recommendations are always the way to go. JPMC is really very interested in heading out there for a couple of years, so we'll certainly be back soon, and my cuz is moving out there July 1st.