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Ottawa - Parliament and Pumpkins

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Day 38 Saturday 23 October – the Parliament Building

A leisurely start to the day as we wait for a light fog to burn off. Into Manotick for breakfast at the Miller's Oven where local high school students work under limited adult supervision to prepare a range of breakfast options. Proceeds of the venture are donated to various community projects. Having been suitably refuelled we start the sightseeing day with a visit to the florist across the street, The range of floral and decorative items available is unbelievable for such a small establishment.

The sun is now fully awake and we head into the centre of Ottawa where Linda finds us a free all day parking spot close to our destination. We are off to visit the Houses of Parliament, A most impressive building, flanked on either side by some of the government offices. The buildings are constructed in the style of a cathedral of massive carved stone portals and copper roofs. We queue up to book a tour of the building and find our way through the security check to queue up for the visit to the Peace Tower. The queue is long and slow and a change of plan has us outside.

The Parliament is set on a bluff overlooking the Ottawa river and provides a vantage point over many other significant structures. David explains that many of the unattractive waterfront areas have been progressively cleaned up. The views are spectacular.

Onto the queue to start the tour and through security again. First stop is the foyer to the Lower House and the many features are pointed out. For the benefit of the many foreign visitors there is also an explanation of how the members are elected and how the government is formed. There is only limited access to the Lower House but sufficient to see the member's benches and the Speakers chair.

Next stop is the Parliamentary Library, a structure that survived the fire that destroyed the first Parliament Building. It is quite awesome, being light and airy and contrasts with the sombre dark interior of the main building. The Senate is next and I find out to my surprise that Senators are appointed by the Government of the day and serve until they choose to retire or age 75 – no elections to face !!

At the completion of the tour we line up for the lift to the Peace Tower from where much of Ottawa is spread out below us. Back on level 2 we spend some time in the Hall of Remembrance where a series of hand inscribed books record the names of the thousands of Canadians who have fought and died for their country. Each day a page is turned, it will take a long time for all the pages to be revealed.

Time for a late lunch and we head off to the Markets. Along the way we are confronted by hundreds of University Students partaking in the annual Zombie Walk. Neither David nor Linda can explain this. The participants are made up with gross facial disfigurements or other bizarre decorations. The markets display a bewildering array of pumpkins, squashes and gourds. The spirit of Halloween has certainly kicked in. There are also regular food items and interesting vegetables like purple cauliflower in addition to a yellow and the white variety.

Back to the car and just for good measure, we stop at the road-side market to look at the truckloads of pumpkins for sale. The county must be awash with pumpkins. Back home Linda works her regular magic and we enjoy an excellent diner. We review plans for the remainder of the stay and will book accommodation in Quebec and Montreal tomorrow. Big day, early night, rain predicted for tomorrow, we'll see what we can do. So much to see, so little time.

I'm writing this in the pre-dawn hours, haven't been this busy in a long time.

Posted by greynomadm 04:47 Archived in Canada

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I Love the pumpkins with the faces on them - too cute!

Was great talking to you guys and David this morning. He must be an incredibly interesting person to stay with. Good wine and someone with a brain who doesn't mind talking - pure win!

Love N

by DrTard

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