As the number of days left in 2017 dwindle away, so do the days left in Canada’s 150th anniversary year. My time was running out to recognize this important moment in our history. I knew that I needed to step foot in our capital, Ottawa, even if just for a few hours.
Being an immigrant to this incredible country, I live and breathe Canada and all the wonderful things it is and stands for. I’m as patriotic as they come. Shedding many a tear when I hear our anthem played at sporting events, seeing our flag blow in a perfect breeze against a gorgeous blue sky and even getting a maple leaf tattoo to show my love for this country.
With the days disappearing in this historic year, I grabbed a quick flight on Porter to our capital and stayed close to all the action just down from Parliament Hill at the Metcalfe Hotel. I knew that I didn’t need much time in town, but I had a list of activities that I had to experience.
A quick and simple ride on the Ottawa transit from the airport on the 97 bus, dropped me in the heart of it all. Right off the bus I made a bee line to Parliament Hill. With a chill of about -20C in the air, but no wind and the most brilliant blue sky, I arrived on the hill just as the festivities of the day were beginning. Not overwhelmed with too many people yet, I was able to get some clear shots of the beautiful centre block of the Parliament Buildings. It provided the perfect backdrop for my historic pictures of the ‘Canada 150’ sign. Definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity.
As I was chilling, literally, at Parliament Hill, a bit of a warm up was needed before my next truly Canadian activity, taking in an outdoor hockey game. That warmth and sustenance came at the hand of the delicious Scone Witch. Just steps from my hotel, this tasty stop offered exactly what I needed to warm up and prepare for some more outdoor fun in the cold. This wouldn’t be my only stop at the Scone Witch, as I was there again for breakfast the next day.
After my meal and the addition of some more layers to keep warm, it was back on to the Ottawa transit to easily get to the TD Place to watch the OHL outdoor game. Lucky to be meeting up with so local friends for the game, the fun had to begin at the Craft Beer Market. And due to the delay of sun on the rink, the fun continued there for a while longer before the game finally began.
Watching Canada’s sport outdoors on a very cold day is something that everyone should enjoy. Okay, some of you would definitely disagree with me. But it was great fun!
After a few more well chilled beers at the game and a quick meal back at the Craft Beer Market, it was up to Parliament Hill for the nightly Canada 150 laser/light/music show. The temperatures were still well below zero, about -24C, so it was not overly crowded on the hill.
Feeling like this moment was made just for me, I emotionally watched the show a few times over, taking it all in. Finally, chilled right to the bone, it was time to call it a night.
With just hours left in my trip the following day, no trip to Ottawa is complete without a visit to the Byward Market. As it was a regular working day for most, it was nice and quiet for me to explore. With perfect snowflakes falling all around me, I enjoyed just wandering around the area.
A must in the market is to enjoy a favourite of many, a Beaver Tail and a hot chocolate. And what better time than in the cold with some snow falling.
With all these wondering memories spinning around my head after this whirlwind trip, it was time to pack up and head back to the airport. I’m so glad that I made this short trip to our capital to drink in all of this special moment in our history. Happy 150 Canada!
© 2017 – 2018, Anne-Marie Marais. All rights reserved.