Tag Archives: Ontario

Ottawa, Ontario Canada’s Capital.

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Ottawa’s Parliament buildings are just a short two-minute walk from The Lord Elgin Hotel. And, as the city is the Capital of Canada, it’s not unlike Australia’s Capital Canberra, whereby the first thing which comes to mind; government buildings, bureaucracy and red tape. However, a deeper look at Ottawa reveals a truly remarkable and very likeable city with so much to see and do.

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Bruce Garner’s bronze statue, called “Territorial Prerogative”, was commissioned and donated in 1990 to the Sparks Street Mall and placed it near the intersection of Elgin Street. At this point, you can book a number day tours which have their stands right in front of where this bear is situated.

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So my suggestion; if you don’t have a car, then do a sightseeing Hop-On Hop Off Grayline tour of the city as you’ll cover a lot of ground to some of the sites which are located just on the outskirts of downtown with a fantastic commentary.

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This impressive curved building is located across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Québec. Visit the Canadian Museum of History which is home to the world’s largest indoor collection of totem poles and unique artwork.

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“Never Give UP!” – Maurice Richard Monument. Dedicated sculpture to one of the greats.

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Overlooking the waterways.

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This canal is really unique in the world as thousands of skaters appear when the historic waterway freezes over during the winter. Gliding 7.8km (4.8 miles) along the Rideau Canal Skateway.
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What a way to go to work!

Photo courtesy of Ottawa Tourism.

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On the grounds of the National Gallery of Canada, a giant bronze spider named Maman was erected during May, 2005. The spider sculpture is the artwork of Louise Bourgeois which stands at a height of 30 feet.
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Spiders are fine by me, just not snakes …

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Geoffrey Farmer’s perception of reality comes to light with an exhibition “Leaves of Grass”, theatrically illustrated five decades of Times’ magazines dating from 1935 – 1985. Cut outs have been carefully pieced together – unlike any other collage I’ve ever seen.

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See National Gallery of Canada for the World’s largest Canadian Art Collection. Undoubtedly the best.

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And across the road, is the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Ottawa. Had to be quick as one wedding finished and another was lined up ready for their nuptials.

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Spectacular to say the least once inside …

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A short walk from the Basilica there’s ByWard Market for some great bargains and no shortage of food stands.

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Beaver Tails were ‘born’ in Ottawa and here there’s no shortage of people wanting one or two. There’s outlets across Canada and other countries around the world.

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They’re predominately sweet. As a savoury eater I tried the cheese and garlic and yes I know it’s heart-attack food, but had to try just one … Yummo!

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Don’t you just love this!

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A UNESCO World Heritage Site is the Rideau Canal which consists of a series of beautiful lakes and rivers connected by canals. It stretches from Kingston at the foot of Lake Ontario to the city.

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I’m back where I started from and across the road from The Lord Elgin. The park is really lovely and need to have a sit for a while – really you need at least three days to enjoy Ottawa properly – so much more to see and do here.

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Anyway once you’ve recharged, take an Ottawa Jail Tour. Originally it was the “Carleton County Jail” and opened in 1862 then closed in 1972 at which point it was converted into a hostel.

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Bit spooked, but you’re given a sense of what it might have been like. Happy to call it a day.

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From Toronto and onto Ottawa, Ontario Canada with Via Rail – Part Three

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A quick run around in Toronto reveals the city has changed somewhat since I last visited. However, the CN Tower hasn’t moved of course and still a drawcard.

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The new extended metro system is an easy and convenient way to make your way around.(Incidentally is still being extended.)  Bike lanes are open as well for those wishing to make use of it.

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Toronto’s grown up into a cosmopolitan metropolis – it’s the largest city in Canada and fourth largest in North America.

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I’m on my way to Ottawa, Canada’s capital city in the province of Ontario. The passengers are asked to wait inside at the designated gate at Union Station and called forward to board in the same way you might at an airport. It’s orderly and staff are available on the platform once through to assist with directions and reserved seating.

The main difference between flying and using Via Rail is of course, the train departs Toronto from the centre of the city and arrives just outside Ottawa with a short bus or taxi ride into the downtown area. Regular services  depart throughout the day. Business class passengers may use the lounge facilities before boarding whereby you can make use of some light refreshments, read the paper of use the free wifi.

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Yes it’s early and we’re simply enjoying the views, just waiting for our breakfast and business class is definitely worth the difference in price from economy. Book early …
breakfast (2)

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Relaxing and finding the  big comfy seats are spacious with plenty of leg room which I’m really happy about! Oh did I tell you I’m quite tall? Makes a huge difference to me.

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At times the train divides going onto two different destinations. Make sure you’re sitting in the correct carriage or you might find yourself heading somewhere else …

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From Toronto to Ottawa industries range from cultivating crops, mining minerals, manufacturing automobiles, designing software and leading-edge technology are being sourced here.
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Look out, we’re coming through … Trust me this train is on a mission and is faster than fast!

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We’ve arrived at Ottawa and it’s a quick transfer into the centre of the city from here – either by local bus or taxi.

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Hotel of choice … The Lord Elgin Hotel is smack in the thick of Canada’s capital’s must-see attractions. Stylish art-deco hotel with a variety of eateries, bars and amenities at hand.

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Comfortable, clean and spacious rooms. When there’s talk about “location, location”, then this hotel is the one to book. Close to Parliament Hill, Rideau Canal, Town Hall, the Hop On – Hop Off Bus and located a block away from the Information Centre.

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Something I like to see – of course, I’ll trade in housekeeping services for a glass of vino! What Aussie wouldn’t? And yes, I am environmentally friendly wherever possible … Glad to see the hotel has similar views.

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It’s been a great day and all went like clockwork travelling by rail. There’s really no need to fly between the cities of Toronto and Ottawa as the timing is approximately 4 hours one way. And, with Via Rail’s Economy Escape fares which begins at around CAD67.00 (AUD70.00 on today’s exchange rate) they’re excellent value considering the cost of an airfare, with transfers to and from the airport, not to mention check in times and security checks.

Plus, by rail you’re able to see Mother Nature at her finest with a palette full of brilliant colours showing off the change of season to Autumn’s best.

Next up, Ottawa’s attractions and activities. Stay tuned …

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‘The Canadian’ Rail Journey with Via Rail – Part Two

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Up early after breakfast we’ve taken a seat to settle in for a full day’s viewing of Canada’s vast and expansive interior.

In Economy Class you have a comfortable reclining seat and access to the Economy Class Skyline car with its coffee shop, lounge and vista dome. Sleeper Plus & Prestige passengers have exclusive access to the Park Car at the very rear of the train.

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Plenty of farms all ready for a day’s work while we just watch.

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We’re having a break and walk around at Saskatoon. Time for ‘The Canadian’ to have a refuel and we’re more than half way now.

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No doubt we’re going to outdo the school bus …

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Speeding up towards Winnipeg whereby we’ll arrive later in the evening for another break.

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At Winnipeg Union Station, some passengers will either depart here and others will embark to continue their journey across to Toronto.

An easy couple of hours spent here whereby we have wifi available to check what’s going on, but really haven’t missed it all whilst onboard? Been too busy watching the world go by …

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The station’s building was designed in a “Beaux-Arts” style by New York’s architectural firm Warren and Wetmore (of New York Grand Central Terminal fame) and constructed from local Tyndall limestone, in which many fossils are still visible.
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Can’t help but look up. Simply stunning!

The station provided terminal facilities for the Canadian Northern Railway, the National Transcontinental Railway and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway systems over the years.

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Breakfast won’t be the same again with the most delightful staff and superior service anyone could wish for.

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Passing Ogaki, Ontario where there’s a multitude of lakes and streams.

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Our final night onboard and everyone’s more than relaxed. Just don’t want the journey to end.

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Very much on the outskirts of Toronto with colours of the landscape changing constantly.

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Superb day to be back in Toronto after so many years. Upon arrival, our baggage which was checked in, is delivered on the platform for identification and collection. If you’re travelling in business class, you can use the Lounge facilities within the Terminal for your onward connection. There’s some light refreshments with the use of wifi and comfortable seating.

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Although, our trip has ended here at Toronto Union Station, there are excellent connections to other destinations, particularly on the Eastern Seaboard if you’re considering going further, particularly to Quebec and Nova Scotia.

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Across the road is the beautiful luxury Fairmont Royal York Hotel which is located in the centre of Downtown Toronto. It’s minutes away from attractions including: The CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Air Canada Centre, Rogers Centre, the Eaton Centre and the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.

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Very stylish rooms with a coffee machine for espresso lovers like me and fast wifi. A number of dining options are available with five restaurants, four lounges and 24-hour In-Room Dining available to suit every traveller’s taste.

VIA Rail offers several unique packages and getaways for visiting Toronto, allowing you to make the most out of your stay in the big city. See www.viarail.com

Next day it’s an onwards journey to Ottawa after a brief visit within the centre of Toronto!

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