“B” as Boring… as Bureaucratic… like Ottawa

12Oct10

Last weekend I went to Ottawa for the first time ever. My friend A.M. moved there for work, and I decided to visit him and shake up his monotonic life. Before the trip, I was warned by many that I wouldn’t like the capital city, that I would be bored. However, Ottawa turned out to be everything else but dull.

Red Maple Leaf, Ottawa

In some way, the city reminded me of Brussels, another bilingual capital. It was difficult to predict whether someone was going to respond to you in English or in French. Aside from the magnificent Victorian buildings that were glistening in the autumn sun, surrounded by the rich changing colours of the season, two other main highlights of the visit included Canada’s Museum of Civilization and the National Gallery of Canada. The Museum of Civilization gave me a sense of what being Canadian truly means, and I strongly believe that every Canadian citizen, including the immigrants, should visit the museum to get a grasp of what this country is all about.

The Great Hall at Canada's Museum of Civilization, Ottawa

Furthermore, the National Gallery of Canada turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. Outside of Europe, it’s difficult to find a museum or art gallery with a good representation of art through the centuries. Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC would be the exception to it, and now I could add National Gallery of Canada to that very short list. Not only was the gallery architecturally beautiful and unique, but it also had a vast art collection that was spanning from Inuit and Canadian art to the European one starting with Gothic and moving onto Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical and lastly the Pop Art.

"Maman" Sculpture in Front of National Gallery of Canada

Once the sun sets on the capital, there isn’t much to do. All bureaucrats retire in their homes after the office hours, completely deserting the downtown area. This is not how a capital should look like! Perhaps, this is the image of Ottawa I was warned about. Friday night turned out to be fun, but I convinced A.T. and another friend of mine to do something crazy the following night, to go clubbing in Montreal… and so we did. The itinerary looked just like this:

  • 9.30pm boarding the Greyhound bus in our clubbing attires and heading to Montreal
  • 11.55 pm arriving to Montreal and hitting the nightclub by 12.05am
  • 5.15am searching for a Kinder Bueno chocolate on the deserted streets of Montreal but settling down for Bounty… oh well!
  • 6.00am boarding the first Greyhound bus back to Ottawa completely exhausted
  • 8.30am leaving the Ottawa bus station with a freshly baked muffin after a great night out

Parliament Hill Overlooking the Ottawa River

If fun doesn’t come to you, you go where fun is. …and that’s how I wrapped up my visit to the Canadian capital.

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3 Responses to ““B” as Boring… as Bureaucratic… like Ottawa”

  1. 1 Stella

    Once again some “Amazing and Beautiful” photos. Here on the West Coast, we do not see such beautiful shades of nature. We have our beauty but not like that. Great read!

  2. Bueno Chocolate is nothing like Bounty!
    Should have settled for a Kinder egg – it is more similar in flavor, and you get a toy for your bus ride.
    Sounds like you had lots of fun.
    I am hoping to go visit it and get to skate on the river when it freezes this year.

    • You should visit Ottawa for a weekend. It’s very nice, but winters must be BITTERLY cold! As for Kinder Surprise, I couldn’t find it either at 5 am. LOL


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