Ottawa: A Surprise Favourite

“Ottawa? Why are you going there??”

Our plans to head to the country’s capital was one that took a lot of people by surprise. It seemed that the general feeling about Ottawa was that it’s just filled with a lot of government workers and official buildings. Which… ok yea maybe… but it’s also so much more.

We arrived without really knowing what to expect, but were soon struck by the beauty of the buildings and the ease with which we were able to get about the city. After both Toronto and Montreal, Ottawa felt much more accessible.

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After checking into our hostel we headed back to the Parliament building for one of the free tours. All the English tours were already booked up so we joined the French speaking one and I played translator for my sister as we went. Though really, the tour is well worth doing even if you can’t understand the guide!

Unfortunately Justin Trudeau did not make an appearance. Sadface.

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The Peace Tower, which is included in the tour, has the best view of the city and of Quebec across the water.

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Later that afternoon we went for a fairly decent walk out of the central city in quest of Beyond the Pale and their locally brewed beer. I’d read about this micro brewery on the blog of Ottawa native Katie (of Kate’s Plate), so knew this was a place we needed to check out.

We got chatting to the woman there and she answered all our questions about the local craft beer scene while pouring us samples and recounting some of the stories behind them. One that we tried, a double IPA called Stick ’em Up!, came about after one of the brewers had his home raided by the police.

The story goes that there’d been a burglary in the neighborhood and the thief had stolen a cop car. Needless to say the police were desperate to track this person down, so when they spotted someone moving about in a darkened house, they assumed it was their guy hiding out. In fact it was one of the Beyond the Pale brewers, who got the fright of his life being accosted in his own home and screamed at to “Stick ’em Up!”. The very next day he came into work and brewed the most bitter IPA he could. And it was super tasty!

After a few more samples we bought a four pack of an IPA call Aromatherapy and headed off to cook up some dinner and chat over our brews.

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The next day we walked about the city a little more and met up with Katie for a quick coffee and a morning walk. It was really great to get an insider’s views on the city and she steered us in the direction of the Canadian Museum of History. — Thanks!!!

Man I love the blogging community so much! Anyway…

The museum is across the bridge in Quebec, but doesn’t take long to get to and on a beautiful day like the one we had, just the walk itself was great! img_3750

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We really enjoyed the museum, especially the kid’s area where we dressed up in crazy costumes in the theatre room and left some doodles in the mini town. But it was also a really great place to learn about the history of the First Nations people and the initiatives that are still taking place to keep their cultures alive today.

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If you’re planning on visiting Montreal or Toronto I highly recommend stopping off in Ottawa. Having gone in without a clue of what to expect, we were soon raving about it and my sister even said it was her favourite city of the trip! What more motivation could you need??

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