Ottawa, Ontario – A wise queen and hand-cranked locks

We are back to Québec. Gatineau is the twin city of Ottawa right over the bridge. The British queen Victoria prudently preferred Ottawa as Canada’s capital instead of the other applicants Montréal, Kingston and Toronto. The location at the border of Franco- and Anglophone Canada in adequate distance to the hostile USA made the small town without any infrastructure and full of rough-and-ready lumberjacks an ideal choice.

For the moment we visit the Canadian Museum of Civilisation on Québec side. This historical museum is phenomenal. The complete basement is dedicated to the history of the First Nations. It is allowed to touch most of the show pieces what gives a much more intense impression than just watching. The third floor shows vividly Canada’s past 1000 years, in particular the White Man’s settlement. A small town was built up there. You walk through the alleys and visit the printing house, the shoemaker and the smith of the 19th century. Lighting is arranged so smart you think you stroll through a town at night.

Over the bridge we walk back to Ottawa’s tightly structured city. Just beside the Rideau Canal flows into Ottawa River. The English built the connection to Lake Ontario beyond St. Lawrence River, consisting of a 200 km long chain of lakes and channel parts, with enormous efforts to ensure supply for Toronto in case of a conflict with the Americans. Nearly 50 of the mostly hand-cranked locks overcome 84 m difference in height, six directly at the channel mouth. All of them are National Historic Sites. One of the 90,000 recreational boats per year is passing downstream, so we can watch the lock workers while cranking. It looks like hard work.

Byward Market – Bytown is Ottawa’s former name – might not fulfil international standards, but it’s pleasant and likeable. A central food court with confectioner’s and fast food stalls from all over the world is surrounded by numerous fruit and vegetable stands as well as delicatessen. As the market stalls want to close they start selling different kinds of fruit for one Dollar the box or bag: strawberries, cherries, blackberries, and peaches. A good bet.

Myra loves to cook and does it very well. Tonight she serves Spaghetti with mussels in tomato sauce with green asparagus. Who could resist?

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