Thursday, 1 September 2016

Summer trip to Ottawa Part 1. A sinkhole, sight-seeing and shopping.

Whew!  Where has the summer gone!  It started with cold, gusty, gloomy weather, then I blinked and now it's September!! I must get outside to bask in the warm weather before it's gone.  It's been 20-30 degrees Celcius lately, and we know that in twenty short weeks it will be minus 20-30 degrees. 

Ya gotta love living in Canada, eh?

Speaking of Canada, the stylist (and most discerning critic) and I went to the nation's capital to visit mum, and do some back-to-school shopping.

The stylist was determined to shop-till-we-drop.  I was equally determined to show her the sights.  If you ever go to Ottawa, here are some places you may want to visit.

Here is the Byward Market.  Located downtown close to the Parliament Hill, the Chateau Laurier, and the Rideau Centre.  

Are those beaver tails in the distance???

The beautiful thing about Ottawa is that there are so many things to see downtown!  You can walk everywhere!!  You can walk around Parliament Hill.  You can walk along the Rideau Canal.  If you are thirsty, you can walk along Sparks Street Mall and nip into a pub.  There are many delightful places to eat and drink.

If you fancy a late-night walk, and you wish to learn about Ottawa's nefarious past - then plan to attend the ghost walk

When I was a child, my parents and I would walk to the Byward Market to buy groceries.  It wasn't gentrified back then.  You could expect stalls of fresh vegetables, and clucking, hopping livestock.  When you bought direct from the farmer, you got the best price possible.  Haggling was commonplace.  The low prices and variety of fresh produce attracted lower-income shoppers with many mouths to feed. 
My little ears grew accustomed to a polyglot of accents.  There was the sibilant 's' of the Gatineaux, the flat elongated vowels of the Ottawa Valley, and accents of newly arrived immigrants, all buying and selling fresh food.

I loved looking at cages of fluffy chicks, chickens, rabbits and the occasional goat, sheep or pig.  I secretly hoped that one of the chicks would hop into my pocket and come home with me!  I longed to have one as a pet - I would have built that little clucker the best shoebox house ever!!

Well the livestock is gone.  The grisly sides of beef that used to hang in the butcher shop windows, have been replaced with trendy, touristy goods.  Today's Byward Market specializes in clothing, trinkets and maple syrup. There are bars and restaurants galore.  Some of the old-style establishments remain though. Plus you can still find fresh vegetables and baked goods.  

View from the Rideau Bakery

Of course, no trip to the Byward Market is complete without an Obama cookie from the Rideau Bakery!

This is me, wearing one of my thrifted maxis, waiting in breathless anticipation for my cookie.

Eyes are closed, but still breathlessly anticipating a cookie!

Stylist plumped for the cheesecake.


The Byward Market is next to the Rideau Centre.  We did a lot of shopping there.

Let me repeat that, a LOT of shopping.  

That part of the trip wasn't frugal at all!!!

During the stylist's innumerable forays to the change rooms, I was able to observe The Sinkhole  from various vantage points offered by the Rideau Centre.

This was the sinkhole in June.

The construction zone around the sinkhole.  Rideau Street was re-opened to traffic during our July visit.  

The Rideau Centre is conveniently located in downtown Ottawa.  If you're visiting the Parliament Hill, it's a handy place to nip in for food, do a bit of shopping, or to hop on a bus.  The Rideau Centre is a hub for OC Transpo buses.  Stylist and I purchased OC Transpo tickets.  Ask about their family day passes - they are very reasonably priced.

Stylist loves playing with makeup - in our downtime, she doodled a magnificent eye using my makeup palette.

Mum has a car, so we were able to drive to the MacKenzie King estate in the Gatineaux.  

William Lyon Mackenzie King was Canada’s 10th and longest-serving prime minister.  He bequeathed the vast, estate, which is perched on the top of the Gatineau Hills, to the people of Canada.  Today is a beautiful tourist area that is maintained by the National Capital Commission. There are heritage buildings surrounded by acres of lush greenery, with interesting doodads scattered about.  This is the guest cottage in Kingswood (the estate is divided into Kingswood, Moorside and The Farm).

Kingswood Guest Cottage of Kingsmere Lake.


Dindins anyone?

Next we moseyed through Moorside.  Mackenzie King was fascinated by otherworldy items. In particular ghosts.

Here is a cool bench flanked by stone angels.  Bits and pieces are from Westminister Abbey.

Secretary's office by day, seances at night.

Mackenzie King and his medium Etta Wriedt.

The view from the second storey.  Magnificent being at the top of a hill in the Gatineaus!!

Another item brought back from England?  I was quite taken with this lion.

While waiting for a table in the tea room, we read some old, government texts.  I wonder what kind of data overages Cablegram charged?

To Hitler, From Mackenzie King.

Smoked Salmon, salad and tomatoe soup - eatten on the veranda at the estate. Magnificent!

Of course, no trip is complete without checking out a thrift store.  Here are some finds from Value Village.

Pyrex in the wild!

A rather splendid maxi, I wish I had bought it.

Well, that's all for now. Stay tuned for Part 2.

A bientot!


  1. I loved reading about your trip and of course it wouldn't have been complete without some thrifting. Too bad about the maxi, though ... xxx

  2. Thank you Princess! Yup, it is too bad about the maxi, oh well.

    happy thrifting ;)

  3. Thank you Princess! Yup, it is too bad about the maxi, oh well.

    happy thrifting ;)

  4. My favourite city in North America! I haven't been there in over a decade, but oh the wonderful times I've had there. How I managed to miss the PM's residence on all those visits, I don't know-but now I know where to visit next time.

    You look very peaceful awaiting your cookie.

  5. Gosh! I had no idea you liked Ottawa so much. It is a very unique, cosmopolitan city. The PM's residence is going to be renovated. Definitely worth a drive-by. If you have time, check out the Value Village on Bank Street and Saint. Laurent.

    happy thrifting ;)

  6. I loved following you about on your trip. Who wouldn't want an Obama cookie? Maybe I should make some Jeremy Corbin ones?
    Why didn't you buy that fabulous maxi? xxx