Ottawa Day 4 : Parliament
One of the many coffee shops I’d found while researching our trip to Ottawa was Arlington Five. I knew it was close to another camera shop Alex wanted to visit so I decided I’d surprise him by going before we were due for our afternoon tour of Parliament. As soon as we stepped out of the car and watched our Uber driver head down the street, Alex realized he’d lost his phone. All of my travel anxiety came to an ugly head and I just completely broke down about it. We weren’t able to contact our Uber driver through the app but luckily Alex was smart enough to use Find My iPhone to set a custom message with my phone number and our location and set the alarm off in the car. We got a call from our driver and within 15 minutes he had his phone back, leaving me feeling quite embarrassed about my mini-breakdown. After taking a second to calm down, we enjoyed our lattes and I had a spinach and artichoke croissant that I plan on recreating for a Christmas party we have coming up!
After our coffee date, we walked down a block or so to Galaxy Camera to check out their film collection. The lady that worked in the store didn’t know a ton about the specific films they had in their fridge but she knew enough to be able to give is advice about what she’s seen the majority of people buying! I hate that we don’t have any camera shops left in our town because it’s much more convenient to be able to go out and select the films we want to stock up on versus ordering it on Amazon or settling for something cheap at the drugstore. We talked a little bit about how spoiled we felt by the snowy weather before saying goodbye.
We decided we’d just walk up Bank Street so we could see a bit more of town before our Parliament Tour. It took us about 30 minutes to walk to Parliament Hill from the lower end of Bank Street but it was a really nice brisk walk in the cooler weather. We went into the visitor’s center to pick up the tickets Alex’s cousin arranged for us. Our tour was due to start at 12:50 but they said we might want to arrive a bit early to go through security. We decided to walk over towards the West Block to get a photo of the Canada 150 sign and check out the construction of the ice hockey rink in the center of the square. We noticed there was a podium set up with some media people starting to assemble outside of Center Block so we walked over to see what was going on. We saw a sign on the podium for the Grey Cup so Alex Googled what was supposed to be happening for the opening ceremonies during the week. We realized we were at Parliament for the presentation of the Grey Cup so we decided to stick around to see if anyone famous might show up! After seeing a few snipers on the roof, we knew we had a pretty good chance of seeing Prime Minister Trudeau and decided we’d push our time limits. Sure enough, the Grey Cup arrived on an armored tank and was delivered down to the podium by two Mounties. The Mayor of Ottawa, the Algonquin Leader, and Prime Minister Trudeau all said a few words. I was completely in shock that we saw Canada’s Prime Minister during my first visit to the Capital! We had joked about the possibility of seeing him before scheduling our trip but I certainly didn’t expect to actually get to see him. So I can officially say I’ve visited Canada’s capital and seen their Prime Minister before I can say the same about my own country!
Since the Prime Minister was right outside, we weren’t able to go to the top of the Peace Tower during our tour but we absolutely loved being able to see the library! It was fascinating learning about the history of the Parliament building, how bits of it survived fire, and all of the recent restoration efforts.
When we left Parliament Hill, we walked down by the Rideau Canal to check out the views. I wish we'd been able to skate on the canal because I heard it has started to freeze recently! It would be so much fun to live in a city that had lots of outdoor activities and traditions. We made our way to Brothers Brewing in the ByWard Market area for lunch. Alex and I each ordered Flanders Reds. I had the Stone City Ales' Lorelai. It was a bit balsamic for my taste. I enjoyed it but I couldn't finish the whole thing. I had an amazing Croque Madame with fries and a French salad.
Shortly after our late lunch we headed home so that we could drive over to Russell for dinner again. Mike and Marie ordered pizza for everybody and we had a great time chatting while Christina went for a doctor's appointment. I so wish we lived closer to all of Alex's cousins since we are all so close in age. It's so much fun to hang out with everyone and hopefully we'll be able to make more frequent trips to Canada in the future!