Ottawa (& Gatineau)

Marie Damman
Marie Damman

The next place where people can go is 450 km away from Toronto, at Ottawa, the capital of Canada.

It actually sounds weird. We use to have one of the biggest cities as capital but Ottawa is smaller than Toronto. The capital is actually the fourth in the rank of a hundred of the largest municipalities in Canada by population while Toronto stands in the first position with respectively 883,391 and 2,615,060 of populations in 2011.

Besides its small size, the town keeps the Canadian history. The parliament is one the attraction to see. The entrance is free and there is a tour every hour to get access to some other rooms. People there are really friendly, especially cops. This is another strange thing about Ottawa. They talk French and English in the same conversation. One of them is watching by car the surrounding, stopping people and talking about the neighborhood in a funny way, holding a Canadian flag and wearing a Russian hat. He notably told us about the anniversary of the Canadian flag.

Other buildings looked interesting. We couldn’t do everything, because it was either opening in summer or we were hiding somewhere else to warm up.

We were a lot inside, trying a food marathon. We tasted all the local food such as Shawarma, which is a Canadian French kebab, beaver tail (pastry which looks like a beaver tail with some sweet topping), and maple taffy (maple lollypop).

Actually, we started to food marathon outside. We were having maple taffy on the biggest natural ice ring of the world. We didn’t have time to ice skate so we walked on it, which was really cool too.

The purpose of that trip was to see the Ice festival that was all around the city. They were gorgeous. Many different countries, even warm ones, were making an ice sculpture to present it in Ottawa for the weekend. Some of the countries were also working together. The result was most of the time really impressive

On our way, we also crossed the English border and visited a little bit Gatineau, the French part. We stopped in a winter park for kids. They were enjoying so much all the winter activities such as sliding, ice-skating, sleds, and some mascot walking around

Gatineau is located only a bridge away from Ottawa and you can already hear the difference. While in Ottawa people mostly speak English but quite many of them speak French too, in Gatineau, everything is translated, even the “Stop” sign. Around yourself, you can hear people speaking that Canadian French accent. Their culture is between the French people from Europe and the North Americans.

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