We spent most of the time outdoors and decided to revisit a few of Ottawa’s main landmarks: Parliament Hill; Nepean Point, a hill offering a magnificent panoramic view of Parliament Hill, the Ottawa River and Alexandra Bridge; Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General of Canada; the War Memorial; Château Laurier; the Byward Market and the business district.
Browsing: Snapshots of Ottawa
I used to love funfairs in France. In Nantes, the fair is held twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. As kids, we were super excited by the perspective of spending a few francs on sticky cotton candy and thrilling rides. The best part was to stroll past the stalls and the rides and pick the scariest or fastest ones.
The summer months are hot and humid and thunderstorms are frequent. There isn’t much you can do. One minute, the sky is clear, and next thing you know it’s falling on your head. Good luck finding shelter—unless you are downtown or there is a Tim Hortons nearby, you can’t escape anywhere. We don’t even have proper bus shelters at all stops.
Well, it’s spring now, and we are rediscovering Ottawa. Dow’s Lake looks wonderful with the Tulips Festival. Parliament Hill and the Byward Market are awesome too—there are plenty of tourists, the patios are open and the atmosphere is fun.
Every year in Ottawa, the Tulips Festival marks the return of warmth and longer daytime (and the moment where, in theory, you can finally wash and put your winter jacket away).
Miracles do happen and winter did end (well, I hope so anyway!). Last week, it was hot and sunny and we saw the first tulips in bloom. When we came back over the weekend, Dow’s Lake was packed with tourists and everybody was checking out the lovely beds of tulips.
It’s 2014, folks. My mother fought for the right to choose and abortion laws in France (legal, since the 1975 Veil Law). And here I am, today, in Canada, where abortion is legal, still fighting for the same shit.
And then there is the frustration of standing at the bus stop, an eye on the road and the other one on your watch, waiting for your ride to show up. Buses are regularly late or cancelled and it can make a simple trip pretty stressful. Hell, I have walked over 5 kilometres to my destination rather than standing in the cold waiting for #14 or #176.
Behind the Rideau Centre, Mackenzie King Bridge is not a spot included in travel brochures.…
It’s not that cold yet but it’s coming. Days are gloomy, windy and damp. If you want to see people, head to the mall—not the streets. It’s not so much that people in Ottawa are splurging on Christmas gifts or are dying to have their picture taken with a mall Santa, it’s just that indoors shopping malls are the best alternative to outdoor activities when the weather sucks.
I submitted this picture to Passive Aggressive Notes—I think both the note and the…ahem, handling of food qualify as “passive aggressive”!
In recent years, the condominium industry has been booming in Canada, with dozens of new towers being erected each year. And they are usually marketed with buzzwords such as “Modern living!” “Amazing layout!” “Hotel inspired!” “Luxury units!” “Granit countertops!”
Even nature doesn’t like November. Trees are bare now, the geese all flew South for the winter a few weeks ago and the crops have been harvested at the Experimental Farm, leaving nothing behind, just empty fields. Nothing? Well, maybe some seeds… and the birds found them.
It will get cold, eventually. But for now, we are just hopping from one park to the other to play with the leaves and teach Mark how to walk. We don’t even have to go far into the wild, any small park—hell, even the supermarket’s parking lot!—has an amazing display of colours.
On the East coast, we say “goodbye” to summer in style. And I’m not talking…
Canadians love gardening. You’d think in this climate-challenged country, investing time and energy in nurturing delicate flowers is a waste—at least, that’s my opinion. But Canadians seem to disagree. As soon as the snow melts, locals flock to seasonal “gardening centres” to buy huge bags of top soil, seeds and other supplies.
Once we arrived at Petrie Island, I realized I had been too negative. The place was lovely. It wasn’t too busy, there was a decent stretch of sand, and the water looked clean—it was surprisingly clear actually. “Damn, we should have brought towels! Oh shit, I wish I had my Kindle. And my swimsuit! And drinks!” I complained for a minute or two (my French side) and we adapted (my Canadian side).
The downtown core is always busy, even on weekdays—sometime I wonder if any work gets done when it’s above 20°C in Canada. The business district is often deserted during the coldest month, when people would rather take refuge inside the Rideau Centre or in one of the many indoor shopping malls hidden inside government buildings. But now, the Byward Market, Parliament Hill and the Elgin/Bank Street area are full of people eating, smoking, checking their email and having a drink outside.
Apparently, someone wasn’t too inspired with the local wine pick—big blank!
I recently started to focus on other projects—stuff that don’t include changing diapers, burping, cleaning up various body fluids… you know!—including my “People of Ottawa” set. I love candid shots and street photography, and spring weather is the perfect time to roam around the city with my camera again.
Despite being a fairly large city plagued with the usual issues associated with any urban environment, Ottawa is home to a variety of wildlife. For instance, in our suburban neighbourhood, a fifteen-minute drive from Parliament Hill, we have plenty of rabbits, squirrels, skunks, turtles (!) and many beautiful bird species.
It’s prime tourist season here in Ottawa, and with the nice weather, the “Capital BIXI” are back on the road—the stations had been removed during winter time, where only hardcore Canadians dare to bike.
This year, loyal Ottawa hockey fans were rewarded: The Ottawa Senators, the city’s team, made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Suddenly, Sens flags started to appear all across the city, on windows, on cars… and even on the big crane by the National Art Gallery of Canada.