Canadians have the international reputation of being polite and courteous—and this apparently extends to our signs.
Browsing: Snapshots of Ottawa
Just like that, overnight, someone switched the heat on and we went from freezing to sweating. Or more exactly, from single-digit temperatures to a balmy 27°C. Welcome to Ottawa, where spring is a two-day transition between winter and summer!
It is taking a while but little by little, spring is springing. The grass is green, trees are slowly growing leaves and soon we will be taking pictures of tulips.
At least I hope so.
A few days after the first massive Christmas snow storm, we had another winter weather spell: over 20 centimeters of snow fell on the city, adding to the 30 centimeters that were already on the ground. The result? Massive snow piles in the neighborhood, benches and patio fixtures disappearing under the fresh snow, unshoveled streets and sidewalks and blocked driveways. Just another day in Canada, basically.
I’m not usually into nature photography—I like taking pictures of people best—but twice a year, I’m happy to grab my prime micro lens and say “hi” to mother nature: in the spring for the Ottawa Tulips Festival and in the fall to take pictures of the stunning fall foliage colours.
Fall is still lovely here and I’m enjoying the cold, crisp air after all the humidity this summer. But the true perk of the season is the stunning fall foliage. On a beautiful fall day, we headed to the Ottawa River—cooler temperatures by the water usually bring the best fall features, including interesting clouds and vibrant tree colours.
This Thanksgiving weekend, we headed to Vincent Massey Park to take some fall colours pictures. The sun didn’t show up but the moody grey sky actually heightened the beginning of the transition to fall, and the pictures came out okay.
Happy Canada Day everyone!
Here in the National Capital we are enjoying our yearly “day of fame” under a nice blue sky and very summery temperatures of 32°C.
A while ago, I complained that nothing ever happened in Little Italy but some pasta-eating. I was wrong.
When I arrived at the yoga studio located in the heart of Little Italy on Friday, I realized that it was the “Settimana Italiana di Ottawa”, the Italian week. I came back the next day to check it out, and was treated to a nice display of Italian cars.
In Ottawa, Parliament Hill and the Canadian Parliament are a bit like Tolkien’s Mount Doom—you can see it from pretty much anywhere in the downtown core and it feel like living under the Eye of Sauron (or Harper, depending how you feel about it—to me it’s the same).
Although Ottawa doesn’t have as many condos as in Toronto, they are still popular here, especially in the downtown core. The past few years, I have seen quite a few new buildings popping up on Rideau Street, around the Byward Market and in the Bank Street neighborhood.
I headed to Château Laurier, nearby Parliament Hill, one of Ottawa’s most famous hotels and landmarks. The last time I was inside for a peek had been around Christmas time a few years ago, and this time it looked very different: brides and grooms had replaced Santa Claus!
Locals and tourists often comment on Ottawa’s postcard-perfect views and main sights, such as the…
Recently, a new sign was put up by the entrance of the Ottawa Public Library: “Do not feed the wildlife”. The pigeon posing by the sign seemed particularly offended. “But I’m hungry!”
Last weekend, Feng and I took a long walk on Parliament Hill and along the Ottawa River. The Parliament grounds were crowded—the nice weather and the Tulips Festival brought a lot of tourists, mostly from China, India, the U.S. and other Canadian cities.
Canada is a peaceful nation, which is probably why next to the “war – this way” sign, there is a “wong way” sign. Or at least, that’s my twisted interpretation of this picture I snapped between Parliament Hill and Sparks Street.
The opening weekend of the 2012 Tulips Festival was very warm, and most of the flowers had just bloomed. Dow’s Lake was packed and people were fighting to have their picture taken by the flower beds. Eh, this is Canada, we don’t get to see flowers other than at the grocery store for six months at the time!
In Ottawa, the heart of Little Italy lies along Preston Street, in the area known as “Corso Italia”. Like in Chinatown, the entrance on Carling is marked by a metal arch in the colours of the Italian flag. Even the electrical lockers are painted in the colours of the flag!
I’m a huge fan of signs and I always keep an eye out for the funniest or strangest ones, at home or abroad. I found this gem when exploring the Central Experimental Farm a few days ago. It was put up in the very quiet parking lot. Feng and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. “The hell…?” we wondered.
Some days are hot, some days are cold, but we are slowly getting there—spring is on the way. The grass is green, little critters can be spotted all around the city and flowers are blooming. It will take a while to be in full spring mode, but at least winter should be behind us by now. Hopefully, I didn’t just jinx it.
The other day, I was shopping at Herbs & Spice, a food store on Bank Street. I walked out carrying heavy bags and in a hurry to go back home, and fell face to face with this sign from the shop next door, Wilde’s: “Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a dildo”.
I was sort of taken aback for a second, then it made me giggle like a schoolgirl.
As the joke goes in Canada, we have two seasons: winter and construction. And with winter approaching fast, the city is trying to wrap up many construction projects, but some roads are still a mess.
Between adjusting the clock backward and the short late fall days, the sun now sets around 4:30 p.m. The downsides are obvious: everyone feels tired and it’s hard to go back home in the dark. But on the plus side, we regularly get to see wonderful sunsets.
In Ottawa, a simple glance at the Rideau Canal is enough to realize the seasons are changing
From mid-May to mid-October, the locks are open and dozens of boats sail on the historic canal. The scenery is picture-perfect with lots of green trees along the water, and the area is an ode to outdoor living.
Then the canal is drained by opening the locks by the Château Laurier, in order to prepare for the winter and to eventually create the longest skating rink in the world.