Thursday, August 7, 2014

Nights in Ottawa

Evenings on our vacation this year have been different, and different in a good way, from previous vacations. I guess it helps that the kids are older, able to do more, and able to stay up later. It also helps to have a town with good dessert options (only Montreal offered better options when we visited) as well as a downtown that takes almost no effort to drive through. Heck, even parking was free.

I parked for free three nights in a row near the corner of Elgin and Albert. Four blocks from Parliament Hill. Six blocks from Bytown Market. My kids can recollect when they're old how their cheap dad made them walk an extra 1/3 mile because he didn't want to pay for parking.
Our first foray into town, Monday, wasn't all that successful. We (correction, I) underestimated the distance to walk into town. We ended up doing a 2-mile loop to nowhere. But along the way we concluded that the mass transit system in this town wasn't going to cut it. Of course, I didn't yet know the parking in downtown could be had for free and that driving downtown was painless.

A good thing came out of that ill-begotten voyage: we discovered Westboro as we hunted down a Dairy Queen. Oh, and Canadian Dairy Queens make Blizzards with Rolos. They're awesome.

Okay, so dessert largely motivates us to venture out. On Tuesday we visited Tim Horton's.

Sam at Tim Horton's.
On Wednesday we hit the jackpot, finding Beaver Tails in Byward Market.

Being indecisive, we decided to let everyone find their own dessert tonight: Sam and I opted to return to Beaver Tails, Sherry found ice cream, and Caroline found a Tim Horton's.

Byward Market is a trendy and vibrant area in town. Reminds me a lot of Boston's Quincy Market. But it's a great place to make a bad tourist purchase.

The good news is that this $3 sugar cookie was really only more like $2.74 in U.S. currency. Actually, it was $2.99 CAD but the Canadian penny is retired, so the purchase got rounded to $3. I'm glad I didn't insist on the one cent in change I was technically due. 
Another nice thing about Ottawa was the random stuff that occurred in the downtown. There was the great light show Mosaika, which plays nightly at Parliament.

The light show we attended Tuesday. 
Last night there were fireworks. Why? Don't know. I guess it's just something Ottawa does on Wednesday nights in the summer. No, it's a competition held by the Casino across the river.

Also, we indulged and spent money on tickets for Sherry and Sam to take a haunted Ottawa tour. Sam loved it. I think Sherry enjoyed it. Sam refused, however, to visit the Bytown Museum since, according to the tour, it was haunted.

Oh, and that stone house looks so peaceful. 
We're leaving town tomorrow, which has me a bit sad. However, it's better to leave not having done everything than to run out of stuff to do.

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