Any visit to Ottawa must include at least a day at Parliament Hill, which is not only the heart of Canada's democratic government, but also the centerpiece of the city. It is magnificent with spectacular views from so many directions. Here's a favorite of the ones I took.
|Parliament Hill from the Ottawa River Bridge going into Quebec.|
|Confederation Building reflection in the glass windows of The Bank of Canada.|
Canada's Monetary authority is the Bank of Canada. It began in 1935, at the height of the Great Depression (my folks didn't think it was so great), which affected Canada and the U.S. alike. The Bank of Canada is the agency that sets Canadian interest rates, issues the country's paper currency and protects its security. As Canada's federal government banker, the Bank of Canada helps manage government funds and public debt.
| Wayne and the pups at the Center Block of the Parliament |
Peace Tower in the center of the complex.
It's official name is The Tower of Victory and Peace.
It is an national icon and appears on the Canadian $20 bill.
In December 1857, Queen Victoria named Ottawa Canada's capitol specifically because of it's geographic location. It is far enough into the back country to be defensible, yet easily accessible via the Ottawa River. It's situated almost exactly between Toronto and Quebec City.
|Queen Victoria statue |
Canada's first monarch. Dedicated 1901.
The statue in Wayne's photo above, is of Queen Victoria. The monument's creation was part of a lavish celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in the sixtieth year of her reign. It was first displayed at the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1900.
Nearly twenty statues adorn Ottawa's Parliament Hill including one of Queen Elizabeth II sitting astride her horse, Centenial. Unfortunately, we missed it completely so there's no photo. Drat.
My favorite of the buildings on Parliament Hill is the main branch of the Parliament Library, in the photo below. This is the research resource for the Canada's Parliament. (I'm guessing it serves the same purpose as our Library of Congress, but that's just a guess). It's behind the Centre Block of Parliament Hill and is the only remaining part of that larger building's original incarnation.
The Parliament Library Building survived, surprisingly undamaged, the terrible fire in February 1916 in which the entire Center Block burned to the ground. The present buildings were begun in September of the same year completed eleven years later.
|Yours truly and the furkids at the Parliament Library.|
Another icon, the building is represented on Canada's $10 bill.
|Victoria Tower Bell|
Another view of the Parliament Library includes the Victoria Tower Bell in the photo above. The bell is the only surviving part of the Parliament Tower fire of 1916. The story goes that the fire raged as the tower bell tolled at midnight. At the twelfth stroke of midnight, the bell fell to the ground. It was recovered and is placed here in this monument at the exact angle it lay on the ground where it fell that night long ago.
|On the grounds of Parliament Hill.|
Overlooking the Ottawa River and Canada's new Supreme Court Building.
|Couldn't resist this. The Speaker Le President. That's what HE thinks.|
|This guy showed absolutely NO fear of the humans who became fascinated with his business of grass eating.|
Rideau HallCanada is a constitutional monarchy where duties of the head of State and head of Government are distinct. The governor general represents The Queen in Canada and exercises the responsibilities of the head of State on behalf of Her Majesty. He is the commander-in-chief of Canada. Rideau Hall is where he resides. We enjoyed a lovely afternoon visit to Rideau Hall, including a close-up visit to the entrance and a view of the changing of the guard.
|Yours truly and the pups at the entry of Rideau Hall|
170 rooms and 102,000 square feet! A National Historic Site of Canada
A few other recognizable names to Rideau Hall include John F. Kennedy, Mikhail Gorbachev, Corazon Aquino, Lech Walensa, Dwight Eisenhower and Prince William and his bride Kate, just after they were married. Their trip to Canada was their first abroad since the wedding.
|To my surprise a close-up visit with the guards was okay! |
I said "hello"... he did not reply.
|Changing of the guard, complete with bagpiper.|
Visiting dignitaries to Rideau Hall are asked to plant a tree. The park grounds are beautiful and shady with nearly 100 trees, each with it's own small plaque at the base listing the name and office of the person who planted each one. Among the planters... Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother; Diana, Princess of Wales; Prince Charles, Prince of Wales; King George VI; and numerous by Queen Elizabeth II. Foreign dignitaries who have planted trees include John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan, Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin, Vicente Fox and Emperor Akihito.
A couple other points of interest in Ottawa... particularly to a retired banker, would include the Royal Canadian Mint. Too bad we couldn't get a better view for a good picture.
|Canada's Mint Entrance|
|The US Embassy in Ottawa|
Ottawa might well go onto my list of favorite places... we'll see. Our next stop will be Montreal, where we've both been, but are looking forward to again. Come along if you've got nothing better to do.