Saturday, August 23, 2003


We found an odd hostel in Ottawa. We had to take our shoes off at the entrance (which isn't necessarily a good idea considering how hot it is here) but it keeps the place clean.

We arrived in the afternoon and headed straight out to the Parliament buildings. We did our own little tour of the outside first. The buildings bare more than a passing resemblance to their British equivalent and the chimes are very like Big Ben. The big difference is that the roofs are topped with green copper.

We took a guided tour of the East Block. We saw the old cabinet room and the room of the first Canadian Prime Minister. We also met a lady in costume pretending to be the wife of that first Prime Minister. She asked Tom how his boat trip to America was. Tom said we flew and she replied that he must be ill from the heat - all very amusing.

Our final tour (guided) was of the Centre Block. This contains the House of Commons and the Senate. It was interesting but we couldn't recognise any of it!

Next day we went back to Parliament Hill to see the changing of the guard. They had a band with Scottish bagpipers which was fun. We then went on to a series of places which were all closed. All government buildings were closed this week after the power cut to avoid a surge or something like that. Anyhow we looked at a number of statues dotted around the city and walked up to Rideau Hall where the Governor General lives. My understanding of her role is a bit sketchy but I think she represents the Queen. Anyway her house was closed (power cut) but we walked around the grounds and saw another changing of the guards.


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