Bus trip to Ottawa short and sweet.
We were processed through the prison system rather quick in time for chow. We headed up the street to a shopping centre and had lunch in a very funky yet also strange food court with yummy food. Its one big food court called “richtree” but there are about 6 or 7 different stands within the food court – fruit pasta soups sandwiches rice dishes and Bakery.
After chow we headed off to see Ottawa – the “little lumbar-town”, chosen in 1857 by Queen Victoria as the capital of the province of Canada (today what is known as Quebec and Ontario). We headed to Capital Hill, a very grand old area that overlooks the Ottawa river – the parliament buildings (there are 3) look like big ole churches, some parts of the central building date back to 1876. We wandered around Centre block constructed between 1916 and 1920 housing the senate chamber and house of commons chamber with the peace tower standing in front, built from 1919 to 1927 and dedicated to more than 60,000 Canadian soldiers who died on the battlefields of Europe during W.W.I. It stands 92.2m and is a free standing bell tower with a carillion of 53 bells. East and west blocks house the Senators and Members of Parliament , as well as their staffs. Spread out over capital hill are numerous statues portraying significant people and events in Canada’s political history and development.
Down the road sitting prominently alongside the Ottawa locks is the always very grand Fairmont Château Laurier hotel. We stopped and watched the locks in action – one ship movement either up or down takes 1 hour! We then wandered down into the shops and the supermarket.
We checked into our cell – the hostel was up until the mid 1970’s a prison and the hostel has made minimum changes to its appearance both inside and outside (including the very squeaky bunk beds). We joined the tour to get an ‘inside’ look at our digs for the next two nights. The prison was very primitive and was finally closed due to inhumane living conditions – when it closed the prisoners still used a bucket, even though flush toilets had been installed – albeit one on each floor they weren’t allowed to use other than to empty their bucket each morning. The prison was also a death-row prison with three hangings being performed there, we were showed the gallows and you can imagine the hostel draws its share of ghost hunters/spotters – happy to say our stay was very ordinary.
After our not so spooky tour we cooked dinner showered and went into lockdown – well quiet time anyway.