We had a blast last Saturday in Ottawa…. All 55 of us, plus our NCPR Ottawa correspondent Lucy Martin.
The fun started the moment we got off the bus at Byward Market. If you’ve been there before, you’ll recognize the totem pole – our landing and launch pad.
Lucy – who’s a local – met us with homemade cookies! Oatmeal-chocolate chip-macadamia nut cookies, and they were GREAT. Nothing like a great cookie welcome to make you feel at home.
Here’s Lucy – with her now-famous cookies (sorry about the blurry photo):
.. And happy visitors taste-testing them:
We all had different ideas about where to go first – but that was the whole idea of this bus trip! I wanted to see the Chinese Lunar New Year parade in Chinatown, so our group set right off; through Confederation Park, over Elgin Street, and out Somerset until we reached the Chinese ‘Arches’… Todd kept asking, “are we there yet?”, and, “will someone carry me?”. I admit, it was a bit of a hike, and we were running late, so we had to hurry!
As it turned out, it’s a good thing we were on time, because the parade was very short! By the time my camera was focused, it was too late to get a photo… but Todd took a great one that was our Photo-of-the-Day a couple days ago.
I’ve skated in Ottawa many times, but never ventured very far from the city center. Next time I come to Ottawa, Chinatown is definitely my destination! We had lunch at a Vietnamese Noodle House, and I had my first taste of pho (yummy!).
Before we knew it, it was time to head back to 8 Locks Bistro on the canal for hot chocolate! Colin Goodfellow had invited all of us to stop by – who could resist such an invitation? Colin is a hospital administrator the rest of the year, but during Winterlude he is a canal vendor: hot cocoa, spiked hot cocoa, and a nice outdoor rest area with open warming fires and bales of hay to sit on. We had a perfect view of the canal from our cozy bales…. and some folks were still enjoying Lucy’s cookies!
Cheers! Lucy & me enjoying hot chocolate and sunshine at 8 Locks Bistro.
With the day half gone already, it was time to regroup and see Byward Market and the ice sculptures. We said goodbye to Lucy, goodbye to Colin, and we set out to do some shopping. Food, that is. Serious cheese! There must be at least a half dozen cheese stores just in Byward Market! And the tea store! The Italian grocery! The patisserie! We sampled our way around.
Here’s a shot behind the cheese counter at the Italian Grocery:
The ice sculptures are beautiful by day, and gorgeous when they’re lit up at night! Thanks to Marylee Ballou for these photos from Confederation Park:
Quick as a wink it was time to board the bus for home. What a wonderful day! If you‘re thinking that Ottawa would be a wonderful day trip, but don‘t know about the driving, parking, and navigating, consider coming with us to the Ottawa Tulip Festival May 10th. Details are still in the works, but email Sandy Demarest (Sandy@ncpr) if you’d like to get your name on the list. Hope to see you then!