For the last few days, Teri and I had planned to go to the Canadian Museum of Civilisation over on the Quebecois side of the Ottawa River, and were stymied each time. On Thursday nights the museum (and the National Gallery as well) are free after 5pm, but we were too tired after hitting the National Gallery that day - and then Friday, too tired after doing our Bank Street shopping trip. We were determined to get there on Saturday! We woke up, ate leftover pizza for breakfast, bundled up, and set out to walk across the Alexandria Bridge into Quebec.
Well, we made one wrong turn, but it was worth it to get a snapshot of this handsome fellow:
Some of the sidewalks to the bridge were blocked by construction gates (the bridge will be undergoing a renovation in February), and we ended up on the National Gallery side of the road, walking up a hill - which took us to a neat look out and small ampitheatre with this statue of Samuel Champlain. Looking out in the other direction we saw the back of the Parliament Buildings on Parliament Hill:
Yes, that water is frozen. I didn't take any pictures of it, but you could see cross-country ski marks on the ice where people have walked across it. And on our way back, we saw people ice fishing on the river. Teri said she wasn't sure she wanted to eat anything that came out of the Ottawa River. On the Quebecois side there was some melting, but I think that was because there were some factories on that side of the river that probably attributed some ambient warmth:
We made our way to the museum, paid our tickets - I believe it was $12, and I think that was well worth the next few hours that we spent at the museum. This museum has exhibits and artifacts from all over the world, but its largest exhibits are those of Canadian First Nations Peoples. We checked in our bundles of coats, and soon saw the most totem poles that I have ever seen in one place outside of Vancouver Island.
The neatest thing about these totem poles is that some of them were old - as in over 150 years old. The fact that they are inside has preserved them and they are beautiful. People who grow up in different parts of North America have different perceptions of what Native Art is, but to me, this is it - this artwork comes from the Coastal Native groups where I grew up and I felt a bit of homesickness seeing it so far away in Quebec.
A close up of one of the carvings - I love the colours in this one:
A cool 3-D carving:
I had to take a picture of this one because in all of the Coast Salish and Haida works I have seen (and the area where my parents live is called the City of Totems and they are everywhere), I have never seen a Native drawing of an owl - this is a seat in a canoe and it is beautiful.
A petroglyph from the West Coast (I couldn't find a plaque saying exactly where it is from, but I know there are petroglyphs on Vancouver Island just outside of Nanaimo):
Anyone who has been to the Vancouver Airport would recognize this statue - the bronze original is there! This is the plaster cast from which the bronze statue was made:
A plaster cast from an orca statue:
A beautiful First Nations painting called "Spirits Waiting Their Turn" - I'm sorry, I didn't get the artist's name.
The dogsled team on top of the ticket office:
Me on the coolest motorcyle - this was in the Children's Museum - Willow would have had such a ball here!
We saw two very cool exhibits at the museum that we weren't allowed to take pictures at - the Hidden Treasures of Afghanistan exhibit and the Profit and Ambition exhibit about the Canadian fur trade in the 18th - 19th centuries. The Postal Museum was also very interesting, especially the parts with the letters from soldiers during WWI and WWII.
After making the long walk back into Ontario, we went to Byward Market so Teri could have something she had been clamouring for all week - a beaver tail:
Looks yummy, doesn't it? It's dough that has been stretched out and fried, then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. You eat it hot - and we had ours with some surprisingly good hot chocolate. Teri said it was damn good thing she had waited to have one of these or she would have had one each day she was here - and I am inclined to agree!
We knew our time in Ottawa was coming to a close, so we did one last round of shopping in the Rideau Centre, went back to the hotel cafe to have paninis for dinner, then went back upstairs to pack for home.
Tomorrow: Day 5 with a short flight, a happy girl, and a treat!