Published: August 1st 2012July 15th 2012
Arriving in Ottawa after 2 1/2 hours on the Greyhound bus, I was met by my kind 5W hostess,* who walked me back to her place, conveniently situated not far from the bus terminal. Hers was a perfect place to stay, all the city walkable; next morning I found the canal path towards the River Ottawa, took loads of photos of the beautiful Parliament buildings, and walked over the bridge into Quebec province and Hull (Gatineau), opposite the capital city. I spent most of the day in the wonderfully informative Museum of Civilisation, with it's large open galleries; one showing many ancient totem poles from the western coast and their various housing from the old days. Another area showed how an archeological dig had thrown light on previous tsimchian ways. Lots of info on the history of Canada from Viking raids to today, plus a Mayan exhibition. I enjoyed the company of a young cousin that evening, we found a good fish restaurant in the Byward Market area.
Continuing my journey onwards towards the Laurentian Hills my bus took me to Montreal once more, and then north into the hills, where winter sports are great tourist attractions as is walking
in summer. Here in Sainte Anne des Lacs I stayed with another 5W member, Lucie; she lives opposite a lake, of which there are many, and we had a fab time dipping into the water whenever we got too hot.
One day she took me to Val David, a gorgeous little artsy village where we explored the Saturday market, full of delicious wares liked smoked duck, olives, jams, preserves and pates of all sorts, as well as the usual vegetables and fruit in season. Plus lots of craft items. We visited the Jardins des Pre-Cambrian outside the village, a sculpture exhibition had opened that day, so we wandered the forest paths exploring fascinating pieces and hearing occasional snippets of their origins from their creators.
We also visited a Permaculture area Terre de Vie, of which Lucie has been a member, where folks are creating a conservation area, an educational space, and they hope to eventually live there in eco-dwellings. More swimming in the river there, and meeting some of the permies in the yurt at the top, where they are growing veggies and herbs, though with difficulty as the local deer and other animals manage to get in
and wreck their efforts rather too often.
From Lucie's back to Ottawa for a night, I stayed in the hostel at the old Gaol! I slept in a cell for a night on the 4th floor, rather too hot, and thankful for the fan I borrowed from kind reception. I overheard a gruesome talk/tour as I ate my supper that evening, all about hangings and punishments.
Another bus took me back to Peterborough for a couple of nights to stay with my cousin Martha again, see my aunt for a last time, and repack my bag ready for the flight. Then my last bus trip via Toronto to Burlington to visit the remaining cousin, David and his wife and daughter, with their beautiful husky dog. At last the heat seemed to be reducing, but not by much; still nice to cool down in their pool after a walk round the neighbourhood with them. The next day we had more family history chats, and gained more understanding of what it must have been like to live in a developing Canada in the first part of last century. The museum had been helpful, and David had an old book, tales
of his forefathers, which I skimmed. Later during our outside lunch we watched the American Robins feeding their young in a nest built onto the house. A nice gentle day, my last in Canada. Later David drove me to the airport for my flight back home.
* 5W = Women welcome women world wide
There are more photos below