Tuesday, October 5, 2021

[OTTAWA] I Want to Speak with the Manager of Canada

 

“But why are you going to Ottawa?” I flew all the way here to make a complaint. You know, since I arrived in this country the weather has been in the 14C - 17C range, which is too cold for a tropical island boy like me. Whenever I complain and ask people to lower down the temp of the nationwide outdoor aircon, all they ever tell me is fly to the capital and talk to the manager. Of Canada. A guy named his royal highness Justin Timberlake or something. But the guy is nowhere to be found on Parliament Hill. Lousy customer service, Canada. I’ll be sure to leave a negative one-star review.


On a more serious note, Vancouver Friend said that Ottawa would probably seem like mini-London to me, except that I haven’t been to England so I wouldn’t really know. Lest we forget, Ottawa is the capital of Canada. Not Vancouver. Not Toronto. Not Montréal. I guess this happens in countries where you have more than one obvious candidate, and so they just decide to build a capital city from scratch for administrative purposes. That’s why Canberra is the capital down under, not Melbourne or Sydney. Same case for Brasilia in Brazil. I wonder if those capital cities give off the same vibe as Ottawa does.


But what vibe does Ottawa actually give you? I don’t know to be honest. The only reason I came here is because the fare difference between the Vancouver – Montreal and Vancouver – Ottawa flights were kind of negligible, not to mention you can just bus to Montreal for, like, two hours from Ottawa. So why not visit both, right? Nonetheless, I only set aside one morning of sightseeing here. Judging from my two hours of gallivanting, it was more than enough for my touristy motives.


I reserved my Airbnb near Chinatown, which was a good idea because it wasn’t hard to find rice. You know me, guys. Salted Fish and Chicken Fried Rice for life and I am good to go. The good thing about Ottawa is it is your typical planned city. The grid system makes it hard for you to get lost. Most of the attractions are on the northern edge of downtown right before you cross the bridge to Québec. Having said that, that’s your extra itinerary if you have more than one day to spare. Cross the bridge to Gatineau and you’ll find yourself in another province.


Rumor has it that the view of Parliament Hill from the other side is actually more imposing. I never found out because my Québec itinerary only involves Montréal and Québec, not Gatineau. For those who are interested, though, you can walk, take an Uber or even a water taxi. The water taxis will tour you at the provincial borders for an affordable fee. The station is right between Parliament Hill and Rideau Locks, if I’m not mistaken. Wait, locks? What locks?


Flying from Vancouver to Ottawa, the flight map on the plane screen was littered with a lot of lakes and rivers. In the early stages of the city’s developments, the rivers and canals served their purpose as essential thoroughfares for supplies and people alike. What’s left nowadays are the traces of the old system, although its function has now taken a turn from the transport-related to touristic and communal. The canal is very much alive today with verdant gardens and impressive buildings flanking it on both sides. It’s not uncommon to find people jogging there. It’s a cool chill spot with many astounding views.


What about Parliament Hill? Well, I’ve never been to London but that’s how I imagine it would look like. I guess the eerie resemblance has something to do with the architectural style of those trio of government buildings. Nothing evokes an unlikely combo of eloquence and bureaucracy more than Gothic Revival. It’s nice to look at and looks cool for a selfie background at present time. I imagine it would have looked quite imposing back in the day in the absence of Ottawa’s current skyline.


Final verdict? Well, it’s Vancouver > Victoria > Ottawa for me. I wouldn’t mind relocating here for purpose of residence. It’s a very convenient city to be stationed in. Otherwise, I believe a daytrip would suffice, unless you have a thing for Canadian politics and government. If that’s the case, then this city will defo teach you a lot about Canada’s history as a nation and how its government works.

[OTTAWA] I Want to Speak with the Manager of Canada

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