More of Brockville, Ontario

August 23, 2019

In addition to the railroad tunnel here are some other things I saw as I walked around Brockville.

They had some enormous red chairs out by the river (NOT part of the Parks Canada program!):





Not far from the large chairs was a very nice little harbor next to a hotel and restaurant complex.





After spending some time in Brockville I decided to drive up to Highway 401 on which I would make better time heading west.  I generally prefer scenic roads, and what I had seen from Route 2 was very nice, but I had lots of ground to cover in one day and wanted to include a 2 1/2 hour boat ride on part of the St. Lawrence River before driving on to Toronto.

Maitland & Brockville, Ontario

August 23, 2019

Friday was a travel day as I made my way south from Ottawa, then southwest along the north bank of the St. Lawrence River on scenic Highway 2 (to start, anyway) with my ultimate destination being Toronto.   The map below only shows about half of the total distance but includes the towns about which the next few posts will be about.


Ottawa is off the map above the top right corner (not far via “interstate” highway) and Toronto is off the map left of and below the bottom left corner.

Shortly after getting on Route 2 after taking a major highway down from Ottawa I came across the remnants of this old grist mill in Maitland, Ontario.


Even though it was early in the morning there were already several people there working on the grounds near the tower.  This sign tells a little bit about the history of the tower and the mill it was part of.


As you can see, the mill was converted to a distillery in 1863 and two years later was “seized by authorities for irregularities”.  Gee, do you think we could do that in Washington, DC???

I continued on Route 2 until I reached the little town of Brockville.  I parked in front of the Visitor Information center to confirm whether or not my choice of boat tours was the best one (it was, as my pre-trip research had led me to believe) and I had a little time to kill before leaving in enough time to arrive before the tour started so I grabbed both cameras and walked around town a bit.

The first thing I found was this recently renovated railroad tunnel, the oldest in Canada.




For safety they had removed the original rails and ties to convert this into a pedestrian tunnel.  They did put in a flat floor with the appearance of a railroad track.


Along the base of the tunnel walls they installed LED lights which can be programmed to create a number of effects.  Here is a series of photos showing what I saw while I was there.  This sequence of 7 photos was taken over a period of just a few seconds.  If you scroll down quickly you can see the motion of the colored lights coming towards you.











And yes, the floor was wet in some places and there were warnings signs to that effect in plain view before entering the tunnel.

Ottawa – Loose Ends

August 22, 2019

Here are some odds and ends from my two days in Ottawa.

This street is parallel to Wellington Street but one block east.  It runs for several blocks and is primarily for pedestrians.  There were some nice restaurants and shops, including one coffee shop I went to several times throughout the two days I was downtown – to mooch their wifi and enjoy several of their beverages (fruit drinks, London Fog – a hot tea drink I’ve taken a liking to, and a mystery drink which was for charity and was supposed to change color).


There was a beauty shop which offered a multitude of services.


I briefly debated getting the Eyebrow Threading (and would have sprung the extra $5 to throw in the moustache) but I had already gotten a bad haircut in Sydney, Nova Scotia a few weeks earlier and spent two weeks apologizing to my Airbnb hosts for my hair (much to their amusement) so I decided to leave well enough alone.

Further down the street they were having a silent auction for charity.  I briefly considered writing in the phone numbers of some folks in Durham with ridiculously high bids but payback is a bitch and I knew there would be hell to pay later.  Besides, it was for charity so I thought I’d better not play my little game.


After two days walking around Ottawa this moose looks about how I felt…



Here’s the mystery drink I paid $5 for (for charity, they said).  Just a juice, not a cocktail.  It had some clever name which is what drew my attention to it in the first place.  I was told it was supposed to change color when I stirred it or when the temperature changed but nothing ever happened and I think I got hoo-dooed.  Oh well, not the first time….


This riddle appeared inside the building next to the Ottawa Locks.  The answer was – YES.


Another riddle of sorts – perhaps a candidate for Canadian Sign Language.  I’m thinking “if you want a doughnut back away from the train”…


This statue of Samuel Champlain was high on a hill behind the art museum.


And who doesn’t like colorful cookies – even if only to look at.  These were back at the Farmers Market which I made one last pass through before bailing my car out of the parking garage and heading back to my Airbnb for the night.




This clever water fountain was outside the Farmers Market.  Two for adults, one for kids and one for pets!


And I don’t know how I missed this the first day.  For a few bucks parents could pay to cram themselves in a “tiny car” with their kids for a several-block ride around the Farmer’s Market area.  Everyone except the engineer seemed to be having a good time.




This concludes my brief time in Ottawa.  Friday would be a travel day as I headed further west for a few busy days in Toronto before returning to the United States.  I did take a 2 1/2 hour boat ride so I will be posting a bunch of pictures of it in the next day or two.  It is ripe for repetition so I will try to select only the best photos which won’t put you to sleep.

Ottawa – Garden of the Provinces…

August 22, 2019

… and Territories.

Wednesday morning I walked further down Wellington Street, southwest from the Parliamentary complex, to this city park.  This project is an attempt to illustrate the vast differences in the provinces and territories of Canada.  There are several areas with large flower and grass plantings to physically represent certain regions.  There is also a large courtyard and engraved in the substantial stone “railing” are the names of the various jurisdictions and below the name a depiction of that jurisdiction’s official flower.





I won’t show them all because the display seems to be incomplete.  Perhaps this park is still “under construction” there was no indication that there was more to come.  Although I didn’t count them it didn’t seem that I saw all provinces represented, though most were.  Of particular interest was this area of the courtyard, way off in a back corner:



The name “Newfoundland” is not centered, especially if they plan to add “and Labrador” to correctly reflect the true name of that province.  There also appears to be room for expansion to perhaps add another province or territory.  I’ll have to go back to this park next year when I return to Ottawa to see if any changes have occurred.

Ottawa – Terry Fox

August 22, 2019

I saw this statue in front of the main Visitor Information Center in Ottawa.  It is of a young man of which Canada is justifiably very proud.


Terry Fox was born in Winnipeg in 1958.  As a high school and college student he was active as a distance runner and basketball player (despite being only 5 feet tall).  He was extremely dedicated to all endeavors which interested him and by all accounts was loved and respected by everyone who knew him.

He was involved in a traffic accident while in his late teens and was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer about a year later.  The debate continues as to whether it was cause and effect (the injury to his knee making him more susceptible to the disease) or just a coincidence.  Nevertheless, he had to have his right leg amputated and became an advocate for cancer awareness and raising money for research.  He also became involved in “wheelchair basketball” and helped his team win three national championships.  As I said, he applied himself fully to things which interested him.

I had seen a similar statue in St. John’s, Newfoundland but didn’t understand the significance of it.


In April of 1980 Terry Fox embarked on a “Marathon of Hope” project in which he planned to run all the way across Canada, from Newfoundland in the east to British Columbia in the west.  His goal – to raise $1 for every man, woman and child in Canada – roughly $24 million dollars.

He began his project in St. John’s, hence the statue there.  He filled two bottles with water from the Atlantic Ocean, one to keep and one to dump in the Pacific Ocean when he arrived on the west coast.


He attempted to run the distance of a marathon, 26 miles, every day.  Keep in mind, artificial limb technology in the late 70’s/early 80’s wasn’t what it is now.  He had to do a “double-step” on his good leg to allow the springs in his right, prosthetic limb time to “reset” after EVERY STEP.  There were reports that he was almost run over, more than once, by drivers in Québec province (proud of yourselves, Québec???).  I saw this poster when I was in Toronto, promoting an annual Terry Fox Run to continue his fund-raising efforts.  The poster shows how police in some provinces would follow him to try and avoid further incidents as he ran.


Weather, as well as physical and health complications, prevented him from running every day and his marathon carried over to 1981.

As you may have guessed by the fact that I have been referring to him in the past tense, Terry Fox didn’t make it all the way across Canada as he had hoped.  His health took a turn for the worse in mid-June, 1981 while he was in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  He was subsequently hospitalized, slipped into a coma and passed away in late June, 1981, a month shy of his 23rd birthday.  In 143 days he had covered 3,339 miles (over 5,300 kilometers), roughly 2/3 of his goal.

Annual Terry Fox Run’s are held in over 60 countries worldwide and remain the largest single fundraiser for cancer research.  As of the end of January 2018 over $750 million dollars (CAD) have been raised in his name.


Ottawa – Parliament (next 6 posts)

The next 6 posts contain pictures taken at the Parliament complex in Ottawa.  I started with the two buildings of which I had taken the most pictures and they appeared first so they are now below the subsequent posts if you are scrolling down through the blog.  If this is the first “Parliament” post you are seeing you may want to jump to the Overview post to see a map of the area and learn more about my “backwards” posting logic before revisiting the other posts.

Something I didn’t mention in any of those posts is the “Northern Lights” show which takes place nightly, July through September, on the Parliament grounds.  This has nothing to do with the “real” Northern Lights, a natural phenomenon whose presence is unpredictable but is a light show of laser projections on the main Parliament building, including the Peace Tower.

I didn’t observe this show personally but did see these posters while I was in town.





I did find a 3-minute video on YouTube with part of the display which was put on back in 2017 and I presume there are probably others.

While I still have a few more things to post from Ottawa I am now finished with the Parliament buildings.

Ottawa – Parliament – South of the Border

August 22, 2019

These are two of several buildings located across Wellington Street from the Parliament complex (hence the term “south of the border”) which are still considered to be within the official Parliamentary “boundary”.






When I was in town Tuesday I was tempted to knock on the door to see if Justin could come out and play but since it was a work-day I presume he was busy inside plotting the country’s defense against Trump’s inevitable attempt to purchase the country…

The Prime Minister’s residence is located north of town.  I drove past the entrance on my way out of town on Wednesday when I drove out to see the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s “Musical Ride Centre” where they keep the horses (yes, there is a reason they are called “mounted” police) and also has facilities where they can practice their ceremonial routines.



It took some time to find the answer but I finally determined what this building used to be and what it is now destined to become.


Until it moved to it’s new home on the northeast side of town in 1998 this building used to house the US Embassy.  Here is a photo I found online showing the ceremony in June of 2017 when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the transformation the building would be undergoing.  Canada is very proud of it’s roots and the multitude of indigenous people throughout the country and this center will focus on celebrating those roots.


(Photo credit: Ottawa Citizen/ Sean Kirkpatrick/CP)

The three banners hanging in front of the building represent the First Nations Assembly, the Inuit peoples and the Métis peoples.  Their flags now fly above the building along with the Canadian flag.  You’ll see those later in this post.

Something I found very interesting about this building was the use of large TV monitors in the windows which allows for the constantly changing display of high-quality images.




And here’s a better look at the flags flying above the building:






The Métis flag is merely the infinity symbol displayed on a blue background.  The Métis peoples are generally found in western Canada.

Another interesting thing about this building (whose actual occupancy is still a work in process) is a large wooden structure being build next to it.





The reason why those photos were taken so close to the target is the heavy wrought-iron fence which stretches in front of the building:


I will be interested to see (online) what this structure ends up being, and look forward to visiting this building again next year when I return to Canada.