After a relaxing morning with breakfast in the apartment, we walked to Second Cup for coffee. Owen was playing with my camera and took a picture of me. I don’t get to be the subject very often in my family.
Then we proceeded to the Canadian Museum of Nature – a pleasant 20 minute walk south on Metcalfe Street. It wasn’t possible to get lost as Metcalfe leads directly to the museum’s front door, which is exactly one mile south of Parliament Hill. Our Royal Ontario Museum pass allowed us free entry and we needed only to purchase tickets to the movie and lunch in the excellent museum cafeteria.
The building is quite striking. It was built between 1901 and 1910, as a tribute to Queen Victoria whose 64 year reign ended in 1901. It was called the Victoria Memorial Museum Building when it opened. The architecture was intended to mirror the Centre Block of the original Parliament Buildings. It was the first building in Canada created to house a national museum. In 1915, due to sinking that began during construction, the tower had to be removed. The building has been home to many different museums and served as the emergency headquarters of the Canadian government from 1916-1920, after the Parliament Buildings, other than the library, were destroyed by fire. The building was extensively renovated from 2004-2010 and a new glass tower was added to pay homage to the original stone one.
We began, as Michael likes to do, on the top floor and worked our way down. There is a wonderful double, entwined staircase in the glass tower. The lighting wasn’t ideal in the cube during this visit so I processed these images from when we were at the museum with Megan and Alun in August 2016. I didn’t take the time to blog about that trip to Quebec City, Montreal and Ottawa. I will have to try to do so.
This time, there was a giant, jellyfish-like inflatable in the cube.
The movie was Museum Alive 3D, set in the Natural History Museum in London, England with naturalist David Attenborough, who encounters extinct animals that move, interact, and make sound. It was cute.
The fourth floor contained the Arctic Gallery with some fun exhibits. One had images of the arctic projected on large blocks of ice and was quite striking.
Another gallery had wonderful displays of butterflies and insects – alive and preserved.
Funny how older children continue to be attracted to displays aimed at much younger ones. Here’s Owen on this visit, and Megan and Alun on their visit last year, in the ambulance at the veterinary hospital display.
There were many interactive stations which the boys enjoyed.
I enjoyed the mineral section. I wish I had had my tripod. Some of them were quite beautiful.
There was a section with huge dioramas of mammals.
We took a break for lunch, at which I had a delicious giant salad.
Then we visited the water gallery and fossil gallery.
Outside they had some woolly mammoth figures.
On the way back we walked on Elgin where we saw posts covered in thousands of staples from old notices and a bakery trying to entice people away from the coffee shop across the street with this sign. Mmmm cookies.
We let the boys go back to the apartment and we continued walking to the National Gallery, passing the National War Memorial and the Chateau Laurier, a closed staircase access to the canal, the American Embassy, looking fortified, Reconciliation: The Peacekeeping Monument and then Byward Market on the way back to the apartment. I wanted to see Stephen Wilkes’ Ottawa, Canada 150, Day to Night, 2017, which was available for viewing in the lobby of the National Gallery – no admission required. It was great to see it printed in large format. Check out his Day to Night series. It’s amazing.
It was blue hour when we got back to the apartment so I set up my tripod and did a long exposure of the view.
We decided to get Subway for dinner and eat in the room. It was quite cold out but I just ran out the front door of the lobby, around the corner and into the Subway, without a coat. On our way back into the lobby, someone revealed to me that there is an unmarked door between the two and I needn’t have gone outside. I finished the day supervising Owen in the pool. Michael and Trystan watched bad commercial television in the room.
On our final morning, we packed, took our belongings to the can in the underground garage, and tidied the apartment (quick vacuum, wipe the counters/table, start the dishwasher) to avoid a cleaning charge.
We walked to Second Cup for our coffee then returned for the car. On our way out of Ottawa we stopped at Rideau Hall, the Governor General’s residence, and while 24 Sussex Drive is under renovation, the Prime Minister’s residence in behind Rideau Hall in Rideau Cottage. As one explores the grounds and approaches Rideau Hall there is no sense of security personnel. It was only as I walked to the left of Rideau Hall and approached a small sign stating, “No Public Access” that a security guard, not obviously armed, stepped out of a hut and pointed out the sign. At that point I was within a few metres of Rideau Hall and a few hundred metres of Rideau Cottage.
I like the fact that security is not obvious and overwhelming.
It was a delightful weekend getaway and I would definitely consider using Corporate Stay apartments in future.