What a busy day we had today.
We started the day with the great breakfast in the common room on the 17th floor of the residence at the University of Ottawa where we are staying. Jim went shopping this morning and then set up a breakfast buffet in his and John’s room for us. We were treated to various brands, cereals, yoghurts, juice and milk, and fresh fruit. The view of downtown Ottawa from the common room was amazing. We couldn’t have picked a better place to have our breakfast and start our day in Ottawa. I don’t have a picture to share tonight but I’ll make sure to get one tomorrow. John, Nelson, Rani and I went off in search of coffee after breakfast and walked over to the Byward market. We then returned to the residence to meet up with the rest of the group and head out for our day of meetings.
We were told to bring photo identification and allow plenty of time for each meeting to get through security. I decided to go light in terms of what to carry today, leaving my wallet back in the room and carrying only my credit card, forgetting about the need for photo ID. Fortunately at every point at which we had to go through security they were understanding and allowed me to use my credit card as identification. We started off the schedule at Ontario Office of the Minister for Small Business and Tourism, moved on to Road Safety Programs, then to speak with a policy advisor in Minister Sohi’s office.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had a tour of the centre block so it was great to be able to do so. We were only able to look through the windows at the House of Commons which is having some work done on it over the summer break.
We were able to enter the senate.
After fueling and relaxing we walked back to the residence, changed into cycling gear, unloaded our bikes from the trailer, put the pedals back on and headed to the Hartwell Lock, a 6km ride, to meet Heather from BikeOttawa for a tour of Ottawa’s cycling infrastructure.
Heather spent hours telling us about their advocacy wins and challenges and showing us the bike sights. I took over 200 pictures, far too many to share or even absorb at the moment. We finished up at Mill Street for a great meal.
Heather left us with a couple final treats – an inviting, colourful tunnel and a bike counter showing the number of cyclists passing that spot today. Apparently, the number was low, due to rain this afternoon, and often climbs over 3000. I will publish a second part to this day at a later time with a selection of infrastructure examples.
After bidding Heather goodbye, the ride back to the residence was so exhilarating due to the wonderful day we had had, the incredible infrastructure we were riding on, and the beautiful weather we were experiencing, that we rode a little further than we had to and got an ice cream before heading to bed.