Click to enlarge photos
Nick, Rachael and Matt made it up to Ottawa for a few days in between freezing rainstorms and having to head back to their various schools.
On their way to Quebec City Nigel, Elisabeth & Julian stopped over night for a visit to Ottawa. We took a drive downtown to see the lights at Parliament Hill, the Prime Minister's and Governor General's residences.
We got quite a lot of snow this past week and it is still coming down! That meant it was time to wax up the skis and go over to the Sawmill Creek Constructed Wetland for a ski. Conditions were pretty good and we put in about 7 km blazing the trails.
On Saturday 17 October 2009 we did a day trip to Montreal by train. Ruth had discovered that the Galileo Live show was being presented at the Montréal Planetarium and so on short notice we booked tickets and went. The train schedule meant that we had the whole day in Montreal and so we had croissants and walked down to the Old Port to visit the Montréal Science Centre. We both enjoyed the planetarium show, which included a bonus presentation on the fall night skies, but we thought the Science Centre was a waste of time. Like most Science Centres in Canada there is very little science presented and instead the facility is nothing more than very expensive babysitting in the form of a playground for kids to spend the day pressing buttons and hitting things. We didn't get many photos while we were there - our Panasonic DMZ-2 digital camera died in the middle of the trip. At least I got a photo of Ruth with her croissant!
On 8 October we went with our friend Gwen to the Butterfly Show at Carleton University here in Ottawa. Every year the university releases hundreds of tropical butterflies into their two tropical plant greenhouses and invites the public to come and see them. The butterflies flit about, mostly ignoring the humans unless you have an orange slice to entice them with. They live out their three week lifespan in the greenhouses, free of predators and widely admired by thousands of visitors, including many school groups.
We decided to go camping at Sandbanks Provincial Park this year - out fourth return to the park since 2001. We picked the right time to go, as, after a very wet early summer, the end of August turned out to be very dry, with nothing more than dew to contend with. We did some hikes, read books on the beach, flew a kite and visited some of the local sights, including Lake on The Mountain Provincial Park and Picton. We also brought our small travelling telescope and set it up on the beach one evening. Although the seeing was not great, due to haze and the full moon, we did get some views of the moon itself and Jupiter.
Rachael heads back to college soon, but she came to Ottawa for a short visit. We had a great couple of days together, did some swimming and even a short hike in the Sawmill Creek Constructed Wetland, which is a riot of wild flowers this year.
After a July that included record rainfall we finally had some dry weather in August. For some exercise we decided to take advantage of the hot dry weather and bike to The MacKenzie King Estate. It is actually about 27 km one-way from our house, so we cheated and started the trip off very early in the morning by putting our bikes on the O-Train and taking it to the south side of the Ottawa River. From there we pedalled the remaining 15 km up in the Gatineau Hills on paved and mountain bike trails to reach the estate. Surprisingly the biggest hazard turned out to be the mosquitoes - usually gone by this time of year they were present in large numbers. At the estate we managed to get some ice cream before heading home for lunch.
This year we decided to plant some vegetables and we got some flowers from them and wild flowers as well! July was very wet and now August is proving drier, so hopefully our crops will look good in the fall.
On Sunday July 5th it actually didn't rain, an event that is becoming quite rare this summer! We went with Jane up to Gatineau Park and hiked to the most remote lookout on the Eardley Escarpment. Due to the recent rain the trails were muddy in places, but we made it to the top of the escarpment for a picnic lunch. After making it back we celebrated with coffee at Les Saisons in Old Chelsea.
Canada Day is a big deal in Ottawa. Here it is the biggest event of the year and lots of people come to the city to celebrate the nation's birthday. We decided to catch a bus to Rockcliffe Airport for the fly-in, only to discover that just six aircraft had braved the showery weather to attend. Then we walked the Ottawa River trail to get some ice cream at Rockcliffe Park, before going onto Rideau Hall to see the rose gardens there. After that we went downtown and joined the enormous crowds there.
On 20 June John Quarterman invited us to sail with him on his boat Scot Free on the Ottawa River. It was Ruth's first time on a real sailing voyage and she enjoyed it a lot. The weather was perfect, with 5-10 knots of wind and no rain.
Every year, just as the weather warms up, Ottawa is home to the Canadian Tulip Festival. This event celebrates the ties between Canada and the Netherlands, forged in the Second World War when the Ottawa hosted the exiled Dutch Royal Family and also liberated the Netherlands from the German occupation. On Tuesday 12 May we went to Commissioner's Park to enjoy the warm weather and the tulips.
At the beginning of May we took a long weekend trip to Montréal via train to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. We visited the Redpath Museum, climbed the mountain, walked some 35 km around the city, rented a quadracycle in Old Montréal, ate some bagels, explored the underground city, visited the gardens and, of course, went to the planetarium.
After lots of snow and blazing trails in the deep snow numerous times, we finally got in a good ski at the wetlands on a really nice day - 7 km skied.
Yup 2009 is going to be quite a year by the looks of it. One of our city rock radio stations, 106.9 "The Bear" is now "Virgin Radio 1069 - The Gods of Rock". Their new advertising campaign for the launch, as shown on this billboard in our neighbourhood, seems to suggest that these deities forgot their condoms. Sigh. Press Release.
In January we got out several times to XC ski the wetlands, like this trip on 10 January. The wetlands may not be the perfect ski area, but we have blazed out 4.5 km of trails and it is only a short walk from our house.
For New Year's Nick & Rachael came to Ottawa to enjoy the cold weather and the bus strike! Witold & Vicki made it to our house, too for a visit!
This web-page is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.