Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 81: Ottawa, Ontario; Capital o' Canada!

After our little detour into Vermont, it was time to invade Canadia again!

We crossed the border into the town of Cornwall over another neat old suspension bridge, the Seaway International Bridge,....

...and on to check out Canada's capital city, Ottawa.  On the way, we passed a lot of corn fields and the like.  Canada is heavily agricultural.

And suddenly we were in Europe again!
This is the Fairmont Chateau Laurier.  If it looks familiar, they have a similar hotel in Quebec City.

Their Parliament buildings are quite beautiful and very European looking. Ottawa became national capital of Canada in 1867. It was chosen because it was midway between Canada East (Quebec) and Canada West (Ontario) and had both French and English- speaking people. Also, (maybe more importantly?), it was deemed far enough away from the pillaging scoundrels to the south, who kept trying to forcibly incorporate Canadian lands into the United States.

This big spider sculpture was being installed in front of the National Gallery of Canada.

We crossed over the Ottawa River via the Alexandria Bridge, which was originally a railway bridge and later converted for autos.

There's a park with a nice view of the Parliament buildings from across the river.

It didn't stand out to us until we saw our own embassy's security that the Canadians don't have the security worries that we do.

After a look around Ottawa, we continued west towards Toronto.  We took a back road along Lake Ontario to Sandbanks Provincial Park where we were going to camp for the night and ended up taking an unexpected ferry ride.  It wasn't even indicated on our map... the road just suddenly ended and you drove right onto the free ferry.  It was a nice break from driving!

If you can't make out the ferry's name, it's the MV Quinte Loyalist.  We noticed driving thru the area, Prince Edward County, that a lot of things had "loyalist" in the name.  We soon discovered that this is where many British loyalists fled during the American Revolution and resettled.

Sandbanks Provincial Park is a park with sandy beaches on Lake Ontario.  When the Wisconsin Glacier receded 12,500 years ago, it left the Great Lakes and a lot of sediment.  As the wind blew across Lake Ontario, the waves churned up the sediment and slowly brought it inland.  Eventually, the sand particles were freed from the waves and the wind shaped them into the dunes.  Then Europeans arrived and started messing with the vegetation that anchored the dunes and, well... you can read more about that here.

Just add palm trees and a tiki bar and you'd think you were on a Caribbean beach!

Next morning, we continued towards Toronto and passed this roadside stand.  A quick u-turn and we were buying fresh strawberries, snow peas, and new potatoes.  The seller asked where we were from and it turns out her son went to UT!  Small world, er... continent.

Hilarious name for an antique store...
Dead People's Stuff in Bloomfield

Next:  Toronto!

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