Guest blog by Susie Kellogg
We’re a tight family of 14 (12 kids, 2 parents and a dog) and we all reside together in a 36′ RV. It’s been 25 months and we’ve logged over 59,000 miles, visited 30+ states, and 3 provinces in Canada — Ontario, Montreal and New Brunswick. What began as a fun vacation has transformed into a way of life! We wanted to show our children a different way of life. Working 9-5, living for weekends and 2 week vacations until we are lucky enough to reach 65 and retire does not sound like living, it sounds like existing. So we traded it all in for the unknown, a spontaneous, adventure filled dream that inspires us to wake with the sun in anticipation of the day ahead.
After Toronto, we hit Ottawa and oh my gosh, it was fabulous. I was like a kid in a candy store, there was so much to do, so much to see! We parked the RV at Poplar Grove Campground and drove into the city, which was a short 20 minute drive or so and manage to get rockstar parking right next to the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica!!
The Cathedral Basilica is Ottawa’s oldest standing church. The first plans date to 1839 and from there the work was finalized in 1885! It was dedicated to the Immaculate Conception in 1853 and elevated to the status of basilica in 1879!
Walking inside, I was truly moved to tears, it was that beautiful, that historic, that spacious and the spiritual character penetrated off every wall, statue and window! I took more pictures of this Cathedral than I took of any one other place the entire time I was in Canada! The architecture was spectacular! The nave, the galleries, and the sanctuary of the Notre Dame Cathedral, are typical of the revival of the Gothic style during the nineteenth century, in Europe as in America. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen! Learn more here.
The rest of the city was incredible. I felt like I was in Europe, in a different era! Like all good tourists we beelined straight to Parliament Hill, the centerpiece of downtown Ottawa, the political heart of the city! This is where politicians decide the fate of the country, where all laws are formed and decided upon This is where the future of Canada lies.
The buildings, overlooking the Ottawa River with views of the Gatineau Hills, are designed in a gothic revival style and officially opened in 1866. In the middle of all the buildings is a public plaza which faces the urban core of Ottawa. The Changing of the Guard happens here every morning. Free (FREE!) guided tours are available daily, including the incomparable opportunity to climb to the top of the Peace Tower for a breathtaking view of all the city!
After a few hours on Parliament Hill we walked to the Rideau Canal and enviously watched the boats come up the locks. We sat in the park and people watched, and then we walked through all the urban streets. Happy Hour was alive and kicking, the restaurants were booked solid and Ottawa’s healthy night life was off to a great start. Our last official stop was at CTV Ottawa’s studio where we were invited in to watch our 6 o’clock interview live from the control room! Talk about cool! Then we went around the corner and ordered a few Beaver Tails!! OMGsh, yummy, beats Poutine any day!!
Check out Kady’s travel blog for much more on the City of Ottawa! http://www.kelloggshow.com/2014/09/the-best-education-comes-from-traveling-ottawa-onatrio/
As we said last year, Ontario is a must return to locale. There is so much to do and so much to see, I feel like we just scratched the surface, which leaves us, eager to come back, yet again! Next year, we’ll be back for the World Championships on Garb and then we’ll be free to explore until our hearts content. And that’s exactly what we plan to do. Until then, the young, vibrant, exciting and beautiful Ontario will live in our hearts!!
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