Waking up a little later than planned, we walked from our hotel to Parliament Hill. The buildings were looking splendid in the morning sun, despite the odd crane or bit of scaffolding that had been brought in for some restoration work. It seemed as though a lot of the city was undergoing some upgrades in the run up to the sesquicentennial celebrations next year, when the place will be overrun with Canadians honouring the 150th birthday of their country. Luke plans to show up in hopes that it will expedite his application for citizenship.
We first spent some time exploring downtown Ottawa, but since it seemed so quiet on the weekend we decided to head back east towards Rideau Canal. Once at the canal we took a leisurely stroll up and back along the canal-side paths, stopping for a cool drink along the way. The canal is 202km long, stretching from Ottawa to Kingston, and down by the Ottawa River we got to see the system of locks that provides boats access to the waterway. Elizabeth was blown away by the locks, having never seen any before, while Luke was a little nostalgic for the rivers of home.
The museum was huge and its architecture was striking). While we had initially planned on spending the afternoon at the National Gallery, we ended up spending the entire day in the War Museum instead. The exhibits were really well organised, and lead us through the history of war in Canada, right from the First Peoples all the way through to modern day peacekeeping efforts. We both felt we had a fairly good grasp of the major conflicts in Canada's history, but were surprised to learn just how little we knew. From the various conflicts between French and English in the early days of the Americas, through to uprisings of Francophone and native populations, as well as the all consuming First and Second World Wars, there was a lot to take in.