30.12.2011 - 30.12.2011 -8 °C
Friday 30 Dec 2011
It was snowing when we woke up and continued to snow on and off all day. It took us a while to get going after our late evening. Setting out in the late morning we tried to make sense of the Ottawa public transport system to go to Byward Market for brunch. We traversed an entire block looking for something similar to Granville Market at Vancouver; kept seeing signs that said Byward Market but saw no actual market.
Being quite hungry by this time, we headed for what looked a likely place for food – a building that contained three different seafood restaurants. However, when we tried the casual dining place we found it didn’t open until 2pm. So as an alternative we went into the nearest bakery – Le Moulin de Provence. Excellent choice. We had very economically priced soup and quiche and treated ourselves to one of their amazing pastries afterwards.
Thus fortified, we found that Byward Market is an area rather than a specific building, and had a happy time looking into some of the little shops, including the Rocky Mountains Chocolate Shop (had something similar to the ‘bear claws’ but with the nuts inside and no ‘claws’). One of the artisan shops had beautiful hand dyed and decorated silk scarves at half price – bargain, so I bought two.
From there we slushed through the snow to the National Art Gallery. That place is huge, and the architecture amazing. A enormous sculpture of a spider sits in the courtyard near the entrance. Robyn was dwarfed by it. We started off on the first level, looking at the works of Canadian artists, including some contemporary works that were rather amazing. One installation looked like a refrigerated trailer from a road transport, however we found it was made of plywood and had been produced by an artist who makes items for movie sets. We looked under it and of course it was hollow – it looked so real from the outside.
On the second level we found the French impressionists and Italian masters. Robyn was delighted to find some old ‘friends’ from her art study days.
Battling the public transport again (it’s confusing because the routes don’t seem to be exactly the same in the reverse direction due to a number of one way streets downtown) we made our way back to the hotel to get ready to go to a hockey game, a real live ice hockey game – a home game between the Ottawa 67s and the Peterborough Petes. It was juniors – we couldn’t afford seniors (The Ottawa Senators) – but we figured the atmosphere would be much the same. We arrived in plenty of time, by bus again, and again some confusion as to which stop to get off at because the electronic readout seemed to be unsynchronised with where the bus was actually stopping. We had fat hot dogs for dinner (and ice cream rolled in chocolate sauce and crushed nuts for dessert) but heroically bypassed the fairy floss, the donuts and the ‘beaver tails’. It was fun to see the game and hear the hiss of their skates and the crash when the players slam against the perspex surrounding the arena.
The game has three sessions and in the intervals some of the tiniest players you could imagine come out and demonstrated their burgeoning skills. When they finished, two zamboni machines come out and do their precision driving to resmooth the surface of the ice. The first two sessions were nil-all though our valiant 67s had twice as many shots on goal as the Petes. Finally, in the third session we had a breakthrough – a beautiful goal. With about 4 minutes to go the Petes tried to increase their chances of equalising the score by taking off their goalie and adding another attacking player, however the 67s took advantage of the open goal and the final score was 67s 2 to Petes 0.
Another uniquely Canadian experience.