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Sandra Scott Travels: Get Your Beaver Tails – and More – In Ottawa

Last week I asked: What are Beaver Tails?

A specialty of Ottawa.

We were told that you haven’t really experienced Ottawa until you have had a Beaver Tail.

Parliament Hill  - changing of the guards
Parliament Hill – changing of the guards

ByWard Market was just around the corner from our hotel, Fairmont’s Chateau Laurier, so we wandered through the open-air market past a variety of shops and dining establishments to the Beaver Tail stand.

Beaver Tails reminded me of fried dough that was stepped up by adding one of their many varieties of toppings from M&Ms to crushed Oreos to sliced cinnamon apples.

Oh, my, they are yummy.

One beautiful morning we went to Parliament Hill to see the changing of the guards in their brilliant red uniforms and towering bearskin hats.

While I saved a spot, John went across the street to get tickets for the Parliament tour.

A view from the Peace Tower
A view from the Peace Tower

The colorful Changing of the Guard ceremony was outstanding and included the regimental band and Black Watch bagpipers, a favorite of John.

As soon as it was over we joined the free tour of the parliament building.

After a video introduction we visited the House of Commons, the Senate, and the Library while learning about the architecture and side notes to history.

At the end we waited in line to ascend the Peace Tower with panoramic views of Ottawa.

Take note of the story boards in the corner that adds interesting facts including descriptions of the gargoyles.

On the way up in the elevator there is a quick glimpse of the 53-bell carillon.

the 53-bell carillon.
the 53-bell carillon.

Once a day, there is a 15-minute carillon concert and in the evening during the summer there is an amazing sound and light show that tells the history of Canada.

We didn’t have time to take the self-guided tour of the Parliament grounds that includes a special Cat Sanctuary and a monument that celebrates women influential in Canadian history.

Free guidebooks are available in several locations.

John and I hopped on the Lady Dive’s tour bus and got off at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, which is Canada’s largest museum.

It is massive and deserves an entire day or a revisit.

In Canada Hall we walked through Canadian history past life-size buildings and settings.

I especially enjoyed the First Peoples Hall that explores Canada’s First People from the earliest days to the present.

Canadian Museum of Civilization
Canadian Museum of Civilization

The Grand Hall has the largest collection of totem poles and stunning views of Parliament Hill.

We would have liked to stay longer but John wanted to visit the Canada Aviation and Space Museum so we hopped back on the bus.

Taking the tour bus meant we didn’t have to deal with driving, parking and the bus guide provided an interesting commentary along the way.

At the Aviation and Space museum there are planes from all eras plus an F-16 Flight Simulator and a variety of air tours.

Canada Aviation and Space Museum
Canada Aviation and Space Museum

While John was busy spinning the propellers, I enjoyed the videos of early flights many of which were humorous but others were downright scary.

I suggest buying a two-day bus tour ticket because there is so much to see that we didn’t have nearly enough time.

We would have liked to visit the Canada War Museum with many unique features including one of the largest, sustainable green roofs.

One part of the outside structure resembles the bow of a ship.

The windows are designed to spell out “Lest We Forget” in Morse Code in both the English and French version.

So much to see and do – so little time.

Travel Trivia Tease™: What is unique about Remic Rapids? Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life —stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!