Departing Toronto we headed east along the north side of Lake Ontario to Kingston at the head of the St Lawrence River. Despite this being a short break Kim has time to buy shoes (!!) before a drive further east to Gananoque where we depart for a cruise in the Thousand Islands. The weather is mediocre but the scenery is still impressive, especially when you remember these expanses are all fresh water - there is lots of it. Apparently in the early days they could not give the islands away, while now they are only for the rich. Almost every small islet has a home on it, and running water and electricity are available if you want (and can afford it we guess). After the cruise we travel further along the St Lawrence River and then north to Ottawa, Canada's capital.
Other doings in Ottawa;
- We attended a First People's dinner and performance on Victoria Island which is very close to the centre of the capital. This was basic but a good insight into the aboriginal culture in North America.
- We visited 'Park Omega' which is an open range animal park. This was astonishing! We fed carrots to deer, antelope and various other native animals and saw moose, yes moose, reindeer, bison, arctic foxes, wolves, bears including bear cubs (climbing trees), coyotes, pigs and piglets, musquats and Swiss mountain goats (the only non-native animal there). This was another jaw dropping experience.
- Boats, think leisure craft, go up and down the 7 locks of the historic Rideau Canal which is right in the centre of Ottawa. This was really interesting to witness with lock operators winching the lock gates open and closed by hand.
- As a national capital it has embassies of represented countries and parliament buildings which are stunning.
- The city itself has a heavy French influence in its buildings and a European type feel with beautiful gardens, broad footpaths, objects d'art and statues throughout the city. Unlike Toronto which has lots of high rises and has a contemporary, modern feel to it, Ottawa is grander and greener with more open spaces and lots of historic buildings.
- We didn't see any graffiti nor homelessness although that's not to say it wasn't there, just not so overt.
- Ottawa is on the border of Ontario province (the most populated Canadian province) and bi-lingual, and Quebec province (the largest Canadian province by area) and uni-lingual (French) which is situated north of the Ottawa river which dissects the city. (Two other rivers meet here-the Rideau and the Gatineau rivers.)