Jul 01

Canada 150: celebrating this magnificent country’s history and culture in Ottawa

by in Blog trip, History, North America

Ottawa Canada 150 - photo zoe dawes

Ottawa celebrates Canada 150

Happy Birthday to you

Happy Birthday to you

Happy Birthday dear Canada

Happy Birthday to you!

Maple Leaf platter Canada 150

Beautiful wooden Maple Leaf Platter seen in Ottawa Craft Store

On 1st July, 1867 Confederation united the country’s first three provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Canada (including Ontario and Quebec) into a federation known as the Dominion of Canada. Now, a hundred and fifty years later, the country is celebrating that date with a year long party of events and commemorative memorabilia. I recently spent a week in the capital, Ottawa, where the whole city was en fete and getting ready for Canada 150 in colourful style.

Aberdeen Pavilion Lansdowne Park Ottawa Canada 150

Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne Park, Ottawa

I will be writing about my trip in more detail later, but in the meantime, here are a few images from Ottawa that sum up the beauty, diversity and history of Canada.

Images of Canada 150

Queen Victoria

Portrait of Queen Victoria in Ottawa Parliament Canada 150

Portrait of Queen Victoria in Ottawa Parliament

This glorious portrait of Queen Victoria hangs in Canada’s Parliament Building, reminder of the country’s strong ties to Great Britain and its historic past. On a tour our guide told us it was her favourite painting there and that no-one knows who painted it. The portrait has survived numerous disasters including fire so it’s clearly a survivor.

Canadian Parliament

The Parliament Building with Peace Tower Ottawa Canada 150

The Parliament Building with Peace Tower

Parliament Hill is the focus of the main Canada 150 party held on July 1st, as well as the annual Canada Day celebrations. When I visited, there was a great deal of work being done in preparation for the big day, as well as a lot of renovation work. It’s a meeting point for locals and visitors who enjoy walking round Parliament Hill as well as relaxing on the lawn. NB. From 2018 the main Parliament Building will be closed for at least 10 years for total refurbishment, so get there soon if you want to have a look round!

Aninshinabe Scout

Statue of 'Anishinabe Scout' by Hamilton MacCarthy overlooking Parliament Hill Ottawa Canada 150 - photo Zoe Dawes

Statue of ‘Anishinabe Scout’ by Hamilton MacCarthy

This wonderful statue of the ‘Anishinabe Scout’ was made by Hamilton MacCarthy in 1918. It stands opposite Parliament Hill overlooking the Rideau Canal and Ottawa River. It represents the First Nations people who helped in the development of Canada. All round the city there are many excellent sculptures, some dating back to the 19th century and others very contemporary.

The Canadian Museum of History

Canadian Museum of History Ottawa Canada 150 - photo Zoe Dawes

This is the stunning Main Hall in Canada Museum of History. The museum is actually in the city of Gatineau, over the river from Ottawa, but feels very much a part of the capital. The lower floor has a large collection of First Nations totems and many artefacts telling the story of the people who lived in this country well before the first travellers arrived. Unfortunately, the renowned Canadian History Hall was closed in preparation for the Canada 150 opening on July 1st but I am sure it is fascinating.

National Gallery of Canada

Maman and the National Gallery of Canada Ottawa - photo Zoe Dawes

Maman and the National Gallery of Canada

A ginormous spider lurks in front of the National Gallery of Canada, quirky monument to the country’s artistic spirit. Towering 30feet above the street, Maman, was made by Louise Bourgois from steel and marble. Inside the beautiful glass museum is a comprehensive collection of Canadian artworks. ‘The National Gallery of Canada strives to provide Canadians with a sense of identity and pride in Canada’s rich visual arts heritage and to make art accessible to all.’ I especially enjoyed the Indigenous Art Galleries, where intricate antler carvings are beautifully displayed next to simple images of wildlife and people.

Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup Stall Lansdowne Market Ottawa - Canada 150

Maple Syrup Stall Lansdowne Market

One of the most famous products of Canada is maple syrup. The Maple Leaf features on the Canadian Flag and the trees can be found all over Ottawa as well as in many other parts of the country. I learnt all about maple syryp production at Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush, a couple of hours’ drive from the capital. (More on that trip in another article.) There are shops selling this luscioous syrup all over the city and at Lansdowne Park Market I found a stall not only selling it but also explaining the changes in labelling that have recently been brought in.

Obama Cookies

Obama Cookies in Le Moulin de Provence Ottawa Canada 150 - photo Zoe Dawes

Obama Cookies in Le Moulin de Provence

So what has Barack Obama got to do with Canada 150? Well, when he was USA President he visited Ottawa and called into the Moulin de Provence bakery in downtown Byward Market. He bought one of their iced maple leaf cookies. The bakery was very savvy in its marketing them as ‘Obama Cookies’ and now every visitor to city has to try one of these iconic biscuits. Of course, I bought one in a commemorative tin to bring home.

The Rideau Canal and Chateau Laurier

The Rideau Canal and Chateau Laurier Ottawa Canada 150 - photo Zoe Dawes

The Rideau Canal and Chateau Laurier

One of the greatest Canadian engineering feats of the 19th century, the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, flows through Ontario, finally cascading out into the Ottawa River. Constructed to aid British military operations against a possible American invasion, it was opened in 1832 and is 22km long. It’s the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America and the name comes from the French for ‘curtain’ due to its appearance in the lock system in front of the Chateau Laurier. This famous hotel opened in the early 20th century and was another of the railway hotels that spread across Canada as the trains brought the modern world to this enormous country. I can highly recommend the cocktails in Zoe’s Bar!

Celebrate Canada 150

I travelled to Canada with Air Transat courtesy of Destination Canada with a group of 13 other fab UK travel bloggers visiting 14 cities in celebration of Canada 150. I stayed at the very cool Andaz Ottawa in Byward Market. Many thanks to everyone at Ottawa Tourism and the lovely Canadians for making me so welcome.

If you enjoyed this celebration of Canada’s birthday do share it with others and leave a comment at the end of the post. If you have any tips or stories about Canada, please share those too!

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13 Responses to “Canada 150: celebrating this magnificent country’s history and culture in Ottawa”

  1. From Zoe Dawes:

    This was my fourth visit to Canada and every time this magnificent country reveals more layers. From the uber cool Vancouver skyscrapers and grizzly bears in British Columbia, to the stupendous Rockies, Francophone Quebec and historic Montreal there truly is something for everyone. And that’s just scratching the surface. Have you been yet? If so, do share your tips here and if not, I really do hope you can get there one day …

    Posted on July 1, 2017 at 8:11 pm #
  2. From Kathryn Burrington:

    Looking forward to hearing all about everyone’s different adventures. I had a wonderful time in Saint John, New Brunswick. Longing to go back already!

    Posted on July 1, 2017 at 9:32 pm #
  3. From Heather Cowper:

    I had a great visit to Ottawa last year, such a cultural city with a lot of history to soak up

    Posted on July 2, 2017 at 9:45 am #
  4. From Janis:

    Happy Birthday Canada – Really enjoyed your post Zoe, it brought back memories of our road trip around the eastern part of this wonderful country. I’ll keep a look out for your Maple Syrup post, they obviously take their grading very seriously, did you try them all? 🙂

    Posted on July 2, 2017 at 12:33 pm #
  5. From Zoe Dawes:

    Glad you had such a great time Kat – so many interesting and unique places in Canada 🙂

    Posted on July 3, 2017 at 10:30 am #
  6. From Zoe Dawes:

    Thanks for your tips before I went Heather and for the introduction to Cindy Barker, Travel Bliss Now Travel Blogger. I can see why you like the capital so much.

    Posted on July 3, 2017 at 10:31 am #
  7. From Zoe Dawes:

    Cheers Janis, bet that was an interesting trip. I’ll be doing a round-up of places to see outside Ottawa later in the year, which will include Fultons Pancake House. Didn’t try all the types there but brought back three bottles for us to sample here 🙂

    Posted on July 3, 2017 at 10:33 am #
  8. From Cindy Baker:

    Thank you for the birthday wishes! Great roundup and photo of some beautiful spots in lovely Ottawa. So glad you enjoyed your stay. We had quite a party on July 1st, but, as you say, it continues all year long!

    Posted on July 3, 2017 at 5:52 pm #
  9. From Karen Burns-Booth:

    What a wonderful post for Canada’s birthday Zoe and with some amazing photos too! Ottawa looks so much more interesting than I thought, and it looks like you had a fab time there! Karen

    Posted on July 4, 2017 at 2:41 pm #
  10. From Zoe Dawes:

    I certainly did Karen 🙂 It was a real treat to visit Ottawa just before their big birthday bash. The capital has some many impressive national treasures as well as local and regional sights. Well worth a visit.

    Posted on July 10, 2017 at 12:42 pm #
  11. From Zoe Dawes:

    Bet it was great fun on July 1st Cindy – in spite of the weather! Really enjoyed Ottawa and thanks very much for showing me round and joining me on the trip to Upper Canada Village 🙂

    Posted on July 10, 2017 at 12:43 pm #
  12. From Alex Dawes:

    I wouldn’t like to meet that spider up close! Looks like the one in the Harry Potter books.

    Posted on July 14, 2017 at 1:15 pm #
  13. From Zoe Dawes:

    It does look rather spooky lurking over the Art Gallery Alex! Knowing your feelings about spiders I’d suggest you close your eyes around Maman 😉

    Posted on July 14, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

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