|Prince William and Princess Kate|
Ottawa is one of the world’s cleanest cities and this is very evident to any visitor. The Ottawa River forms the border between the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The city of Ottawa lies on the southern or Ontario side of the river. The city on the Quebec side of the river is called Gatineau. Geographically, the whole urban area seems like one big city with a river running through the middle and with plenty of bridges. Linguistically however, one notices that Gatineau is very much more French than Ottawa. In fact, three major rivers meet in Ottawa. In addition to the Ottawa River, there are the Gatineau River and the Rideau River. The Rideau River runs south to the Great Lakes and to the St Lawrence River, which ought to have made life very convenient for the people of Ottawa. Unfortunately, rapids and waterfalls render parts of the Rideau River impossible to navigate, so the construction of the Rideau Canal was necessary to give Ottawa access to the sea. The word “Rideau” is French for “curtain”, which is what the falls resemble in winter. Ottawa is really cold at that time of year and then the frozen waters of the canal become the world’s largest skating rink as well as giving skaters convenient access to downtown Ottawa. Downtown Ottawa is dominated by Government buildings, which include all the buildings related to Canada’s parliament and Supreme Court and the official residences of the Prime Minister of Canada and of the Governor General, who is the representative of the monarch in Canada. Then there is an abundance of statues, universities and museums. Finally, there is a plethora of foreign embassies – 130 to be precise, although some streets seem to be nothing but embassies. It is as well that, instead of opening an embassy in Ottawa, several dozen smaller countries rely on their US embassy to handle Canadian matters.
|Russian Embassy in Ottawa|
This piece, written by Bob, originally appeared on our website on November 9, 2011.