Posted by: James Shannon | November 4, 2010

My Traverse of Central Canada Continued: Ottawa and La Belle Province, Quebec! // Mon Tres Excitant Voyage Dans Le Centre Du Canada a Continue: Ottawa Et La Belle Province, Quebec!

The Hockey Hall of Fame in Downtown Toronto — had so little time that I couldn’t visit it … next time.

Abed-less, I eventually made my way out of the Downtown Core of Toronto, after missing the on-ramp for the Gardiner Expressway six times approximately. When you head east along the Gardiner, it curves north toward the 401, becoming the Don Valley Parkway (or as the locals like to call it, the Don Valley Parking Lot)

The DVP living up to its nickname, lol!


I got down to the business of making miles, trucking it eastward along the 401 toward Kingston.  In Kingston, I had dinner and purchased a phone card so I could call my buddy Chuck in Ottawa (my cell was broken).  After agreeing upon a meeting place, I left to carry on through the increasing darkness and pouring rain.  When it rains on the 401, travel gets treacherous, as traffic doesn’t slow down much (especially the 18-wheelers), causing a cloud of thick mist to develop, making visibility much worse.


After plodding along for 30 minutes longer than it normally would have taken me to reach the Capital Region, I pulled into the meeting spot, called up Charlie once again, and soon enough we were off to his house in Kanata.

Charlie …

… and the gigantic, super-friendly sheep dogs!


Once the big guys got familiar with me and I got my stuff settled in my room for the night, Chuck and I went out for some beers and food at the local pub.  We spent three hours out, catching up on just about very facet and detail of our lives since college (it had been that long since I’ve seen the guy, way too long).


The next morning, we set out to see the attractions of the downtown core:  the Parliament Buildings were obviously among them, but it was far from the only thing to garner my attention…

Money shot: The Eternal Flame in the foreground, and the Parliament in the background … they were doing renos to the place, so we weren’t able to take a peek inside 😦

The Library of Parliament, after freshly completed renovations … groovy looking eh?

Umm … run!!!!!!  (this was outside the Modern Art Museum)

The Ottawa River locks for the Rideau Canal, closed for the season.

24 Sussex Drive — at this point, we didn’t have time to take a closer look, unfortunately…


At this point, I had to get going once again, so after getting back into Kanata, I got my bags, loaded them up in the car, and bid adieu to another generous and welcoming host.  Thanks again Chuck!


By 2:30pm, I had crossed into La Belle Province, and was subsequently deluged by a flood of French signs – some I understood, many others I had no clue what they said … disco + party music was playing on just about every radio station on the dial … Welcome to Planet Quebec! 😛

Then, the skyline of the home of my beloved Habs came into view …

Not the best pic of Montreal to say the least … but I had an inflexible destination goal in place … *sigh*


… and I breezed right by without even stopping.  I was so set and determined to get to Riviere-Du-Loup that I bypassed not one, but *two* national treasures in one day (Quebec City being the other).  Let this be a lesson to the rest of you: if you have a surplus of time, don’t blast across the country in 7-10 days like I just did … take your time and truly experience each city/natural landmark that you encounter … binge travelling just leaves you wanting more, just leaves you unsatisfied…

The HI Hostel in Riviere-Du-Loup … looks promising …

… and it delivers!  What a bangin’ kitchen!


Once I saw the hostel I was staying at though, my mood shifted for the better.  It was a sweet Victorian-era house, its walls just oozed character.  Add in a modern, slickly-designed kitchen (where a free continental breakfast was served the next morning) and I was sold on this place!  After dropping my bags upstairs, I went to the depanneur (convenience store en anglais) and picked up 18 beer for $24 (Merci Quebec!!)  I spent the rest of evening sharpening my dull french with Quebecers and people from France, sharing many drinks and lots of laughs.


Next up: My triumphant return to Atlantic Canada!


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