6.26.2007

A Steamy Day in Ottawa

It was a scorcher today in Ottawa... our jokes about "steamy" Canadian summers apparently fell flat as it truly was hot today.

We had breakfast at the hotel and then drove across the river to the Canadian Museum of Civilization - an absolute for anyone visiting Ottawa. While the museum has a handful of the usual dioramas and interpretive exhibits, what really makes it stand out are its life-size exhibits of life through Canadian history and the stunning great hall with its towering totems. We spent about 3 hours at the museum but I can see how someone might pass the whole day covering all the exhibits. After your visit, you can grab a bit at one of the museum's cafes or grab a bite on the park overlooking Ottawa.
Nighttime View of the Canadian Museum of Civilization

In case you didn't know, the Canadian Museum of Civilization is actually in Gatineau and is located in Quebec. Unlike bilingual Ottawa, pretty much everything turns French in Gatineau. Stores suddenly drop any bilingual pretenses and display French signage. This was definitely the case in SAQ Depot, a Quebecois wine shop in Gatineau (more on that later...)

Anyway, we headed back to the hotel around 4:00 to kick back for a while. Later, after some errands, we worked out at the hotel's gym - a bit steamy and crowded with aggressive members (it's also a membership-based gym) who were dead set on getting a Swiss ball or barbell when they needed it.

As for dinner, a great choice is Metropolitain Brasserie... located at the corner of Sussex and Rideau. The restaurant is set in a depressed plaza, adjacent to great shops on Sussex. The interior is well-appointed and elegant but sitting outside is the way to go, particularly if you happen to be in town during some type of music festival. The menu had a great mix of fish, meat and some of the best salads in town. It also has a very extensive wine list. I had sauteed Halibut with fennel, slivered almonds, roasted potatoes and market vegetables. My wife had a delectable grilled chicken salad. All very good.

Now... something interesting. One thing we've noticed is how high taxes are on food. An example from our bill at Metropolitain:

Food and wine - $64.17
GST - $3.86
PST - $4.40
Liq PST - $.93

That's a little over 14% in taxes. Yikes!

Nonetheless, we're finding some very good food in Ottawa. We can't wait to see what we'll find in Montreal!


1 comment:

Mack said...

I'm sure you know this, but save your receipts and you can get some of the taxes you pay on food and other items back at your port of entry.