Over There (in the UK)

April 1, 2003 at 5 PM

Our Nation’s Capital

I spent the weekend visiting friends in Ottawa, where I did my best to think less about the world and more about the people in it.

Ottawa is a city proud of its 785,000 inhabitants, a demographic feat it has reached solely by being the capital of an obscenely large but obscure landmass known as Canada. That is to say, Ottawa is a small town dressed up in capital clothing by the bureaucrats who inhabit it and everywhere you go, it shows.

There are, for example, no particularly outstanding restaurants in Ottawa. Or if they are, Ottawans don’t know about them. (Rumour has it that politicians chew on rolled up pieces of legislation when their stomachs growl.) There are are lots of parks, nice houses, plenty of non-snarled traffic, and many other features which might make Ottawa a Nice Place to Raise a Family. Some rather picturesque buildings dot the centre (again, mostly for this-is-the-Capital purposes), some of which hold museums with impressive names, like the National Gallery of Canada.

If you ask people in Ottawa what to do, they tell you to go to Byward Market. If you ask people where to eat, they tell you the Market. And if you ask people where you might grab a drink, well…the lack of any particular attraction in the city offered me the opportunity to drive into Parc de la Gatineau, barely north of the city, where I did a short hike to picturesque Meech Lake. The total lack of anyone else in the entire park that day offered the chance to bathe in the silence of wilderness and my own thoughts — an attractive idea to a resident of the dense confines of Montreal. The lake was still mostly frozen; the wind blew gently on the nude treetops. A landscape on the verge of rebirth.

In these times of turmoil, I can suggest no better tonic to aid the soul.


I spent Christmas in Ottawa once. I went ice skating on the canal (there is a canal there, right?), ate ice cream at Lois & Freema’s because it was downstairs from the apartment we were staying in, and saw lots of movies. Come to think of it, I was pretty bored.

rebecca | Apr. 15, 2003 — 12 PM

I actually did manage to find THE good restaurant in Ottawa after you left Luke - when we are next there, we will go for dinner at The Black Tomato, (in the market, what a shock). Amazing soup, possibly the best I’ve ever had.

— Emma | Apr. 17, 2003 — 9 PM

Previously: A Besmirched Jewel

Subsequently: 404 Weapons Missing

April 2003
the Archives

In Earshot

I only really read it for Canucks coverage, but even still it’s nice that The Vancouver Sun finally redesigned its hideously awful website to look like it was designed this century.

On pizza box art

Web 2.Origami

Welcome to Obama, Japan

The Toronto Star shows where and how the seats changed in the 2008 election

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In Frame

Photo of Madrid Modern Photo of Wasp Photo of Hairy and Stripy Cactus Photo of Stripy