Capital City of Canada

parliament-hill

Bags are packed and are heading to Ottawa. Francis got transferred back to Canada. I decided to take a break from work and join him, while waiting for my permanent residency approval. It is a 2 hours drive from Montreal, 4 hours or more from Toronto. It is going to be interesting to see what I will do while staying here for several months.

For a quick intro on Canada, check out my old post.

Getting Around

map

Our place is in Gatineau, Quebec. It is a 5 min drive over the bridge to Ottawa. The rent is supposedly cheaper and have bigger space. There is no subway as of this year but it is planned to be up by 2018. For now, we have to depend on the bus system or get a car.

There are 2 bus companies: STO for Gatineau, OC Transpo for Ottawa. There are few buses that goes in both cities and all of them goes to the downtown area before spreading out. It can be annoying when you just want to go west of Ottawa but you have to follow the downtown route. For some reason, Google Maps cannot give directions in Gatineau side, except for car navigation. It works well in Ottawa though. I downloaded Transit app to help me plan my routes. STO has an SMS alert that can tell you the next bus arrival, while OC transpo have an app for this.

How the bus works is that it stops on every bus stop that has people. I suppose they made it so because there is a good chance that someone is actually waiting for that bus? I do not have the answer and it sometimes annoy me as it increases the travel time.

Bus fare cost 3.95 CAD but it gets cheaper if you get the Presto card for OC and Multi card for STO. There is a 2 hour free transit if you need to change buses. I needed both cards since you can’t interchange one for the other. They do accept transfers from STO to OC Transpo and vise versa using the 1st card you tap with, but you cannot use Presto to get into a STO bus for the 1st ride of the day, same with the Multi for OC bus.

Attractions

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Ottawa

  • Parliament Hill and Peace Tower to see the nice architecture of the government building
  • Rideau Canal as the longest skating river.
  • Canadian War Museum for war recalls.
  • Byward Market for rows of restaurants and street market.
  • Rideau Centre, mall for most needs
  • Tanger Outlet, not as cheap as US version but might have some bargains if you look hard enough. It is an open mall concept.
  • Canadian Science and Technology is still closed for renovation but one of my list to visit.
  • Calypso Park waterpark is a plan when we have kids 😀

Gatineau

Where to Eat

I became a foodie since I moved to Singapore. I missed Asian food. I find that it is hard to find great food here. I would say Toronto and Montreal have more choices. Still, there are few gems in this city. This will be regularly updated since, as of this posting, I am still exploring the area.

Bonjour, Montreal!

montreal

This is part 3 of my Canada adventure. To help you prep up, check out part 1 or if you are curious on what’s happening in Toronto, click on part 2. 

Flight experience

For the domestic travel, I used Porter airline to fly to Toronto and then VIA rail heading back to Montreal. I had to wait till both train and plane fares were on sale. Regular rate were 120 CAD for train and 200 CAD for plane. Like their Facebook page to get updated with their promotions. I got the flight ticket at 142 CAD.

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Toronto, Canada: You tempt me with your delicious food…multiple times!

toronto

Flight experience

One thing I noticed is that flights to North America starts at dawn. Ours were at 5:50 am. God help us wake up in time for checking in. We made it in time. August 7 was the magical date for our vacation to Canada. To get yourself prep up with what to expect in Canada, please see my previous post: Prepping up

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Prepping for Summer Festivals in Canada

canada

Flight Plan

Certain circumstances made me decide to visit Canada. First, after my USA trip to visit my relatives, it was considered a bit unfair of me not visiting my other relatives in Toronto, Ontario since as they quoted “just nearby”. Second, my boyfriend wanted me to meet his family (gasp, my 1st meet with the parents!). His family lives in Montreal, Quebec area. Third, it makes sense to see what it would be like living there (if all this goes well)

So after much ado, we booked our tickets to coincide his favorite Quebec pastime, Bicolline, which happens every August (summer time). I was hoping to see Autumn but he said I would see more on that in the future (oh really? hmm). I will explain this interesting event in my Montreal post. To jump to the post, click here

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Part 3: I Took A Bite Out of the Big Apple

New York

A good read is my The Prep Up entry to give you an idea what to do and bring prior to your trip. To refresh you with some info, here are some useful websites that may help you plan your trip:

You may notice while reading through my blog that I missed out trying many things. Yes, those are my wishful thinking. If you have the opportunity, please do try it for me and let me know if the experience is good. 

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