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.
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.
- 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 😀
- Canadian Museum of History for a history lesson
- Gatineau Park is beautiful in Autumn. It is also a ski park during Winter.
- Nordic Spa-Nature is an expensive hot pool and spa for relaxation. I keep hearing good reviews but until I have a salary, I can’t try this out yet.
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.