Ottawa, the beautiful capital

As the capital of Canada, Ottawa is beautiful. It has natural beauty--it sits at the confluence of two rivers, Ottawa and Rideau--and magnificient architecture in the neo-Gothic Parliament buildings. It is a friendly city to walkers, and walking is the best way to see Ottawa.


Ottawa, the beautiful capital

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Quan on January 3, 2001

There are many things to do in Ottawa, from visiting parliamentary buildings and the National Gallery of Art, considered one of the best in the worlds, to strolling along the Rideau Canal, to choosing among numerous ethnic foods on offer.${QuickSuggestions} ${BestWay}

Chateau Laurier Hotel

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Quan on January 3, 2001

Well, I was flabbergasted to learn that Chateau Laurier Hotel was never, in any of its prior incarnation, a real Chateau. It could have fooled me. In reality, it is only a stone replica of a French chateau, built by railroad companies in the early 1900s. Chateau Laurier Hotel is really one of Canada''s greatest railroad hotels. Its location to Parliament Hill makes it the first choice, and if you have the dough, you should definitely add this hotel on your list, at least once. Large rooms with high ceilings, and small but nice bathrooms are decorated with Louis XV-style reproductions make it a more interesting choice than the usual cookie-cutter posh hotels. The service is very good, the concierge offers good advice, and the people at the desk don''t look down their nose. If you don''t stay there, go to elegant Zoe lounge the rub shoulders with the rich or famous, or better yet, if you are there in the warmer months, to go the restaurant for a drink, but asks for outside sitting. The view from the patio of the sunset reflecting on the water of the Rideau canal is incomparable.
Fairmont Chateau Laurier
1 Rideau St.
Ottawa, Ontario, K1N8S7
(613) 241-1414

Fresco in popular Elgin Street

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Quan on January 3, 2001

The demand of an international and political clientele, along with the already bilingual nature of the city, means that Ottawa has to satisfy the enormous demand for ethnic food. The city acquits itself well in several neighborhoods, but most notably Elgin Street, which when I visited last year, was the most trendy spot in Ottawa. It can be reached from Wellington Street which runs in front of the Parliament Buildings.

Except for a couple of large steak restaurants, the restaurants on Elgin Street offering fares from Japan and much of Asia to South America to Europe all share one characteristic. They are very cozy, and therefore very homey. In this crowd, Fresco, a cozy Italian restaurant, stands out because of the large mural of Tuscan mountains in the back wall, which I swear draws in passerbys, who then forms the line outside the restaurant. The first night I walked by, the restaurant was full, so I put my name on the list for the next night. The atmosphere inside the restaurant lives up to the promise of the mural--it is lively, and the waitstaff is very attentive, and knowledgeable about the dizzying choices of pasta sauces. The veal is excellent, and be sure to ask the waitstaff to recommend a choice of wine. The one our waitress chose for us went extremely well with our dishes.

Fresco Bistro Italiano
354 Elgin St
Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 1M8
+1 613 235 7541

Parliamentary buildings

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Quan on January 3, 2001

The Parliament Buildings consist of three gothic-style buildings, which glow green because of their copper roofing. They occupy an enviable position, sitting on a promontory overlooking the Ottawa River. Once destroyed by fire, they have been rebuilt to their original splendor. Though I have never been to Westminster, I can't imagine that it would be much grander, or much different, than these buildings. Visitors can tour the interior, whose space is characterized by handcarved sandstone and limestone while the Government, the House of Commons and the Senate are in sessions in the Center Block. Or relax outside on the spacious lawn, with view of the river and the downtown landscape.
Parliamentary Buildings
Parliamentary Circle
Ottawa, Ontario

Strolling Rideau Canal

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Quan on January 3, 2001

The Rideau Canal is Ottawa's recreation ground year round, from boating and strolling during the summer to skating across its icy surface in the Canadian winter. The canal was built in the mid-19th century, and stretches through lakes and canals from Ottawa to Kingston. Strolling along the canal is a sure pleasure, as the sights of the neo-Gothic Parliament building that can be glimpsed from the canal more often than not transported you back to a bygone era, and made you forget that you are in a capital city of a relatively large country in the 20th, or should I say, 21st centry. What tends to bring you back to the present are sights of small yatchts that are out boating on a summer day, but if gorgeous boats are the only distractions, who am I to complain?
Rideau Canal
1125 Colonial By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B8
(613) 283 5170

Exploring Byward Market

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Quan on January 3, 2001

I was drawn to Byward Market with the promise of french pastries. Having lived in France for a year, I miss the pastries, and search for them in all of my travels. Though it feels a bit like betrayal, I have to admit that I have not found an authentic éclair in the states. Which is a shame because as we become more cosmopolitan, it is just expected that any large city would offer good eclairs.

Anyway, so Ottawa, with a more French influence than British Columbia, would seem like a logical place to search for eclairs. And I have to admit it did not disappoint. A concierge at Chateau Laurier pointed me in the direction of Byward market, promising that I will be able to find anything. And that was true--even on the weekdays, the stalls at the middle of Byward offered up excellent fresh produce and maple products that you can take home for souvenirs. Surrounding Byward are permanent specialty food shops, as well as cafes and boutiques. It is among these that I found a French café where I gobbled up on éclair, napoleons, choux crème, and fruit tarts, all in the space of two hours. And I even bought more to go. But what is even more attractive about Byward is its restaurant offerings--all within several blocks, you have choices of any type of food you are in the mood for, from Canadian to Chinese to Thai to Mexican, Brazilian, and other African choices. And that's not all. Byward is also home of other retail goods--you can find Cuban cigars, designer clothing, and unique art works in the market as well.


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