Seeing Ottawa and Gatineau Through Fresh Eyes

In early June, we had the immense pleasure of welcoming Boomeresque blogger, Suzanne, into our home. She had been attending the TBEX conference in Toronto and then had spent some time in Kingston, Ontario when she then decided to come to Ottawa and visit us rather than turn back on her heals and return to Toronto.

We are so glad we invited her to stay.

As you know, Dear Reader, we have done a bit of couch surfing of our own. We’ve stayed with Kiki Hamann and Anastasia the Great in Miami, Florida. We’ve stayed with Marlene and Stewart Morril near Austin, Texas.  And we will be staying with Radmila and her family in Sofia, Bulgaria in July!

We’ve done a little welcoming of our own with Brad, and now … Suzanne!

Seeing Ottawa and Gatineau Through Fresh Eyes

Travel is the best way to make friends!

What I personally love about all this is the shared affection for canines, writing and travel are the connection and, surprisingly, Facebook has been the conduit. You can hate Fb for many things but it does connect people.

Suzanne arrived at the train station. Her small stature and calm demeanor put me at ease right away. She and Mom hit it off and were comfortable together within moments.

And so began our tour of Ottawa.

We took the scenic route home, driving through New Edinburgh to show Suzanne where the Governor General and Prime Minister live. We then crossed the Alexandria bridge to our place and had to explain to Suzanne that she was now in another province.

We, in fact, live in Gatineau, in Quebec – just across the river from Ottawa in Ontario. It’s very much a New York City and New Jersey sort of deal. Many people live on one side and work on the other. The two cities are referred to as The National Capitol Region (NCR) for that reason. For us locals, the border is of no real importance, but I suppose to visitors there is a distinction.

Seeing Ottawa and Gatineau Through Fresh Eyes

The canal’s

Gatineau, historically has been, and continues to be to some degree, a more blue collar environment with Ottawa being the white collar side. But with new construction and luxury accommodations going up in Gatineau and affordable housing going up in Ottawa, I don’t think the blue collar-white collar distinction will be the case for very long. But that is neither here nor there.

Over the next two days, we took Suzanne on a walking tour of the NCR. We walked across the Alexandria bridge

Seeing Ottawa and Gatineau Through Fresh Eyes

A Boomer on The Alexandra Bridge!

And around Parliament

Seeing Ottawa and Gatineau Through Fresh Eyes

Parliaments Library – So Pretty!

Seeing Ottawa and Gatineau Through Fresh Eyes

Group Shot! At the Women’s Rights Statues!

In and out of the Byward market where we stopped for bubble tea

Seeing Ottawa and Gatineau Through Fresh Eyes

Stopping For Bubble Jasmin Tea and Cuddles

And spent a lot of time at home talking about travel and blogging, trading stories and getting lots and lots of cuddles. We went to the Museum of Civilization too. (It was raining a lot that day so it was a good call!)

Seeing Ottawa and Gatineau Through Fresh Eyes

Photo of Fresco inside the Museum of Civilization! Your Welcome!

And as it always happens when we have out of town guests, we fell in love with our fair cities all over again. Ottawa and Gatineau really do have it all: art, green spaces, fun little foodie places. It’s a great mix of nature and civilization, the two mingling happily into a walkable and wonderful place we call home.

Seeing Ottawa and Gatineau Through Fresh Eyes

Your cup of tea?

I love that this falling in love again happens. Even on rainy days.

So Suzanne, thank you! As we became your guides and saw our cities through your eyes, we were reminded not to take our home for granted. Yes, our winters are long. But our standard of living is high. And for that reminder, we are grateful.

Have you ever rediscovered your own home and liked it more after playing tour guide?

20 Comments on “Seeing Ottawa and Gatineau Through Fresh Eyes

  1. And the list of fabulous people who visit Monte grows longer! It is so cool that Suzanne was able to visit, just as it’s so cool that members of the Montecristo family are able to connect through Facebook. Wouldn’t it be something if we could all come together for a weekend to swap stories,make new doggie friends, and connect with each other?

    • I am planning one such event … but it is still a small small concept. I DO have something in mind … I would love for that to happen Brad!! question becomes WHERE!?

  2. Great post! We cant wait to get there!! How long can we stay before you kick us out? Just curious!

    • As long as you need … you will likely get the master bedroom and not the guest bedroom for your stay. You have way too many aches and pains to stay on the hard bed in the guest room. Although everyone seems to say it is great….

  3. We will always have a room for you guys if you come to Naples, FL!!! I know you have been here before and liked it so if you ever plan on coming down just let me know. I know that Izzy and Gigi would love to play with you and show you around :-) We are off soon for another short trip, this time to the UK for a few weeks. We will be visiting Dunlop Scotland and have been invited to tour the Dunlop Castle (house). It is not open to the public but with our name how could they not let us in? Hope to see you in Florida sometime in the near future!!! Happy travels!!!!

    • Ooooh that sounds awesome!!! You must report back here or on FB on how your trip went!! We want to make it to Scotland and Ireland some day … maybe even parts of the UK to see some friends… still private tour of the Dunlop Estate … awesome.

  4. Monte, thank you (and Mom and Dad) for being such lovely hosts during my all too brief visit to Ottawa—and Gatineau. (Well, too brief for me. Your Dad was probably happy to have his art studio room back!) Your Mom is right about Facebook. It can be silly, annoying and even scary, but it also brings people together. I have had the chance to meet some lovely people (and YOU) in person (dogon?), having first met you in the blogosphere and on Facebook. And I’m enjoying your FB friends too!

    I like Brad’s idea about a Montecristo and friends gathering. If it’s in Ottawa, I promise to bring Dino and to find a pet friendly hotel so someone else can have their turn in your guest room (um, art studio).

    I also loved spending time with your Mom (when you were napping). Your Dad also seemed like a great person, but he was a busy man during my visit–totally understandable. Your Mom made sure I ate healthily. I fell off the healthy wagon a little bit when I returned home, but I am trying to be more mindful of what I consume.

    I’m going to share your post with the Ontario and Ottawa tourism people. They definitely got their money’s worth from hosting the TBEX conference in Toronto!

    P.S.: Loved the photos your Mom took, even what she called an “action shot” of me on the Rideau lock. I call it more of a “surprised” shot. Safe travels and Godspeed to you and your entire family on your upcoming exciting trip. I’m really looking forward to reading about it.

    • I do hope you will return to us for a longer trip. Anytime. Honest! The pleasure was all ours. Stefan (Dad) is sorry he missed most of your visit. He had that art project he had to complete. Steve and Dino MUST come with you next time. I know of a few places you could stay but we have a first come first serve concept here! so who knows the “studio” might well be yours!

      Thanks for passing on the post to the Ontario and Ottawa tourism folks – I certainly have enough material on the Province in the blog! Why did I never think of doing that?!

      Eat healthy … and I shall see you in the bloggosphere or in person … whatever comes first!

      PS – Action shot … I insist. :)

  5. Oops. I forgot to mention that Dino, Steve and I look forward to welcoming you and your bipeds to Philadelphia. There’s lots to see here and around here as well. You’ll definitely need more than one day!

    • Count on it!!! We are so taking you up on the offer! and you, Dino and Steve need to come over for a longer stay. Road trip perhaps?

  6. It is absolutely unique – when you can share your favourite places with the people who are your soulmates, so hope to spend time some day in Ukraine with you, my friends! But my flat in Kiev is too small, i don’t have guest room, but you do can have your own floor in Crimea, when you will visit one day, thanks God!

  7. Haha, “she and mom hit it off”. Glad to see the boomers were like-minded. Don’t worry, Suzanne is in fact my mom so I can bust her bal…ovaries?

  8. Haha wups! I forgot you yourself (Sir Monte Cristo de Ottawa) does in fact write this blog himself. Give yourself a paw (or 4) on the back 😉

  9. Such a nice post. I love reading about hospitality and the good things that brings with. It’s true that showing your city makes you rediscover what you like about it :)

    • Absolutely Franca! and thank you for stopping in. I think too it is good to be the host. It reminds you that often when you are the guest, there are things you should do to make your visit more pleasant for those opening their home to you. For example the last two visitors we have had (Brad and Suzanne) both went to bed early and “read” in their room. Leaving time for us as a family to have a little alone time. It made us realize that, when you are visiting people, you are disrupting their lives and habits and it is good to be aware of that and see if you can help by retreating a little.

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