So it turns out that a lot of things are closed on Mondays in Ottawa, so my plan of hitting up my last museum was squashed. But parliament tours do run on Mondays, and although I wasn’t originally planning on doing this because I’ve done it 2 other times previously, I figured why not, it is free after all. Turns out it was a good choice to do because we learned that this fall they are going to be starting construction on Center Block (the main part you see when standing on Parliament Hill) and will be closed for tours for the next 10-15 years!! On this day, there was an open question forum happening so there were people and camera crews everywhere inside, and we were given the option to sit in on the debates after our tour, but I opted out of that.
If you know me, you know that I like craft beer, so one of the things I’m most excited about when travelling is checking out local breweries. Since all the museums are closed on Monday, what better use of time than a Monday Brewery Crawl. I started out at Flora Hall Brewing, the newest of the 3 I checked out. This bright, open concept area was pretty popular for 4pm on a Monday, and appeared to be full of locals and regulars, many of which were sitting at the bar on laptops working while enjoying a beer. This place didn’t offer flights so I was forced to decided on one beer (trust me, it’s a hard choice), and I went with North East IPA, an IPA with fruity undertones. Flora Hall also has a small selection of guest brews, and one of these happened to be Collective Arts Cider, so it felt like a small piece of home had followed me up to Ottawa.
Next stop was Tooth and Nail; turns out on a Monday there also aren’t many breweries open (I don’t understand why not), so this one was a bit of a trek to, but luckily it was a fairly warm day and the bus ride and walk were actually enjoyable. Tooth and Nail was smaller than Flora Hall, but had a totally different vibe, one of a small local pub where people come to drink, eat good food, and play board games (they had a selection to choose from). Now I had to opposite problem here and they offered small pours and I had no idea how to decide which ones to get! I ended up with Warhorse (winter ale), Tenacity (pale ale), and Fortified (stout); the first two I really enjoyed, while Fortified, at 10.2% alcohol was just too strong for me! The food here was also amazing and they even had a vegan sandwich option, so you know what I got!
At this point I was really feeling the beers, so I took a quick pause to head back to the hostel to drop off some of my camera gear and took a spin around the mall to ‘sober up’ a bit.
After a brief shopping spree, I walked over to Lowertown Brewing, located in Byward Market. This is more a restaurant that happens to also brew their own beers, but they had 7 beers on tap, so I had to try them all! All of the brews were great, so I’ll just list them all off: Lowertown Lager, Dark Lager, Shooting Rapids Pale Ale, Red Fife Wheat Beer (Red Ale), Timber Slide IPA, Nitro Dry Stout and Lowertown Dubbel. Most of the time I’m a good vegan but sometimes I just can’t say no to a soft pretzel and cheddar dip. The whole night I was checking in my beers via the UnTapped App, [and app that let’s you see what your friends are drinking and where and track your drinks as well as earn badges in categories such as styles and location; the social media of beer drinking! (If you don’t have this you should download it, and if you do, add me ctaylor94)] and I got a badge for 12 beers in one day, and that was my cue to go home and go to bed!
Museum of Nature
The fourth and final day! I had one more museum left on my passport and I picked the Museum of Nature. Feeling super lazy and short on time I took an Uber to the museum. This definitely is a kid focused museum, but let me tell you, these are my favourite! The first exhibit was dinosaurs. DINOSAURS! Needless to say I spent the majority of the time around here. And here was another museum showcasing works by first nations, this time in an exhibit called Inuinnauyugt: We are Inuinnait. When you initially enter there’s giant ice blocks that are actually real, and the exhibit continue with tradition art and history as well as interactive exhibits, one of which showcasing the extreme cost of food up in Northern Canada; it was very eye opening.
The special exhibit while I was there was a butterfly exhibit but I opted out of this one. In the basement of the museum was an exhibition of winning shots from a National Geographic Canada including a section by kids and man those were some talented kids!
After the museum, I still had some time to kill before my train so I walked over to Byward Market. My mom had requested an ‘Obama cookie’ which are the red maple leaf sugar cookies that apparently Obama was photographed eating one his trip here, and they’ve since become famous. Turns out they now have a version with Justin Trudeau’s face on it, so I got one of those!
After a quick stroll through the market, it was back to the hostel to pick up my bags and make some food for the train home (you know, the part I missed doing on the trip here), and then to head to the train station.
The ride home was very uneventful, I accomplished zero of the work I said I would, and finally got home around 11:30 PM and then went to bed cause I had to work at 7AM the next morning!
Things that I learned from this trip
- You do not, and should not, back 3 sweaters for a 3 night trip because this takes all your luggage
- Bring your own containers for bringing lunches to go so you don’t end up with a sandwich just wrapped in paper towel thrown into a backpack
- Two camera lens should be good enough, anything more becomes too heavy of a bag.
- Do a final lap of the house before you leave, make sure you bring all the camera batteries with you and not leave them still plugged into the wall at home
- Even when you plan on using a day backpack, it’s still a good idea to bring a small purse in case you go out at night