The Flight of Bear Canada

Day 15 - July 15th
Ottawa, ON

In order to capture the essence of city better I decide to stay a day. I check out the changing of the guard at the Parliament Grounds in the morning. In the afternoon. I take a leisurely walk down the Rideau Locks to the Canadian War Museum.

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard at Parliament Hill.

Rideau Locks

Rideau Locks.

The Canadian War Museum is huge. It details the exploits of the military from the beginning of Canada as a British Colony. I was impressed by the level of detail. One section on the Cold War had a Russian T-72 on display. I thought the Canadian Military was too poor to buy vehicles like this, especially for display purposes. Then I hit the hall below. This could be described as a wing of my dream garage. Armored vehicles from WWII to present are kept here on display. Some sections are just chock-a-block with vehicles with no nameplates, Others describe the vehicle, and in the case of one bullet riddled jeep, the history behind it.

Russian T-72

Russian T-72 Main Battle Tank.


Grizzly Armored Personnel Carrier, this one served in the former Yugoslavia.

Inside Grizzly

Inside of the Grizzly.


A UN assigned Iltis that was attacked. The two people on board survived despite being hit by bullets.

After the War Museum, I made my way to the Parliament Building, where I took a tour of the Center Block. This is the iconic building seen on Canadian currency and where all the federal laws of the land are made. There is security, complete with metal detectors. And this being the first time I've been through a metal detector since my motorcycle accident, I discover that the detectors can pick up the surgical steel in my knee. Then it was onto the tour. We walked through the halls noting the details in the building like the stained glass windows and ceilings and the stonework. All of which was done to represent something to do with Canada, whether it was people, places, provinces or natural resources. After the tour we went to the Peace Tower in front of the building and took the lift to the top. From a room just below the clock, we took in a view of the city. Then it was back down to the Memorial Room. There sat seven books listing the names of all the Canadians that have died in the service of this country. It was kind of sobering to see the latest names in the book dated 2003, and I'm sure if I could turn the pages, names dated 2008 would be seen as well.

House of Commons

The House of Commons


A hallway in Parliament


The Parliament Library, the oldest part of the building, which survived the fire in 1916.

Peace Tower

The iconic Peace Tower, built to commemorate the dead from World War One.

The View

The view from the Peace Tower, just below the clock.

After their Parliament, I stopped off at Byward Market for dinner. And for anyone missing a good pub, Byward had four Irish style pubs on just one street. I then head back to the Parliament Buildings to catch the light and sound display on the Buildings itself. The half-an-hour show would definitely move any patriotic Canadian.

Night 1

Shots from the Night Show at the Parliament.

Night 2

Night 3

One thing to note is that I highly recommend packing good walking shoes. I kind of saddled myself with skate shoes since they take up less space in my panniers.

The other thing to note is the amount of french people here. I know it's because of it's proximity to Quebec and all that. But coming from Western Canada where bilingual means that you speak english and one of the following: cantonese, mandarin, punjabi or hindi, the sound of french is a little strange. I kind feel bad for not paying attention in french class in high school. I guess they should of motivated us by saying that knowing french will give us access to more hot chicks.

Day 16 - July 16th
Ottawa, ON to Plessisville, ON

A Stranger in a Strange Land...

The day starts with a rush to get things packed and do a load of laundry before I have to check out. Then I hit the Byward Market and head to Zak's for breakfast. As I park, one of the waiter's from Zak's just has to "bug" me. Later as I ate breakfast, Alex, the waiter filled me in about the cool roads in the area, and confessed to me that his pipe dream to ride a motorcycle on trips, having done a few on a bicycle. Oh, and the Lumberjack's breakfast is quite good, but should come with the warning; "Contents are larger than they initially in their appear."

Then after getting lost leaving Ottawa, I hit Gatineau, QC. I feel that I should hit the french-canadian experience full on. Well. anyone who says that the Quebecer's are snobish are stupid. I haven't spoken french since high-school (18 years ago) and I manage to get gas twice, get dinner and a hotel room. Also as I was idling through Montreal traffic, a local pulls up and says "Hello BC" with a wave. Other kids in a car try to get me to do a wheelie. (Only if they knew what a overloaded V-Strom is capable of.)

Thunder and lightning is on the horizon. I avoid one storm by detouring south. But by the time I pass the storm, it peters out. So I continue northeast towards Quebec city. But another storm forms off to my left. But a pair of lightning flashes dead ahead motivates me to backtrack and head for dinner. I continue northeast after the dinner. A few more flashes encourage me to detour from the main highway. Then on a side road, I pass the storm and see some more flashes ahead. I decide to hit up a hotel in Plessisville. (Funny coincidence is that when I turn the hotel room TV to CBC Newsworld, there was a documentary Human Voltage: Struck by Lightning.)

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Contents Copyright (C) Michael Fodor 2012.