Canada Day: We didn’t know that we were in for a treat, when our visit to Canada collided with the country’s most important celebrations. Canada Day is celebrated to mark the enactment of Constitution on July 1, 1867 which united the three colonies- Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into one single empire – Canada.
This was our itinerary for the three days we had to spend in this beautiful country:
Day 1 & 2: Ottawa
Ottawa is a city ushered in a cloud of solace, with a major part of it swath in green pastures and peaceful residential areas. If you are lucky enough to visit in the month of May, check out the famous Tulip festival . On the first day, we caught a bus to the Parliament hill, which overlooks the Ottawa river and is the political and cultural throne of the country (Using the city transportation services is the best and most affordable option. It would not take you more than half an hour to reach the Parliament from Centretown ).
Coincidentally, we had landed up on the 30th of June and countdown to Canada Day had begun! We took one of the guided tours that are available at all times in the Canadian Parliament (these tours are free of cost ) . The architecture was something to marvel at. Preparations were in full swing for the visit of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who were invited to be the chief guests for July 1.
Our guide took us around the library, completely furnished in Gothic style (it was built between 1859-1866), the Peace tower which gave a spectacular view of the city and Memorial Chamber , which is dedicated to Canadians who died during conflicts. The guide kept updating us with various facts, we came to know that the Peace Tower has 53 bells and the national flag in the precincts of the Parliament is changed every day.
Views from the Parliament Hill
The beautiful architecture of buildings
Countdown to Canada Day begins!
After going around the city and exploring its ornamental gardens, we stopped to have some delicious Mexican food. Burrito Borracho,Lone Star Texas Grill and Mexico Casito Cafe are some of the best Mexican restaurants in town.
The next day, the city was buzzing with visitors from different parts of the world. For everybody was waiting to get a glimpse of the chief guests at the Parliament Hill.
After a few hours of attending these festivities, we visited Major’s Hill Park, not very far from the hill. From dance performances to trivia games, this place had become the centrifugal point of celebrations. Shopping, live concerts, food joints name it and you would find it all here! People had inundated the nook and corner of this place. Fireworks followed as the sun set and we caught the next bus back to our homes.
Fireworks at Peace Tower
Day 3 : Toronto
The distance between Ottawa and Toronto is approximately 350 kilometres. You could find a bus, train or flight to reach the provincial capital of Canada. We traveled by road to reach tour destination. Taking a bus would cost youbetween $37 to $65. Staying at a hotel in the heart of the city would cost you around $50 to $300 per person for a day, based on your budget.
The city buzzed with the sound of splashing water of Lake Ontario) and the sight of skyscrapers enveloping the CN tower ( which was the tallest tower in the world, now replaced by Burj Khalifa). We visited the Harbourfront Centre, which offered a myriad of activities to choose from. One of them was cruising around the city for 45 minutes (at a ticket price of $24. Groups can request a special price ).
You would definitely behold the beautiful view of the city! You could go around on foot, explore the flora and fauna, or simply relax at some of the best food joints lining the harbour.
Entry to CN tower costs around $86 , and gives you access to one of the highest decks in the world. You could try 360 The Restaurant, a revolving restaurant at this height, sure to give you a panoramic view of the city. Edgewalk is a thrilling adventure, which is surely worth a try!
Cruising at the Harborfront
View of the splendid CN tower
Day 4: Nigeria
We traveled from Toronto to Niagara in a bus ( Niagara lies one and a half hour away). You could also get a rental car or Mega-bus for your journey ( a bus trip would cost you approximately $ 20). It was the fourth of July, and we were on the border of Canada and the United States. ( so it was the countdown to Independence Day celebrations in the U.S).
We went around the three beautiful falls in ‘ Maid of the Mist’ ( at a ticket fee of around $20). The three falls – the Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil falls, leave no stone unturned to exhibit the uniqueness of their beauty. We ended up at comedy clubs and restaurants lining the streets of the city! There were laser shows and Falls view dance floors. Activities never end at Niagara.
You could checkout my experiences at Niagara here :
View from ‘Maid of the Mist’
Midnight struck and so did the colorful fireworks at the other end of the line. The evanescent falls reflected the beauty of these celebrations.
Though we were ready to pack up the next day,these festivities definitely made the trip more amazing and memorable, a reflection of history culminated with the joy of happiness and laughter!