The decision of spending the Canada day in Ottawa was one of the smartest decisions I have ever made. Especially because this year’s Canada day was also a day to celebrate 200 years of peace after the war of 1812.
We had a wonderful ride to Ottawa through Greyhound. We could have made it to the raising of the flag ceremony, if we were a little bit faster in finding our way to the Parliament Hill; but the beauty of Ottawa slowed us down. After spending days in Montreal, and hearing French all the time, hearing people speaking English here and there was joyful! … I ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY SAY!
The very first thing we visited was the change of guards ceremony. We saw the very first time that the officers came to the tomb of the “Unknown Soldier”, paid their respect, and left two guardians. These two RCMPs in their official suite, were very serious, and did not talk or smile for one second during the whole ceremony. People did try to make them talk … they were not successful! This reminded me of “Due South” movie and the main character who was called “Fraser”. Through the day, the guards were changed through the same process, and finally at the end of the day, the guards left the tomb.
There were lots of performances all over the city. African dances, guitar performances, street shows, etc. Also at one point parachuters performed a unique show, jumping out of a military aircraft, holding hands, waving the Canadian flags, and releasing colorful smokes!
The morning show in the parlement hill included the marching of the RCMP forces. The O’Canada song with the show-off of Phantom Airplanes, the speech of Steven Harper, etc.
The evening show included the performance of “Simple Plan”, “Mrs Barbara” (Which I didn’t really like), Roch Voisine, etc.
2012 Canada day in Ottawa was a unique experience. Will I re-do this trip for the 1st of July 2013? I would say, there is a great chance …
A week is passed from our stay in Montreal. I certainly can say that I’m in love with this city. Its warm weather reminds me of my home town … but that’s not the only thing that makes me feel like home! The way people pass the streets, and how they do not care if the pedestrians’ light is red … the horrible streets for driving … The huge number of beggars in downtown area, and even sometimes some familiar words from French … They all make me have flashbacks to my beautiful city of Tehran.
This city is ALIVE .. There is always something going on at one corner of it. Right now, downtown area is the host of the annual jazz festival, which is really not just about Jazz music. Different performers from all over the world travel to this city for this period of time … some of these performances are so crowded that you have to stand meters away from the stage to be able to see something. What really impresses me is how people walk on the Sainte Catherine street till mid night … This city is alive at night, unlike most of the other cities in Canada.
When it comes to dining in Montreal, you have a variety of cuisines and restaurants to choose from. For somebody coming from Fort McMurray … This is a HUGE positive point! Ofcourse food is more expensive here, but what you see here is more REAL food rather than fast food. It’s more healthy, and more delicious. There are lots of Arabic and Indian restaurants around, which makes it very easy to find something suitable for my mum’s taste. Also, Turkish, Greek, French, etc … All nationalities have presented their art of cooking here! Speaking of food, I should talk about the 24-hour bagel bakeries here … It reminds me of our bakeries back home. The smell of floor and fresh bread in the air, as you step in, is a unique experience. The taste of these freshly baked bagels is another concept which you need to experience yourself … It’s hardly possible to put it into words.
French Crepe, was another “Must try” for me … I liked the ones I had in West Edmonton Mall, better …. hmmmm …
We visited Notre Dame church, Old Montreal, and the old Port, Royal Mount, and passed by Saint Joseph Church. The old European style buildings are adorable.
When it comes to people, it is really easy to notice that they care much more about their appearance compared to the people in the west coast. Women are mostly fit. You rarely see people who are extremely fat. Also, they walk on the streets dressed up, usually in high-heels. Their lifestyle is to be happy. Enjoy the weather, enjoy good food, and enjoy being pretty! I believe McDonald definitely has a smaller market here! One more note on the appearance of people, French Canadians are mainly Brunette (to my observation), usually with colorful eyes.
Montreal like any other big city has some down sides too. Here, people don’t seem to be as polite as people in the west of Canada. Garbage removal is certainly an issue. Clean streets of the West are hard to see here in Montreal. Also people will break the rules if they get the chance to … looks like a must in their lifestyle. Drivers are not as good and patient as drivers in Edmonton or Calgary. You do hear them honking at each other or even at pedestrians. Pedestrians also pass the red lights and jay walk, almost all the time.
All in all, Montreal is beautiful. Good Food, good weather, variety of activities, lifestyle of a modern city, and being in the land of Francophones make me wonder if I should move to this city one day to live? Should I learn French in advance or should I move in here first? … Will I be able to find an awesome job, like the one I already have, in Montreal? These are all questions which will be answered through time … For now, where should I go to have an awesome FRENCH CANADIAN POUTINE?!