So we set off to the nation’s capital of Ottawa June 23rd in search of the elusive Big Joe Mufferwa of Stompin Tom Connors fame. Despite the odds of a sighting, DD and the Captain felt an obligation to provide our American Cousins, Busty Barb the Believer (yes she believes there is a Big Joe) and Lonesome Larry an opportunity to see this Canadian Legend. As a backup plan there would also be some other illustrious attractions to visit such as the Parliament Buildings, Canadian War Museum, Supreme Court etc. etc.
Another exhausting drive (2 ½ hours) found us parked at the Rideau Carlton Raceway just south of Ottawa that we would use as our home base. Yes another casino, and yes another opportunity for CC to contribute to the Ontario economy, and yes DD suffers another loss while LL pockets another cash withdrawal. As a diversion, we were able to take in a few harness races at the adjacent track. No bets were placed however, had CC wagered a meager Toonie on his pick (#4 in the 3rd race) a cool $1500 would have fattened his wallet. In all likelihood had the bet been placed #4 he would have probably stumbled out of the starting gate and quit the race.
Hits and Misses – June 24th
The Big Plan for the day was to head downtown and take in the Parliament Buildings and whatever other famous landmarks we could and finish the day at the RCMP Sunset Ceremony and Musical Ride. Unfortunately by the time we arrived downtown the free tour tickets for the Parliament Buildings were gone for the day.
For those who had never seen the Parliament Buildings (LL and BBB) before a bit of disappointment was in store, as much of the area was under construction and along with the large stage set up for the Canada day celebrations did an admirable job reducing the grandeur of Parliament Hill.
Alternative number 2, the Supreme Court, held the same result so we toodled down to the Canadian War Museum. Toodled is really a misnomer as we actually scurried as best as possible in the oppressive heat and humidity to the Museum.
The Canadian War Museum by no stretch of the imagination should be seen as a 3rd choice as it stands out as a magnificent tribute to the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country. Regardless of whether one believes wars are or are not necessary evils, the Museum exhibits and in particular the recorded words of our veterans, will touch you and stay with you.
Unfortunately most of the pictures taken at the Museum did not turn out well due to lighting and camera ISSUES. The Camera Issue arose after the captain inadvertently dropped it on the concrete. Bad Boy.
Our time at the Museum was far too short as we had to catch a bus to the other end of Ottawa for the RCMP Sunset Ceremony Musical Ride. This event which also included exhibitions of service dogs and horses was not only a real delight but also free.
After a long day we settled in back at Camp Casino to the heavy reverberating beat from the Escapade Musical Festival at the racetrack before hitting the sack.
Parliament and Supreme Court Tours – June 25th
Having learned our lesson from the previous day we arrived downtown fairly early and joined the already long and growing line for free tickets for the Parliament Buildings Tour. Our tour time allowed for us to take in the Supreme Court Tour (another freebie) in the interim and the schedule worked out just fine.
The hour long guided tour of the Parliament Buildings was really insufficient to provide an opportunity to take the time to appreciate the stunning architecture and history of the buildings and its historical figures. Tours were started every 10 minutes and lingering was not encouraged. Also for those of us old enough to remember being in the Parliament Buildings in times past; when the only security required was that which was provided by the Corps of Commissioners, would likely be dismayed by the heavy presence of the Parliament Protection Services. Arguments can be made pro and con but in this writers opinion armed camps are not great representations of a free and open society. Despite the excellent view from the Peace Tower we were unable to obtain a sighting of Big Joe Mufferwa.
Afterwards, a quick stop at the Sparks Street Rib Fest for LL and BBB to devour what they would describe as some very tasty ribs before heading south to meet with CC’s brother Jim for coffee at one of the innumerable Timmies coffee shops. A short but enjoyable visit was had with Jim as he regaled us with stories of thrifty garage sale shopping and adventures of his 14 years of life on the road as a semi pro hockey player.
Back to the Casino for another quiet evening and good night’s sleep but this time in addition to the music we were rocked out of bed around 11:00 pm by a fireworks show that seemed to explode just outside the RVs.
Sleepy Cedars – June 26th
Moved just down the road today to the Sleepy Cedars Family Campground to hookup and replenish. Another overnight stop on the 27th in Cornwall, Ontario and the eastward journey for an overnight visit with friends Andre and Danielle in Quebec signifies the unofficial start of the MMM (Maritime Madness Marathon).