Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, is buzzing with anticipation. In 2017, Canada will be celebrating its 150th anniversary of Confederation, a proud date of remembrance for most Canadians. “So what will you do, Kirk?”, I ask our guide Kirk Brant, of Indigenous Walks, at the start of our educational walk around downtown Ottawa. He smiles, then answers: “Oh, I’ll be gone fishing.”
The story of Ottawa, and indeed Canada, is not an easy one where the clash of cultures between the indigenous peoples of North America and early (European) settlers is concerned.
We have chosen to start our visit by learning more about a native perspective to the capital city of a nation, and to complete our understanding of indigenous heritage, beliefs systems and their continued importance in modern-day society.
To start with, Kirk explains that there are “more than 70 different indigenous groups across Canada. I myself belong to the Mohawk people. We are a people of fishermen: There rivers converge here in Ottawa, and they have always sustained our livelihood in this way. The spawning period of a certain type of sea fish, for instance, has marked our social & political gatherings at the same time. Ottawa has always been a place of meeting, of decision-making and of celebrations.”
“At least, there finally is recognition and debate about this. But the philosophical problem remains”, he continues. “It’s as if I took your car and drove around with it, acknowledging that it wasn’t the right thing to do, but nonetheless continuing to drive around in it.” Add that to the fact that you cannot really reverse, or undo, most of modern-day building etc., and you are stuck with a problem that is shared across many nations with a similar history of colonisation …
“At the same time, there are other stories. Take this statue of Joseph Brant here, for instance. I am his sixth generation relative, and he was considered a ‘noble savage’ back in his day during the 1700s. He traveled to see the English king and was both a war chief and a diplomat. Look at the style of hair he wears, can you see that? It is said to have inspired punk hair style up to this present day! We like to look at him as a ‘Father of Canada‘, for helping to ward off US invasion and side with the English back in those early days …!”
If in Ottawa, do not miss a (free) visit of the Parliament building.
After travelling in Canada for almost two months now, my arrival to the capital city feels like “completing a good part of the picture” so far. There are some impressions confirmed, open questions answered, and new insights gained. Visiting the Parliament building is therefore recommendable in a double sense: That’s if you want to learn more, and complete your (recent) “history lesson” of Canada, and / or simply wish to go for one of the city’s most iconic visitor attractions. Especially the library has proven to be exceptionally beautiful! Check this out.
Foodie Tips for my #Foodlover friends now. After all, what would reading an article from Creativelena be like, if there was no talk about food ..?
That’s right, my dear readers. And those of you who have been to Ottawa, will agree with me that a good foodie hub in town is the well-known Byward Market, virtually always bustling with activity – even on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Where to go and what not to miss? Here are some of our tips after “food-touring” the city for a couple of days.
Preparing our visit there, I did like their introductory video so much that I would like to share it with you here, too – an unusual, yet interesting take on foodie education & travel in Ottawa:
Finally, for all the happy women travellers out there, here’s where to stay & shop in style while in Ottawa!
Yes, I did hit the mall in Ottawa. No, I don’t usually do much of a shopping spree, preferring instead to explore the beautiful Canadian forests hiking, going for a camping adventure, kayaking or else. But I do admit that I loved buying a new winter coat for myself here in Canada, plus a pair of winter boots, woollen dress, tights .. and oh. Well. Every now and then, you have to treat yourself, right girls? Here we go.
Interested? Hungry? Thirsty for more? Have a look at my entire gallery of travel photos from Ottawa here:
I have also produced a travel video that highlights some of my travel adventures in Western Canada, all the way from Vancouver to the vast open plains east of the Rocky Mountains. A fascinating, funky take on what has truly been a life-changing journey. Enjoy with sound & smile 🙂
Disclaimer: I have been supported by Tourism Ottawa on this trip to the Canadian capital city. All opinions are my own.