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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

#MyOttawa: An aboriginal, artful & appetising visit of the Canadian capital city.

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.”

Out & about with "Indigenous Walks" Kirk Brant, who fills us in on interesting facts and encourages philosophical debate ...

Out & about with “Indigenous Walks” Kirk Brant, who fills us in on interesting facts about his background as a member of the Mohawk indigenous people, encouraging many a philosophical debate …

 

... pointing out indigenous peoples' participation in Canadian wars overseas ...

… pointing out indigenous peoples’ participation in Canadian wars overseas, the memorial here commemorating this fact …

 

... as the plight of many indigenous groups up until this present day:

… as well as the plight of many indigenous groups up until this present day: “There is a lot of unceded land that has essentially been taken from Aboriginal people in Canada during the early period of settlement”, Kirks reminds us of an important issue during the Indigenous Walking Tour.

 

“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 …!”

Thank you, Kirk, for such an interesting and insightful walking tour ...

Thank you, Kirk, for such an interesting and insightful walking tour …

 

... and isn't the season just encouraging anyone to go out and enjoy the natural environment anyway?

… and isn’t the season just encouraging anyone to go out and enjoy the natural environment?

 

From where the tour ends, near Parliament Hill ...

From where the tour ends, near Parliament Hill …

 

... we make our way across the river to visit the Museum of Canadian History, shaped in the form of an eagle head at its entrance area ...

… we make our way across the river to visit the Museum of Canadian History, shaped in the form of an eagle at its entrance area …

 

... encouraging our continued learning ...

… encouraging our continued learning …

 

... and appreciation of indigenous art & culture ...

… and appreciation of indigenous art & culture, as displayed across the exhibition areas.

 

Oh Canada, you vast natural beauty !!

Oh Canada, you vast natural beauty !!

 

Love this view of the museum, too, seen from the top of the Peace Tower at the Canadian Parliament building.

Love this view of the museum, too, seen from the top of the Peace Tower at the Canadian Parliament building.

 

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.

Avoid the queues: If you come in the early morning, that is 09.00 a.m. ...

Avoid the queues: If you come in the early morning, that is before or around 9.00 a.m. …

 

... you will find that you have most of the building "to yourself", still ...

… you will find that you have most of the building “to yourself”, still …

 

... loved the library on our visit: What a beautiful part of the building!

… loved the library on our visit: What a beautiful part of the building!

 

As well as the views from the top: This is where the "House of Commons" will move too, by the way, as the old Parliament will be restored soon.

As well as the views from the top: This is where the “House of Commons” will move too, by the way, as the old Parliament will be restored soon.

 

Parliament Hill ...

Beautiful Parliament Hill: Wonder where Justin Trudeau would have been that morning ..? 😉

 

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.

Byward (Food) Market ...

Byward (Food) Market …

 

is a sizzling place filled with foodie delights, such as this recommendation to go for (weekend) brunch at "Denny's Bistro": Well worth your while for their healthy, delicious brunch menu.

… is sizzling with foodie delights, such as this (weekend) brunch at “Denny’s Bistro”: Well worth your while for their healthy, delicious brunch menu.

 

Another tip for lunch is "Play", a great place to share a meal paired with excellent beer & wine recommendations.

Another tip for lunch is “Play”, a great place to share a meal paired with excellent beer & wine recommendations.

 

Not far from Byward Market, "The Library Café" ...

Not far from Byward Market, “The Library Café” …

 

... serves delicious "Canadian Breakfast", if hearty breakfast options is more your thing.

… serves delicious “Canadian Breakfast”, if hearty breakfast options is more your thing. Mmmh, getting hungry again now!

 

For something a bit more unusual (and if you wanted to take a lovely walk), try eating at, and visiting, "Le Cordon Bleu", Ottawa's Culinary Arts Institute and a cradle of exciting new master chefs!

For something a bit more unusual (and if you wanted to take a lovely walk through some of the city’s beautiful residential areas), try eating at, and visiting, “Le Cordon Bleu”, Ottawa’s Culinary Arts Institute and a cradle of exciting new master chefs!

 

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.

The occasional, happy shopper in me says: Go to "Anthropologies" Ottawa for a different kind of style and design, away from the standard rangers found across most of the other shops around.

The occasional, happy shopper in me says: Go to “Anthropologies” Ottawa for a different kind of style and design, away from the standard rangers found across most of the other shops around.

 

... and if it is something "essentially Canadian" you want, then you must stop at "Roots", offering comfy clothes for indoor and outdoor pursuits.

If it is something “essentially Canadian” you want, then you must stop at “Roots”, offering comfy Canadian branded clothes for indoor and outdoor pursuits.

 

To carry on the fashion promise, go & stop at the brand new "Alt Hotel Ottawa" ...

To carry on the fashion promise, go & stop at the brand new “Alt Hotel Ottawa” located on Slater Street, right beyond Parliament Hill (yep, that’s me there sporting my new boots, my new coat, and my happy usual smile ..! hehe) …

 

... a hotel whose rooms are modern & comfortable ...

… Alt hotel rooms are modern & comfortable …

 

... and we found the staff to be very friendly and always ready to answer any of our questions. Thank you so much for the warm welcome!

… and we found the staff to be very friendly and always ready to answer any of our questions. Thank you so much for the warm welcome!

 

So yes, visit Ottawa. #MyOttawa, that I have really liked and would return to any time.!

So yes, visit Ottawa. #MyOttawa, that I have really liked and would return to visit any time.!

 

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.

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
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