Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ottawa, Montreal, and Reading Week

Reading week came by and I had this plan to get to Ottawa, and more specifically to skate the Rideau Canal, cuz I never have, and I figured I should at some point. Yes, been to Ottawa a few times, and it's a great city for getting out and about in, but never had the opportunity until now to actually get on the Rideau and experience the last weekend of Winterlude.

So, checked the weekend before for skates at home, and apparently they've been out of commission so long they no longer fit. We stopped on the way from Toronto to Ottawa in Kingston, and picked up some Canadian Tire specials... 

And Winterlude!

It was FREEZING in Ottawa (after an apparently double digit Celsius day before) so once settled into the hotel Tori and I only ended up venturing to Confederation Park where we quickly dipped inside a Yurt for some free SOUNDS OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM show! David Hickey, of Crystal Journey, played a short non-electric set for us all on his quartz crystal bowls and paiste gongs.

Obviously starving after that we attempted many a reservation upon Albert's suggestions (and where he actually got in to), we ended up taking another suggestion for Jak's Kitchen at Bronson and McLeod that hit the spot. Afterward, we took the chef''s suggestion and headed to the Market for some live music, a pint and a few Jameson's.

Smiles all around.

We were told the Rideau was closed due to weather on the Saturday, and although a bit nervous of the prospect of coming all the way up here without a Rideau run, Sunday 4.2 kms of the canal were open! After a bar brunch at a place I can't remember (where I had a lovely salmon and spinach omelette, along with about 6 cups of coffee) we jumped on the ice near Hawthorne Ave.

 Tori, happy to get on the Rideau for the first time in her life too.

It was pretty busy, at least near the mouth of the river, but it definitely was part of the experience. Also, I can't remember who gave the tip to bring your own skates (and not rent up there due to the lines), but it was pretty key.

Below is a brief video of our weaving through the crowd, and a dangerous attempt at skating backward. Really, who needs virtual reality?

 We ended up skating about 8.5 kms, skating as much of the available ice as we could that day, and that was more than enough for our tired legs we found out afterward.

So, next day, after a Scone Witch stop (recommended by Jowi and Sarah), more coffee, and helpful directions from a dude in Starbucks who used to live on Indian Road in Toronto, we headed for Montreal for the night, which was pretty awesome.

We stayed with Tori's friends Graham and Lindsay who took us out to an awesome Portuguese chicken place (where I was lucky enough to split that with some steak!), and after to a bar (and kitchen) where we discussed dreams, expectations, visions, Schrodinger's Cat AND ENTANGLEMENT all in one night! Amazing. Great night, and memorable for the most part!

Next day brunch, Montreal sight seeing, and exploring a tip of the multi-level Beaver Lake ice skating pad atop Mont Royal.

 Welcome to the danger zone! The things I did to that pylon...

Triple-axle attempt turned into a 1/2 spin air jump. That's perhaps the best description I have of that massacre.

The rest of Reading Week was pretty great too. Caught up in Contracts, and still had time to hang out with the guys for a night or two thanks to Dharam and Sophie hosting a get together at their place....

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