Sunday 1 August 2010

Post-Birthday Treat-Canada East Tour Day One

Long weekends here are mostly spent in trips and our family had an enjoyable trip to the eastern part of Canada on the Simcoe-Civic Holiday. Some members of our Church (Servants of Christ Ministries – Toronto) went with us for the 3-day bus tour to Kingston-Ottawa-Montreal-Quebec-1000 islands last weekend. My kids (except for Lex who was cranky in the long bus ride) were cooperative and excited they woke up as early as 4:30 to prepare for the long day ahead.

Our group availed the Taipan Tours package and the meeting place was at Spadina. We took the TTC to get there. We got good seats near the front so that we could hear the Tour Guide very well (although some of the words were challenging because of her accent) and learned a lot about Canada and the places we’ve been to.

First stop – Kingston. This is an old city and used to be the Capital of Canada in the old days. We passed by prison and hanging tower where they used to hang criminals, Queen’s University, and the downtown where architectural structures were amazing. We saw the oldest hotel in town and still open to public. The town center has market stalls selling fresh goodies from fruits, maple syrups, honey and other souvenir items. We enjoyed posing in front of the Capitol and in the marina.

Next stop is Ottawa/Parliament Hill. I remember during the orientation we had before coming here to Canada, the Canadian speaker suggested that every immigrant must make an effort to visit the nation’s capital and see the Parliament hill. This is where all the laws, decrees and decisions are made for the welfare of every resident of Canada. For a moment there, I thought I felt patriotic but the scorching heat and the little time we had to roam around the city didn’t make up for an opportunity to reflect and think of my new country. Anyway, there’s still a chance for us to come back here, I’ll just save that moment when I come up close and personal with Canada’s capital. Loved the Parliament Building!

Next stop – City of Gatineau / Civilization Museum. I loved this Museum, well I keep saying that each time I come out of a museum and learned a lot from a place. My Aloysius appreciated it more because he already knew some of those we saw from his History class. He was telling me who that person is, what is that thing for? etc. I now know who the Pioneers, the Loyalists and the Aboriginals were. I also learned about Upper and Lower Canada and why it was separated at that time (and until now? Hahaha). We loved the view of the river from this place and the back of Parliament building which can still be seen from here. The summer sun and the cool breeze added to the perfect afternoon on the riverside while waiting for our bus.

Bye Ontario, Hello Quebec province! A few hours later we arrived in Montreal, we went to St. Joseph Oratory /Basilica – the second highest church in the world. I was telling Lito that this is where the Smallville season ender scene was taken – because I remember the altar where Clark Kent was lying down to be sacrificed because the secret about him was exposed to Lex Luthor. There, we learned about a certain Brother Andrew who was gifted with healing powers and healed those with clutches – the clutches were donated to the church and were displayed on the walls of the church as proof of the many people he healed and how he helped in building this church or was the church built in his memory, huh I got confused there. Anyway, we had a nice view of the city because the church is sitting on a mountain.

By 7:00 pm, we checked in our hotel – Ruby Foo’s and some of our companions enjoyed the dip in the pool. Our friend, Jho De Gracia-Ochoco from SGS visited us and we had a chit chat for an hour. We hope to be back here when Tita Jo arrives for more Montreal discoveries. Hit the sack early for another day.

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