Posted in Freedom Friday

Vacation Destinations

Living near the Canadian/U.S. border affords my family the perfect strategic point of departure for our vacations. Two hours away is the U.S. A couple of days’ journey we’re on the East Coast. Freedom Friday provides me the opportunity to share some of the vacation destinations we’re thinking about traveling to this summer.

Old Montreal / Place Jacques-Cartier - Vieux-Montréal
Old Montreal / Place Jacques-Cartier – Vieux-Montréal

In the past few years, our vacations consisted of visiting my wife’s family in Nova Scotia. If you’ve never been there, I suggest you hightail it over and enjoy some East Coast hospitality. When I went there for the first time to meet my future in-laws, I barely had enough time to see the splendor that Dartmouth and Halifax had to offer. It wasn’t until later years that I’d fallen to appreciate Citadel Hill, Peggy’s Cove, and the incredible view of the Atlantic Ocean.

We wanted to try something different this year, something closer to home, in fact. We didn’t want to take away from our weekend getaway destinations (Barrie, Ontario in the spring and Niagara Falls in the autumn), but we didn’t want to trek far either. Ah, the joys of travel, eh?

Rideau Canal overlooking the Ottawa River
Rideau Canal overlooking the Ottawa River

Two locations came to mind: Montreal, Quebec and Ottawa, Ontario. From our numerous journeys passing through these cities on our way to the East Coast, the idea grabbed hold of wanting to visit there one day.

Montreal is an amazing city I would recommend to anyone who is looking to enhance their cultural experience. The majority of its residence speaks French. I can get by ordering dinner, taking care of our accommodations, and asking for directions. It’s with the complicated matters I slip back into English, hoping the person I’m talking to will feel that I tried my best communicating with them in their own language. I’ve never had a problem. They’re great and a very warm people.

The hospitality in Montreal is equally amazing. One year, staying overnight, the hotel we’d chosen was reminiscent of an old-style ship. The hallways had portholes painted on the walls, railings affixed underneath. I felt as if I was on the Titanic, which incidentally was the top grossing movie of all time the year before. Coincidence? I think not. Nonetheless, the rooms had plush pillows, a spacious bathroom, generous closet space, and all the frills anyone could ask of a room. The hotel staff was superb with all our requests.

Which leaves Ottawa, our nation’s capital. We’ve never been. Not even overnight as we’ve done with Montreal. So, this may actually be where we’ll end up this summer. Having a peek at the vacation packages available online, I see a few attractions we may benefit from such as Rideau Canal, Parliament Hill, Canadian War Museum, Ottawa River Parkway, Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Notre Dame Basilica, National Gallery of Canada, National War Memorial, Peace Tower, Changing of the Guard, Laurier House, Rideau Hall, National Arts Centre, etc.

I’m excited already! This trip is a homeschooler’s delight, and I can’t wait!


Have you ever been to Ottawa? Do you have any recommendations of attractions to visit?