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July 19, 2016 / Jim Fenton

Great Lakes Day 10: Montreal to Ottawa

June 28, 2016

Olympic Park, Montreal

Olympic Park, Montreal

We planned two nights in Ottawa, and it’s only a couple hours’ drive from Montreal, so we spent much of the day in Montreal. After breakfast, we took the Métro to the Olympic Park, where the velodrome has been converted into a museum called the Biodôme. The Biodôme is divided into five general sections (habitats). My favorites were those that represented Canadian habitats: the Laurentian Maple Forest, Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Labrador Coast. The latter habitat seemed to include a penguin exhibit. We love penguins, except they didn’t really fit, being exclusively southern hemisphere birds.

BiodomeBeaver

Beaver at the Biodôme

As we continued walking around the Olympic Park, we noticed that it is showing some wear since its construction for the 1976 Olympic Games. It also struck us that the scale of the facility, while necessary for the Olympics, is not optimal for much else. Nevertheless, Montreal has done a very good job of adapting the venues to new uses, as they have done with the Biodôme.

After taking the Métro back and getting some lunch, we set out for Ottawa. Once again, our timing with respect to storms was perfect; it started raining just as we picked up the car. Aside from some minor flooding, the trip was uneventful.

Checking into our hotel in Ottawa, we were told of the many tourist things to do, conveniently walking distance from our hotel: visit Parliament, the National Gallery of Canada, Royal Canadian Mint, Canadian Museum of History, etc. But a little while later, we realized that President Obama is coming to visit Ottawa tomorrow, and all of these attractions are closed. Our timing seems to be bad, but who thinks of checking the President’s travel schedule when planning their vacation?

We had dinner at The Highlander Pub, a nearby Scottish-themed pub, where they had a pub trivia contest in which we did rather poorly, but had a great time. We decided that we should find places near home to do this.

This article is part of a series about our recent vacation in the Great Lakes area. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

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