About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

O is for Ottawa, Canada's Capital City

In 1986, my husband had a wonderful opportunity to move to Ottawa, Ontario, our country's capital city, to work for three years as a representative of BC's telephone company. Our whole family was excited as we'd never been there before and we knew it would be a fantastic educational experience for our two daughters, ages 9 1/2 and 6 at the time.

We arrived on July 1, 1986, and went straight to the Parliament Buildings to take in all the pomp and ceremony of our nation's birthday. The girls had their photo taken with an RCMP officer, all decked out in his official attire. They waved their Canada flags along with all the other party goers and we had a great day. However, it was so hot that we finally had to retire to our air-conditioned hotel room - after treating ourselves to ice-cream, of course.

Ottawa is a very interesting city on the banks of the Ottawa River that runs between Ontario and Quebec. Having very extreme temperatures, we found that winter was the most fun. If and when you adapt to the icy cold, there really is a lot to do there. One of the most fun days we had was when we took the girls to the Winter Festival on the Rideau Canal. In winter, a section of the Rideau Canal passing through central Ottawa becomes officially the world's largest skating rink and here is the family in front of the sign that reads, "The World's Longest Skating Rink 7.8km" and for those who don't know metric, that's almost 5 miles long.

Our house was made of brick, which seemed unusual to us, coming from the West Coast where houses are mainly built with wood. But we quickly felt at home. Our front lawn had quite a steep slope so once the snow hit, out came the new sleds and snowsuits and the girls and their friends had a great time sliding down.


When the deep deep freeze set in, my husband thought it would be fun to make a skating rink for the girls in the back yard. A lot of fathers would run a hose on top of the snow so their kids could skate around, but my husband was not one to do that. He got out his brand new snow blower and worked on that rink for days! Here he is starting the rink by blowing all the snow aside.


Then he hosed the area down and let it freeze. But, no! The rink was not ready yet. Every night after work he'd go out in the dark and scrape that ice rink smooth. He'd have the hose to fill in little holes and cracks until he was satisfied that it was the best rink he could possibly make. And even after the girls started skating on it (and all the neighbourhood kids came over to try it out, too, because word got around), he'd still go out every night to "fix" the rink so that no one would trip on a hole and hurt themselves.

So day in and day out, if the girls weren't at their formal figure skating lessons, they were outside skating! I'd call them in for dinner and then they'd go outside and skate in the dark. Well, it wasn't really dark because their Dad set up a lighting system so they could see to skate out there in the dark. And, since their Dad was a hockey fanatic, he bought them hockey sticks so he could play with them, too.
We had lots of other adventures during our 3 years in Ottawa, and I will post about other places we visited when the alphabet fits. Hope you enjoyed this little sojourn in Ottawa and I recommend you visit the city and its environs to see all it has to offer.
ABC Wednesdays is brought to you by Mrs. Nesbitt.

40 comments:

ellen b said...

Nice, What great old photos you have of your time in Ottawa. Perfect choice for O...

Josie said...

Oh, Leslie, that's wonderful! Imagine having your very own skating rink in your back yard, and with well-groomed ice as well. My dream come true! :-)

You know, I have always wanted to skate along the Rideau Canal. How lucky for you, that you have done that.

I have never been to Ottawa. I have gone past it on a train, and I have seen it from a distance, but I have never been there. Come to think of it, the first time I went past Ottawa in a train was in August 1987. You must have been living there then.

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

Ahhh... wonderful post. Never been to Ottawa... probably never will but it is nice to hear your story of the past... it was nice. I have never gone East and find Western Canada just perfect!
I loved your photos of yesteryear, they were great. Must be wonderful memories for you.
The Rocky Mountain Retreat

Dirty Knees said...

Ottawa is an a fun city to visit...but I can't imagine living there. You make it sound like a good thing to do!

leslie said...

Thanks Ellen.

Fancy that, Josie! Yes, we were living there then! I didn't skate on the canal - or anywhere else for that matter - because it was right after I'd had my (first) back surgery.

Michele, yes Western Canada is the perfect place to live, but it was fun for 3 years.

dirty knees - it was fun, but I wouldn't want to live there forever. The weather is just too extreme. You never see anyone with a tan in the summer because they're all staying cool in their air-conditioned offices or homes. But the tans come out in winter when people return from trips to Florida and the Caribbean.

Mari said...

Lovely flashbacks.

Neva said...

What a great O....love the red coat!
Mine are up ..
Neva 1
neva2

Autumn said...

What a nice post. I enjoyed seeing your family and hearing about Ottawa

Ida said...

Wonderful post! :)
It looks like you had a good time in Ottawa. Great!

Anonymous said...

This brought back great memories! I loved skating in the backyard. We really were lucky kids. The pics of the house also reminded me of our summer after-lunch french lessons you gave, to prep us for Eastern school. We would have to name all the household items you would put on the kitchen table...condiments, cutlery, clothes, toys....I really thought it sucked at the time, but we were prepared for French class come September. Thanks mom! Jamie

Blue said...

Interesting post TY for sharing.
I'ts always nice to revisit old photo's.

Ackworth Born said...

Personally I hate skating and icy conditions - don't mind a bit of snow - I think you may have put me off ever visiting Ottawa in person - but no matter - the virtual visit via yourself is satisfying in itself.

imac said...

Its great to visit other people in other Countries, Very interesting Post for O.

Please fly over to visit my O.Post.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Wow. I was in Ottawa from 1990-1994. Just missed you guys as it were. I would love to live in Ottawa. Cycling in spring, canoeing in summer, hiking in the autumn colours and skating in winter. Apart from the winters being a little long. It was the best place I ever had the opportunity of staying for a period. Thanks for the post.

Picturing of Life said...

I never visit Ottawa before...Maybe someday ;) Your O post is great

Will you visit mine Thanks

david mcmahon said...

Been to many places in the wonderful country, but ain't never been to Ottawa - not yet!

RuneE said...

A really cosy history - felt almost like home!

Texas Travelers said...

Nice choice for "O".
The story is even better. A wonderful family tale that even the great-grandchildren will hear.

Troy and Martha

Judy said...

Super photos. My kids would love all that snow and to play hockey outside.

John said...

Wonderful O post today Leslie!

Trubes said...

That was one of your best 'posts' to date Leslie, I just loved it, wonderful pictures too!
What a 'fab' thing to have in your garden, your very own skating rink.
Wow! I'm really impressed, especially with the supreme effort, made by your husband.
He must have been quite a guy, so sad for you, your two lovely girls and gorgeous grandchildren that you lost him so soon.
Memories do live on forever though, thankyou for sharing them with us.

Di.xx

PS: I have posted a new little anecdote for you to read on my site, hope you enjoy it!

Petunia said...

Wonderful!
Great reading and great pictures:)

Miss_Yves said...

Interesting post and great photos...
I'd like to visit Canada ...but not during winter!
miss Yves

Daryl E said...

Wonderful O .. :-Daryl

Liz said...

Looks like you had a wonderful - if chilly - time in Ottawa.

Katney said...

A great opportunity. Even though the same country, it's close to being a different sort of culture between east and west. You would think that you were the adventurous ones living in the "wild" west, but having a big city adventure is something it looks like you made the most of.

ExpatKat said...

Thanks for the visit to Ottawa. Looks lovely.

Jay.Cee said...

Ah the memories...I remember eating "Beaver Tails" on the Rideau when we got hungry after skating. And daddy did an awesome job on that rink - a memory that will last a life time!!

Jamie - I TOTALLY don't remember the french lessons!! I do, however, remember sitting at the kitchen table one evening having milk and cookies and you made me laugh so hard milk came spouting out of my nose!!!

Pernille's ting og tang said...

Wonderful photos and nice story. Perfekt O from you to day:)

Sorry I'm late with my comment, but I had a very bust day:)

starnitesky said...

Your own skating rink - that is amazing what fun for everyone.

Ruth D~ said...

Great memories, Leslie. Photos are a great memory jogger.

AVCR8TEUR said...

Just yesterday I was talking with my friend about visiting Ottawa someday. I have never seen a Mountie before. :D

leslie said...

Thanks, everyone, for all your kind comments. I'm glad you've enjoyed my entry for the O day...as you can see if you read the comments, both my daughters commented and they have great memories of their time in Ottawa. I'll try to get around to everyone, but I've been SO busy today and will have another couple of busy days, so if I don't make it over to your place, please don't take offense. I'll do better next week. Have a great week! :D

Sharon said...

What a wonderful post! the picturew help lots of great memories. I can tell from the way you write about it you loved it there. Do you miss it much?

Jan said...

Leslie, what a great post. I've never been to Ottawa, but I'm putting it on my list. I think I'll visit in the summer.

Sienna said...

What a wondrful read, and Ivan lives there somewhere too, or maybe nearby.

Such fun to have your own rink, and an amazing skill to play hockey and skate, just totally foreign here-am a keen hockey player, spend a lot of time face down (tripped and fell), in red earth. :)

Pam

Cathy said...

Ottawa looks beautiful. We visited Toronto 2 years ago and were deeply impressed with Canada's beauty and how friendly everyone was.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

What wonderful memories you must have of that time, Leslie - and your children obviously enjoyed it so!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

What wonderful memories you must have of that time, Leslie - and your children obviously enjoyed it so!

kml said...

Great post with many memories for you!