Back in Ottawa after a long winter away. Spring is a busy time in Ottawa, there are lots of festivals in the city, school groups touring and the city is preparing for the super busy summer tourist season. I missed the Parliament buildings over the winter so that was my first stop. I wanted to take a few pictures and visit some of the statutes. I am still amazed that picnics are commonplace on the lawn.
I was in my way to the Byward Market to get some Maple syrup and fresh produce for my dinner, when I noticed a large group at the war memorial. Being nosy as I am of course I walked over and asked a military police guard what was going on. It turns out Canada celebrates remembrance days for fallen soldiers from countries that fought beside them in times of war, like WWI or WWII. May 17th, it turns out is Remembrance day for New Zealand. There was a full remembrance celebration with a military band, moment of silence. It was really neat to see as I did not know Canada celebrated these extra remembrance days as theirs is November 11th.
Next was a walk past the locks, my favourite spot to relax with a sandwich in warm weather. I love being close to the water. I went next to Major hill park to check out the tulips. May is the tulip festival. There are events all over the city but most happen on weekends. The parks and streets are lined with thousands of tulips. Some cities have local artists decorate statues in Canadian cities, Calgary there are cows, Whithorse there are moose and Ottawa had Tulips. I was exiting the park when I heard my name called out. Part of the fun of my job is I can be halfway around the world and I have run in to people I know. This time it was two flight attendants.
We decided to go shopping on Sussex Drive for a bit and then meander towards the Market. I have said this before but I like the Byward Market for fresh fruits and veggies. In season that day were fiddleheads, an edible fern, yummy when boiled then sautéed with butter, wild garlic or ail des bois, in French, a mild garlic that many eat raw. The cheese shops were a must that day. I had a craving for cheese curds, one of the key components of the French Canadian pouting recipe. My last purchase was maple syrup, I had run out and had not been to Ottawa in a while. The cans are expensive this year. Canada had an unusually mild winter which meant there was a very short maple syrup season. It was well worth the $7 a can for the clear grade syrup. You need to walk around to see who has the best price. New this year are the farmer/producer and vendor signs the city has put up. I really like them. The signs tell you if each seller is a farmer/producer selling their own products or a vendor reselling goods but they do not make the goods themselves. It makes buying easier, I found, I like to support farmers and will pay a little extra to see them getting all the money for what they make.