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How I Spent My Last Weekend In Ontario: Ottawa And Toronto

So I was in Ontario over the weekend and part of my itinerary was to make stops at Ottawa and Toronto. Ottawa is the capital city of Canada, while Toronto is the capital city of Ontario, also regarded as the most important city in Canada’s most prosperous province. Toronto is the country’s financial and commercial centre. Toronto is the number one top city in Ontario, followed by Ottawa.

My husband and children dropped me off at the airport.

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My flight was a direct flight to Ottawa, which was to depart by 7.30am on Friday. However, I was late for check in, so I could not board that flight. I was initially devastated because I was going to Ottawa primarily to renew my Nigerian international passport and I had taken Friday off work and decided to return on Sunday evening so as to resume work on Monday. So when I was told I was late, I thought I may not get a flight to Ottawa that day. Fortunately one of the West Jet airline staff was nice enough to check me in another flight which was leaving by 8.00am. The only issue was that I needed to fly to Toronto first, before taking another flight to Ottawa. For my original flight, I was to arrive Ottawa by 9.05am, but with the new arrangement, I was scheduled to arrive by 12.05pm, which I guess was better than not been able to fly to Ottawa that same day. Well, it was also an opportunity to see the Toronto Pearson international airport. The best part was that the new flight I was put on cost me nothing extra. Thank you West Jet.

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So we landed in Toronto and had a 90 minutes layover, after which we set out for Ottawa. There was a set of people at the airport’s arrival entrance who had write ups on a board in their hands to welcome us to Ottawa, how sweet. I indeed felt welcomed.

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I boarded a cab immediately to the Nigeria High Commission in Ottawa and the cab man is from Ethiopia and he made my ride enjoyable.

I was able to get my passport renewed, I wrote about my experience here (click).

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I also observed Jumah (Muslim Friday afternoon prayers) in Ottawa and I really enjoyed the Imam’s sermon which largely talked about parenting. I earlier wrote about my experience here (click).

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Even though I came to Ontario primarily to renew my Nigerian passport in Ottawa but I felt my trip would be incomplete if I didn’t also go to Toronto to do a bit of touring of the much talked about Toronto. So I went to Toronto by road, it was a 4 hour journey. Another Nigerian, Ibrahim who also came from Toronto to renew his passport dropped me off in Toronto. Thank you Ibrahim.

We got to Toronto around 8pm. I spent the night in Toronto at my cousin’s place. I think I last saw her in 2013 in Lagos, Nigeria and her kids in 2012 in Accra, Ghana, so it was great to see them again, it was a mini family reunion. Her 4 kids have all grown so big that 2 of them are now same height as me.

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The top picture was in 2012, while the below was taken last weekend.

By the next day, my cousin and her family took me round a bit. I experienced Toronto first hand. What a mega city, with many people all around, with few impatient drivers blaring the horn at the slightest chance. When someone honks (horns) at you in Halifax, it is a cause for alarm, so hearing horn every now and then seem to be a norm in Toronto but it felt odd to hear that. I almost thought I was back in Lagos . I also went on the bus and train. I saw so much hustle and bustle, to think that was on a Saturday. I wonder what it would have looked like on a weekday. It reminded me of the London Underground

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So since my return flight to Halifax was in Ottawa, I had to return to Ottawa so I left Toronto by 6pm on Saturday and arrived Ottawa by 10.20pm as we had a 20minutes break on the road.

I went by road with what they call the Ride Share (car pooling) option, by a company called S & F. I thoroughly enjoyed my ride with them. They surprisingly had uninterrupted wifi connection (so with the 4 hours trip, I watched almost all the wedding videos of Banky W and Adesuwa Etomi, thanks to Sisi Yemmie, who did a number of Youtube live videos of the much talked about celebrity wedding).

Meanwhile, Canada’s Parliament (where I visited) is on Wellington street in Ottawa, Ontario. That made me remember Banky W and Adesua, a.k.a Mr. & Mrs. Wellington.

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The ride also had charging ports, so I was able to charge my phone and iPad. They also had mini iPad for each passenger. What a beautiful ride it was. I would absolutely recommend this company incase you need a ride to Ottawa or Toronto.

We had a 20-minutes stop and I went into a Tim Hurtons to get a cup of hot chocolate and snacks. By this time, I was so tired as shown on my face here.

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My friend and his wife were my Ottawa hosts, they treated me to a great time in Ottawa.

My flight to Halifax was for 6.15pm on Sunday, so in the morning my friends took me out. First we had crepe for breakfast at Crepe De Licious in Rideau Centre. I haven’t had breakfast in a restaurant in a while, so this experience was refreshing and enjoyable.

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Then we set out to some tourist attraction sites like the Parliament Hill, ByWard market, Rideau Canal, National War Memorial, National Gallery of Canada e.t.c. It was a great experience. We also passed through the Prime Minister’s office, I wish I saw PM Justin Trudeau .

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Parliament Hill, colloquially known as The Hill, is an area of Crown land on the southern banks of the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa, Ontario. Its Gothic revival suite of buildings is the home of the Parliament of Canada and has architectural elements of national symbolic importance. Parliament Hill is said to attract approximately 3 million visitors each year.

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Originally the site of a military base in the 18th and early 19th centuries, development of the area into a governmental precinct began in 1859, after Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the capital of the Province of Canada.

ByWard Market is said to be home to over 600 unique shops, restaurants, personal services, professional services, and so much more. This is the heart of Ottawa.

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Established by Lt-Col. John By in 1826, the ByWard Market is one of Canada’s oldest and largest public markets.

Rideau Canal is a historic waterway filled with boaters spring through fall and the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink in winter – the Rideau Canal winds through the heart of Ottawa before connecting with the Ottawa River through dramatic stepped locks right next to Parliament Hill.

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The National War Memorial (titled The Response) is a tall, granite memorial arch with accreted bronze sculptures in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, designed by Vernon March and first dedicated by King George VI in 1939. Originally built to commemorate the Canadians who died in the First World War, it was in 1982 rededicated to also include those killed in the Second World War and Korean War and again in 2014 to add the dead from the Second Boer War and War in Afghanistan, as well as all Canadians killed in all conflicts past and future. It now serves as the pre-eminent war memorial of 76 cenotaphs in Canada. In 2000, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was added in front of the memorial and symbolizes the sacrifices made by all Canadians who have died or may yet die for their country.

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We also had lunch. We went home in the afternoon, so I could rest before heading back to Halifax. I had a 2 hours sleep and my friend and his wife dropped me off at the airport at about 5pm. This time I checked in online so as to avoid a late checking in again.

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My friends and I went into Fairmont Chateau Laurier hotel briefly to do something. As we stepped in, I was immediately blown away by the interior décor in the hotel’s reception. The first thing I said to my friend was, please take a picture of me here.

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To think we only went into just a part of the hotel. I wonder how the entire place is.

What a beauty! Luxury at its peak. So exquisite.

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I had a bit of delay at the security because the officer that checked my luggage said my bottle of contact lens solution raised concern. I was actually delayed for extra long with extra scrutiny. I guess that was one of my unpleasant experiences on this trip. In as much as I understand they were doing their job, but I was pissed for going through all that because of a bottle of contact lens solution. The same bottle of solution I had on when I travelled to Ottawa. Another thing I also notice during my air travels is that, my head scarf always raises a red flag because I sometimes get this funny look and extra check around my head simply because I have a scarf on. I wonder what my sisters in hijab have to deal with, if me with a head scarf go through this much check. I don’t blame the security modalities too much though, the world is getting crazier by the day.

It snowed in Ottawa that night, so the plane had to be de-iced which caused a delay in our flight. We were to depart by 6.15pm, but we couldn’t till about 7.15pm. It was a 90 minutes flight, so we arrived Halifax at about 9.45pm. Nova Scotia is 1 hour ahead of Ontario. It didn’t snow in Halifax but it rained.

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I was super happy to see my husband and children. It felt like I had left home for weeks, meanwhile it was just a 3-days (2-nights) trip. My children were already asleep though, my son woke up when we got home and my daughter saw me the next morning. You needed to see how she smiled at me immediately she woke up and saw me, it was such an emotional moment for me. Since I gave birth to her over 3 years ago, I had never left her for even a night. I have only been away from my son once in early 2012 or so when I went to Abuja, Nigeria for about 3 days.

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I enjoyed all my 3 flights (one to Toronto, one to Ottawa and the third back to Halifax). I sat by the window side on all 3 flights, the issue I have with the window side is the tingling sensation you get in your ears during take off and landing. I even got a special seat during my flight to Halifax with more leg room space.

It was my first time of flying alone. I always fly with my husband and/or my children. So this time, there was no husband or children, just me. So for the very first time, I was able to experience a wholesome flight, in the sense that I was able to look through the window, no children asking me to take them to the washroom or give them this or that,. No disturbance whatsoever. I savoured every minute of the flights. The only flight I slept for about 15 minutes on was the flight to Toronto because I woke up very early that morning, the other time, I witnessed the flight experience in whole.

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This is to specially thank my Toronto and Ottawa family and friends for making me have a swell time during my short stay. They all wowed me. Thank you so much y’all. May God bless, reward and replenish your pockets.

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Meanhwile, in as much as I like Toronto for its beauty and splendor, I am not sure I will be able to fit into the busy and fast life. I lived in Lagos all my life and I don’t miss the hustle and bustle of a mega city, so I am so content with my Halifax (at least for now), cool and serene life, a place where we know ourselves . No one unnecessarily honks (horns) at you, very patient and considerate drivers. My Halifax people are so sweet and kind (I am not saying otherwise for Toronto though ), so I am glad to be back in Halifax.

My Ontario people, not to worry, we shall be coming from time to time for vacation, that is the most for Toronto for now. I can still consider to live in Ottawa as it has some replica with Halifax though with more population, but the city still has the serene, orderliness and gentle touch and feel, and maybe other smaller cities in Ontario.

Well, the city of Toronto has about 14 million people, compared to the over 400,000 people that the city of Halifax has, so I guess that is the reason for the wide disparity.

Meanwhile, Canada is so big, to think you have to tavel as much as 4-6 hours within the same province (state). A country with 6 time zones. Well, I am not surprised, Canada is the second largest country in the world, so I guess such is expected. The fun part of road travel in Canada is that the roads are close to perfection.

I am happy I made the Ontario trip.

The four original provinces of Canada were New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario, when the nation was formed on July 1, 1867, by the British North America Act.

The first province I landed in Canada is Quebec on the 5th of August 2016, I live in Nova Scotia, I was in New Brunswick last summer (July 2017) and now I was in Ontario over the weekend. So I have visited the 4 original provinces that formed Canada. So, in total I have visited 4 out of the 10 provinces in Canada, that does feel good. More to come by God’s grace because I totally love travel and tourism.

Below are more pictures of my trip. I would be sharing some videos on my social media pages.

Thank you for reading, hope it was worth your while? It’s mid week already, enjoy the rest of your week.

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