We wanted to visit some of the important cities in Canada from Toronto. After some scouting around online, we narrowed down on a tour agency called Tours 4 fun. They were offering 3 day trips to these cities and so we booked with them. They cater predominantly to Chinese tourists . They did a good job overall.
We were picked up by the tour bus at Mississauga near the Chinese shops. Our first halt was at Kingston.
Kingston is a city in Ontario in Canada on the banks of lake Ontario at the mouth of the St Lawrence river. It is known as The Limestone City…due to its 19th century limestone architecture. It was a military post in the 16th century. It is called Kingston in honor of King George III. It was the first Capital of Canada . It prides itself in having a robust healthcare system and is home to a variety of educational institutions. At Kingston we saw the city hall,good lakeside homes like retirement communities, a marina and a locomotive exhibit.
The city hall is an imposing piece of neoclassical architecture with a prominent dome.It is the seat of local government in Kingston. It overlooks Lake Ontario which has a beautiful marina with lots of yachts anchored there.
The City Hall and Lake Ontario
An antique coach and a locomotive exhibit at Kingston
After spending about an hour in Kingston, we headed to Ottawa.
Ottawa city, the capital of Canada is located in Ontario on the banks of the Ottawa river.
We reached Ottawa by noon. After lunch at a restaurant , we proceeded to see the Canadian Parliament.
The Parliament is located on Pariament Hill on the banks of the Ottawa river in downtown Ottawa. In the foreground of the parliament building is the flame and water monument called Centennial Flame. The flame burns continuously and works with natural gas bubbling through water cascading underneath. The flame prevents the water from freezing in winter. It commemorates the hundredth anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.
The Canadian Parliament
The Centennial Flame
Next we visited the Museum of civilization also called Canadian Museum of History on the banks of the Ottawa River. It houses thousands of artifacts, archival documents, works of art and other ancient material relating to the indigenous people of Canada to the present time. Interactive shows related to Canadian History is another attraction at this huge complex.
Museum of Civilization
The Ottawa River seen from the museum
We next visited the Notre Dame Basilica…the largest and oldest church in Ottawa.
The Notre Dam Basilica
After the visit to the church, we proceeded to Montreal for an overnight stay.
Montreal is located in Quebec province and is predominantly French speaking.
We were put up at a hotel and next morning, we set off sightseeing Montreal.
We visited St Joseph’s Oratory. It is the biggest church in Canada built in Italian Renaissance style and has a copper dome which is one of the biggest church domes in the world. It is a National Historic Site. It is located on the highest point in Montreal located on Mount Royal.The insides of the Basilica is decorated with intricately carved murals. On display at the Basilica is a wall covered with thousands of crutches from those who were purportedly healed by the divine healing powers of Brother Andre.
Some restoration work was in progress when we visited and that can be seen in the picture
St Joseph’s Oratory
Next we visited the Olympic Tower….now known as Montreal tower, this is part of the Olympic games complex built for the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.…..and is the tallest inclined structure in the world.
This tower is inclined more than the Leaning tower of Pisa and the cables that hold the retractable roof of the Olympic stadium is suspended from the tower. The opening shot of this blog shows this …..
There is an observatory in the tower that can be accessed by an inclined elevator from where one gets a view of the Olympic village.
Montreal Tower and view of Olympic village from Montreal Tower
The Biodome which is located adjacent to the tower was our next destination.
This housed the velodrome for the 1976 Olympics and the track cycling and judo events were held here. After the Olympics, it was converted into the Biodome which showcases four miniature echo systems.These are filled with plants and animals found in these eco systems and visitors can walk through the different ecosystems and enjoy nature under a roof. Some of the featured ecosystems are…Tropical forest, Laurentian Maple forest, St Lawrence Marine,Labrador coast and sub antarctic islands.
So one can imagine….the range of plant and animal life residing there…from the parrots and monkeys of tropical forests to the fish of St Lawrence River to the penguins and puffins of subantarctic zone…Its a different world inside the Biodome…
The Biodome from outside and inside
Some inhabitants of the Biodome
After visiting the Biodome, we continued our journey across Canada to yet another iconic city...Quebec…
See you next week at Quebec…the quaint city
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