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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saturday Drive

Pleasant, on an unusually mild winter day, to divert from the usual. Of necessity, regardless. We took pleasure in driving uptown on Saturday because we needed some items procurable only in specific places. Stained glass and lead which are available only in those few shops in the uptown area that sell them. And the latest issue of a favourite art magazine whose last several issues have been missed.

So after our usual Saturday-morning rituals, and following our morning ravine walk with our two little dogs, littering peanuts in all the usual cache-places for the woodland's squirrel population, all patiently awaiting us this benign weather-day, off we embarked for an uptown drive. No more pleasant drive actually than one along the Ottawa River parkway.

Where all manner of conifers and deciduous trees grow in the parkland alongside both the river and the parkway, and where, occasionally, we can see deer or red foxes heading into the heavily wooded areas. Where people are wont to picnic or bicycle, or run or sunbathe in the summer months, and ski and walk their dogs in the winter.

We pass the RCMP stables and there is one lone black horse out in the pasture, all others padlocked. We pass the odd new building warehousing Canada's aeronautical museum displays, the winged-white colour of the structure melding with the pewter sky and the surrounding snowfields.

Accessing uptown, we drive along Sussex Drive, passing the Peace Memorial, the Royal Mint, the Agha Khan's sparkling new crystal-domed architectural bow to Islamic history. We are both amused and amazed to see the numbers of tourists circling around the Eternal Flame in front of the Parliament Buildings and heading off to various other sites.

The broad and mighty Ottawa River is ice- and snow-covered for much of its length and width, and there are ice huts sitting on it at various locations. And when we pass the Chaudiere Falls the river is wide open, roiling, blue-black and thunderous. Beside the river, alongside its banks, there are ribbons of parkland, and lovely old trees.

We pass the new War Museum at LeBreton Flats, and before too much longer, arrive at our destination. A pleasant diversion, this occasional drive, but particularly so in winter with its monochromatic scenery off the river, and its lively presence through downtown Ottawa.

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