Canada: A Boat Tour of the Thousand Islands(4)

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Uploaded on September 11, 2008 by sqcanada

The last day of our Eastern Canada bus tour (August 10, 2008) started very early. After our early morning wakeup call we were scheduled for a 6:45 am departure. By mid-morning we had arrived in Ottawa where our first stop was at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. We had about an hour to explore the most visited museum in Canada which was nowhere near enough to really take in the various exhibits and interactive displays that showcase 20,000 years of human history. The Grand Hall welcomed us with its architectural grandeur and a dozen totem poles. In the First Peoples Hall we explored the history of Canada’s aboriginal peoples, and the Canada Hall illustrates Canadian history through a variety of recreated streetscapes that authentically reproduce different eras in Canada’s history. We did not have enough time to explore the fourth level where “Face to Face”, The Canadian Personalities Hall, introduces dozens of significant individuals that have shaped Canada’s history. Just before boarding our bus again I literally run outside the museum to quickly capture a picture of the stunning view of Ottawa’s Parliament Buildings across the river.

Parliament Hill was indeed our next destination where we stopped right in front of the main entrance, the Queen’s Gates. During our 20 minute stop we had a chance to walk up to the Centre Block, constructed between 1865 and 1927, which contains the House of Commons and Senate Chambers as well as the Peace Tower and Library of Parliament. Flanking the wide quadrangle on the right is the East Block, housing the senator’s offices, and on the right side is the West Block, which contains ministers and MP’s offices and meeting rooms. Behind the Centre Block are a number of statues of important Canadian statesmen, and a walkway on top of the cliffs that features a gorgeous view of the Ottawa River and the City of Hull on the other side.

Time was short, so we had to get back on the bus to make it to our next stop: a sightseeing cruise through the Thousand Islands, an archipelago about 80 km downstream from Kingston. Around 1800 islands dot the St. Lawrence River here, and in 2002 the Thousand Islands-Frontenac Arch region was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

The most popular attraction on this cruise is Boldt Castle on Heart Island that was initiated by George Boldt, the wealthy Prussian-born owner of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in New York City. In 1900 Boldt started construction on one of the largest private residences in America as a gift to his wife, Louise Kehrer Boldt. However, construction was stopped in 1904 when she suddenly died. For the following 73 years the estate was abandoned and exposed to harsh weather and vandalism. In 1977 finally, the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority finally purchased Heart Island and has been restoring it ever since. Today the castle is a prime tourist attraction and has been furnished again since 2006, however, mostly with modern pieces.

After our boat tour we got back on the bus and arrived back in Toronto in the early evening. Despite the very compressed schedule, our Eastern Canada tour had given us a great bird’s eye overview of some of the beautiful places that Eastern Canada has to offer. It gave us a few ideas of places to explore next time, when there is more time Distributed by Tubemogul.

Tags:
Canada, Ontario, Thousand, Islands, Canadian, Museum, Civilization, Parliament, Hill, Ottawa, Boldt, Castle, Travel & Outdoors
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