Rambling thoughts about Ottawa...

Here are a few rambling thoughts that have been in my head about our experience thus far in Ottawa:

First, I love this town - I am totally blown away - it is beautiful architecturally, it is diverse culturally and it is small enough to feel livable.  With a metro population of one million plus there is a real groove happening. And throw in the massive University of Ottawa and things get even better.

Second, I am a total sucker for the Modern Gothic style of buildings that dominate Parliament Hill (and some of my favorite universities and seminaries.) And the use of gardens and trees amidst the canals and river make this a visually stunning city.

Third, it is a city struggling with bi-lingualism.  Apparently 37% of the folk can speak both English and French and both languages are the dominant ones for official business.  Over the last week I've read that the rest of Canada has not been nearly as successful with embracing the challenge of bi-lingual living.  Clearly there are Francophone and Anglophone areas of Montreal where both tongues are used - in Ottawa, too - but Ottawa isn't fighting the historic domination of England.  This, perhaps, gives them a greater freedom in experimenting with bi-lingualism?  (We finally found a few good short histories of Canada as well as Ontario and Quebec today so... more to come.)

Fourth the museums and artistic venues that we have stumbled upon are amazing.  What's more, there is a very deep liberal and/or progressive groove running through town that is neither oppressive, precious or so overtly PC like some places in the US where you can't breathe for fear of the Brain Police. I want to check out the United Church of Canada realm with my friends to get their take on that world as their insights will give us more perspective.

And fifth Ottawa is closer to Di's family than Montreal.  When vacation 2012 part two takes place - our unfocused exploration of retirement locales - we may spend some more time in this area as well as the land of western Quebec.  (NOTE:  after some serious prayer and discernment - and some discussions with my church council - I'm not planning on retirement for another 5+ years.  That said, we want to start exploring our options now because 5  years will evaporate in no time, yes?)

We spent today wandering through the Glebe neighborhood - and loved it.  And now we're off to take in some live blues at a smokin' local club.  Tomorrow is our last night in Canada and we'll take a trip out into the countryside before rockin' the night away.  Blessings abound.

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