By Liana Sterling (INT ‘20)
Sleeping in a haunted jail hostel is not the only wild experience one can have in the city of Ottawa. As the capital of Canada, there are many things to do from historical tours, to the endless good food, and it’s only a 2 ½ hour bus ride away! On our recent weekend trip to Ottawa, we experienced it all. We toured the House of Commons, part of the cluster of governmental parliament buildings where committee meetings occur and laws are made. We toured the National Gallery, one of Canada’s premier art galleries with art from native tribes, local artists, as well as artwork from notable artists from around the world. We got lost in one of the largest malls in Ottawa, and ate the Canadian sweet-tooth delicacy also known as beavertails, fried dough covered with an assortment of toppings.
The renovated jail hostel that we stayed in provided free ghost tours, peaking almost everyone’s interests. We were able to see the regular jail cells along with solitary confinement and the rooms for women and children. There were several “back alleys” and random staircases to get lost in. Also to our surprise, the entire jail is open 24 hours, so ghost hunting was totally possible! A few of us wanted to go back and explore late at night when there would be limited activity, but it was an unsuccessful journey, as there were people actually ghost hunting with fancy beeping equipment. Because the building is extremely old, it make noises. The radiators pop, the wood panels creak, and the wind whistles. All these sounds convinced us that actual ghosts were running around. It left for some interesting stories the next morning.
Although just a short weekend, it was filled with fun new adventures all while escaping studies. With dinner provided, we were spoiled with good food as well as good company. My favorite part was just the sight seeing in
general. With our free time, many of us explored near our hostel, walking all around the Bayward Market where at the end was a fire and chairs open to the public to warm up. The Bayward Market was a similar experience to Faneuil Hall, you can find an amazing variety of foods from different cultures, everything from sushi, to pasta, to fancy Irish pubs. Not only was it bustling with people, but everyone seemed happy to be out enjoying the fresh air. Our group had circled back to get beavertails twice by the end of the trip, because who can resist fried dough!? I personally had one right before the National Gallery tour and one right before the long bus ride back.
The National Gallery was so big you could get lost. It felt like every room led to 3 others. We were shown Canada’s history through art, along with seeing works of world renown artists like Claude Monet and Jackson Pollock. It was amazing walking through all the works from local artists and native people of Canada as well as walking to the next room to see wild works from the United States. It’s well worth dedicating a whole day to the museum, as there’s an unlimited amount of things to see, or so it seemed.
No matter how you spend your time in Ottawa, you walk away feeling like you learned and tried a bunch of new things. Overall our trip to Ottawa was one for the books. If you get the chance to go, do it! You get the full Ottawa tourism package along with memories and maybe even some new friends. See if you can find any ghosts, or try a beavertail!