45.4° N, 75.6° W
32°C – sunshine
I unloaded myself, dufflebag, tube of maps, and a box of books to sell in the ship’s gift shop, from the taxi at the Chateau Laurier at 06:50. The conference room that had seated 202 passengers the night before had been converted to a dining room with linen covered tables ready for passengers’ breakfast.
AC staff met in the grand ballroom to hear the day’s plans. The Pax (passengers) would be divided into groups for a walking tour, lunch, and a museum visit.
As my first tour started at 10:30 with photographer Marc Andre, I hung out in the grand ballroom sorting passengers luggage as they came in into the section related to which flight they would be on that evening.
Then, I headed out into the sunshine. I watched the Governor General’s foot guards marching up Elgin Street to Parliament Hill for the daily changing of the guard ceremony. The first musicians in the marching band were playing trombones, so texted a photo to my daughter (herself a trombonist), thinking it might be a potential summer job for her one day.
I returned to the hotel to join my group for the indigenous walking tour. We followed a young woman from Kahnawake who told us about the statue of Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant), Jessie Oonark’s beautiful wall tapestry hanging in the NAC foyer, and the National Aboriginal Veterans War Monument across from the Lord Elgin Hotel. I hadn’t known anything about any of these pieces, so it was enlightening.
Then, we trooped back to the Chateau and boarded a bus for lunch at the Royal Canadian Geographic Society on Sussex, a gorgeous building overlooking the Ottawa River near the Rideau Falls. There was a good exhibit of Roald Amundsen, recognizing that his success was largely due to what he learned from the Inuit when he and his men overwintered on eastern King William Island during his NWP voyage (1903-06).
Upstairs, where we ate our lunch, large photographs of key Canadian explorers hung on the walls. The images were all sliced into long lines, so it made your eyes go all ziggy as you looked at them. Nevertheless, I was delighted to see Capt. Bernier hanging over the pasta bowl on the serving table. Denis St. Onge was there and made a lovely speech, saying how envious he was that we would soon be sailing down the majestic Sondrestrom Fjord.
After lunch, we got back on the bus and headed to the Museum of History in Gatineau. Most Pax were interested in the exhibit about John Franklin’s disastrous NWP trip. It was my third time seeing it, but it’s good. I love how the Erebus is mapped out on the floor, so you can get the idea just how small the ship was.
The afternoon passed quickly and soon those of us catching the smaller first plane were on the bus to the charter terminal.
Just as we arrived at the terminal, it started to rain. It let up and we boarded, taxiing down the runway at 18:30. We refuelled in Iqaluit, then were Greenland bound.