Travel Blog - Canada

Canada has always been a country I have wanted to visit. Although it seems like an easy international place to travel to from the United States, I found myself buying flights to Ottawa, Ontario two months ago to visit my boyfriend's family. After my five day visit, however, I don’t know why I didn’t visit Canada earlier. 

Leaving Denver International Airport during an unusual windstorm, I solidified the fact that I hate flying. I had my handy Apple Watch on which indicated my heart rate went into “fat burning mode” during take-off. At least I got a little exercise session in? I had a connecting flight in Chicago, but due to the wind, our flight was delayed, and I ran through the airport to catch my connecting flight. Two hours later, I made it to the Ottawa airport, which was a lot smaller than I expected. What surprised me the most, however, was how easy it was to get through customs. Five kiosk stations and two border control officers made up the Canadian customs. After a few short questions on the kiosk, I handed my passport to the officer and was on my way. 

As expected, Canada was freezing. As soon as I stepped out of the airport, my face was met by an unfriendly sting. The following day, when I decided to tour the city, I dressed for the weather (which included 2 pairs of leggings underneath a pair of jeans) and still felt the bone-chilling cold. Besides the weather, however, Ottawa was a beautiful city to visit. I found a slight resemblance to the city of Washington D.C. They had old, historical buildings intermixed with the modern skyscrapers. Parliament was made up of several cathedral-like buildings that had the most beautiful architecture. The main difference I found between the U.S. and Canada, is that they had little to no security surrounding the government buildings. I even walked up to the back of Parliament and touched the cold stone. 

I was told that you cannot visit Ottawa without going to the Canal which is turned into a huge skating rink during the winter. Unfortunately, it was closed during my stay but was still beautiful to see. My boyfriend and I stopped by a Beaver Tail stand to pick up a Canadian delicacy. Puff pastry topped with cinnamon sugar was the way to go to treat my sweet tooth. The pasty was shaped like a Beaver Tail, giving it its name. 

After visiting Ottawa, we crossed into Québec to visit a house in the small town of Montebello. Good thing I took some French classes in college because there was no English speaking here. Even the street signs were all in French. For dinner, we stopped at a French-Canadian restaurant where I had my first experience with Poutine. If you are not familiar with this Canadian dish, it is pretty much just fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. Not going to lie, it was not my favorite, but at least I could say I tried it. 

After 5 short days in Canada, I jam-packed as much Canadian culture as I could into my trip. Ice skating at a rink, visiting Parliament, eating Poutine and a Beavertail, snowshoeing, and speaking a bit of French. I did notice that maple syrup is very popular, everyone is extremely nice, and that it is extremely cold. I can put to rest, however, that Canadians do not, in fact, live in Igloos. Although, they do skate to school. If you ever have the chance to visit Canada for yourself, I would highly recommend it. Just make sure to dress warm!