the ottawa contingent
Today we took the train to Ottawa to visit with my Aunt Maureen and Uncle Ulli.
We spent the morning prior to our train's departure walking around the campus of McGill University. Once again, it struck me just what a cheap and third-rate school I'd attended. I know it's not fair to compare then 25-year-old Brock (being, as it is, in a poor city) to one of the country's oldest and certainly its top-rated school, but .. wow. In the early morning before Mari and Kenny had woken, I'd looked into the cost of attending McGill compared to my old school. Surprisingly, McGill is actually cheaper than the modest university that Mari attended in Fukuoka. I was unable to determine the relative cost of Brock, because, well .. their website was down. McGill also has a stringent list of entry requirements that goes well past simple grades; Brock's, well again: "404 page not found".
Ottawa, by comparison with Toronto and Montreal, is such a small city that you tend to forget until you're driving around it. Our first visit was a Canadian Tire (a store that Kenny recognizes and can by now even pronounce) where we bought a booster seat for Kenny. He's outgrowing the full-size child seat that my mum bought (just in time for us to have a second child!) and in any case we couldn't drive the rental car around with him in Mari's lap. After that we did a quick spin downtown, following the river from below the city centre and past the official residences of the governor general and the prime minister. Along the way we were caught in a really torrential rain fall. To my lasting shame, we came upon a young lady waiting at a bus stop as the rain switched from pouring to insane - and we simply left her there.
The rain was so bad that we pulled into a view point looking over the river even though we couldn't see the river. There was no point in going any further when every passing car to completely blot-out the windshield with water.
After ooing and ahhing at the Parliament building and all of the other trappings of our twice-bought-and-paid-for government, we headed to Osgoode Ontario, well south of the city, where the Ottawa contingent lives. It's a pleasant village where we found the family dealing with a series of mechanical faults in water pump, the microwave, and the stove-top (Jenn-Air's abysmal lack of quality strikes again!). We had a fine salmon dinner and everyone enjoyed Kenny's antics (especially his playing with the new toys!).