With an early start from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, I made my way through Canadian Customs where it's a miracle that I was allowed into the country with my vehicle as packed to the gills as it was, looking like I was ready to move in. It was a long haul through hours and hours of countryside, over roads that alternated from good to not so good, sometimes moving right along, sometimes not.
By the end of the day -- and I do mean the end of the day . . . like around 8pm or so, I finally made my way into Ottawa, Ontario for the first time. I headed straight downtown to the Parliament Hill area to view the picturesque Government buildings that give the city its decidedly British appearance. But as I explored the nearby neighborhoods such as Bank Street and the Preston Street area, I discovered just how quickly the city shows its eclectic ethnic mix. These lively areas were filled with an endless array of Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Italian restaurants along with crowds of people enjoying the warm summer evening.
Still weary and a bit jangled from the road though, I dove into a British pub that looked particularly inviting and eased my aches with a few pints of good ale and possibly the most comforting dish there is: Shepherd's Pie. I was so glad I did.
On reflection, and with no offense intended, it seems that job #1 for Ontario should be to improve the quality of its roads. I do believe after we all suffer the inevitable repercussions of a global debt liquidation, Canada will rightly assume a much greater presence on the world stage, possibly at the expense of America. Perhaps a longer term view would allow for preparations to begin now.
As for the drive through the greater Montreal area on my way back into the States, much had changed since I'd last seen it a decade ago. The commercial real estate buildings lining both sides of route 40 all seemed brand new, looking shiny and sleek. And everywhere, everywhere I saw the words "A Louer." To let...for lease. Lot's of capacity, few takers. The theme continues.