Monday, 23 March 2015



Pine Tree Post | Travel

Over the past few years the citizens of the Place Under the Pine have started a tradition of visiting Ottawa during the March Break. Typically, they take a day or two to visit one of the many Museums and to go shopping. This year was not much different.
Thursday afternoon we found the travellers parked outside the Chapter's bookstore - not their regular haunt in Kingston - but, the location right in the heart of our Nation's capital. Why were they so excited to be there, at a typical looking Chapter's store?
The American Girl Store!
One of the three American Girl stores in Canada is right, smack dab, in the downtown Ottawa Chapter's store. The little boutique takes up a corner of the second floor and is crammed with a seemingly endless selection of dolls and their accessories - there is also a doll hair salon, in case your American Girl needs a new hairdo.
Over the next two hours the travellers roamed the store. Lolli was both excited and overwhelmed. Elli was intrigued and then bored. Oskie just wanted to ride the escalator...over and over and over and over!
The nice thing about the American Girl is you can find one that looks similar to you. In the shop there is a wall of dolls with all shades/colours of skin and hair to match almost anyone. It is both an amazing sight...and a bit creepy.

Lolli as an American Girl wall model

Lolli brought her doll, Julie, in for a look around. Julie is a throwback to the 70's. Her line of accessories includes things like rollerskates and record players.

Julie is the small one in Olivia's hand

Oskie had some fun playing around with Julie's stuff as it was right at his height.

The quality of the American Girl doll is outstanding, so it was no surprise that all of the extras that go along with these dolls were of top quality as well. 

The choice of add-ons was huge. There was everything from wheelchairs to ski equipment. There were many floor models that could be picked up and played with. This helped keep the boys entertained while Lolli picked through the hundreds of other choice things trying to decide what to buy.

The wheelchair has rubber wheels and brakes as Elli found out

The crutches, casts, wheelchairs, and basketball kept the two boys entertained for a long time

It was hard to convince Lolli to leave the store, but, after a lot of debate Olivia left with a new outfit for Julie (top, pants, shoes).

One outfit - $60 - Whoops!

Oscar even managed to get his fill of escalator riding and did not put up a fuss when it was time to go.

Escalator trip number 28 for Oskie

Another wonderful thing about Ottawa is the number of world class museums housed there. Directly across the street from where the travellers were staying was the Museum of History (formerly the Museum of Civilization).  A nice feature of the museums in Ottawa is that every Thursday night from 4-8 most of them are free. So, at around 5 the travellers made their way across the street and spent a few hours enjoying the Museum of History...which, strangely, houses the Children's Museum, which is an interactive trip around the world. Almost like a big playground filled with interesting climbable things from dozens of countries. Everything from the red phone booths of England to the Pyramids of Egypt.

Oskie called Grammy

Fun times in Thailand

Grinding corn in the deserts of Africa

Riding camels in Egypt

Climbing Bob the Builder?

Friday morning we found the travellers back in the heart of downtown Ottawa. This time they had one of Jen's cousin in tow - we'll call her cousin Jessica. A local of Ottawa, with some very high class connections, Jessica managed to secure a private tour of the Parliament Buildings for the travellers. Everyone was in high spirits as this was the first tour of Parliament for all of them.

Two years old and already climbing the stairs to power

Our tour guide was a wealth of experience and enthusiasm. With years of experience working on 'the hill' he told many interesting stories as lead them through the echoey halls. The guide seemed to know so many quirky facts about the numerous faces carved into the walls; who they were, why they were sticking their tongue out, why they were facing west...stuff like that.

Detailed stone work abounds in halls of Parliament
The guide opened many doors, both figuratively and literally. He opened the doors to the Floor of the House, but, also brought up the shooting that happened in October - which opened the doors to a lot of questioning later on by the children of the PUTP.

The Floor

The room that seemed to get the most reaction out of the travellers was the library. They were awed at the magnitude of it, and at the amazing detail in every nook and cranny. For a book loving family this was something to take a picture of.

It almost looks fake

The outside of the Library

As with most Canadians, the Senate drew little interest.

The Senate
The tour finishes on a high, literally, as the travellers climb up the Peace Tower (the big clock tower as you walk towards the Parliament buildings).

Outside, the day was bright and sunny, which many Canadians will know means it is freezing cold! This did not stop Elli from feeling the temperature of the water in the fountain of the eternal flame.

Fun fact - the water is still cold!

Overall, this year's trip to Ottawa was given thumbs up by all. A good balance of culture, consumerism, relaxation, and enough escalator rides to please everyone.

The classic tourist pic outside the Parliament Buildings


  1. Looks like a grand trip. It has been far too long since I have been to Ottawa, must remedy that soon.

    1. You should go. There is a ton of stuff to do. Just remember that the parking police are very vigilant - and a ticket costs $40!

  2. What a wonderful way to spend the day. Looks like everyone had fun. My daughter had Kerstin the Norwegian doll and loved her to pieces. Enjoying your sense of humor :)

    1. Thanks for coming back Fjord girl, I'll try my best to remain humorous :)