We've seen these amphibious bus/boat tours in several cities and always thought it would be a neat thing to do. And doing it in Ottawa would be especially neat because some of the views from the Ottawa River are really worthwhile.
So we went to the little ticket stand near the corner of Elgin St. and Sparks St. near Wellington to find out what the tour times were, and we signed up for the 2:00pm one on Friday afternoon.
Annabelle with her cheerful smile will be happy to help you out!
Maybe you've never seen one of these amphibious tour vehicles. Lady Dive calls theirs the "Amphibus". Essentially, a bus that can drive right out onto the water! It becomes a boat!
The Lady Dive Amphibus.
We departed on time at 2:00pm. We were surprised at the number of people on the bus on a Friday afternoon, in fact every seat was occupied although some with only one person. Hint: We found that sitting on the right side of the bus would have allowed better photo opportunities overall. We had sat on the left side, and by the time we realized we were on the wrong side of the vehicle it was too late. Still, good photos to be had from either side once you're on the water.
Tourists on the Amphibus.
We headed across the bridge to the Quebec side of the river where the boat ramp and marina is. Not really much to see along this route, although our tour guide Bruno was pretty good at keeping people entertained with his stories as we went along. On the Quebec side of this bridge is a series of Canadian Federal Government office buildings that keep 14,000 people employed. What all of these people do, we can only guess!
Federal Government office buildings.
I took this photo from our hotel room to show give you a better idea. Almost all of these buildings on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River house federal government employees. 14,000 of them!!
Not much to see until the amphibus gets to the boat ramp. Definitely a neat experience to simply drive straight into the water. This is where you may have been better off getting a front row seat!
Into the water!
Looking out the back at where we drove into the river.
Once you're on the water there are a lot of photo opportunities. In fact, the water portion of the one hour tour was our favorite part. We found that the land portion didn't give you enough time to take decent pictures of anything they were showing you, and because the bus doesn't stop on land you only get a fleeting view of anything anyhow. Don't forget, you can click on the photos to make them full screen!
The famous Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa.
The back of the Canadian Parliament buildings with the Parliamentry Library on the left.
And the two of them together!
On the Quebec side of the river is the Canadian Museum of Civilization. This museum used the be called "The Museum of Man", but the political correctoids had it changed. Now, it's undergoing another change to become The Canadian Museum of History in time for Canada's 150th birthday in 2017. How much is this going to cost? A one time investment of only $25 million dollars. Good thing it's only Ottawa who wastes taxpayer money and not any other city huh?
The Canadian Museum of Civilization.
The museum is actually the building on the left. The museum's administration offices are on the right.The museum is an interesting architectural structure containing no right angles. A worthwhile visit in itself.
Back on land, we drove over to Sussex Drive, a part of Ottawa that houses a lot of embassies and political buildings including the Prime Minister's residence. Again, you don't get a chance to take many decent photos, however I did get one of Ottawa's old city hall.
Ottawa's old city hall.
Another interesting story here. The original city hall building is the one in the center of the photo. The city council (under then mayor Jim Durrell) decided in their great wisdom to spend $72 million dollars expanding the building to it's current design. Then, shortly after it was built they decided to move to an entirely different location! Like I said, it's a good thing that taxpayer waste only happens in Ottawa and not in your city!
Back at Elgin Street, our tour was over. Bruno was a good tour guide, and we enjoyed the trip. It's a little expensive at $35 (tax included) per adult, but the boat portion of the tour is fun. I think you would be better off buying the package that allows you to take the hop on - hop off bus tour as well. This would give you ample opportunity to return to some of the sights you saw on the Lady Dive tour that doesn't stop anywhere.
You can check out the packages here...