Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Haselünne, Germany.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? South towards Dulmen, Germany.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ottawa and race weekend

Ottawa is the capital of Canada, but it often gets overlooked because it is located so close to, and in between, the much larger cities of both Montreal and Toronto. But Ottawa is a really nice city in the summer, and worth a visit. There's lots to see if you've never been there.

We drove down to Ottawa yesterday to see our son Alex run in his first marathon. Ottawa Race Weekend is an annual event that sees over 42,000 runners and walkers compete in various events. The big event of course is the full marathon with 4,340 entrants and a distance of just over 42 kms (26 miles). Alex ran his second half marathon in April, as a training run for the full marathon. The longest distance he has ever run in his life was around 26 kms (16 miles) so to do the full marathon was certainly an unknown.

They had perfect weather for the race. This is about 1 km from the finish line.

Obviously we wanted to see Alex cross the finish line, but it was impossible. Because there are so many people racing, and we were afraid of actually missing him in the crowds, we ended up watching from about 200 metres south of the finish line. It was really exciting watching the runners in the final part of the race with complete strangers cheering people on. 

More onlookers about 400 meters from the finish line.

It was tough watching the runners and looking for Alex. Finally, I saw him and had the camera ready enough to manage to snap a photo.

Alex, looking pretty good 100 meters from the finish line!

He finished his first marathon in a time of 3:37:35. 

Some interesting statistics from the race....Alex came in 980th out of 4,340 people.

He was 37th out of 135 males in his age group.

He was beaten by three different men who were over the age of 65!

Overall, he was very happy with his time but says he needs to work on the last 10 kilometers which he found pretty tough. 

Trying to find Alex in the crowd after the finish line.

LOTS of people!

We took Alex back to his place, and then we went for a walk downtown. Here's a quick photo tour of downtown Ottawa...

The Museum of Nature.

Completed in 1910, the building housing the Museum of Nature is a pretty neat looking "castle". They've had a lot of problems with the foundation and structure though, and the building recently underwent over $200 million dollars of renovations. Some of which totally don't jive with the original structure as seen on the opposite side...

200,000 kgs of glass and steel. Why? Dunno...

Ottawa is a very bike friendly city in the summer, and has a rental program with drop off stations like this one.

The centre block of the parliament buildings.

The centennial flame. First lit in 1967 for Canada's 100th anniversary. Supposed to never go out, but the planners didn't count on Ottawa's bad winter weather! Actually, it is also shut off annually for cleaning and maintenance.

Looking back at the downtown core from the steps of parliament hill.

You won't see any tall buildings in downtown Ottawa. Until 1973 a height restriction law said that no buildings could be higher than the Peace tower on the parliament buildings. But even now, there is a lot of opposition to tall buildings.

The library behind the centre block of the parliament buildings.

Looking west at the Ottawa River.

The city of Gatineau, Quebec on the opposite side of the river.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization is in Gatineau. It used to be called the Museum of Man, but Canada is very politically correct, and when it came to naming the new museum there was such an uproar that it was comical.

Another view of the centre block. The roof is made of copper, and of course copper turns green with age. The roof at the top of the tower is original, and the rest of the roof was recently replaced. They are currently in the midst of a 25 year $5 billion dollar restoration of the parliament buildings. 

The locks of the Rideau Canal where it meets the Ottawa River in downtown.

The War Memorial.

Sparks Street.

So that's your quickie tour of Ottawa. There's lots more to see though, so maybe it'll now be on your list of places to visit.


  1. WOW....the photo of downtown Ottawa is beautiful. We have been to Montreal and Toronto but have no idea how we missed Ottawa. It looks lovely. The library is awesome.

    Neat photo of Alex with his thumbs up. Pass on our congratulations. Paul nor I could ever have done that. Takes so much dedication.

  2. Congrats to Alex - can't even imagine 26 miles - dang! Thanks for the tour of Ottawa - simply gorgeous and our kind of city! The rent a bike idea is different - never saw that before.

  3. Good job Alex!

    Ottowa certainly surprised me. No idea it is so beautiful. Can't imagine why my ancestors left there and went to Michigan.

    Sometimes I vote here in the morning then go to the house in the pm and I can vote again. Don't get it, but have done it a few times. You guys take care.

  4. What a lovely place!! The architecture is just outstanding!!

  5. Ottowa seems very European.

  6. Way to go Alex!! Love that library picture.

  7. butterbean carpenterMay 29, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    Howdy R&K,
    Thank you, for the tour of Ottawa Downtown!! I like smaller buildings
    because they are less pretentious than all of the funky designed and
    glass ones; they look like substantial buildings!!! Congratulations to Alex on his marathon;that's not a bad time at all and forget those 'old' men that beat him; they've probably run so many they can pace themselves in their sleep!!! Tell Ruth's dad 'Hi!" for us!!!


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