Japan

Exciting winter in Ottawa! Part 2 | THE RAKE JAPAN

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text&photography Fujita Yuko

The reason why my first destination, Canada’s capital, Ottawa, was a wonderful trip was because of the wonderful Fairmont Chateau Laurier where I stayed.

Since its opening in 1912, it has received the royal family, heads of state, and political and business leaders. Its Gothic Revival architecture is also a symbol of beautiful Ottawa and was registered as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1980.

Fairmont Chateau Laurier is like a castle.

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On the left is the Canadian Parliament Building, and on the far right is the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. The stunning harmony of the Gothic Revival architecture can be admired for a few minutes even in minus 30 degrees Celsius.

The hotel has 426 rooms and 33 luxury suites. The suites are great of course, but I’d recommend staying on the Gold Floors on the 3rd and 4th floors where you have access to the Gold Lounge. I stayed in the “golden room” on the same floor, and I was very satisfied with the elegant and classic atmosphere that new hotel rooms cannot create. In the Gold Lounge, you can enjoy the buffet every morning slowly and quietly, and when you return to the hotel in the evening, you can take a short break and enjoy an aperitif. Walking around in minus 30 degrees Celsius, the time spent in the lounge is very rewarding.

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The 37㎡ “Fairmont Gold” where I stayed. Not too big, just the right size for use. The classic look is surprisingly calm. © Fairmont Chateau Laurier

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The Gold Lounge is exclusively for Gold Floor guests. The buffet style breakfast here is a very elegant time. After a day of sightseeing, enjoy a pre-dinner aperitif in the peaceful surroundings of the lounge. After walking around the world in minus 30 degrees, I was very grateful for the time to relax in the lounge. Incidentally, Fairmont Chateau Laurier says that as part of its sustainability efforts, ingredients are sourced locally where possible, with the goal of no single-use plastics and minimal waste. © Fairmont Chateau Laurier

So, if the hotel is great, even if it’s minus 30 degrees, I’ll suddenly feel better. Tourism is also very enthusiastic.

In Ottawa in February, the temperature dropped below minus 30 degrees and felt like minus 40 degrees. From the point of view of the number alone, it is a bit scary, but if you are fully protected against the cold, you will not feel the cold at all, and you can comfortably enjoy the relaxing experience in the extremely cold world that you cannot enjoy. For Ottawa outfits, please refer to this first part!

Let’s explore Ottawa’s rich museums together!

When visiting Ottawa, museums are a must. This time I visited the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of History, and the Canadian Museum of Nature, each of which was wonderful. Let’s take a look at them one by one!

National Gallery of Canada

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The first place I visited was the National Gallery of Canada, which is very close to the Fairmont Laurier Castle and can be reached in 7-8 minutes on foot. During the 13 years from 1920 to 1933, a group of seven Canadian landscape painters who aspired to create new art, and the paintings of Tom Thomson, who had a major influence on them, traditional crafts of the Aboriginal Inuit , exhibiting the works of Van Gogh, Rubens, Gauguin, Klimt and other masters. You can spend a whole day here, admiring these precious works at leisure in a wonderful space.

It is said that the School of Seven was formed out of a feeling of incongruity with traditional Canadian painting imitating the West. Considered the most important group of artists in Canadian art history, they left behind many of the first works depicting wilderness landscapes during their 13 years of activity. It is said that artistic nationalism was born in Canada as a result of their artistic expression breaking down preconceived notions and painting in colors never seen before. It is a very valuable experience to be able to slowly appreciate while listening to such a commentary.

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Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, who previously worked on Montreal’s “67 Complex” and Singapore’s “Marina Bay Sands,” the building combines abundant light with an abundance of glass, merging the outside world with the inside world to create this a space. The long, sloping colonnade extending from the main entrance gives us a pleasant sense of anticipation of the work we are about to see.

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The Canadian Parliament Buildings, Ottawa River, and Gatineau Hills are framed vertically through the soaring windows of the Bank of Scotland Hall.

Canadian Museum of History

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Then, across the Ottawa River, we visited the Canadian Museum of History located on the Gatineau side of Quebec. Disseminating expertise in history, archaeology, ethnology and cultural studies, with permanent exhibits in the magnificent Great Hall and First Great Hall of the People, as well as exhibits on Canadian and world history and civilizations. The number of visitors exceeds 1.2 million person-times per year.

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Today, there are still more than 630 aborigines in Canada, accounting for about 4% of the total population of Canada. In the Canadian Museum of History, it is said that the content of the exhibition was decided after consultation with the Aboriginal people, so the content is very rich and worth seeing. On this day, the aborigines gathered together to coincide with the winter festival and held a prayer ceremony. This is not only a museum, but also a precious place for coexistence, communication and cultural transmission with aborigines.

Canadian Museum of Nature

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Our last stop was the Canadian Museum of Nature. Renovated in 2010, this large glass lantern tower is a new reconstruction of a stone tower that had to be removed from the building in 1915. The contrast with the Baroque architecture is so unique that, like the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, it has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada.

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The dinosaur corner on the 1st floor is particularly interesting among the exhibits. Immerse yourself in the world’s leading collection of dinosaur fossils unearthed in Canada, lined with full-body skeletons, and imagine imaginatively the age of the dinosaurs. The collection of dinosaur models and the display of the whole body skeleton of the blue whale are also worth seeing. Some 35,000 objects are on display, but this is also a national research institution and the number of exhibits is said to be only 1% of the total collection.

As mentioned above, all I was able to bypass this time were the above three. You can appreciate and learn from exhibits, Canadian history and culture, architecture, etc., and you must visit it when you come to Ottawa.

Food in Ottawa is fun and delicious!

Another joy of visiting Ottawa is the food. Across the Ottawa River is French-speaking Quebec. The stores I’ve been to are all great, so I’d like to introduce some of them.

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The duck meat “Mariposa Duck Confit” from a local Mariposa farm in Ontario that I ate at a restaurant called “Social” near Fairmont Chateau Laurier is perfectly combined with the sweetness of pumpkin puree and is super delicious.

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For a hip vibe, head to Riviera, a converted bank restaurant. Such ceiling heights are rare in Japan. super cool!

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Beef tartare with chips and truffles.

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Hearty seafood chowder with pink shrimp, scallops, crispy bacon and potatoes.

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So, mostly lamb shanks from Alberta. Very soft and elegant taste.

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“Metropolitain Brasserie & Restaurant” is like walking into a bistro in Paris, both in terms of atmosphere and food. 1 minute walk from Fairmont Chateau Laurier where I live.

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Duck confit. The atmosphere of the plate is good, the salt content is also good, perfect Paris. A classic from Le Puy called Marsala sauce with lentils! delicious!

Visit restaurants plate by plateThere is also a trick called food tour!

For those who want to visit as many shops as possible in a short time, we recommend the food tour organized by C’est Bon. There are a variety of courses to choose from, but I took the three-restaurant hopping tour and enjoyed every single course. At least 2 people can apply, corresponding to any time period in the morning, lunch to afternoon, and dinner time, and there are also package options for casual and exquisite dining requirements and wine and so on. It was great to have a more intimate experience with a guide when there were not many people!

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The first one is “Restaurant e18hteen”.

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At E18hteen, you can enjoy “Canadian Liberty Cuisine”, which combines traditional French cuisine with seasonal Canadian flavors, using plenty of ingredients from local farmers with whom we have built relationships over the years. I love the steak tartare here. The wine pairing was Centerstone Pinot Noir.

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Next, Stephanie from Cébon took us to Oz Kafe, a popular hangout for chefs after get off work night after night. So chic for a night hop on a -30 degree night in Ottawa enjoying a delicious plate! excited!

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As expected of a restaurant full of chefs, the grilled Cornish hen “Pepper Crusted Cornish Hen” is delicious. This is celery root puree. The smoked fried fingerling potatoes are also very delicious!

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The last one chosen as a sweet shop is the Lebanese cuisine “Fairouz café”. With 26% of the population born abroad and with ancestry in many different countries, Ottawa also offers authentic Lebanese food.

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The Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival is one of the many events held in the city during the Winter Festival. It’s much smaller than a summer jazz festival, but it’s a winter festival where you can enjoy the gap between the minus-30 degree world and the hot and humid world where you can wear short-sleeved live performances. This time, I was able to see a live performance by the Toronto-based Afro-Cuban jazz band “OKAN” (which I really like!). I was looking forward to it even before I went to Canada, so my excitement exploded. I had the most exciting time. So, if you want to enjoy Winterlude in Ottawa, check the jazz festival schedule ahead of time and head out.

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Well, during my stay in Ottawa, I was lucky enough to experience a world that feels like -41 degrees Celsius. With proper winterization, you won’t feel cold at all. People are cheerful and friendly, so it’s fun wherever you go. If you want to enjoy a relaxing festival of canal skating and jazz, Ottawa is the best!

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The next time I will introduce is the Finnish sauna “Vettä Nordic Spa” that came by car from Ottawa. It’s great here too!

coverage cooperation

Tourism Ontario www.destinationontario.com/ja-jp/japan

Tourism Canada https://keepexploring.canada.travel/



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