Autumn Leaves - Canada 2009


Kingston City Hall
We were to visit three towns during our brief visit across the border: Kingston, Ottawa and Montreal.
This is the City Hall of Kingston, Ontario.


church of Thieves..?
I snapped this picture while driving passed (I was in the passengerseat, so no worries!): Church of the Good Thief, what is that all about...?


War College
War College

Massive walls of the Royal Military College (around the parade grounds).

>RMC is now over one hundred years old. It was established by an act of the Canadian Parliament in 1874 'for the purpose of providing a complete education in all branches of military tactics, fortification, engineering, and general scientific knowledge in subjects connected with and necessary to thorough knowledge of the military profession.' On June 1, 1876, the Military College of Canada opened its doors to the first class of eighteen gentlemen cadets..<


Kingston's skyline
Skyline of Kingston. And what splendid weather we enjoyed.

Kingston is situated at the head of the mighty Lawrence River, which carries Lake Ontario's water to the Atlantic Ocean. Our vantage point is the rocky outcrop on which the 'War College' is located, looking over Cataraqui River towards Kingston. Further to the left, outside this photo, is the wide, sweeping expanse that is Lake Ontario.
At Kingston also the Thousand Islands begin, but our stay was brief and did not allow a visit, something to return for!


Our hosts: Danielle & Neil Aird
Our generous hosts: Danielle & Neil Aird.

Neil is an inspiring webmaster, we share the 'headaches' that go with compiling an amateur, aviation-enthusiast website. Neil's history concerning aviation interests goes further back than mine and he has also mastered certain computer technics to a much higher level than I ever aspire to do. While we did talk about (and had a look at a few) aeroplanes, we were very civil and made sure we didn't 'talk planes' all the time to avoid boring our womenfolk!
Danielle is a published author and very much involved in projects benefacting Indian wellfare projects, so indeed we were not at a loss for subjects to talk about! We enjoyed a wonderful stay.
India and other anecdotes:
India fundraising:
Danie's book:
For Neil:


A fighter strikes a pose
Like I said, we did have a look at some preserved aeroplanes around Kingston.
Kingston has that special quality of a town dominated by Universities and Colleges, most importantly the Queen's University and the Royal Military College of Canada. Soon after we arrived, Danie and Neil took us out on a stroll and I cannot remember to ever have visited a nicer North American town!

Kingston The French originally settled upon a traditional Mississaugas First Nation site called Katerokwi (Cataraqui in the common transliteration, and according to French pronunciation rules should be said "kah-tah-RAH-kee," although it is generally pronounced "kah-tah-ROCK-way") in 1673 and established Fort Cataraqui, later to be called Fort Frontenac. The fort was captured and destroyed by the British in the Battle of Fort Frontenac during the Seven Years' War in 1758.
During the War of 1812, Kingston was the base for the Lake Ontario division of the Great Lakes British naval fleet which engaged in a vigorous arms race with the American fleet based at Sackett's Harbor, New York for control of Lake Ontario. After the war, Britain built Fort Henry and a series of distinctive Martello towers to guard the entrance to the Rideau Canal. All still exist, and Fort Henry is a popular tourist attraction.
Kingston was chosen as the first capital of the united Canadas and served in that role from 1841 to 1844. The first meeting of the Parliament of the United Canadas on June 13, 1841 was held on the site of what is now Kingston General Hospital. The City's location made it vulnerable to American attack. Consequently, the capital was moved to alternating locations in Montreal and Toronto, and then later to Ottawa in 1857.

Kingston is nicknamed the 'Limestone City' because of the many historic buildings built from the local limestone.





On the road again We drove Route 15 north, a pleasant drive, parts were scenic, but interspersed with crappy towns like we seen plenty of in the US: a row of gasstations, fastfood restaurants and parking lots. All scattered without any graciousness or sophistication. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder: many would disagree about the pleasantness of above photo.


Autumn dress


We arrived in Ottawa.
Canada Aviation Museum
We stayed two nights in Ottawa, in a not so wonderful Comfort Inn (Downtown). The weather had turned to rain again, fortunately my prime interest was indoors: the brilliant Canada Aviation Museum.


Mall The chilly & wet weather was a good excuse to spend some time in a shopping mall: The Bay's Mall.

The weather prevented a walk in more pleasant parts of Ottawa. I had intended to have a look at Park Gatineau and doing a walk around the Parliament buildings, but instead we moved about in our car, because of the rain and chilliness and witnessed the traffic congestion and ugly, atrocious area of Rideau street. Hopefully a next visit will give a nicer impression.


Well, in Canada decorations were up for Halloween too!


Colour crazy..


Scenic route Ottawa - Montreal
Scenic Route 148, Ottawa to Montreal, along the north bank of the Ottawa River (French: Rivière des Outaouais / Algonquin: Kichisìpi) which defines for most of its length the border between the two provinces Ontario and Quebec.




Yard sales
No different from the US: people holding yard sales to generate some extra income to battle the effects of the global economic crisis.


Novotel horror Wonderful room, but a lousy stay at the Montreal (Airport) Novotel...

I had booked this hotel through Expedia. When we arrived I advised the frontdesk I wanted to stay only 1 night instead of the 2 booked. They refused a refund.
I tried to be understanding, but also to find compensation: I accepted the 30,- extra charge for an upgrade to a deluxe room (2 beds) and breakfast buffet for 2 persons (there are no dining facilities anywhere near), and asked the upgrade to be free.
But management did not give an inch, refused a deal or refund, told me to go to Expedia (which I did, but they told me they needed cooperation from the Novotel).
So instead of a good deal, I had a very expensive stay!
The hotel is almost impossible to find without a GPS (from the city you have to go on 3 seperate interstates, I-20, I-13, I-40).
We did enjoy the excellent breakfast buffet, but never a Novotel again. What a rip off! Rip off!!!



Montreal Old Town
We visited the Old Town of Montreal. For Europeans it is not so very special, but it did provide for a nice walk and we enjoyed the art shops near 'Place Jacques Cartier' and the streetlife.
We also had an excellent dinner at Casa di Mateo, a Mexican restaurant.
Montreal Old Town
Montreal Rue d'Arts
Street musician
Steve Alias entertaining a 'crowd'; mind you, it was getting cold and for people to stop in their tracks and listen you'd have to sing & play a very decent tune. And he did!
I don't know what his connection is with that website, advertised in his guitarcase:
Steve Alias
Steve Alias


Colourful in death


A Bride
I came across this photoshoot and admired the bride's toughness, as I considered it to be quite cold!
And I suspect that the groom already had retired to the pub..!

Brid ein photoshoot


Classic car

Two final images while walking Old Town Montreal: a classic car and a warmly-dressed street musician. Like I said, it was quite cold.
Street musician


During the 1970s, while recovering from a concussion in hospital, I wasn't allowed to do anything for two weeks. Except listen to the radio. No tv, no reading, just the radio. I tuned in to AFN, American Forces Network, broadcasting from Germany. This way I learned about Canadian singer-songwriters such as Leonard Cohen and Gordon Lightfoot. Over the years I have collected many albums (LP's) of these musicians. During this particular trip I bought Gordon's "Summertime Dream" (1976), on cd, for in the car. It's one of the best albums ever made and reconfirmed to me Mr Lightfoot's excellent songwriter qualities.
I found some lyrics, of another album, which I can relate to-

Whispers of the north, the river and the shore
In a land that tested Eskimos, ten thousand years before
Whispers of my heart, in the tracks of animals
I will leave my footprints there to lie beneath the snow

And we can ride away, we can glide all day
And we can fly away

Whispers of the wind, I will feel it sting
I will see it rise and fall, I will hear it sing
The sound is like a song to me, it takes away the pain
The river is the melody and sky is the refrain

And we can ride away, we can glide all day
And we can fly away

And we can ride away, we can glide all day
And we can fly away

Whispers of the north, soon I will go forth

Heading for the USA again
By way of I-10 and I-55 we made our way to the border. I was pleasantly surprised by the attitude of the US Immigrations person who examined our passports: he wasn't the usual sulky grouch, but rather informal & kind!









Created: 01Nov09 - Updated 7 April, 2021