a t ze e on came across a little nightspot called Club Soda. Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn was performing there that night. So, two tickets later (at a reasonable $50 each) we returned, bought a beer, headed upstairs for a front-row seat and table and enjoyed the show.
So, keep an eye out for these little gems that can appear unexpectedly in the biggish cities.
For something more sedate, head to the national capital Ottawa, which initially I wasn’t keen on, thinking it might be a bit boring. I was correct about one of its attractions – a slow, relaxing cruise along the city reaches of its 200km Rideau Canal – but was pleasantly surprised by others, most notably a guided tour of their impressive national parliament buildings.
These gothic-style buildings, with some cathedral-like interiors, are the most impressive structures in town. You have to book early at the office across the road to get a free tour.
The tip here is to arrive early for the best chance as places are limited for the top free show in town. There were 50 in the queue one morning.
If you’re there for the national day on July 1, you’ll see quite a fireworks display.
A short walk away is the other must-see – the colourful ByWard Market, with you’ve guessed it, more food. This time, it was a BeaverTails pastry for $4.95 which filled a hole. Can’t see why some people rave about them.
Again, people-watching was the go with an interesting cross section of locals and visitors. Adding a touch of class to proceedings was an elegant young Asian woman plying her musical wares.
Also nearby is Ottawa’s Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica with its shiny silver spires. It’s also well worth a peek inside to see yet another stunning interior. Sadly, they don’t make ’em like that anymore.