The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

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.

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