2 min read
06 May

The drive to North Bay was uneventful – just the way I wanted it.  Heavy rain had been forecast, but none came, thank goodness, because, as I didn't drive much anymore, the rain would have caused me many anxious moments.  I arrived at Ryan and Michelle’s house with an hour to spare to transfer my things to Dee's car, and spend a short time with Maddie, my youngest great granddaughter, before Dee and I had to hit the road south to Ottawa.  I left my car keys with Michelle, said our goodbyes and headed off. 

There were 6 days before I took possession of the condo, so I settled into Dee’s house in Orleans to get a much-needed rest from the chaos of the previous three weeks. 

On May 6, the condo owner, Victor, met us in the lobby and helped take my things up to the condo.  When he ushered us inside, I was delighted to find it was everything I hoped it would be and more.  Wall to wall windows across the living room plus a glass door to the adjoining balcony make the open concept space very bright.  Sliding glass doors in the bedroom, that also lead to the balcony, bring in more light and a feeling of spaciousness throughout.  I couldn’t live in an apartment or condo without some outdoors space, even 12 floors up, and this balcony is perfect for me. 

Victor gave us a tour of the gym and swimming pool, the community room, complete with a small kitchen and bar for parties, an outdoor gas barbeque and fire pit, and a large garden where residents are encouraged to grow vegetables among the flowers. 

After Victor left, Dee and I went to the Dollar Store, conveniently located one block away, to buy hangers – there are never enough in any rented place.  I have to admit that there was a time when I was such a snob about where I shopped that I wouldn’t cross the threshold of a Dollar Store.  When I saw the broad range of products they carry and at prices lower than any supermarket for the same items, I realized this was going to be a regular go-to place for me.

Back at the condo, with Dee's help, it didn’t take long till all my belongings were unpacked and clothes hung. Then off we went to Loblaws, a supermarket just two blocks in the opposite direction from Dollar Store, and facing an LCBO, (Liquor Control Board of Ontario).  Everything I will need is within a couple of blocks walk from my building!  

Wherever I’ve lived in the past I always needed a car to go anywhere, even to pick up a litre of milk.  Now I can walk across the street to the Rexall Pharmacy to buy milk, as well as some other food items, and of course prescriptions, beauty supplies, etc.  My two-wheeled bundle buggy is going to get well used. 

After putting the groceries away, Dee and I took a walk to the Byward Market where we took pictures at the huge ‘OTTAWA’ sign.  There are so many pubs and restaurants and outdoor patios everywhere – just a tad too chilly for the patios to be open yet, but something to look forward to in a couple of weeks.  My mouth watered as we walked past the original Beaver Tails shack - now that I have a gluten intolerance, I can't eat them which is so frustrating!  For those readers who don't know what I'm talking about, Beaver Tails are deep-fried dough pastries that are stretched to resemble the shape of a beaver's tail.  The classic Beaver Tail is dipped in a combination of cinnamon and sugar - they are absolutely yummy!

We didn't have time that day to go to the huge Rideau Centre mall which is part of this downtown hub.  In the next block from the mall, beside the canal, is the Government Conference Centre. I attended many meetings there when I was representing the Cosmetics, Fragrances and Toiletries industry on the Sectoral Advisory Group on International Trade (SAGIT) during the first International Trade negotiations with the United States.  What great memories that brings back! 

Just beyond that building and across the bridge over the canal are the iconic Parliament Buildings overlooking the scenic Rideau River.  Apparently there is a wonderful park in the back with a patio where you can enjoy the view while sipping a cool one.  There is no excuse to be thirsty in downtown Ottawa!

The National Gallery of Canada, the home to one of the finest collections of Indigenous and Canadian art in the world, is a little further walk up Sussex Drive, across the street from the mall  - almost in my backyard, so to speak.  It's been many years since i visited this fantastic gallery and never since I became a fine artist.  I'm excited to spend more time here over the coming few months!

Well, after visiting the Market, that was enough for one day – there are many more days ahead to explore the fascinating  places near me.  Dee left me with a promise to return with her companion, Tony, to celebrate Mother’s Day and to pick me up another day to buy flowering plants for my balcony.  It’s going to be such fun having her close and to see a lot more of her than I have in years.  

I have so much to look forward to as I get to know my temporary hometown.  However, there seems to be a fly in the ointment  - it’s called my left thigh.   When I stand, sit or lay down it’s fine, but when I try to walk it is quite painful!   Good grief!  I’ve barely started on my nomadic adventure – am I destined for trouble already?  

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