Monday, April 21, 2014

April in Ottawa

Ottawa, our nation’s capital, is usually a beautiful city. Our tax dollars are used to ensure the city looks it’s best for visitors and guests. However like some great beauties she is not the best after just waking up from a sleep. It has been a hard cold winter, and in April the city is not quite ready to receive visitors.

The Ottawa River
We have experienced winter in Ottawa, and the civic workers who maintain the city have their hands full during the winter months just keeping the snow off the streets, so the daily debris from Ottawa’s busy inhabitants simply gets pushed around with the snow rather than picked up, and as the snowbanks disappear in April, months of neglect start to appear. Not only the public areas, but the little private patches of gardens and green in front of the houses are littered with winter’s debris.

Yesterday was a warm sunny April day, and fresh air and exercise was just what my stubborn cold needed, so I set off on a leisurely stroll around Ottawa, down through Centertown, Chinatown and down to the Ottawa river where I walked along the pedway below parliament to the Rideau which I followed to Summerset and finally cutting through
Tire Garden needing weeding
Elgin & Bank to get back to Ryan’s house. My walk showed me that Ottawa really is not at it’s best in April.

The Ottawa River was carrying the last of the melting river ice from upstream, but the ducks and Canada geese were dodging not only ice, but chunks of Styrofoam, logs, campfire remains and all other unsorted debris. The Rideau Canal looked no better, drained to a minimum water lever (for Spring cleaning?) with melting ice chunks still remaining, the skate changing houses sitting at awkward angles at the edges, and showing the castoff from a busy winter season of skating on the longest outdoor rink in Canada.
The River's Load

The normally pristine public walkways look the worse. Stairways corners are filled with leaves and garbage, and the grass alongside paths show the scars of snow plows and other Winter damage. I was surprised to see the amount of animal damage along the river. Many trees and shrubs were stripped of bark by hungry animals and one large tree was gnawed through and toppled by what I suspect was the good old Canadian symbol, the beaver.  The Rideau Canal walkways showed it’s use by winter skaters and the number of wet, lonely and muddy single woolen socks, mittens and hats was amazing.
A Garden?

Don’t worry, it’s only April, and on my walk I saw many little private gardens raked and cleaned with Springs flowers already poking through, and sawdust and piles of branches are evidence that the work crews have started the annual Spring cleanup. I’m sure that by the time the Canadian Tulip Festival in May rolls around, the city will be looking her usual best.

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