My day at the McGee’s Inn started early with a breakfast at 7:30 am. I plunked myself down at one of the two-seater tables in the large bay window which gave me a nice view out onto Daly Street. A women from Montreal, Claudine, here in Ottawa on a business trip sat down to the left of me and a nice couple from Syracuse, New York, chose the table to my right.
What’s always nice about bed and breakfasts is that people actually talk to one another and soon the four of us were wrapped up in a nice conversation. We discussed Montreal, Syracuse and Toronto, and the various festivals that are held in our respective home cities. I am planning to go to Montreal at the end of June, so Claudine gave me some insider information about her home town and we decided that we would connect during my stay in Montreal.
The Canadian Museum of Nature, adorned by tulips
After a delicious breakfast that featured a fruit cocktail, Eggs Florentine and homebaked croissants and muffins, I sat down for my interview with the Armstrong family who run the McGee’s Inn. They filled me in on what it is like for two couples – mother, father, son and daughter-in-law – to jointly run a bed and breakfast and they shared with me what motivated this decision in the first place.
At about 10 am I was ready for my next adventure: the Canadian Museum of Nature and its current Fatal Attraction exhibit. Ottawa is a city full of museums, and I had already seen two exhibits at the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography as well as a special exhibit and an IMAX movie at the Canadian Museum of Civilization yesterday. After an exploration of contemporary photography and antiquity I was going to explore the topics of nature and, more specifically, dating in the animal world.
Pre-historic creatures await you
But before I even began my tour of the Fatal Attraction exhibit, I was awestruck by the building when I drove up to it. On one of Ottawa’s leafy residential side streets there is this enormous castle-like building that rises up in front of you and I was fascinated by the physical structure of this historic building.
Highlights of the museums collections are housed in the distinctive Victoria Memorial Museum Building which dates back to 1912. It is an example of fine early 20th century architecture, built in a style that has been described as “Scottish baronial”. It was intended to mirror the Centre Block of Canada’s Parliament Buildings and indeed both buildings share similar stonework. In the past both buildings also had similar towers, but the Museum’s tower was removed years ago since its weight was too heavy for the foundation.
A model of the museum