Ottawa – Montreal – 1000 Islands in a Week with Baby

After an 8 hour night flight, we landed in Toronto when the sun was already going down. A short, due to the jet lag, night and we hit the road again. To Ottawa. It was 7am. Yes, early, but the little one woke up at 4am, and so did we. Therefore, we set off when it was already time for her first nap. And napping is the best thing to do in a car for a baby.

Why did we do such a crazy thing and didn’t stay in Toronto for a few days to adjust to the time and have some rest after the long flight? Well, we had our reason.

Unfortunately, our daughter’s peaceful nap was disturbed in the middle of our way by bad traffic jams. So we had to stop in the middle of nowhere to change the settings and stretch a little bit.

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Another stop on the way to Ottawa was The Big Apple – a …. big apple indeed featuring a small zoo and a big restaurant which serves hot meals and various kinds of apple pies. Yummy but some may find their pies too sweet.

Finally, after a whole day on the road (with all those necessary stops), we arrived in Ottawa. It was already baby’s bedtime and she was very tired. So, saying a brief hello to the hosts, we hurried to our room. In Ottawa, we rented an Airbnb room in a big house and it felt like home. We met many interesting people when everybody was gathering at the big family table for breakfast and dinner, the hosts were particularly hospitable and we had a number of interesting conversations with them. Thank you, Angela and family. Everybody loved our baby girl and we had everything for her there: high chairs, lots of toys and a nice playground in the backyard  – the baby also needs to enjoy the holiday.

On our first morning, we headed to the Lansdowne Park where daddy and daughter had a nice walk in the park and mommy went to the Aberdeen Pavilion for the Salsa Convention. That explains why we didn’t even spend a day in Toronto before hitting the road again – salsa was calling. Being there, I couldn’t miss the chance to dance salsa with Canadians.

But that was not all about salsa in Ottawa – there was another event happening there. Canada is home to Salsa Babies and I really wanted to try it out, as this is quite a rare thing (at least in Europe). We loved it – I danced and the baby…she fell asleep, no matter the loud energetic music and not-so-smooth movements. 

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When she woke up, it was changing – feeding time and we were looking for a suitable place in the City Hall where all this action was happening. The local workers happened to be very friendly and showed us to their staff room where we could do all the needed things in privacy and with comfort. Afterward, we also enjoyed the City Hall canteen. That’s the City Hall for people. Their only problem is a strict dress code.

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You don’t need much time for sightseeing in Ottawa. But we enjoyed the walk from the Lansdowne Park, along the shady river esplanade, through the beautiful Confederation Park, and to the Parliament Hill.

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The Gothic buildings of the Parliament Hill (or The Hill, as it’s called colloquially) is a must see but otherwise, the city doesn’t offer many architectural wonders to admire. Even at the Bank str. there were dilapidated and shabby houses. But we had 4 days and needed to find how to pack them with activities.

There was a massive flower exhibition in Gatineau, so we headed there. Huge flower sculptures are impressive…but cannot beat the Dutch Bloemencorso Flower Parade or Keukenhof. 

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To kill another day between the salsa events we hopped on the car and went to a lake. Though the lake was freezing cold, our baby liked to splash in it. We enjoyed our time in the green in between city tourism.

Our next stop was Montreal – one of the most European-looking Canadian city. Old historic buildings are randomly mixed with modern architecture. Very little greenery in the city and a lot of traffic. Metro is probably the best way to go through the city.

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And guess which streets are the most beautiful.

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The greenest spot in the city – the Mount Royal Park – has a nice lake and a good playground. People have picnics there, ride rented boats and jog there. Having lived in Europe whole our lives, we’d never seen so massive picnics before, to tell the truth. 

From the Mount Royal Chalet, you can enjoy the view of the whole city. 

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Then we set off for our next destination – Toronto.

We decided to break the long way in the middle and spend the night next to Kingston. First, it’s better to avoid too long drives with a baby and second, it was a perfect spot to stop as that’s the place from where you can join a tour around The 1000 Islands. We hesitated which one to take but after all, decided to choose the one-hour long cruise as we didn’t know how the little one would behave. It was a good choice – we saw enough and nobody got tired.

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We stayed at an Airbnb with a marvelous view over the lake from our dining place and the hosts let us use their paddle board.

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We could have stayed there for a week and enjoy the tranquility of the place and practice our new skills of paddle boarding, but we needed to stick to the schedule as the whole trip had been planned in advance. So the next morning, after breakfast, as usual, for the first nap, we went to explore Toronto.

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