We went out for thin crust pizza on our anniversary this year (#7!). I had work and weightlifting training that day so I just picked somewhere close by to our house. I’d had Pizza Religion on my To Eat list for a while, but when I checked the Zomato page the night before I saw a lot of mediocre reviews, due to bad service. Ah well, we still wanted to give it a try.

Garlic Prawn – prawn, confit garlic, cherry tomato, fior de latte, basil, lemon

Nice and zippy from the lemon and basil. Nice thin crust. Could have used more cheese imo.

Lamb – pulled lamb shoulder, olive tapenade, oregano, tomato, feta

Very meaty! Pretty tasty. Scott loved it, not surprising because he really likes lamb. We couldn’t taste the olive tapenade at all.

It did take a while to get the waiter to actually take our order, and get our bill at the end. The pizza was nice, but not life-changing. Drinks are cheap, but small.

Pizza Religion Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

L: Lemon Pie – vanilla soft serve, lemon curd, toasted coconut crumble, graham crackers

R: Red Rapture – vanilla soft serve, red velvet cake, cream cheese icing, raspberry puree, meringue crumble

The ice cream was kinda bland. I actually thought it was ultra trendy “milk flavour” until I looked back at the menu online. Not much vanilla going on there. Also, needs more lemon curd! The toppings are nice and all, but they’re only on the outside so it gets a bit boring towards the end.

Sweet Jesus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Our whole trip was planned around being home for Canada Day. Since it was the big century-and-a-half, we thought it was going to be an especially good party. We were basically in Ottawa visiting everyone and the cottage the week before, downtown all day for Canada Day, and then flew out early on July 2nd. Quick trip! Anyway the actual day ended up being very different than I expected, but super fun.

Kate got the cutest cookies.

We did a bit of touristy stuff downtown a few days before Canada Day, without all the crowds. Rose and Lauren went to the art gallery and Scott and I walked across the bridge to Quebec and back (Scott thought this was cool), watched some boats go up the locks, walked up and down Sparks Street (way more dead than I remembered), and had a drink at a pub to avoid yet another thunderstorm.

OK now actual Canada Day!

We started the day with pre-birthday cake, 7 Wonders, and waiting for the torrential rain to stop. Man it was damp.

Once it cleared up a bit we headed to Monica’s for BBQ #1. I hadn’t seen her in ages, so it was great to catch up. David got dropped off by Virginia and Peter, so I got to see all of them too! They were heading downtown as well so we actually got to get a ride downtown, which worked out very well.

Next stop was Joe’s Corner. Joseph (unpictured) had a great idea of declaring he would be in a certain spot downtown at a certain time on Canada Day, and anyone could come and meet him there and say Hi. So smart. And then to make it even better, Helenka realized that this would be a great place to meet up with us too, and it worked out perfectly.

OK we all knew that getting through security was going to make getting on to Parliament Hill more difficult than usual, but we did not expect THIS. Somewhere in the above picture is a line. It was chaos!! We also tried walking down to the other entrance, which did have a more distinct line, but it didn’t seem to be moving AT ALL, and we were hearing people say that the line was FIVE HOURS LONG.

Um nope.

At this point we gave up on trying to have a typical Canada Day consisting of lounging on a blanket on Parliament Hill listening to free concerts.

Instead we walked down to Sandy Hill for BBQ #2! We accidentally went the long way, but at least we got to see the Snowbirds fly over so it was mostly forgiven. Chris’s brothers’ friends were having a pig roast! There was free beer, snacks, pork, dessert… it was epic.

After gorging on pig we decided to accept Brenda’s invitation and pop in to see them at BBQ #3, also in Sandy Hill. I hadn’t seen her in yonks either. Joe was there too, and one of Helenka’s long lost friends from elementary school!

It looked like it was about to start raining again so we decided to leave before seriously overstaying our welcome and find a pub to take refuge for a while. Luckily there was a bar right around the corner that miraculously had space for all of us! It started raining pretty hard almost as soon as we sat down inside. Amazing. Even better, the bar was a student bar and extremely cheap. We had a few cheap drinks and a few snacks and watched the television recaps of the day so far while we waited for the rain to pass.

When it started to dry up we decided it was time to find our fireworks viewing place. We thought we’d walk towards Majors Hill Park, and just stop once it started to get too crowded. Maybe the rain had cleared everyone out, because we ended up walking straight into the park and found (we thought!) a pretty decent place to watch the fireworks, and only a short walk from where Mother Mother would perform.

We took turns watching the concert, getting poutine, and saving our fireworks spot. The area in front of the stage had turned into a complete mud pit, it was so messy. Everyone was walking around like zombies, trying (and failing) to keep their feet dry and not fall down. It was amusing. I got to see Mother Mother perform my favourite song (The Stand) and all was good.

Finally fireworks time! We thought we had the perfect view. Yes there were two trees off to the sides but we had a wide open space of sky right in front of us. Then the show started. And of course ALL OF THE FIREWORKS WERE BEHIND THE TWO TREES. I wasn’t even mad, it was HILARIOUS. I was crying with laughter hahahhaa.

After three minutes we decided to screw it and run back to the muddy field and watch from there. My shoes got soaked with mud but at least we got to see the fireworks, and they were great.

After the show ended we conga lined out of the park, in a very civilized manner (not sarcastic, it was actually so calm) and walked Helenka back to the buses and the rest of us back to Chinatown where dad and Kate had left her van. We got home, showered, and slept for a couple hours before getting up and heading to the airport for our long journey home. What a day.

I really wanted to try riverboarding ever since I heard about it from Helenka and Natasha.

I actually didn’t research it that much… I thought we would spend the day travelling down the river on our riverboards, occasionally going through rapids… basically a slightly more extreme lazy river experience.

Wrong!!

Rosemarie couldn’t find any thermoses to bring their coffee, but you can definitely always find a jar in our old house. :D

Eating pre-riverboarding snacks and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes.

Starting to get more nervous because apparently “no Scott can’t switch to regular white water rafting because it’s all booked up” actually means “we’re pretty much shut down and there is actually no white water rafting happening at all and your group are the only people here”.

Ah well, let’s get ready to go. Helmets and wetsuits, check!

Make wraps in the owners kitchen who is not there for some reason, check!

After a little bit of instructions, in to the water! First we went down a medium rapid. Some water was inhaled. But we did ok. They ask if we want to go down the bigger rapids… sure. Much water inhaled! Much stress! Much flipping upside down! Much bumping into the things! Much tiring! Rosemarie and Scott were traumatized because they spent a lot of time under the water.

Then instead of continuing down the river we had to paddle furiously to the side, climb out, and walk back up through the trees and rocks, wearing flippers!!

None of us really enjoyed the big rapids that much so instead we tried to get onto the standing wave. A few of us managed it, but only with the help of our three guides. One guide would go out first and get settled on to the wave and ready to catch us, and another guide would paddle out beside us and show us the angle we needed to get to the right spot/push us into position. Then the first guide would literally yank us back onto the wave when we rushed over it. Then when we fell off the wave, the third guide would paddle after us and make sure we made it back to the shore.

Groundboarding?

Resting. Everything was super super super tiring. Thank goodness we had the guides to push and pull us places when energy levels were plummeting. Everyone tried a few times to get on to the wave, while the other people watched/rested. The guides took no breaks.

Sarah did not care for the rapids hahaha. Instead she went down the very gentle side a couple times.

We did all go down the big rapids one more time at the end of the day. We were slightly more successful but only because the guides were shoving us into position hahahaha. They seriously did so much work for us.

Done for the day.

Back at home nursing injuries. Rosemarie banged up both ankles, and Scott smashed his knee on a rock. He also hit his face on a tree branch while hiking because he was looking down at his flipper feet. GOOD TIMES. We all had sore abs the next day too.

Helenka had fun, but I’m not sure any of the rest of us would actually go riverboarding again. It was so hard!!!

AKA Cramming All My Favourite Things About Canada In To One Week

Our trip to Ottawa was so short that we literally had a spreadsheet to try and pack in everything we wanted to do/see/eat/buy. But it worked, we did well! The trip was super hectic but really fun.

✔ Bulk Barn. Zingy zaps! :D What a great store. I should open one in Melbourne, y/y?

✔ Nostalgic board games, such as Survive. We really wanted to play Disaster too, but couldn’t find it. :(

✔ Hang out with Grandma and Grandpa, and MEP and Paul. Grandpa was really good at Sushi Go Party!

✔ Costco poutine. Best value poutine in the whole country, imo.

✔ Lots and lots of Shouldice strawberries.

✔ Hanging out with the Monnon’s (including MJ!) and Laurie. We made burgers and an enormous salad for dinner. I hadn’t actually seen Bill and Suzanne since our wedding party at their house, which was way way way too long.

✔ Lots of sister time with Rosemarie (aka Tina Belcher).

✔ Cottage

✔ Crokinole

✔ Dozens of games of Seven Wonders, because Rosemarie couldn’t figure out how to win.

✔ Celebrating my non-birthday. Breakfast cake! Also squeezing in one last game of Seven Wonders before going out for Canada Day.

Other things non-pictured:

✔ Dimsum with Jane

✔ Wine with Mary

✔ Pho with Lauren and Sarah

✔ Shawarmas

✔ Taco Bell

✔ Bagels

✔ Shopping (omg I got so much cheap embroidery thread, and Scott got skates and a helmet)

✔ Riverboarding (post coming)

✔ #canada150 (post coming)