Arrived at Winnipeg Union Station around 1am and after collecting our baggage, caught a taxi to a nearby downtown hotel for the remainder of the night. The hotel (the Marlborough, built 1914) didn’t get very good reviews on Trip Advisor but we have learnt that in all cases those derided places where we’ve stayed have been quite acceptable and nothing to be concerned about at all. At the Marlborough, the reception clerk took pity on our tired appearance and upgraded us to a ‘Business’ room. This turned out to be a smallish room with ensuite but most comfortable, clean and quiet. Free breakfast was included and this turned out to be a cooked breakfast and much better than the usual ‘help yourself’ buffet style.
Later after collecting our hire car we drove out of town to Saint Francois Xavier – a small town
had the most delightful B&B with friendly welcoming hosts. We love B&Bs
– mostly they not only offer a very nice room but also a very warm welcome,
offers of a welcoming drink and friendly advice on local attractions. At the
White Horse Escape B&B, when our hosts learned that we had to return our
hire car to the airport and later get to the Rail Station for our late evening train, they offered to
help with driving Peter back from the airport to the B&B, serving us a
light dinner and then driving us to the airport. Service above and beyond the
|At the superb White Horse Escape|
|At the Butterfly House at the Assiniboine Park Zoo|
|The Dining Car|
Arriving in the middle of the day meant the city area was extremely busy and crowded – made more difficult by extensive construction work both on the roads and buildings. We picked up our hire car and then found our TomTom satnav couldn’t find any satellites mid city. Not good when you have absolutely no idea where you are and which direction you should be travelling in. We eventually drove to the outskirts of the CBD where directions to our hotel finally appeared on the screen.
Toronto is also the home of the Bata Shoe Museum which exhibits over a thousand shoes and related artefacts (from a collection numbering over 13,000). Sadly for me, (but happily for Peter!), we ran out of time for a visit.
|Houses of Parliament, Ottawa|
Next day we dove into Ottawa – another city plagued by much road construction and traffic jams – and visited the quite beautiful Houses of Parliament.
We were told about the Diefenbunker Cold War bunker museum and
decided the three-quarter hour drive outside the city would be worthwhile. It
certainly is an amazing construction. An astonishingly large underground complex over 4 levels
and all secretly built at the height of the Cold War to house and protect the
then Canadian Government should nuclear war eventuate. A sobering experience to view what might have
|Inside the Bunker|