Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 4 – The Mint and Rideau Hall

Saturday, July 16

Since it was cheaper to go the the Royal Canadian Mint on Saturday that is where we headed for our fourth day in Ottawa.  We saved a few pennies by going on a cheaper day, but we did not get to see the machines in operation … hence the reason it was cheaper, as they are not actually working on Saturdays.  We could still see the machines and they had some pretty good displays and videos that gave a really good idea of how it all worked, so even though we didn’t actually see them running we still learned alot … at least Rob and I did, I’m not sure how much the girls understood, Rebecca admitted she was a bit lost by the whole procedure. 

At the end of the tour is a gift/souvenir shop and they also had a bar of gold there that you could hold to see how heavy gold is.  It must be lifted with two hands as it’s heavy … and yes it’s chained down with an armed security guard standing beside it.

The inscription reads: “Lift a 24K gold bar, cast right here at the Royal Canadian Mint.  The bar weighs approximately 28 pounds and is worth over $450,000.00”  I’m thinking that’s the first and last time I’ll ever hold over $450,000 in my hands!!

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Keep your eyes open for the lastest versions of the 2011 quarter:

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The outside of the building is really nice to see also.  An interesting fact is that they had to delayed the scheduled opening of the building when it was first built because they forgot a rather important detail …. a fence around the property!

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From the Royal Canadian Mint we carried on to Rideau Hall.   Rideau Hall is the home of the Governor General of Canada.  You actually do not view the “home” of the Governor General (this sections is behind the open section) but the area where all the pomp and splendour, dinners and special ceremonies (such as the swearing in of the Prime Minister) take place.  Pictures were not allowed indoors, so I just have some outdoor pictures

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It was another scorcher of a day and we were feeling pretty sorry for the guys all dressed up in their uniforms with sweat pouring down the sides of their faces.  But upon realizing that they do the Changing of the Guards every hour here we felt at least it was a bit more bearable that way … one hour in the heat, how many hours in the a/c?  We watched the Changing of the Guards, which was much less dramatized then at Parliament and more direct and to the point.

The lovely bagpipes come with the Changing of the Guards ceremony

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They would just have one guard at a time … (and the real security guards were off to the side in a air conditioned security booth).  Here the two guards are switching over.  Pictures are allowed beside the guard as long as you stand on the left side away from the gun.  We’re not a very dramatic family but I’m sure it’s pretty challenging at times for the guards to keep a straight and serious face when people are trying to get them to laugh or react … no smiles allowed!

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The kids each took their turn trying to look very serious and not laughing

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And then … just as everyone is doing their best serious look … Matthew gives his rooster call!

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The grounds around Rideau Hall were beautiful, many trees and a rose bush garden. Definitely nice to go for a walk through, although we only walked a small section since the kids had had enough and wanted some lunch and Matthew need to release some energy.

We really enjoyed how non-commercialized the main tourist places were.  There’s nothing worse then being bombarded with souvenir shops and places selling food and enticing you.  But all the places we went to for our holidays were very discrete in this area, usually the option was there, but you had to look for it.  Each day we took along a lunch and had a picnic lunch.  Almost all the places we went to had a nice picnic area, usually with a playground for Matthew to run off some energy.   And then Rob and I usually had a chance to nap while the girls monitored Matthew. 

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After our lunch and nap at Rideau Hall we went off to find some water fun for the kids.  We let Matthew chose whether he wanted a splash pad or a wading pool and he chose a wading pool.  There was one not far from where we were staying so we headed off in that direction, taking a bit of scenic drive to get there.

The wading pool was a decent depth so the girls still had lots of fun also.  Various pool toys were included and of course there is no entrance fee for it … that being the reason it was an option on the list.  With the extreme heat it was a nice relief.

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Rob and I took some time to read our books and the girls played a bit at the park also, although they were mostly in the water.  Matthew spent most of his time in the water but when he finally decided to go off to the park it was discovered that someone had taken his crocs (in this case they were the actual real Crocs). 

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A search high and low did not uncover the missing crocs and so we had to make a trip to the closest Wal-Mart to buy him some new footwear since that was the only thing he had besides Sunday shoes. Just our luck they’re already clearing out summer stuff … really it’s July, we don’t need the fall stuff yet! We managed to find a pair of crocs that were snug but would do … or he could get a pair of flip flops that fit better. He was determined to have the flip flops so we hesitantly gave in, afraid that we would have a kid lagging behind and tripping all the time for the rest of the trip.  But we were wrong, those flip flops attached to his feet like part of his feet and he never tripped nor stumbled but flew along keeping up with the rest of us just fine.

Since it was Saturday we had supper on time, watched a couple episodes of Road to Avonlea, and were in bed at a relatively decent time.

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