Thank you to Travis and Carols’ friends and family who enveloped us and treated us more than generously. Peter and Louise for hosting us in your Montreal home, for delicious meals, our introduction to Tim Hortons and homely walks. Al and Jeannie for Kanata walks and bike ride, for an enchanting taste of Gatineau Forests and views and to top it all a first for us, a genuine Thanksgiving dinner with your welcoming Canadian family. Scott and Rosie for our stay at your dreamy Mont Tremblant ‘chalet’. We were like children riding escalators, making full use of the gondola rides and breathing in the surrounding Laurentians Mountains. Larry and Diane for making us so at home around your BBQ and for the carefully planned Fall leaves road trip bringing mountains, lakes and rivers right up to our car windows. Last but not least our thanks go to the Monday Morning walking group for accepting us as fellow walkers around your beat.
Travis and Carol needn’t have gone to the trouble they did to give us a Canadian experience. We would have been happy to just be together. But their varied itinerary, punctuated with rest days, would make any local travel agent proud. Thank you both! We’ve fallen in love with Ottawa and Kanata especially; your surroundings are wonderfully accessible and gorgeous.
We‘ve walked the passages of your Parliament building, enjoyed the 360° view of Ottawa from the Parliament tower; delighted in the clothing and culture of Canada’s First Nation folk with their original 53 different languages at the History Museum; had a private tour of Brookstreet Hotel with their top sous chef; sauntered the grounds of Trav’s blue and white Cordon Bleu training ‘manor house’ taking in its amazing treed setting and downed a Timothy’s coffee to complete his 2007-8 chef school experience; enjoyed fine French cuisine in a 1925 house, the Le Cheval de Jade restaurant, in Mont Tremblant; strolled and picnicked along the Ottawa river in front of their Corkstown apartment; boated amongst captivating little islands on the St. Lawrence River; experienced their downtown Street Market complete with a cinnamon and brown sugar ‘Beaver Tail’; drove the streets of Carol’s hometown, Montreal; got up close to a full range of Canadian animals in the semi wild, looked with wonder at the exceptionally well-groomed shiny black Royal Canadian Mounted Police horses at their stables and virtually swam with creatures in the depths of the sea at IMAX! A real highlight was getting to experience Carol speaking at the Neurology Clinic at Ottawa Civic Hospital. It was officially Carol’s talk, but sitting next to her, Travis was able to sensitively and appropriately put in additional information – what a team!
The Canadian sky was an unexpected gift with unique cloud formations and hues! Breath-taking sunrises from your plant-lined verandah, to the tune of slapping flags and Canadian geese aplenty marching in formation across the icy early morning sky, were rivaled only by the awesome sunsets crowning your forest’s autumn bonanza, framed in your dining room window! We’re returning to Auckland with crisp air kisses on our cheeks gathered along Kanata’s many cycle paths; ironed and waxed Maple leaves of every shade and treasured memories of birds and creatures that chose to show themselves along our frequent meanders.
For sharing your beautifully décor-ed home with us, for illustrating your memories through photobooks and scrapbooks, for patiently teaching us canasta, for hearty field chats, after-work meal times, and being willing to eat dinner on the terrace above your apartment in subnormal temperatures, not to mention the celebration of final puzzle pieces being laid in place, we thank you.
See photos of the visit on the Gallery page...