Stockholm- A Culture Capital

Stockholm- A Culture Capital
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Treasures and Pleasures from the East.

Arriving in Canada’s capital city felt a little overwhelming; I had not seen more than one Canada flag at a time for the last 4 months and all of a sudden I was walking down a rampart with somewhere around 100 flags running down both walls. I was told ‘welcome home’ but I didn’t feel at home flying into a city I had never been and a country I had been gone from for so long. It was a nice display of patriotism and I realized I often forget about my Canadian pride, well at least until I have to put an American in their place. What really made me feel at home was my dear brother picking me up and crawling into his familiar jeep. It’s nice to go somewhere and know people!

I was blessed to have my parents fly in from Alberta the same night I came from London so that we could spend a week together touring the Country’s Capital. We spent the week caught up in Canada Day Festivities, touring the greater Ottawa area and enjoying the vibe of down town. We spent plenty of time in the downtown area called ‘The Market’ that originally founded and by John By, the man in charge of building the famous Rideau Canal. We of course went for a tour of our parliament buildings and saw the House of Commons and the Senate.

I feel the highlight for me was taking my first journey into Quebec. We took a daylong stint into Montreal. Here we shopped around old town and went for a very lengthy and filling fondue lunch before our main attraction—Cirque du Soleil. Now it may sound silly but I didn’t have any clue that Cirque du Soleil was Canadian or that most of their touring shows premier in Canada before they travel around the world. I felt so out of the loop that I did a little research on the company. The company was originally founded in 1984 by two street performers named Daniel Gauthier and Guy Laliberte. The company had mixed success until they had mixed success at first but caught on and expanded rapidly through the 90’s and is still growing. The company’s first resident show was at the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas and is still running. Today there are seven resident shows in Las Vegas and there are plans for shows in Hollywood and Dubai. I am excited to see where this wonderful Canadian company goes and I hope to be able to see all these shows.

The most current show from Cirque is called Totem that is an exploration of the evolution of mankind. The show explores both Darwin style evolution but also looks at the evolution of our current society and different traditions from global cultures. It also looks at man’s aspiration to explore, expand, and ‘evolve’. The mix of comedy and refined spectacle was amazing. I have seen Cirque du Soleil in Vegas and even though this show was mounted on a much smaller stage it definitely delivers. Check out the show here:

To finish our night we went to Schwartz’s, a famous smoked meat sandwich restaurant which has not been glammed up or changed much since it opened in 1928 (well maybe a tad, but I swear not much) People line up out the door to get their hands on Montreal’s famous dish. I then crossed the street to indulge in some ice cream for the ride home. Who can say no to Chai Tea ice cream or Baby Monkey (Banana, Rum, Chocolate, and Vanilla) Finally I could say Bon Appetit again.

As I continue to work and tour Ottawa I find more and more to enjoy here, Canada’s capital is a good size city with a small town feel and a good amount to do. It doesn’t have the hustle, bustle, and grandeur of Toronto, but those who are looking for history, great food, and relaxation this is a good place to find it.

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