Ottawa: The Capital of Canada

On a day not unlike today––when the sun refuses to shine, the wind blows cold, and the damp seems to seep into your bones––I recall walking along Parliament Hill. The seat of Canada’s House of Democracy, I am proud to stand beside its beauty and architectural strength on this bitterly cold January day. I’m proud to strike its digital image, but almost fearful to snap the shot, because since October 2014, when parliament was attacked, nothing feels the same. My photo is marred by the officers on guard, ever watchful in their cars––a necessary step to keep citizens and government officials safe from harm. The Centennial Flame keeps burning, and as I gaze at the Peace Tower beyond, I say a little prayer that someday, far away in another land, a lasting peace will be found.

I am cold. I walk on …

The Fairmont Chateau Laurier (Photo by Shelley Kassian)
The Fairmont Chateau Laurier (Photo by Shelley Kassian)
?w=300″ alt=”French onion soup and artisan cheese at Zoe’s” width=”300″ height=”225″ /> French onion soup and artisan cheese at Zoe’s

The Fairmont Chateau Laurier is not far from the Parliament buildings. I brush off my sadness, and proceed to this historic hotel to enjoy a late lunch. If I’d had the time, or if my husband had been able to join me, I would have partaken in High Tea. Instead, I lounge at Zoe’s enjoying a hot bowl of French onion soup, artisan cheese, and a belated Merry Christmas Martini. I love the quiet of the little salon. After lunch, I explore the marble halls of this historic hotel, before making one final pilgrimage, to pay my respects.


?w=700″ alt=”IMG_0809_2″ width=”700″ height=”933″ /> The National War Memorial near Parliament Hill (Photo: Shelley Kassian)


The sadness is overwhelming. One unknown soldier lies beneath the concrete tomb, and a red rose rests on the top, frozen in the snow. I mourn for another soldier, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, whose life was forfeit for standing guard over this unknown man. I thank them both for their sacrifice. I understand that to protect our freedoms, sometimes we must stand guard and even go to war to protect life.

I shiver with cold, I walk on again …


I walked back to my hotel as the sun began to set in the sky. It’s a cold day, filled with the melancholy of loss and the joys of a canadian winter. I remind myself that Ottawa is a beautiful place and no act of terrorism can ever mar this historic little city. I am proud to be a Canadian. Prouder still, walking along Parliament Hill. Someday, I’ll return in the spring, when new life is promised and tulips break through the black soil. The Canadian Tulip Festival occurs every year in the month of May. It’s a great time to visit Ottawa, the capital of Canada.


Published by shelleykassian

Shelley Kassian is a multi-published author and storyteller, who romances readers with her contemporary, historical, and fantasy novels.

One thought on “Ottawa: The Capital of Canada

  1. This is an excellent essay Shelley. The photographs are fantastic, and I believe your memorial to Cpl. Cirillo was one of the best I’ve read. Great job!

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