Air Canada and Great Customer Service

Air Canada and great customer service together in one sentence? Is it possible? Did it actually happen?

I am here, sure as flies to…..well, you know what I mean; I am telling you I recently experienced some of THE best customer service from Air Canada; and it was during the Christmas holidays.

Have they finally got it together? Has Mr. Rovinescu, President and CEO of AC, brought forth an era of genuinely caring, compassionate, and joyful employees? Sure as flies to…well, you know what I mean; it definitely seems AC is flying in the right direction.

My family and I flew on AC, albeit Jazz, from Edmonton, Alberta to Houston, Texas during the Christmas holidays. From the check-in and gate agents at Edmonton International Airport, to the smiling faces of the flight attendants, our flight could not have gone any smoother.

The return trip was where AC really shone through. Upon check-in at Houston, we were informed our AC flight was delayed by a couple of hours. Our flight was to take us from Houston to Calgary and then on to Edmonton. Being the savvy traveller I am (savvy = ex-Air Canada employee) I realized that our connection in Calgary was going to be missed. I quickly telephoned AC reservations to re-book us on a later flight. I was informed that the two remaining flights from Calgary to Edmonton that evening where full, but, they would re-book us for the next morning flight. Now here’s where things can get complicated – with who is paying for an overnight hotel stay due to a misconnect. But first, let me continue…..

The aircraft arrived into Houston two hours delayed from scheduled departure. During our wait the gate agent was informative and helpful with any questions passengers asked. When the boarding began the gate agent sincerely expressed her apologizes on behalf of AC for the delay of the aircraft. Once onboard the aircraft the flight attendant expressed her apologizes for the delayed flight, and once we were level at 35,000 feet the captain came over the intercom with his apologizes and explanation of the delayed aircraft (sick first officer – hard to find replacement during the holidays – ah-ha not weather related so AC pays for overnight hotel). Here’s where it really gets exciting…complimentary drinks on the flight back to Canada!

Upon landing in Calgary, armed with some liquid courage, my family and I are ready to slay the first dragon that denies us a paid hotel night stay. But alas, no need for drawn swords as AC is ready and waiting (with smiles) for the inconvenienced passengers from Houston. Hotel reservations have been arranged, shuttle is outside waiting, and meal vouchers for supper and breakfast are handed out (with smiles).

The hotel was clean and comfortable, the food tasty, and we had a good night’s rest. In the morning we were presented with the next challenge, we were informed the shuttle from the hotel to the airport was fully booked. The hotel desk agent informed us that a taxi had been ordered for us and that AC will refund us the taxi charge. REALLY? AC will refund the taxi charge because the shuttle’s full? We’ll see…

Once the taxi deposited us at the airport, taxi receipt in hand, my determined partner walks over to the AC ticketing counter, explains our situation and presents the taxi receipt. The iTune playing in my head as I watch: “sorry we cannot give you a refund for the taxi, but here is the address in Montreal to write a letter and ask for a refund.” However, to my surprise and shock, my partner meets us at the check-in line up with a credit voucher explaining that the ticket agent did not have cash to give for the refund but when we arrive in Edmonton to take the voucher to a ticket agent and they will refund us our fare. We arrive Edmonton, I go to the ticket agent and sure as flies to…well, you know what I mean; money refunded.

Being an ex-Canadian Airlines/Air Canada employee caught in the merger, I saw both the inside and outside of an unhappy workforce, passengers and dim lit future. Now, seven years after leaving Air Canada, I have a different 30,000 foot view of the airline.

Reading Air Canada’s customer relations website, it says “we want to maintain a relationship with our customer’s…” After this smooth ride with Air Canada, I am slowly but surely, as flies to…well, you know what I mean; changing my opinion.

Well done Air Canada!

Quick Guide to Choose Comfortable and Affordable Hotels in Calgary

Calgary lies in the grasslands of Alberta, Canada and is the finest place for designing an enthusiastic holiday. With the natural essence of green gardens and blue skies the city holds up many other surprises too. Choose a nice hotel room with all the amenities and make your vacation stay comfortable.

What and How to Choose?

Hotels in Calgary are of varied range and affordability which could be chosen upon the convenience and budget of the tourist. Most of the Calgary hotels are well-equipped and therefore could provide all the amenities needed by the customer. A basic hotel room may consist of comforts like washer, mini-fridge, free internet access through Wi-Fi, internal telecommunication, microwave, television, couch, etc. Enhanced rooms like deluxe suite, executive suite, residential suite and king suite could also be chosen according to the budget and purpose.

Executive rooms are preferred by the business travelers as it includes fax facilities, video conferencing, writing table, laptop rentals, telephone access to all the networks and locations, etc. Residential suites include soothing spa facilities and massage treatments given by professionals. Some hotels admit pets and provide them individual beds and couches if informed earlier. If you don’t want all these niceties then go for a simple budget class hotel to save few dollars.

Here is a wise idea to skip your breakfast bill. Stay in some continental hotels that can provide you free breakfast. Almost all hotels in Calgary provide this service.

Where to Choose?

Pick a hotel close to the airport (Northeast Quadrant area) in order to avoid inconvenience in transportation. If you have a car (you can also rent or hire one) it becomes easy for you to access other parts of the city conveniently. The area is quite secured for those who tour to Calgary for the first time.

There are many hotels near the Calgary Tower (Southwest Calgary region). This is the perfect region to stay as there are plenty of tourist attractions surrounding this area. Some of the sightseer spots near the area are Glenbow Museum, Olympic Plaza, Fort Calgary Historic Park, Stampede Park, Calgary Zoo, TD Square, Prince’s Island Park, TELUS World of Science, etc.

Motel Village is the suitable region to access C-Train connection as Banff Trail Station is situated here. You can travel to various parts of the city from this location easily.

South of Macleod Trail is the suitable location for sightseeing. Fetch a hotel room in this zone to reach sightseeing locations at ease.

Ottawa Vacations Attractions History & Hotels

Whitewater Rafting and Tours of Canada’s History in one Vacation

The City of Ottawa offers a vacation experience very unique within Canada. The Ottawa region offers a diversity of recreational and sports opportunities and the small town charm still remains despite the population of 1 million residents. From quaint hotels and bed & breakfasts to modern 4 star luxury hotels, your visit here can offer everything you’d want in a Canadian holiday to remember. More than 6 million visitors come to Ottawa each year, many of whom learn about how Canada came into existence and of how it was settled by British and French explorers.

Ottawa offers perhaps the greatest collection of Canadian cultural venues and Canadian history including historic buildings and museums. Being the capital city of Canada, it is the location of Canada’s federal government. The parliament buildings house Canada’s political representatives and where the Canadian legislature convenes. The parliament buildings are of historic significance and seniors will appreciate the design and layout of the buildings. Tours are available. Built in 1875, these gothic style buildings stand in stark contrast to nearby modern buildings. They were constructed near a 175 foot high bluff that overhangs the Ottawa River.

Ottawa is located in the Ottawa valley on the banks of the Ottawa River, about 60 miles north of the St Lawrence River. The St Lawrence Seaway and the thousand islands district near Kingston can be accessed via water on the Rideau Canal. Ottawa can be reached via highway 401 from Montreal or Toronto. The 401 runs all the way from Windsor/Detroit and to reach Ottawa, you turn north onto highway 416.

The name Ottawa is a native word for “traders” as the Ottawa River was once a key transportation route for Canadian settlers and fur traders. Now the city is known for the quality of life, government and increasingly for its water sports and recreation. It extends northwestward all the way to Algonquin Park in Ontario. White water rafting and boat cruises are very popular attractions and even sailing takes place on the river. There is more available within the city of Ottawa. Across the river lies the city of Gatineau Quebec.

Ottawa Attractions

The parliament buildings are without a doubt the main attraction for tourists however Rideau Canal is a key point of interest for boaters in the summer and skaters in the winter. It was named a World Heritage site and spans 125 miles reaching down via lakes and rivers to Kingston and Lake Ontario. In the city of Ottawa, restaurants and park pathways make the canal a popular spot. You can visit the Bytown Museum, a small museum dedicated to the history and construction of the Rideau Canal.

The National Gallery of Canada and Canadian War Museum are the key museums to see. The National Gallery of Canada houses some of the most well known works of Canadian art including paintings by the Group of 7. The group of 7 were well known artists whose works were included into a collection to showcase Canadian art. These artists depicted Canadian landscapes in different mediums. The gallery houses a large collection of Canadian Inuit art.

The Byward Market area offers quaint shops, boutiques and bistros for those love to shop and stroll the cobblestone streets of the area. This area is a popular gathering spot.

Ottawa has two professional sports teams: the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League and the Ottawa Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. American football fans will find the difference between Canadian football and US football a refreshing change. CFL games are faster and the field itself is larger.

Ottawa Hotels

Chateau Fairmont Laurier, Delta Ottawa Suites and Lord Elgin Hotel offer luxury accommodations for your stay in Ottawa. The Lord Elgin is an old hotel not far from the Rideau Canal, Ottawa Congress Centre, Parliament Buildings and the Ottawa Rideau Centre. The Chateau Fairmont built in 1912 offers historic architecture for those wanting a 20th century style holiday. The Delta Ottawa Suites offers modern hotel rooms and conveniences, a spa and balconies on rooms. Numerous bed and breakfast establishments offer a more intimate type of accommodations. The Association of Ottawa Bed & Breakfasts might be a good starting point to find a local bed & breakfast accommodation.

Enjoy a visit to Ottawa, a city steeped in Canadian culture and history. From world class whitewater rafting to exceptional national museums to professional sports, a truly Canadian vacation experience awaits you in Ottawa, Canada.

Cheap Hotels in Beautiful Toronto, Canada

Vacationing to Canada is a welcome change from the repetitive family vacations, but as the most expensive place to live in Canada, finding cheap Toronto hotels is a necessity.

Using the Internet is the Best Place to Start

The Internet supplies the largest collection of information on cheap Toronto hotels in the world. While many people start at travel websites, often reserving hotel rooms directly from the main website of the business can mean saving money. Hotels in Toronto will often publish lower fares on their main websites before offering those fares on travel websites.

Comparison Shopping the Best Deals

Another huge benefit of searching for cheap Toronto hotels on the Internet is the ability to comparison shop the rates. If one travel website is listing a four star hotel for $100 US a night, search for the same accommodations on several other websites and the hotel site. The lowest rate you thought you were getting could be higher than competitor rates.

Willing to Travel?

If a car rental will be used while traveling in Toronto, a huge savings could be had by reserving cheap Toronto hotels outside of city limits. The cities of Markham, Vaughan, Mississauga, Newmarket and Pickering are just minutes outside of the city proper but offer lower hotel rates than those located in the middle of the action. An example are the Motels/Hotels in Mississauga Ontario. You can find very good rooms in Mississauga starting at $45 a night. Another benefit is that Mississauga is only twenty minutes from Downtown Toronto.

Reserving Toronto hotels outside of the downtown core may also offer interesting sights and attractions to visit. Vaughan, for instance, is home to the largest Theme park in all of Canada ( Canada’s Wonderland ). The ride to the city center is just 45 minutes, but the money saved will be well worth the time.

Choosing the Best Time of Year for Travel

There are two times of the year when Toronto is truly hopping with visitors, summer and winter. During the summer months, the temperatures make for the perfect outdoor hiking and camping adventures. Contrary to some peoples belief, temperatures in Toronto can soar up over thirty degrees celsius. The winter months are great for skiing and outdoor winter sports. When making travel plans, cheap Toronto hotels will be easier to find if traveling during the spring and fall as these are the less popular months for tourist travel to the city. Traveling on the weekdays as opposed to the weekends will also lower the rates for cheap Toronto hotels.

On a final note, if you do decide to visit Toronto, do not forget to check out our CN Tower for a beautiful view of the entire city! Other big attractions are: Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Toronto Zoo, The Distillery Historic District and the Ontario Science Centre.

Presenting: Ottawa – Canada’s Capital and An Exciting Travel Destination

In anticipation of my upcoming trip to Ottawa next weekend I have started to do some research and contacted Ottawa Tourism. Ottawa, as Canada’s capital, is one of Canada’s most popular travel destinations and it has a great variety destinations, activities and events to offer.

I had an opportunity to talk with Jantine Van Kregten from Ottawa Tourism who was kind enough to give me a great general overview of things to see and do in Ottawa.

1. Please provide us with some general information about Ottawa. How large is the city, where is it located, what is the weather like?

Ottawa is the capital of Canada, and its fourth largest city. With the neighbouring city of Gatineau in the province of Quebec, the region has about 1.2 million people. Ottawa is located in eastern Ontario, about four hours’ drive northeast of Toronto; two hours west of Montreal; and one hour north of the border with the state of New York.

Ottawa enjoys four distinct seasons, with warmest temperatures and sometimes high humidity in July and August; a temperate fall with gorgeous fall colours; a cold and snowy winter; and a wet spring.

2. How can one get to Ottawa and what is the best way of getting around in Ottawa?

Ottawa is accessible with direct flights from major centres in Canada and several U.S. cities including New York, Washington, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta and more. Ottawa is a major stop along the Windsor-Quebec City corridor of VIA Rail and bus service also links the city with other Canadian cities.

By car, major thoroughfares include Highway 416 that links Ottawa with Highway 401. Highway 417 runs through the city, while Autoroutes 5, 50 and 148 are the major highways on the Quebec side of the river.

3. Ottawa is Canada’s capital and has played a significant role in the history of this country. Please tell us more about that and the Canadian Heritage Experiences offered in Ottawa.

The story of Ottawa begins with the building of the Rideau Canal between 1826 and 1832 by Lt. Col. John By of the Royal Engineers and thousands of mostly Irish labourers. The Canal stretches 202 km (126 miles) through eastern Ontario to the St. Lawrence River and was built to ensure a supply line in case of American attack (which never came). The Canal was never used for a military purpose and its 49 locks are still operated in the same way as when they were built. In fact, the Rideau Canal is Canada’s nominee to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is expected in 2007, the 175th anniversary of its construction.

Queen Victoria decreed in 1857 that Ottawa would be the capital of the country that became Canada. The majestic Parliament Buildings were constructed shortly thereafter and remain a “must-see” attraction in the capital. As the capital, Ottawa is also home to 24 Sussex Drive (the prime minister’s residence and not open to the public); Rideau Hall (home of the Governor General, with guided tours of residence and gardens available); and dozens of high commissions and embassies from governments around the world.

Don’t miss Laurier House, home to both Sir Wilfrid Laurier and WIlliam Lyon Mackenzie King, two former prime ministers, or the Mackenzie King Estate, King’s summer home in Gatineau Park.

4. Please tell us about some of the major attractions, museums and galleries in the Ottawa area.

The latest addition to the national museum scene is the impressive Canadian War Musuem, which opened in May 2005 in a stunning location next to the Ottawa River. Canada’s most-visited museum is Gatineau’s Canadian Museum of Civilization. The National Gallery of Canada offers the largest collection of Canadian art, along with European and American masters. Other cultural facilities include the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography; the Canada Aviation Museum; the Canada Science and Technology Museum; the Canada Agriculture Museum; the Royal Canadian Mint; the Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada; and the Canadian Museum of Nature, currently in the midst of a massive renovation project, to be completed in 2009.

Other museums include the Bytown Museum, which tells the history of Ottawa’s early days, including the building of the Rideau Canal; the Billings Estate Museum that traces the history of a prominent local family; and the funky Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum, a four-storey underground bunker that was constructed between 1959 and 1961 as the location to which the Canadian political and military elite would ride out the effects of a nuclear attack.

5. Our readers would like to find out about the festivals and special events in Ottawa.

The festival scene in Ottawa is a robust, year-round affair. The year kicks off with Winterlude, a huge winter festival held over the first three weekends in February. In March, the Irish community celebrates Irish week, and in March and April, the maple syrup season spawns a number of delicious festivals and events celebrating this tasty treat.

May belongs to the Canadian Tulip Festival–three weeks of celebration of Ottawa’s favourite flower. During World War II, the Dutch royal family took refuge in Ottawa and Princess Margriet was born here, in a hospital room designated Dutch soil for the event. Canadians played a huge role in liberating the Netherlands and when the royal family returned home after the war, as a gesture of friendship, respect and appreciation, they sent thousands of tulip bulbs. The bulbs have followed every year since and now 3,000,000 tulips bloom in Canada’s Capital Region.

Late May brings Canada’s largest marathon as part of the Ottawa Race Weekend. Over the summer months, festivals abound: Doors Open Ottawa showcase heritage buildings; Italian Week; the Ottawa Fringe Festival; the TD Canada Trust Ottawa International Jazz Festival; the Nortel Ottawa Dragon Boat Race Festival; Cisco Systems Ottawa Bluesfest (Canada’s largest); the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival (the world’s largest); the Sound of Light fireworks festival; Ottawa Busker Festival; Ottawa GreekFest; CKCU Ottawa Folk Festival; the Central Canada Exhibition; and Pride Week.

On Parliament Hill, two free activities occur daily in the summer: the 10:00 a.m. Changing the Guard ceremony and the evening Sound and Light Show.

In the fall, the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival colours the skies; while the La Vendemmia Harvest Festival tempts visitors’ palates. The Ottawa International Animation Festival showcases artists from around the world while the Ottawa International Writers Festival provides a forum for authors’ lively debates. Fall Rhapsody celebrates the splendid autumn colours.

The capital lights up for the holidays with the Christmas Lights Across Canada program.

6. What about restaurants and entertainment / nightlife areas in Ottawa?

Several neighbourhoods offer entertainment options in Ottawa. The ByWard Market is one of Ottawa’s oldest neighbourhoods and also functions as its entertainment district, with over 100 food and drink options in just a four-block-square area. Whether it’s fine dining, a good diner, a cosy bistro, or a romantic cafe, you can find it in “the Market.”

Elgin Street is another popular nightlife area, with an eclectic selection of bars, restaurants and cafes in just a few blocks. Bank Street offers three or four distinct areas along its length, including a popular area known as the Glebe. In the near west end, Westboro is also an attractive option for dinner and drinks.

Of course, one could also choose to explore the various options at the Casino du Lac-Leamy–whether it’s gaming excitement or a show at its popular theatre or a dinner at its five-diamond restaurant Le Baccara. The region’s other five-diamond establishment (two of only 11 across Canada) is Signatures at Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa.

7. Please give us an overview of the performing arts on offer in Ottawa.

The National Arts Centre is Canada’s premier performing arts centre, offering English and French theatre performances, dance, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Numerous smaller theatres also abound, in both English and French, including the Great Canadian Theatre Company, La Nouvelle Scene, Ottawa Little Theatre, Third Wall Theatre Company, Odyssey Theatre (offering outdoor performances next to the Rideau River), A Company of Fools, and many productions at Arts Court, a municipal facility.

From May 18 to June 11, the Cirque du Soleil will bring its production of Quidam to Ottawa. The Canada Dance Festival takes place every two years (June 2-10, 2006) in Ottawa and the Ottawa Fringe Festival (also in June) is one of the best ways to see new productions and new innovations. In

The Centrepointe Theatre in the west end offers a variety of performances, as do the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.

Larger events are usually held at Scotiabank Place and the Ottawa Civic Centre.

8. What are some of the shopping opportunities in Ottawa?

Some great shopping centres exist in Ottawa, including Bayshore Shopping Centre in the west end, Rideau Centre downtown, the St. Laurent Centre in the close east end, and Place d’Orleans Shopping Centre in the east end. These centres offer the best of the well-known brands.

For more eclectic offerings, the ByWard Market neighbourhood offers great fashion and housewares; as does the Glebe, Westboro, and some small towns on both the Ontario and Quebec side of the Ottawa River–inclouding Merrickville, Manotick, Perth, Chelsea and Wakefield.

9. What are the outdoor, recreational and sports opportunities in and around Ottawa?

From a professional perspective, the Ottawa Senators are particularly beloved by Ottawans, as they march to a Stanley Cup victory! The Ottawa ’67s offer a window to the Ontario Hockey League. The Ottawa Renegades provide Canadian Football League excitement while the Ottawa Lynx are part of baseball’s International League (they’re the Triple A farm team for the Baltimore Orioles).

But sports in Ottawa are much more participatory than that. Home to hundreds of kilometres of recreational pathways, Ottawans love to cycle, inline skate and hike. The Ottawa River offers unbelievable whitewater rafting, as well as canoe and kayak adventures for the adventurous.

The highest bungee freefall in Canada is located just north of Ottawa, just outside Gatineau Park. Year-round, Gatineau Park offers something for the outdoor lover. Whether it’s camping, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking or swimming in summer; or snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in winter, the Park is beloved by all in the region.

As proof of how diverse a destination Ottawa is, it’s the only location where you can skate on the world’s largest skating rink and play in the world’s largest beach volleyball tournament?

10. What type of accommodations options are there in Ottawa?

There are over 11,000 hotel rooms in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. The major chains (Hilton, Fairmont, Westin, Marriott, Delta, Sheraton, Novotel, Holiday Inn, Best Western, Comfort Inn) are represented, as well as more unique offerings such as the boutique ARC the.hotel or Brookstreet Resort.

Downtown locations are within walking distance to many major attractions. Several bed-and-breakfast providers also offer a cosy alternative to hotels.

A comprehensive list of options is found at http://www.ottawatourism.ca
11. What are some of the major events and big news stories coming up in 2006 and beyond in Ottawa?

The Canadian Museum of Civilization celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2006. It began its life in May 1856, as part of the Geological Survey of Canada. The young museum grew into the National Museum of Canada and then, into the National Museum of Man. In 1986, it became the Canadian Museum of Civilization, moving into its magnificent Gatineau buildings three years later and continuing to present informative and entertaining exhibitions for a wide range of interests.

The Casino du Lac-Leamy celebrates 10 years of non-stop excitement in March 2006. Originally opened as the Casino de Hull, it has grown to be one of the top attractions in Canada’s Capital Region, offering gaming each day from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.; five-diamond dining at Le Baccara; an adjoining Theatre offering matinees, musical programming, and variety shows of all kinds; docking facilities; an adjacent Hilton hotel with spa; and conference facilities. The Casino is celebrating with a series of themed activities, including the popular 7 Lucky Days promotion which offers a different promotion each day of the week.

Emily Carr is the featured exhibition from June 2 through September 3, 2006 at the National Gallery of Canada. Her paintings of First Nations villages and landscapes of the northwest Pacific coast, including many images of totem poles, help define Canadian art, especially that of the early 1900s.

In the third Indiana Jones movie, the climactic scene took place in a spectacular desert location carved into the side of a cliff. That venue is part of Petra, located in Jordan, and from April 7, 2006 through January 2, 2007, you can learn more at the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s exhibition PETRA: City of Stone.

The Seven Years War is the focus of a new exhibit at the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa’s newest cultural attraction which opened with much fanfare in May 2005. The exhibit Clash of Empires: The War That Made Canada runs from May 18 to November 12.

Outdoor activities are a crucial part of Ottawans’ lives. This summer, residents will be able to relish in others’ accomplishments, too, as Ottawa plays host to more than 3,500 athletes and coaches during the 2006 Ontario Summer Games from August 9 to 13, 2006.

Québec Scene: April/May 2007: The National Arts Centre has played host to two previous “scenes”–Atlantic Scene in 2003 and Alberta Scene in 2005–and in 2007, it’s Québec’s turn to shine, as the very best of its theatre, music, dance, comedy, culinary arts, literature and film forms the basis of this cultural festival.

Treasures from Beijing: May 11-September 30, 2007: At the Canadian Museum of Civilization, learn more about the development of Chinese civilization while viewing selected treasures from the National Museum of China. There will also be an attempt to provide a glimpse of China’s recent history, including economic reforms and the Olympic Games bid.

Renoir’s Landscapes: June 8-September 9, 2007: One of the best-loved of all the Impressionists, Renoir will be front and centre next summer at the National Gallery of Canada.

FIFA World Youth Championship 2007: July 1-22, 2007: Ottawa has been selected as one of six Canadian host cities for this three-week, 24-nation, 52-match tournament featuring the best youth (under-20) soccer players in the world. It is the second largest event staged by FIFA, following the FIFA World Cup.

Rideau Canal as UNESCO World Heritage Site: The heritage Rideau Canal, stretching 202 km from Ottawa to Kingston, is Canada’s entry to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The designation should be received in time for the 175th anniversary of the completion of the Canal in 2007.

Portrait Gallery of Canada: Following last spring’s opening of the new Canadian War Museum, the next major cultural institution planned for Ottawa is the Portrait Gallery of Canada, due to open across the street from Parliament Hill in late 2007.

Thank you, Jantine, for providing such a great overview of all the things Ottawa has to offer. You have given me some great ideas for my trip next week and possible future excursions over the coming year.