Jun. 10th, 2017

bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Woke up around 8:30 and let the alarm go off this time. Gary had been up late (4 AM, he told me later) so I let him sleep while I showered and dressed for staying in the hotel and doing laundry (in tank top and shorts). However, despite the lack of sleep, Gary had other plans for the morning: a trip to Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor-General. So we went downstairs for breakfast, back upstairs so I could change into jeans and a T-shirt (as it happened, I needn't have bothered) and plot a route by bus.

We caught the 5 bus to Rideau Centre and the 9 through ByWard Market to a block away from the pedestrian gate of Rideau Hall. We walked around the grounds a bit and noticed a big bearish dude with dark hair and beard, in a grey T-shirt and shorts, with lots of ink on the exposed parts of his arms, legs and even his neck. He was accompanied by his wife, and the four of us spent some time viewing the rose garden, commemorative tree plantings, and the cricket game going on at the nearby pitch. We got tickets for the 11:30 tour and found that illustrated bear and his wife would be joining us, along with two tall young dudes in tank tops and shorts.

After our tour guide, Sarah, escorted us through security, she showed us the entrance hall full of pictures of the Canadian Governors-General (1952-present), then the Tent Room with pink and white candy-striped cloth padding on the walls simulating the tent which used to roll up into the ceiling. The Tent Room has portraits of the British Governors-General (prior to 1952), including Earl Grey who created the Grey Cup, who was the grandson of the Earl Grey who created the tea that bears his name. From there we visited the Long Gallery, with blue Chinese patterned carpets, comfy furniture, and Glenn Gould's piano. Gould was offered the Order of Canada but declined it, believing he was too young and too early in his career to accept the honor. Sadly, he died young and never did receive the honor, which cannot be awarded posthumously. He bequeathed the piano to Rideau Hall on the condition it be kept tuned, which they are most happy to do. The current Governor-General's grandchildren have been known to do cartwheels in the Long Gallery (presumably after some of the furniture is moved aside). Next were the two chambers which were part of the original Hall, the second of which is the Canadian Room full of art, furniture and books created by Canadians. One of the paintings is by Emily Carr whose statue (complete with dog and monkey) we saw in Victoria. Finally we visited the ballroom with its curious Artists' Nook, with a harp (not kept tuned), a sculpted bust, and two stained-glass windows. This led us back to the reception hall and we exited the building the same way we had come in.

We explored the grounds a bit more en route to the visitors centre in the Gardener's House. There was an amusing book on heraldry (Canada is the only Commonwealth country outside Great Britain with its own heraldic authority), a small replica of the Stanley Cup (Lord Stanley was also a Governor-General) and other displays. Eventually we returned to the pedestrian gate and the nearby corner to wait for the bus. An Asian family (adult daughter and aging parents) waited around the corner where there was some shade.

As we approached ByWard Market, an older fellow boarded the bus and asked how long I had been growing my beard. He then engaged a mother and two children in conversation. The mother didn't want to tell him her age, but one of the kids did it for her. When we arrived at Rideau Centre to change buses, this dude launched into a graphic description of two pigeons copulating on the sidewalk with the strong suggestion they should do that on the roof. Thankfully he didn't board the second bus with us.

We returned to the room briefly so I could change clothes again (back to the tank top and shorts) and stopped by MacLaren's on Elgin, attached to the hotel, for a late lunch. Gary had a club sandwich and Caesar salad and I had a French dip sandwich with curly fries. We sat by the one screen showing the Mets at Atlanta. After lunch we returned to the room once again so Gary could sleep and I could do laundry.

When the laundry was done, I changed again into a fresh polo shirt and slacks while Gary contacted Mike and arranged to meet him at the venue for the evening's concert by Tone Cluster, the First Baptist Church. As it happened, we ended up meeting a couple blocks away near City Hall where he'd parked. (There was a running joke that since the French for "city hall" is "hotel de ville", that someone might say "Oh, we're staying at the Hotel de Ville tonight.") The program was shared with the Nepean High School choir, whose director is big and tall. Met up with Gianluca at intermission and Gary introduced Mike to him. Show went well, especially the closing joint number where the adult basses gave the piece what may be lacking in a high-school choir alone. Gary and I had a nice chat with Dan as we waited for Gianluca to finish his production duties.

After the concert we walked to the nearby Duff's Diner for a late dinner. Mike and I ordered the huge smoked meat sandwich which is their specialty, and I was intrigued by the option on the menu to change from fries to a latke so I ordered that. Gary had veggie lasagna whih he found very good. For dessert we split an order of cheesecake 3 ways, During the meal we saw 3 big dudes on big motorcycles with the lead one blaring "Let It Go" from Frozen.

After dinner we walked to Mike's car so he could give Gary a box of family memorabilia to take home, and ended up having to walk down the ramp. Mike dropped us off at the hotel and we sat up and watched TV briefly before bed.

June 2017

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