By Bruce Stutz with photography by Renaud Philippe, Canadian Geographic
MY FIRST CANADA DAY! Bonjour! Bonne fête du Canada! Please pardon my French, for I’m from New York City, where we pretend to all speak the same language. Forgive me, too, for passing up, at eight in the morning, a street vendor’s proffer of a paper plateful of poutine. The celebration is not yet underway. The cobblestone courtyards of the Byward Market are quiet. But the barricades are being set up along the motorcade route and the tide of red shirts and red caps has started coming in: families with folding chairs and coolers vetting vantage points, bright young bénévoles (I’m learning already) bearing fistfuls of little Canadian flags, and vendors at their stations, griddles already smoking.
“Canada Day, eh?” one says to me, as if to mock my New Yorker’s expectations of Canadian brogue. I smile, wave my little flag and explain that I had planned a bicycle ride along the Rideau Canal and am worried that fries and curds might not be the right fuel for the journey.
Full Story on the National Geographic Travel Club website: Canada Day in Ottawa-Gatineau