Downtown Ottawa is beautiful. When you’ve been away, you forget how spectacular the Parliament buildings, the Rideau Canal, and the unique shops around Byward Market are. On Thursday morning (Aug. 11) we drove down to try to find a bagel restaurant we remembered from years ago, but alas… it was no longer in business. When we walked through the Byward Market we did find another place that featured Montreal style bagels (if you’ve never had a wood-fired, Jewish style bagel, you’ve missed something) and had breakfast there.
After checking out some stores, we walked on down to the National Art Museum located just blocks away. We couldn’t believe our luck – the Caravaggio exhibition was in town! Tony had wanted to see this Italian painter’s paintings (from the 1400s) in a collection for years, but the lines for his shows are always very long in Italy (because of all the tourists). So here we were, in Ottawa, Canada, seeing his paintings with no waits. Sometimes the blessings of God come in unexpected, small ways. His love for us is so amazing!
After a couple of hours we were pretty tired and ready for a coffee break. So we walked back to the Byward Market and sat down in a French market that featured amazing desserts, Obama cookies, fresh salads, soups, and really good coffee. We were pretty full from breakfast so just had some fresh fruit and a small salad with our coffee. Everywhere you look in downtown Ottawa, you see a kaleidoscope of ethnic people. Some are tourists, but most are residents who have come from all parts of the world.
The vendors who man the stalls of fresh fruit, vegetables, and Canadian favorites like maple syrup are mostly from Quebec but some farmers from Ontario also come in each day to set up and sell their home grown produce.
One of our good friends from our time spent pastoring Chapel Ridge church lives downtown. Mary Ann Dooner, sister of Tracy Peterkins, owns a really cute townhouse in the Glebe, within walking distance of Bank Street. She has worked for the government for years and now has the luxury of working at home.
We arranged to meet her for supper on Thursday evening. She knew of a good Irish pub just blocks from her house where we enjoyed fish and chips and other
great entrees. After catching up with each other’s lives, we wandered on down the street to try a new ice cream shop that just opened. The owner is from Rome and makes his own gelato, so we were not disappointed with our dessert of hazelnut gelato. Sadly, Mary Ann just ordered a cappucino. Oh for her self control! Sitting around in her charming townhouse that evening, Tony and I were reminded once again of the faithfulness of God to keep good friends close even when separated by many miles and lots of time in between our meetings. As we prayed with Mary Ann about her future, I wept as I thought about God’s promises to us – that He would be with us in every stage of life, even to our senior years (what Scripture calls our “gray hairs”). Thank you, Lord, for good friends who have continued to trust you and for your faithful care over all our lives.