A golden sunrise cast a wide net over the capital on a warm July morning. It was going to be another day of double-digit thermometer readings. My spouse and I had a wedding to attend that night. There was a nice gap of time between now and the evenings’ festivities. We decided to wander towards Parliament Hill. I’ve been to the hill many times over the years. Spouse had been only once. When we were last there we both were note feeling particularly well. So it was difficult to take any of it in really. It was difficult to absorb much of the history that lined every single part of it. We would get occasional bursts of energy that were very short-lived while there. We were so tired that we stopped at a pub to “rest” on the way back to where we were staying only a few blocks away.
In that July day as we closed in on the hill, we saw a large lineup of people waiting to get admission to get in for the tour. We accepted fairly quickly that we would not be getting into the building that day. There was a time when you could just walk in to the buildings and pretty much join a tour that was in progress or about to start. Reality sank in that this is the present. This is an era of heightened awareness due to criminal acts and possible threats against the safety of the country its’ people and visitors. It’s all understandable. I’m happy to see security be taken so seriously.
Looking around, I notice a significant amount of renovations underway. Not just on the hill but in so many parts of Ottawa. Preparations were well underway for Canada 150 Celebrations to take place this summer. It provoked reflections of how things must have been 50 and 100 years ago. Some of my questions took me back to the dawn of confederation and the times shortly after. The times truly have changed. A look around the city was proof of how far things had come.
Early reports of tourism bookings for the summer indicate that numbers are up across the country. Ottawa itself it set to become a major party place come July 1st. Bookings in Prince Edward Island for the spring and summer are completely off the charts. I spoke with the operator of one of the smaller hotels in Charlottetown who told me she was fielding over a dozen phone calls a day since the fall of 2016 for people seeking bookings for the 2017 season. She was exhausted from all the phone calls. As of March, she was almost 99% sold out for the entire spring, summer and early fall. She had people calling who were referred to her from some of the “bigger name” hotels that were already sold out.
It is my hope that the Canada 150 celebrations will be a reflection of how far the country has come. Canada has much to be grateful for. Canada also has to work harder to learn from the mistakes of the past and things that occasionally made it an embarrassment on the global stage. It is a nation of peace and inclusiveness.
Hopefully by Canada’s 200th birthday, more significant progress will have been made. This country still has a very long way to go.