General city Information, Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada and as such becomes the focal point for representatives of other governments in need of cozy (or not so) relationship with the Canadian government.
For this purpose or by chance, one of the areas in the city is practically designated for the diplomats and their business friends. There is nothing unusual about this concentration of high IQ (presumably) and high income. Many other cities are endowed with such celestial presence. What is more interesting in the case of Ottawa is the fact that this area is on the route of the tour bus (amphibious, mind you). Once on board, the tourist is whisked around downtown, then follows a crossing of the river to demonstrate the ability of the craft and as a dessert, a tour of the rich and famous is offered. There is a look at the Prime Minister's residence and appeal to your imagination when the Governor General's house is concerned.
After a couple of circles between the housing monstrosities the bus heads back to downtown.
Absolutely the same routine is offered in La Paz, the capital of the poorest nation in South America. Makes you wonder whether these tourist industry businessmen are running out of ideas or there is no difference between Ottawa and La Paz
in the sense that the same golden "ghetto" happens to provide one of the not very many worthwhile attractions around.
You can tell when someone is celebrating an anniversary or birthday in Canada because of the front yard decorations. You see cows, piggies and all kinds of plastic animals on the lawn. Not all parties have this but this is a local custom here in Canada when the family members want to surprise the person with the birthday or anniversary. When they come home from work or school, they can see their front yard full of little animals and signs saying happy birthday, anniversary or just welcome home dad or mom. Very considerate and thoughtful gestures.
POLiiITiCS : Yes PArty Politics means Cabinet Ministers come and go, we in the Nations Capital see and hear more about politicians and their
'shanannigans', and also how one person suddenly becomes emcumbered with three mahore Portfolios.
===Is that what democracy about === ever wondered why many Canadians do not vote nor worry about who represents their constituency in Parliament ???
=== ever knew that when parliament is sittin in Ottawa, you can get to meet your Member of Parliament of Senator ===excercise your Citizen's Democratic Rights
>>> luckily Cable companies sponsor the CPAC channel which covers Political and National Issues.
Cultural tip: Try respecting people's yards. Canadians take very good care of their front yards. They artistically landscape them and decorate them with small dwarfs, angels, statues, fountains and animals. They work very hard to keep their neighbourhood looking like a big botanical park.
They also decorate their homes. Especially around Christmas time with many beautiful lights, Santa Claus, Rain deers, etc. There are no fences around people's properties. This doesn't mean that we can jump on their lawn freely.
Another local custom. This is also enforced by law. If you have a dog and it desides to poop on the street, you have to pick up the dog poo and carry it with you to the trash in a plastic bag. You see people walking their pet with plastic gloves on their hands. Now you know why.
Ps: Please enlarge images to see a more clear picture.
Although it's not 'official', Ottawa is a bilingual city, where both English and French is spoken. We are only minutes from the province of Quebec (city: Hull).
For working, if you have oral and/or written knowledge of French, it's an asset, and usually preferred when applying for a job, especially in government.
Restaurants - usually tip around 15% (which is equal to the GST (goods and services tax) & PST (provincial sales tax) that are added to your bill. The reason is that servers don't get a high base salary, and many earn a living from tips.
Pubs/Bars - When ordering a drink, leave also about 15% extra to servers and bartenders.
Greeting people - Hand shake is most common.