East Coastal Drive – Day 1, Perth & Ottawa

We begin our 27 day excursion into the last stages of the pandemic here in Canada. The ocean is calling.

Lessons learned from previous trips. When I first went out east I had a compact car. This time around I rented an SUV – everyone has room. Before I didn’t have a seat cover back then, and there was pug hair and mud everywhere. This time I put on a seat cover and then the sturdy resting platform so the pugs can stretch out and not fall into the well.

The first trip I had 2 pugs, now I’ve got 3 – 2 in the back and 1 in the front. On the drive, everyone seemed comfortable with arrangement. Although, Greta had car sickness and puked up her breakfast on Eve’s bed.

We had a long walk before leaving and got underway at 7 am. Took an odometer reading this time – 33570 Km.

I had sold an item in Marketplace to a guy in Brockville. We had arranged to meet at an off ramp exit outside of Brockville. It gave the pugs a pee and water break. Then we headed north to Perth, Ontario. I had arranged to meet Deb Folkes, an long time friend who had helped me when I was starting up the Pugalug Club.

As you can see, it turned out to be quite the grumble. I had Raisin, Eve and Greta. Deb had Archie and Rose. Deb and invited her friend Louise who had Pug Merkley. Louise is a foster volunteer for Under My Wing Pug Rescue in Ottawa.

I had not seen Deb in a long time. In 2008 I had gone to a Yoga retreat. Deb and Ross were in Bellville and looked after my dogs while I was away. Stopping at Perth was the best way to start a road trip.

Louise had brought a gift for Deb – a painting she did of a happy pug-in-the-sun. I took this as an omen to a wonderful trip we were about to have.

Deb made a great lunch for us. I had an early start so was quite hungry. I had stopped at one of the onRoute highway food stops for water. The line ups for Timmies and Starbucks was endless. So glad I didn’t have to stop for lunch there. We didn’t get a chance to explore Perth but I told Deb we would make our way back here again.

Made it to our hotel in Ottawa – Hilton Garden Inn. It was further away from Bywater and Parliament Hill. But it was close to a place I wanted to visit on Day 2. The hotel is on Sparks Street – the pedestrian walkway – no cars, no roadway.

We headed off down Sparks to Parliament hill. There was a very large gathering of people in protest over the treatment of Indigenous peoples. That also meant a very large police presence. But everything was peaceful.

We stopped at a drum circle for awhile. Raisin cuddled up to some nice, young people that were there for the protest. I was looking for a grassy spot for them to pee and a young woman squealed “PUGS”. So I let Raisin wander over to them while Greta and Eve peed on a post.

I had planned to walk along the Rideau Canal but the pugs were getting hot. Back to the hotel for them to cool down and have dinner. While they slept, I enjoyed a cold beer and sandwich at Tulip, the Hilton Garden’s restaurant. It was a 6 oz steak with chimichurri sauce, arugula and tomato salad, pickled onion on a warmed and buttered ciabatta bread, served with Caesar salad.

I had booked a walking tour with The Haunted Walk. They were formed in 2000 – Ottawa, Toronto and Kingston. They combine historical stories about buildings and people with ghosts. The meeting place was located at the other end of Sparks street so a lot of walking was on the menu.

Our guide was Celeste. She started at this old Post Office at the corner of Elgin and Sparks. It was the site of the first Bywater cemetery. Bywater was the original name of Ottawa.

Used between 1830 – 1840, particularly for the cholera and malaria deaths.

The town decided to move the cemetery to another location. However they did not find all the bodies buried there.

When the city was constructing an LRT transit system in 2003, a worker digging in the tunnel was surprised when a skull came rolling out of the dirt. A large group of bodies from the cholera plague was discovered.

Next was the Fairmount Chateau Frontenac. Celeste told 3 stores of strange things happening on the 5th floor – shaving kit moving across the room, footstep sounds in the hallway with no one there. The ghost is most likely Charles Cabb, the man who built it as part of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. It was built right next to the train station so people would not have far to walk.

Charles was in London, England trying to secure funding for the railway. His business partner offered him a free ticket to a new steamship making its maiden voyage – The Titanic. Charles never made it back. Although he never set foot in the hotel, it is believed it is his ghost that haunts the 5th floor. By the way, I’m staying on the 5th floor at the Hilton Garden but no ghosts.

The fountain was a gift from The National Art Collections Fund in England. There were 2 fountains that had survived the World War II blitz. One came to Ottawa and the other went to Regina. In England, a ghost story started about one of the fountains. A body would appear, floating in the water. As the person approached, the body would sink back down, out of sight. The Haunted Walk does not know which fountain is haunted but they keep an eye out for floating bodies.

The house that Dr. James Grant built has been an upscale restaurant over the years. Dr. Grant was the official physician for the Governor Generals of Canada for 40 years. He was also knighted by Queen Victoria for saving the life of her daughter. He lived in the house until he died in 1920 at the age of 89. Restaurant staff have completed of being shoved aside in the upstairs corridors. The owner of the restaurant has put a snifter of brandy and a cigar on the mantlepiece to make Sir Grant happy.

The Rideau Canal. There be bodies buried here. The story goes that as the canal was being built, workers died from malaria – swamp fever. Rather than transport them to the cemetery, the boss man had them buried in the canal where they were eventually covered by the water.

The stories went on like that. The tour lasted an hour and a half. It is a great way to learn about the city and I recommend checking out The Haunted Walk They have another one in Ottawa starting up called Mackenzie King that looks at the paranormal life of the Prime Minister.

Got back to the hotel and the pugs were happy to see me. Took them out for a walk around the block and discovered a church with a long, grassy area. As we tucked in for the night, Greta could not figure out the hotel bed. She paced all around it (it was king size). She knew it wasn’t our regular bed. Finally she fell asleep between my legs with her chin resting on my calf.

Tomorrow – Quebec City where I can savour the food indoor dining.


  1. Enjoyed this blog very much Larry. So interesting! Glad you guys are having a good time and that Greta was finally able to catch a nap. Can’t wait to hear about Quebec City. 🙂

  2. It was wonderful to meet you Larry , And your precious travelling companions !Now I get to virtually go on your trip down East with you !
    I moved to Ottawa from Saint John , NB 42 years ago , and learnt more about Ottawa from your Blog than I have in all the years I have been here..
    Safe travels , and I look forward to your adventures every day !

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