YouMotorcycle

Toronto to Ottawa and Montreal

Escaped for a week to ride from Ottawa to Toronto and through Quebec to Montreal.

It was the last week of August, the last week of freedom before school would start again, the last week of long summer days and warm summer rights. I packed my bag hit the road on Speranza, my 2008 KYMCO Venox motorycle, and hit the road. No real destination, or road in mind, I was travelling east. Probably Ottawa, maybe Montreal, or even Quebec City.

My first stop after leaving Toronto was in Belleville for some gas and a leg stretch then I continued back on the 401 and up the 416 towards Ottawa. The wind at my back helped me push the 250cc cruiser to a little over an indicated 150 km/hr. I slowed it down but maintained a steady 130 all the way to Ottawa, got lucky passing by a cop on the 416 who just shrugged me off.

When I arrived in Ottawa I found a hostel called the Backpackers Inn. I stayed in the Jupiter apartment where I met a fellow roomie, Mark, who I shared many laughs with over the next few days.

The first dilemma was where to find liquor, no worries, there was an LCBO down the street. Something told me the Backpackers Inn was the place to stay, that must’ve been why. The second problem came with a faulty lid on a bottle of limoncello. After a little jimmying of the lid it wouldn’t pour neatly to make mixed drinks with, that involved a little syphoning. Thank God I have a couple basic skills. Then I hit the town and visited Patty Boland’s, one of the coolest pubs I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking a good brew in.


Turns out the Backpackers Inn was also across the street from a 24/7 metro, so I woke up and went for some breakfast. About $3.50 bought me fresh in season watermelon, two granny smith apples, and a tangerine. SCORE! I also met Maria, who was on her way to Byward Market and became a friend for the weekend.

My first stop after leaving Toronto was in Belleville for some gas and a leg stretch then I continued back on the 401 and up the 416 towards Ottawa. The wind at my back helped me push the 250cc cruiser to a little over an indicated 150 km/hr. I slowed it down but maintained a steady 130 all the way to Ottawa, got lucky passing by a cop on the 416 who just shrugged me off.


This intersection down York St. messed me up. There was a couple Do Not Enters, some No Turns, and for a long period of time, lights in all directions were Red.

One of the vendors in the market makes these hand-crafted birdhouses, from $80 up to hundreds. “A hobby that got out of hand.”
 
 

A wood totem pole in the heart of town. Awesome weather for walking the city.

The city was plagued by construction. Had to pull a lot of U-Turns to avoid riding through the ruts.

The lock system allows boats to rise “up” across the canal, it’s how you get a boat 50 feet up in the air, using water. This is right next to Parliament Hill too.

Another shot of the East Block. Really cool architecture, says the nerd.
 
 
 

Looking up at the old East Block of Parliament Hill.

There were cops everywhere! It was ridiculous. I witnessed three youths getting pulled over and written by an undercover cop vehicle for jay-walking.

Unfortunately there was all kinds of terrorist threats happening in Ottawa while I was in town. I put on my beer goggles but try as I might I couldn’t find any.

British lion on the left side of the entrance to parliament.

There’s Parliament itself, it was freakin’ huge!

French horse on the right side, sticking out his tung, looks like I wasn’t the only one drinking.

The war memorial, tomb of the unknown soldier was at the foot of the monument.

I never knew strip clubs that had buffet hours before. Free shoulder rubs and political debate if you’re in before 3 PM.

Some of the earrings Maria and her uncle make and sell in Bayward Market and around Montreal. I failed at trying to help her.

To the memory of Terry Fox, one brave dude, R.I.P.

Hanging out with Mark in the kitchen, home of many great laughs and good meals. Thanks for everything brother, hope you’re doing well!

Hanging out with Maria, a cool chick who works for her uncle making and selling some amazing earrings.

One of the greatest parts of being far from home was the freedom. I did what I wanted, when I wanted, with whoever I wanted. I met new friends like Mark and Maria. I met up with old friends along the way like Adam and Mike who housed me and let me chill with him in the man-cave. Time always flies with Adam and Mike had me learning and laughing like always. Yeah yeah, bonehead, I know!

The ride to Montreal was a breeze. The weather was beautiful, the bike was zippy. It didn’t seem to matter how fast you went because no one was out there, and everyone got out of your way. Finally somewhere that respects the “if you’re in no rush, get in the damn right lane and stay there” rule! Before I knew it the trip meter had me at 1k km in a few days. I wasn’t really pushing myself, and considering the daily party I was having, that was a good thing. Alcohol is so cheap and readily available in Quebec, it blew my mind!

Simply leaving Ottawa every morning for a ride through small picturesque Quebec towns, sun shining, free of restrictions and responsibilities for a week left me really happy. Some might find it immature, but I was really comfortable, and at peace. I had all the belongings I’d need for a week crammed in one bag, so yes I missed the luxuries of home, but great friends and great roads made it all so worthwhile. There’s a lot of comfort in making your own way through the world. I can’t wait to see more of it.

Thank you everyone who made this trip possible. From my boss and team-lead Anthony and Michelle for letting me take the time off; Mark for the cooked meals and many laughs, talks and good company; Maria for being a cool chick, next time I’m in Montreal I’ll call you, loca;  Adam for the beers, always good to see an old friend; and Mike for always helping me out, even when I don’t listen too good.