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Currently living the dream of moving to Toronto for 12 months for a Firefighter Exchange!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jack at school and Ottawa

Well Jack started school last Tuesday.  He is in Senior Kindegarden at Princess Margaret Junior School in the afternoon class which goes from 12.50 to 3.20pm.   Our neighbour told us to prepare ourselves for a multicultural school and described the first day a bit like a U.N. meeting.  He was right!  There are three kids in his class who don't even speak one word of english.  So far, Jack seems to enjoy it and has made a friend who "doesn't have white hair like me, he has black hair.  And he doesn't have skin like me, he has brown skin".  I have since discovered that his name is Selim and I think he is Somalian.  Jack said he is his best friend so that's great.   It will be a wonderful experience for Jack to socialise and learn in a multicultural environment.  Each day we ride our bikes to school for drop off and pick up.  It is a shame it is only a half day of school as are hoping Jack can enter the last term of grade one upon our return to Australia.  We have some concerns that 2.5hrs of schooling will not be enough to keep Jack at the level he needs to be, however his teacher is wonderful and understands our situation we will speak with her after a week or so to see how Jack is getting on.

On the weekend, we went to Ottawa (Canada's capital).  A firefighter friend named Pat recently returned from an Australian Exchange and invited Troy to participate in the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Memorial March.  We travelled out to Ottawa on Friday afternoon for the weekend.   It is an absolutely gorgeous city with many old and historic buildings.   The architecture was breathtaking!

On Friday night, we ventured out to the markets and had dinner at an Irish Pub (one of about five Irish Pubs).   Earlier in the day our cabbie told us about a 'Light Show' at Parliament Hill that night.  So after dinner, we wandered back toward Parliament Hill to see this light show.  Well, one word.... WOW.  The light show was actually presented ON Parliament house.  It provided a lot of historic information and entertainment all about Canada.   The effects and music were so clever and we were captivated for the 30 minute show!
On Saturday, we ventured out to play tourists for the day.  After some more shopping, we visited the Canadian Gallery of Civilisation which is actually on the other side of the river in Quebec (one side of the river is Ontario).  That was pretty interesting and it had a great kids area with interactive displays for Jack to expel some energy!

We did a LOT of walking that day. 

This was one area which had Jack captivated!  The locks are used to allow boats to pass from one lake to another.  We got to see a small boat pass through a couple of these gates.  It is NOT a quick process but Jack was insistent..... things you do for kids :)
After an early dinner at a Scottish Pub (we had to even things up between the Irish and Scottish), we called it a night.  Troy went to meet Pat and the other Firefighters at the 'meet and greet' and  tried to fly the Aussie flag (so to speak) at the pub.  He has found a beer that he really likes here called "Moosehead".  I think it is because when you drink a few too many you feel like you have been hit with a Moosehead! 

On Sunday morning, the Memorial March took place at Parliament Hill.  Firefighters from all over Canada come to Ottawa each year to pay their respects to the firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty or as a result of a work-related illness (mainly cancer).
It was a very moving ceremony and something we will always remember.  We both commented on how it would be good if Australia had something like that.  Families and members of the public were able to participate and pay their respects for the work and dedication of the firefighters.
We drove home to Toronto late Sunday and took the scenic route through the country side.  We have come to dislike the highways, expressways and freeways.  Actually, we have grown a dislike to congested traffic areas in general!  We try to avoid it as much as possible and usually we have the luxury of having time on our side, so we go the slightly longer but more scenic and enjoyable route.  The countryside was lovely and we were able to see that some trees are starting to turn some beautiful shades of orange and red, so fall is just around the corner!  Jack slept most of the way, woke up and skulled a chocolate milk and then puked it all up!  ha ha what a memorable journey!

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