Canada Postcard | My Adventure to the Great White North – Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Niagara Falls

Posted July 22, 2017 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in My Canadian Post Card ~ 3,380 views


By Ronnie Mayanja — On July 1st I set off on a five day adventure to experience the Great White North or the nation that is home to the great Canadian Prairies which was celebrating 150 years. I had been to Canada before flying to Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. But flying does not begin to even describe the experience or hospitality one will encounter along the way on a road trip.

I drove up Interstate 93North first going through my home state of Massachusetts, then New Hampshire and Vermont before crossing the Canadian border through the ‘French’ speaking province of Quebec en-route to Montreal. For those who studied East African Geography you may recall the colonial curriculum that taught us the St. Lawrence Seaway. It is here that Montreal stands as the largest city in the Quebec province of Canada. 

After doing a mini tour of Montreal we were soon back on the road as we attempted to catch the celebrations and fireworks in Ottawa — given the stormy weather along the way we made a late entry into the Canadian capital but in time to catch the tail end of the fireworks and watched as the youthful Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rallied his nation – not to build walls but bridges as they celebrated their country’s diversity.

For a capital of more than 1 million inhabitants, Ottawa is clean, very organized and offers a unique set of structures that will make every tourist pull out his or her camera to capture the Kodak moments. The people are warm, nice and the police more friendly than what you will find on the other side of the border. We enjoyed the great sense of nationalism as we were greeted by the Canadian flag at every major government building, Parliament and the streets, perhaps an indication that this was indeed a huge milestone.

After a full day and a half in Ottawa  the Canadian hospitality was contagious especially as we moved around the great Victorian architectural structures that define the capital and the rich history that makes Ottawa Museums stand out.

As we headed out this time driving a five hour stretch on a very congested highway to Toronto Canada’s largest city the scenery and flat plains that form part of the farmland was evidence that Canada is a regional food basket.

I have been to many big cities but nothing prepares you for Toronto, it’s a beauty and massive — a city of more than 3 million inhabitants that sits on Lake Erie one of the largest Great Lakes in the world. On my to-do list was going up the Canadian National Tower — CN tower as it’s commonly called – defines the city skyline and is Canada’s pride.

But nothing prepared me and my girls for the 3 hour wait times to go up the elevators to the observatory….of course once up there we marveled at the beauty, organization and city planning of the Toronto skyline. The CN tower sits at altitude of about 553 meters or an equivalence of about 147 floors and it was constructed in 1976 but remains the tallest free standing tower in North America.

After experiencing Toronto we then headed out to check on an old-budonian friend a financial analyst – Ian Mugarura whose family now lives in Burlington, a suburb of Toronto, on my way to Niagara. He was able to share experiences of how Canada has managed to provide national health-care to its citizens, an issue that continues to divide many Americans south of the border. After breaking bread and reminiscing about our experiences back in college it was time to head to Niagara.

Niagara Falls can be viewed on both sides of the border but it’s not until you cross into Canada that you truly experience this amazing waterfall rising more than 100 meters and billowing in a mist down a gorge that will truly make you marvel at God’s wonders. The falls straddle the Canadian border on the Niagara River, which connects Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.

The city of Niagara was bristling with activities right from the Canadian to the US side of the border since the US was also celebrating independence (July 4th) four days after Canada Day – This independence weekend is said to be one of the busiest periods for tourism in both countries.

The US and Canada have both done well to market Niagara by night and day. As a Ugandan passionate about tourism I also realized that the government and national park services have a strong hand in the management and operation of these tourist sites frequented by more than 30 million visitors annually.

It was clear that both nations have mastered the art of marketing their tourism attractions and were simply cashing in — the hotels, casinos, and amusement parks around these attractions were constantly full with very well maintained facilities even with the heavy human traffic — there was a semblance of order,  something i wished our Uganda tourism bodies back home could emulate.

And so after visiting Canada and experiencing the people, the culture and country, I was tempted to relocate up north were the people seem less stressed — it is important to note however that the almighty US dollar was still king when it came to the exchange rate.

If you have never been to Canada I recommend Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver, since those are the cities I have actually set foot in and whose beauty, people, culture and above all the hospitality I have experienced. Remember though that while in Canada, the head of State is still the Queen of England although Quebec province is largely French-speaking. The country is made up of 10 provinces with a total population of about 38 million inhabitants.

Long live Canada – land of the maple leaf!

About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.



    Great tribute to our nation Canada Ronnie! Now I’m more than proud to be a Canadian. I regret we didn’t get to see you but next time we will get to spoil you.


    Thank you Ronnie for that great capture of your road trip. I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia which is on the east coast of Canada. Remember SwissAir 111 horrific accident, the waters it plunged into, are in this province and that site is now a holy ground. I think every province in Canada has its own beauty that you will appreciate. They are a lot of elderly people around here and the baby boomers too. Oh the respect is out of this world that I am in loss for words when I visit our neighbours in the south. Long Live Canada!!

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