November 2013

A Bus to Quebec: The Museum of Civilization

What do you do on a rainy day in a big city?… Cross the border into the next province, right?

Quebec is a ten minute walk from central Ottawa and due to the miserable weather, my parents and I decided to get a bus across the bridge and see what indoor adventures we could have in the francophone city. We may have had some trouble navigating, after all everything was written in Canadian-French. But eventually we found the Canadian Museum of Civilization and continued our adventure in the warmth of the magnificent building.


The architecture was stunning; the outside wall was in the shape of a face to emphasize the human aspect of the museum. The inside was filled with exhibitions and children’s recreational areas and downstairs the workers were preparing for the big Halloween party. Little kids were running around dressed like bumblebees and fairies and all sorts of crazy costumes.

This museum is one of the newest in Ontario and the layout of the exhibitions were impressive and intriguing. Every step, we wanted to know more and wanted to explore further and further into Canadian history.

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Native history and progress, the newcomers, the industrial revolution, and even feminism played a part in the museum. At one point we entered into a strange village creation where a man in olde-days costume began telling us about old medicine and gruesome methods used by doctors.

The only part of the museum which my parents didn’t enjoy was the Voodoo exhibition. I personally found it fascinating; the exhibit had real human skulls and bones! It was creepy and hair-raising but utterly consuming.


We finished our adventure at the gift shop where I bought a blanket made by Natives and a ring decorated with Canadian maple leaves.

But the strangest part of our outing was bumping into a family, in the museum, who are from our little town in Scotland. The mother used to be my leader at Girl Guides when I was a kid. They were visiting their son who now works in Toronto and I told them that I was studying at Carleton in Ottawa.

It’s funny how the world can be so vast with an expansive history and yet feel so small at the same time.

Love Jill