Coming soon to the Great White North

Discussion in 'Real Life Discussion' started by JWH, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. JWH

    JWH Unspeakable

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    Hey everyone.


    I'll be spending the Winter term in Ottawa (Carleton University to be precise) as an exchange student, starting this January. I'm pretty excited :awesome

    But I have several questions for those who might know :

    -How cold is it really there ? I expect it will be below freezing most of the time, but I have no experience of living in that kind of weather (the lowest we get in Paris is around 0-5°C), and thus I don't really know what to wear.

    -How is the workload in Canadian universities ? I have 4 courses for the semester, which translates to 12 hours of lectures a week. It seems pretty low to me, but then again I don't really know how much personal work is needed beyond attending classes.

    -Any recommendations for cool places to see, drink or eat at ?

    -And, last but not least, I'll have the opportunity to move around quite a bit (I've already planned a trip to Chicago and Montreal with a friend), so what would you say are the highlights of the larger region (by that I mean Ontario, Quebec and the Northeastern USA)?
     
  2. Fiat

    Fiat The Chosen One DLP Supporter

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    -It isn't as cold as people would like you to think, but Ottawa isn't on Lake Ontario so the winters are harsher than Toronto. The average minimum in Ottawa is -15c, but it'll usually be warmer than that. Not much warmer though - the average maximum is still -6. Pack for cold weather. Layers are your friend.

    -It really depends on the school, but the work probably isn't going to be insane. As I understand it, 5 courses per semester is considered a full course load, so you're taking less than average.

    -Can't really help much there, I've only been to Ottawa once, and that was years ago. Look at Parliament and shit, I guess.

    -If I were you, I'd stop by Toronto at some point. Biggest city in the country. Definitely worth coming. Montreal/Quebec city are definitely something you'd want to see too. I've been to both and would recommend them to anyone on vacation in the country.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  3. LittleChicago

    LittleChicago Death Eater DLP Supporter

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    I went to Carleton for three years... Sweet Jebus, ten fucking years ago. Gods, I'm old.

    Anyhoo, like the man said - the temperatures aren't moderated by any sitting body of water; -15 is noticable, but it's still a dry cold, if you see what I'm saying. There's almost always at least one spectacular show dump, so if you have a car, be prepared for the best donuting whether in the world. I learned how to drift in Carleton's Parking Lot 6.

    If it's still in the Byward Market, eat at the Black Tomato. It's a touch pricey, by once you eat there, you'll understand why.

    Best Chinese food in Canada is at 717 Somerset Street West - a place called, appropriately, 'So Good.' It's a hole in the wall, but all the best places are.

    Skate on the Rideau Canal - the open skating area starts Downtown at one end, and runs, conveniently enough, right up to Carleton. Depending on whether you're in a well-placed residence, you might be able to see the world's biggest skating rink from you're window.

    Carleton itself has a pretty useful tunnel system - the running joke is that you can always tell who lives in res and who drives in by whether they have a coat or not (or, in some cases, whether they changed out of their pajamas or not). Dressing for the weather isn't hard - just make sure you have a good jacket, a hat (a toque, in the local parlance) and some gloves. Winter boots go without saying. That's all I ever needed.

    Visit the War Museum on the west side of town, and the Museum of Civilisation across the river in Gatineau. They each require about a day to see thoroughly, and I believe both offer student admission discounts.

    The Museum of Technology can be interesting, but a trip down to Toronto and a walk through the Ontario Science Centre would be more so. Toronto itself is mostly worth seeing - unless the thing you're trying to see was recently cleared away and replaced with a thirty-storey condo building.

    Don't bother with the Mint - kind of boring, and they don't let you take a sample.

    However, you'll only be about two hours away from the Hershey Factory in Smith's Falls, where samples abound. Honestly, I don't usually like Hershey's chocolate, but fresh out of the factory, it tastes a bit like Cadbury.

    Also, the Photography Museum is located under the Chateau Laurier, right next to the Rideau Canal locks. Not very big, but it's free and out of the way.

    Four courses is a touch light, but hell, I had a five-day weekend at one point in my stay at Carleton, so don't feel bad.

    Anyway, that's all I've got. If you feel like making a much longer trip, Niagara Falls is quite a sight, with some decent outlet shopping, but mostly it's just a smaller, wetter Vegas.

    Oh, and for the love of all that is good and holy, don't go to Hamilton or Cornwall. Neither smells right.
     
    JWH
  4. Anarchy

    Anarchy Fourth Champion DLP Supporter

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    I hope you like hockey.
     
  5. TSN

    TSN Auror

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    Something everyone else forgot, beware of the wind factor.

    And if you can, in a snowstorm, go out and take a walk in one of the downtown area, its a magic sight.
     
  6. insectamantidae

    insectamantidae Professor

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    ice grips for your shoes if you're a clutz on ice, they save my life here in New England..

    popular brand around here is Yak Tracks.
     
  7. Arrowjoe

    Arrowjoe Auror

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    Across the river is Gatineau, where the drinking age is 18. Doesn't matter to you, but it matter's to 18 year old Ottawa girls. Nuff said.
     
  8. Jangel

    Jangel Earl of Someshit

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    Canada is terrible, and hockey is horrendous.
     
  9. JWH

    JWH Unspeakable

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    I don't have enough thumbs for everyone, but thanks for the advice, people.

    Haha, I've arranged a mere 4.5-day weekend, but I feel pretty good about it :awesome

    Heh, I intend to commit to the tourist stuff, and at least see a game and cheer for the local team.

    Now that's the kind of stuff you can't find in a guide.
     
  10. LittleChicago

    LittleChicago Death Eater DLP Supporter

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    Sadly, I can agree with at least three out of those seven words.
     
  11. Arrowjoe

    Arrowjoe Auror

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    Canada is hockey?
     
  12. Idiot Rocker

    Idiot Rocker Auror

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    Heh I'm actually going to Carleton right now, so I can second what LC said about...well pretty much everything actually. We had unseasonably cold weather last year (it snowed on halloween) and this year the fucking canal hadn't even frozen fully when I left for home on the 21st. Short answer: weather varies dramatically.

    I'd also like to throw down a tentative rec for a bar called Zaphod's. Yes it's exactly what is sounds like and yes you can order a slartibartfast and other Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy themed drinks. As for bars/ clubs I've been to (and been thrown out of) Pier 21, Mansion, Studio and a few others that I was too drunk to remember. If you like scotch you should go the the Highlander down by Rideau Centre since they have 200 kinds of scotch.

    200 man. 200 hundred.

    If you're into Vietnamese food then get to Bronson and Somerset then just go west - you'll hit tons of restaurants and what have you. Also: fair warning about gatineau - yes there are 18 year old french-Canadian girls but there are also like 15 or 14 year-olds there too. Ah the French.

    Final Thought: The sens suck don't waste your money going to see them.
     
  13. Inquisition

    Inquisition Canadian Ambassador to Japan DLP Supporter

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  14. TSN

    TSN Auror

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  15. Muttering Condolences

    Muttering Condolences Card Captored and buttsecksed

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    I grew up in Ottawa, taught in Ottawa, and my g/f's sister lives there.

    -Between November and March it will be cold. Fucking cold. Winter sucks ass in Canada. Get a good pair of winter boots with a strong grip. Right now it is actually 5 degrees above zero. But tomorrow night it is forecast to go down to -28 with the windchill, so expect some wacky weather.

    -Ottawa City Transpo is pretty god about keeping the buses going in shitty weather, so invest in a bus pass ($73 and change for a student) if you need to travel.

    -A full course load at Carlton is 5 courses with 3 hours of lecture each per week. This is excluding any labs or seminars you might need, which depend on major. The rule of thumb for studying is for every hour of class time you should invest 2 of your own. I think that rule is bullshit, but it can work for some.

    - Take a walk down Rideau street. It has a ton of stuff, including old school record stores and every imaginable sort of restaurant. Also, take a trip to The Highlander Pub. They have an awesome scotch bar.

    - Scotia Bank Place (formerly the Corel Center) is the major arena for hockey and concerts and stuff. Easily accessible via bus. 100 lvl tickets are expensive, but 200-300 lvl are affordable.

    - The Ottawa Civic Center is right on Bank Street in the Glebe. They host lots of concerts, the circus, and Ottawa 67's games (OHL hockey).

    - The Casino du Lac Leamy is right across the river in Hull if you want to give some of your money back to the government.

    Welcome to Canada. Avoid the polar bears.
     
  16. JWH

    JWH Unspeakable

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    I'm leaving tomorrow, so thanks again to everyone who replied.
     
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