Thursday, March 5, 2009

Vacation (Part 3 of 5)

A couple of days ago I posted a description of our recent vacation. It was all true, but it left a few things out, namely all the embarrassing stuff.

Here's another report on what really happened:


The streets of Ottawa were slick with rain and there would be no dancing tonight. It was our first night in Ottawa and we had been delighted to discover that Sparks Street was hosting a 60-70's street dance with live bands just minutes from our hotel.

Sparks Street is one of Ottawa's most significant heritage streets and the first street in the country to be closed to traffic and turned into a pedestrian mall. It was founded in the early 1800's by Nicholas Sparks - one of the City Fathers of Ottawa - which at that time was called Bytown.

After Queen Victoria selected Ottawa to be the Capital of Canada, Sparks Street became the thriving commercial centre for the Ottawa valley. Located beside the Parliament Buildings, it is normally thronged with excited tourists from around the world.

Just to be sure the dance was canceled we had gone to Sparks Street anyway and had walked its length, ignoring the warm drizzle and splashing in the puddles, our laughter and lonely foot falls echoing against the buildings on the empty street.

Damp and disappointed we were on our way back to the Chateau Laurier where we were staying, when a tour guide approached to tell us her tour bus was just leaving and because of the rain they were offering a tour at half price.

With nothing better to do that evening, we hopped on board.

There were only ten people on the bus as it pulled out into traffic. The first building the guide pointed out was the Chateau Laurier.

"Opened in 1912, the Chateau Laurier is one the most haunted buildings in the City..."

Linda and I looked at each other.

"Prior to its opening, the General Manager of the hotel had scoured Europe for the finest furnishings to complete the hotel. His trip successful and the most magnificent accouterments Europe had to offer stored safely in her hold he was on his way back to Canada on board (pause for dramatic effect) the Titanic. All of the furnishings for the entire hotel, and the General Manager himself are now at the bottom of the Atlantic.

"But it's said his spirit so loved the new hotel, the crown jewel in the CP chain, he was so enthralled by its beauty, that he still haunts the fourth floor of the hotel, where his office was located."

We, of course were staying on the fourth floor of the hotel, where his office was located. But we smiled at each other acknowledging the silliness of the idea. They really expect tourists to be gullible. Linda and I, of course, didn't leave our brains on ice back home just because we were going on vacation.

We joked about the ghost as we got ready for bed that night but we both got to sleep without any trouble.


I was awakened, in the pitch black of our heavily curtained room, by foot falls in the corridor at 4 o'clock in the morning. The corridor outside our room is deeply carpeted. Hundreds of people had streamed past our room without making a sound.The only noise we had heard from the hall were the loud voices of children as they passed our door.

But now I was hearing foot falls in the corridor. Distant but rapidly approaching our room.

Thud, thud. Thud, thud...

"What's that?" asked Linda.

"I have no idea."

Thud, thud...

"Go see what it is," she urged.

"I'm not going to see what it is," I replied, bravely.


It reached our door.

And kept going down the hall.

"Go see, go see!" Linda urged.

So I got out of bed, unlatched the heavy door and peeked nervously out into the brightly lit hallway.

At the hotel employee receding away from me, dropping complimentary editions of the morning newspaper at every door.