After stocking up on souvenirs in the gift shop, the students returned to Parliament Hill for lunch and had a picnic on the front lawn. As they chatted in between bites of their sandwiches, the bells of the Peace Tower chimed noon overhead. Once lunch wrapped up, Kaur led the students on a walking tour around Parliament Hill, pointing out important monuments and sharing fun facts.
She talked about the 1916 fire that destroyed most of the original Parliament buildings (only the library survived) and how some quick-thinking staff saved the portrait of Queen Victoria by cutting it out of its frame. Kaur also brought the class’ attention to the roofs and explained how the architects had used horse urine to make the copper oxidize faster to achieve the roof’s signature green colour.
At the monument to the Famous Five, which commemorates the “Persons Case” that was the precursor to women obtaining the right to vote in Canada, Kaur quizzed the students about women’s rights today and whether they still faced any issues of equality.
“The glass ceiling,” Chloe Thomas answered without hesitation. “Women don’t get paid as much.”
The tour ended at the Rideau Canal locks overlooking the Ottawa River. From there, the students were let loose for some free time and much-requested shopping in the downtown area of ByWard Market, which is known for its colourful souvenir stalls and specialty stores. For dinner, the class ate at The Grand Pizzeria and Bar, where they devoured thin-crust pizzas and heaping bowls of spaghetti and meatballs.
But the evening didn’t end there, and soon the students piled onto the bus for their final stop: Laurier House National Historic Site. This Victorian-era mansion was once the home of two of Canada’s prime ministers, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and William Lyon Mackenzie King.
The students sat down to watch a film about the history and achievements of the mansion’s former occupants. As the end credits rolled, a man dressed in an old-fashioned suit walked into the room. He explained to the students that they were about to travel back in time to the middle of the Second World War, where they would meet some interesting characters in need of their help.