Happy Canada Day Greetings, From Ottawa!

Canadian Flag on Toronto Building

Greetings from Toronto. ‘Tis a grand day to be in Canada, and what a wonderful road trip we’ve had through Ontario and Québec this past week!

Parliament with Canadian Flag - Ottawa

Two days ago, we explored lovely Ottawa on foot. In preparation for Canada’s birthday celebrations, which are taking place today, the capital city was getting dressed in an abundance of red, white and magnificent maple leaves. Dancers paraded to pounding tunes on stage in front of the Parliament building, rehearsing for the big day’s performances. On the other side of Wellington Street, an honor guard remembered an unknown soldier.

Canadian Flags on Toronto Building

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Honor Guard Marching in Toronto

Father and Daughter Watching Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Honor Guard Marching in Toronto

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Honor Guard Marching in Ottawa

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Honor Guard in Ottawa

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Honor Guard in Ottawa

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa

Parliament Building in Ottawa with Canada Day Stage

Red Flowers in Ottawa

Canada Maple Leaf Cookies for Sale in Toronto

We’re on the lookout for some sparkling fireworks here in Toronto tonight.

To my Canadian friends and family, I wish you a special day!

Canada's Parliament Building in Ottawa

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Happy Holi! Celebrating the Festival of Colors in Goa

If you were in India today, chances are that you would now be sporting rainbow hues from head to toe, for today is Holi, the Festival of Colors. Holi is a Hindu celebration that welcomes spring and its abundant colors and bids farewell to winter. Originally, Holi commemorated successful harvests.

As we prepared to take on the endless supply of vibrant tossed powders and sprayed colored waters this morning, we watched the playful mayhem on the street below our Panjim, Goa guesthouse. Like toy soldiers, children held ground with fluorescent plastic squirt guns and water balloons, awaiting vehicles and motorists at which they could toss their jewel-toned water and powder.

Open-topped trucks drove by, blasting festive Indian music with a Caribbean feel as teenagers and adults on-board cheered. Poof. A purple stream of powder flew onto the passing revelers painting them in an instant. The children were euphoric at this victory.

When we finally took to the street, armed with a plastic bag to shelter our cameras, we encountered a jubilant pack of merrymakers. Noticing our squeaky-clean clothing, the group parted, allowing us to pass untouched. We asked them to slather on some colored goodness. They obliged – swirling orange, red and yellow powders onto our faces. Despite the fact that they were gentle on us, we now felt like part of the club.

As we walked to a Punjabi restaurant for lunch, we saw revelers of all ages with hair that resembled powdered wigs. Locals shouted “Happy Holi.” Siesta-takers watched a cricket match, while a coffee-house employee channel surfed, briefly stopping at a Holi-themed Indian soap opera; the Bollywood-esque actor’s face was smothered with fuchsia war paint that was perfectly coordinated with his tunic. We wondered how some of the local diners had made it to the restaurant unscathed.

With the hot sun overhead we decided to stroll back to our charming home away from home, Alfonso’s Guesthouse. As statewide elections had just taken place days earlier, we were told that Holi’s tossing of the colors ended earlier this year (as officials were still busy tallying the votes). On our walk home, the streets were noticeably quiet. The scattered splotches of color on streets and sidewalks were the only evidence of the mischief that ensued just hours before.

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Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.