Dropping in

Hit and Miss #56

Ask me what I love about Ottawa and you’re sure to get a long list of my favourite spots.

It won’t take long for me to mention my beloved National Gallery (NGC). I’ll tell you that I love to sit on the cafe patio, sipping coffee and eating a pastry while looking out on Parliament, the Supreme Court, Library and Archives, and the occasional bird of prey that swoops lazily by.

But of course the NGC’s primary pull isn’t its cafe—it’s the extensive collection of art. One of the first things I did upon moving to Ottawa was to buy a membership to the NGC, to make it easy to visit that collection whenever I want.

I enjoy art galleries. I’ll happily spend an afternoon in one when visiting another city. But I never get as much out of them as I do out of the NGC. Having a membership allows me to drop in at my leisure. Some days, I’ll only look at the collection for ten or fifteen minutes, visiting a favourite piece or two, before continuing on with my day elsewhere.

There’s no pressure to get anything out of the experience. I haven’t invested heavily in my visit (the effective price per visit is minimal, as I visit so often), so I don’t feel the need to optimize my time and get the most out of my visit.

This feeling is what I seek on any vacation visiting elsewhere, I think. The ability to enjoy the sights or attractions unhurriedly, without trying to extract the maximum value. It’s fortunate that I live full-time in a tourist town—there are so many attractions, and it’s so easy to drop in and enjoy.

I hope you can enjoy an attraction however best you like sometime soon. All the best for the week ahead!