Chapter 28 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part III

A Brief Visit to Ottawa and a

Four-Hour Drive into the Night

Canada’s Parliament Buildings in Ottawa – May 1965

We crossed again the Ottawa River and half an hour later we were standing in front of the Parliament Buildings that was not in session at the time. Its Gothic revival suite of buildings serves as the home of the Parliament of Canada. The huge square looked almost deserted. A lonely mountie, short for a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, was kind enough to let me take a picture in his red uniform. Too bad that the tulips were not out in full bloom yet! They would have added some much needed color to the somewhat dreary early spring landscape. Just then the afternoon sun was breaking through the cloud cover reminding us with its warm rays that spring was not too far off even in these northern climes of Canada.

Main Entrance to the Parliament

Back in the car we figured we had about three or four hours of daylight left to cover until dark a few hundred kilometres on the Trans Canada Highway. It is, along with the Trans-Siberian Highway and Australia’s Highway 1, one of the world’s longest national highways spanning more than 6,000 km from Victoria, BC to St. John’s, NL. As we were rolling through the great Canadian Shield, the largest and oldest rock formation in the world, towns and villages became sparser and except for the road there were few signs of human encroachment on the stark beauty of the bare undulating hills, pristine forests, crystal-clear lakes and wild rivers. I was fascinated by the images of the constantly varying scenes and yet conveying the feeling of one unified untouched wilderness.

A Mountie in Traditional Uniform posing for a Picture

All of a sudden like in a bad dream barbed wire fences, military installations, artillery shooting ranges and barracks emerged in the distance. ‘What would it be like to be a Canadian soldier?’ I asked myself. But I instantly brushed aside this silly question, which had brought back some bad memories. Shortly afterwards we drove by a nuclear research facility at Chalk River. What was the purpose to have it operating out here in the bush far away from the big population centres of Toronto and Montreal? Was it concern for public safety that motivated the Ontario power corporation to experiment with radioactive materials? Or would there perhaps be less criticism, less public opposition out here in the wilderness? These were some of the questions Adolf and I raised and could not answer.

Route on the Third Day of our Cross-Country Journey

We were now following the Ottawa River in a northwesterly direction. It once had provided access for the intrepid voyageurs and enterprising fur traders to the vast interior of Ontario. My brother switched on the headlights, as it was getting dark. He also drove a lot faster now. The next service station and motel was still more than two hours away. One hour before midnight we finally arrived at a small motel at the outskirts of North Bay. Needless to say we were dead tired and slept like a log in our cozy motel beds.

Autobiography Book Bundeswehr Canada Photography The P. and G. Klopp Story Writing

14 Comments Leave a comment

    • Thank you, dear Arv!, for your interest in our story! I took mostly the train, which was and still is the most common mode of transportation in Germany. But what impressed me the most was the experience of comfort in these large and powerful cars in Canada.

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      • Although in current context German autobahns and cars have an iconic status, I can’t say for sure during 1960’s. I assume the cars in Canada must be American models since its only American continent where American cars and models are popular. Everywhere else….they have no acceptance in stark contrasts to Japanese and European cars.

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  1. Es ist immer wieder spannend und berührend, wie Du Deine ersten Schritte in Canada erzählst, lieber Peter. Vielen Dank auch für das Foto vom Mounty. Die sehen wirklich toll aus. Hab ein schönes Pfingstwochenende, liebe Grüße aus dem sonnig-warmem Hamburg, Mitza

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    • Vielen Dank, liebe Mitza, für deine lieben Worte! Es freut mich immer sehr, wie viel Interesse du für unsere lange Geschichte zeigst. Auch dir wünsche ich noch ein frohes und gesegnetes Pfingstfest.

      Liked by 1 person

    • This was in 1965. The nuclear research station was already well established by that time and eventually developed nuclear power plants. The CANDU reactor became a lucrative export item to countries like Pakistan and India. The research station was also plagued by a number of accidents exposing its works to harmful radiation. Thank you very much for your interest in my story, dear Ann!

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  2. It must have been a very interesting (if somewhat tiring) drive through the vast Canadian countryside, Peter. Incidentally, although I love their uniform, I can’t help noticing that mounties always have fat bottoms. Seriously, though, I agree with the point made in your comments about the mounties being a great symbol of Canada. They are distinctive, instantly recognized around the world, and have a very positive image.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In comparison to Germany the distances we had to travel were enormous. In a single day you can travel from the North Sea to the Swiss border on a single day. What impressed me the most was the vastness and beauty of the Canadian wilderness. Thank you, Bun, for following our story!

      Liked by 1 person

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