Monday, November 12, 2018

The World Remembers

This is the Government Conference Centre downtown, lit up by night. First opened in 1912 as the main train station, it has served for years for the federal government in conference space capabilities, and the Senate will be meeting here for some years with the refurbishments that will soon be underway in Centre Block. The banners you see here are a fitting way to mark Remembrance Day. The building has over the last few years at this time of year hosted The World Remembers, an idea envisioned by the Canadian actor R.H. Thomson, whose family history includes several great-uncles who served and died in the Great War.

Several countries around the world have participated in a simple but poignant tribute to those killed in the First World War as each year of the centennial has unfolded. Names of each of the dead of participating countries in that given year (this being the centennial for the final year) have been projected onto a screen throughout the nights this year from September 12th until dawn on Remembrance Day. The primary Canadian setting for this happened to be this building, and there were other locations.


Signs about the project, including the death tolls by each of the countries participating in the project by the year, can be found here. The last year of the war was as horrendous as those that had preceded it. Banners marking the beginning and ending years hang from either side of the main sign.


The screen itself hangs on the west side of the building, overlooking the Rideau Canal. Names are projected onto the screen from a projection booth along the Plaza Bridge stairs. A Canadian name is at the centre, accompanied by names of others with national designations alongside them. That's from both sides of the war that was meant to end all wars. I find it fitting and poignant that they're commemorated together- brothers (and sisters) in arms. 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

If Ye Break Faith With Us

Today is Remembrance Day, a particularly significant one as it was a century ago today that the guns fell silent across the battlefields of Europe and the Great War came to an end. I will be taking in the national service at the War Memorial and visiting the Canadian War Museum as well today. Have a look at my writer's blog for yesterday's post, as it also features this location with shots from 2016.

Green Island lies east of the downtown core, where the Rideau River splits into two and joins the Ottawa River at the Rideau Falls. On the north side of Sussex Drive, the land is parkland, and there are a number of monuments placed in this parkland, most of them military in nature. I came up this way on  Thanksgiving in October while taking fall photos, and decided to focus on two of the monuments for Remembrance Day. The first is the National Artillery Memorial, which originally stood in Major's Hill Park but which has been here for years. A field gun stands beside the wall, which includes inscriptions in English and French- the French text of the main inscription is on a plaque over on the left side. 


Beside it is another monument, more recent, placed here in 2015. It pays tribute to the Canadian soldier, doctor, and poet John McCrae, who wrote the poem In Flanders Fields after the death of a fellow soldier in World War One.


The monument depicts a larger than McCrae sitting, with poem in hand and poppies in red as part of the statue. It was created by artist Ruth Abernethy, who has a particular gift with sculpture- she's responsible for the Oscar Peterson sculpture at the National Arts Centre. This statue has a twin- another one by the artist is at the civic museum in Guelph, which was McCrae's home town growing up in southern Ontario. His family home there is preserved today as well.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Viewpoints From The Heights

The view from the Champlain Lookout is stunning when the fall colours are at their height like this.


I had descended the stairs to the lower area.


The hiking trail starts from here, descending its way down the slope.


I took in more of the landscape views.


Coming back up to the top, I happened to come across this very good doggie.


I leave off with these two views from the Lookout. Thus ends my formal fall series for the year, though I will have one post at the end of the month with a seasonal look at the Museum of Nature.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Champlain Lookout In Autumn

My first stop during my excursion into the Gatineau Hills was the Champlain Lookout, one of three lookouts in close proximity along the Champlain Parkway beyond the Mackenzie King Estate. This and the other two, the Etienne Brule and Huron Lookouts, offer different vantage points looking out over the steep slopes leading down to the valley floor. This flank of the Hills is referred to as the Eardsley Escarpment. To give you an idea of altitude, the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau are at an average of 70 metres above sea level. The highest spot in the park, King Mountain, between here and the Mackenzie King Estate, rises to 345 metres. The lookouts are not that much lower in altitude- 335 metres- so there are well over two hundred metres of difference in altitude down to the valley floor.


A mix of farmland and forests on the valley floor leads towards the Quebec shore of the Ottawa River. The land on the opposite shore is rural as well, but still within the city limits of Ottawa. There is a staircase leading down to the lower area of the lookout, as well as a hiking trail descending down the slope. The view from here on a sunny fall day is particularly spectacular.


While I was up here, one of the other people present pointed towards the Ottawa side of the river and noted the locations of a couple of village areas over there- Constance Bay and Dunrobin; the latter of the two was the hardest hit spot in Ottawa by the September tornado.


A series of panels are placed here explaining the geology of the Hills and their current status.


I have more from this beautiful spot tomorrow. I have added this post into this week's Skywatch Friday.