Saturday, July 24, 2021

The Courtyards

The Byward Market is known for its restaurants, and a number of them adjoin a series of courtyards that run through a portion of the neighbourhood. If you know the area these are easy to find, but if you're a first time visitor, these might be a challenge to locate, generally found through narrow passages and laneways. This is the first one.

The architecture here dates mostly to the 19th century, but where there is more recent architecture, it is done in a way that tends to blend in with the older buildings.

A passageway led back out to the next courtyard.

And beyond that, a laneway took me into this next one.

This courtyard is a blend of older and newer architecture that work quite well together.

At its heart is this large sculpture by Pauta Saila, an Inuit hunter and artist. It is appropriately titled Dancing Bear.

Art is also found in the next courtyard. Our Shepherds is the title of the blue sculpture on the ground, with two shepherds standing on two sheep facing each other. Hanging on the wall is the preserved facade of a house that gives this particular courtyard its name.

The last of the courtyards lies here. A glimpse of Notre Dame Basilica can be seen beyond it.

An angel, appropriately, faces the Basilica at this entrance to the courtyards.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Big Lebowski

Picking up where I left off yesterday with this set of display panels on Plaza Bridge, this looks at cannabis and the fungi that can be destructive towards the plant. The Dude was nowhere to be seen.

Tagging animals provides scientists with answers about their behaviour out in the wild. Such as bats.

The cutting edge of science: a glass and non-toxic implant that helps along bone healing.

From the small to the cosmic: the death of a supergiant star.

Thawing ice on a macro scale.

This wasp, preserved in amber, went extinct with the dinosaurs.

This may look cosmic but isn't. Microbeads of fluid that look otherworldly at this scale.

A mistake made during microchip production resulted in this striking image.

Here we have a cross section of a canola seed.

And continuing with the microscopic side of things, this is a protein from a fruit fly larvae.

One last shot of this. These display panels typically are present here into October, so if you're in the area, stop on by.

Thursday, July 22, 2021


After leaving the War Memorial as seen in yesterday's post, I walked nearby. Plaza Bridge crosses the Rideau Canal here, and during the summers large displays are erected at this spot with various themes. This year it's all about science.

I focused in on each in turn, with panels beneath offering details. I hope they're readable. These crustaceans spend the winter beneath the ice.

The paw of a mouse embryo.

Two bears at play- my favourite of these panels.

A lobster in the pre-larval stage.

This image shows some of the building blocks of DNA.

An octopus- two thousand metres down in the ocean.

A microscopic image of neurons.

Honeycomb patterns exist everywhere in nature. These are fruit fly ovaries.

Wasp eggs, often laid in the seed of trees.

Two toads caught in flagrante delicto. The male neotropical yellow toad turns yellow for a few hours once a year for mating before going back to its usual look. Guys, you try that.

More of this tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021


 Today I return to the National War Memorial with shots taken a few days ago on an overcast day. The Memorial occupies the heart of Confederation Square, surrounded by other landmarks. It was dedicated by King George VI in 1939, months before the outbreak of the Second World War. Meant to pay homage to the dead of the First World War, it has been rededicated since then to include World War Two, Korea, Afghanistan, the South African War, and Canadian military service in general.

This view from the southeast includes some of the summer flowers. There were groundskeepers around doing some routine maintenance around the back of the Memorial, hence the fencing you'll see in some of these shots.

At present members from each branch of the military are serving as sentries throughout the day, at post for an hour at a time before being relieved by the next set of sentries. This is ongoing until the day before Remembrance Day. 

At the base of the Memorial is the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier. A Canadian soldier who fell at the Battle of Vimy Ridge during the First World War, his remains were re-interred here at the turn of the millennium.

The Memorial was designed as a place of mourning and commemoration. High overhead angelic figures of allegory are positioned, while a set of figures, representing each branch of the services during the First World War, move through the gate. These are all larger than life.

Off to the sides are sitting areas with plaques that go into detail about aspects of the Memorial. This is on the west side.

The sitting area on the east side includes plaques about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

A final shot from the east side.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021


One day I photographed these bushes outside Knox Presbyterian Church downtown. We had these on the property when I was growing up, and we called them snowball bushes.

These were at McPhail Baptist Church close to home for me, taken the following day.

On that particular day I was on my way to the Portage Bridge to photograph the view downstream towards Parliament Hill as I do a couple of times a month. On my way these bushes caught my eye.

Further along I passed through Richmond Landing on my way to the bridge. The landscaping in this upper portion of the landing has been redesigned in recent years, so the plants and flowers on the slope are new.

The sculpture up at the top is called the Gather-Ring, and was done by First Nations artists.

I got onto the bridge to take my photographs, and decided to continue walking along into Gatineau. At this end of the bridge on the Quebec side of the river is a flower bed I featured during the Tulip Festival. New flowers were growing.

I returned into Ottawa. Heading for the downtown, I stopped at the Garden of the Provinces and Territories, a mix of gardens and terraces with various plants and flowers. It lies across from the headquarters of Library And Archives Canada, a short walk up from Richmond Landing.

This water feature is on one of the terraces. Provincial and territorial flowers are engraved on the wall in the background.

And a couple of blocks away, I took this shot of snowball bushes outside a hotel.