Monday, October 2, 2023

A Place For Telling The History Of The City

 The Bytown Museum started its life as the Commissariat, a storehouse and headquarters for the building of the Rideau Canal from 1826-1832. It is the oldest stone building in the city, and today is home to a collection for local history focusing from time immemorial to 1920. It is a marvelous spot, with a few ghost stories, and well worth a visit.

Directly across the Canal from the Museum is a cliff- augmented halfway up by an artificial wall, which was once topped by a railroad track, long gone. A close eye might see the outlines of a building on that wall, long since gone, but which once housed offices for the Canal building process. An even closer eye might see a statue up above in Major's Hill Park.

That statue is Colonel John By, the British military engineer who led the building of the Rideau Canal in the first place. He's also considered the founder of what would become Ottawa.

The Canal is a delight.

Back up to have a look inside.

The Canal's first purpose was to be a military route inland from the St. Lawrence, at a time when there were high tensions with the Americans.

Its 202 kilometres from here to Kingston involve a series of locks and dams, noted here in red. A monumental project for the time, and one that lives on today.

It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Here we have a medical kit of the time, along with a display case containing mosquitoes. Malaria was a big killer of the men who built the Rideau Canal. More than a thousand of them died during the years the Canal was constructed.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

City Daily Photo Theme Day: Transportation

The first day of each month is a theme day for members of City Daily Photo, and for October that theme is Transportation. Check out how others are interpreting the theme right here.

My focus for this one is the Rideau Canal, a water route that passes between Ottawa and Kingston, built nearly two centuries ago and still used today as a recreational waterway. I was out at the Bank Street Bridge late one night, where the bridge crosses from the Glebe on the north side into Old Ottawa South on the south side. The Canal itself was still this time of night, reflecting the lit arches of the bridge. I was standing on Queen Elizabeth Drive- one of the parkways of the city- and a bike path was close by, separated from me by a strip of grass. Transportation in more than one way: water route, bike and walking path, parkway, and major city street going over a bridge.

The Canal was built as a military and economic project, at a time of tensions with our American cousins, requiring an inland route connecting Lake Ontario to the Ottawa River. Along its course, much of it involving the Rideau River, it crosses over heights or compensates for areas where the natural water course is too shallow for boats. The rise of the railroad ended its economic importance, but the Canal became well known for recreational boating. This shot looks east, taken from the bike path. The Canal is black in the night.

Crossing over to the west side of the bridge, I took these shots.

Some days later, I was downtown, where the final stretch of the Canal is found here, amid landmarks, like the Government Conference Centre at left. Canada geese were down below.

This view looks north from the same bridge, Plaza Bridge, over the Ottawa Locks, where the Canal descends to meet the Ottawa River. Parliament Hill is on the west side, while the Chateau Laurier hotel is on the east side. It is here at these locks where the Canal makes its most dramatic descent or ascent along its entire length.

I headed beneath Plaza Bridge, the most recent of the bridges that crosses this spot, and photogenic, with this graceful curve around the staircase.

The arches continue over the Canal itself.

A boat was in one of the locks.

Canada geese, who provide their own transportation, were having lunch and resting in the grass on the slope by the Canal. They'll be making their way south soon.

Walking out onto one of the lock bridges. The Bytown Museum, at left, is where we'll go next, starting tomorrow.

A look up. The Chateau dominates this view on the left.

Where the Rideau Canal meets the Ottawa River. The last lock opens here.

And here, where the Ottawa River is wide, we get a look across to Gatineau on the far shore. The Ottawa River, itself a major route of transportation for thousands of years, has seen much. This spot is a particularly appealing location for me.

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Odds, Ends, And Orion In A National Capital

 I have some odds and ends for you today. I start with these two shots taken one night this month at Lansdowne Park, where the crescent moon was rising in the east over the stadium. The next day or so would be the new moon.

I'm starting to develop a habit of buying novelty socks. This is the latest pair.

It's been a season for sunflowers. These are in Chinatown.

I came across this one day and picked it up. The Euro isn't terribly imaginative as money goes. Maybe I'm used to our Canadian bills. And yes, I could trade it in at a bank, but instead it ended up in a mug where I keep a few bits of foreign currency for absolutely no reason.

One evening I went off in search of groceries a few blocks away. There were some brooding skies, and soon after I got home, the storm broke.

And these are from a few nights back. I was back at Lansdowne, where the aftermath of a music festival was still to be found. Here on the east side of the property, I looked up at a familiar constellation- Orion. I wondered if my phone, on night settings, could capture it. And sure enough, it did. I was pleased. The constellation appears in northern skies in the fall and winter, and features some of the brightest stars in the night sky. 

Near where I took the above shot, the Aberdeen Pavilion, with stars visible in the sky.

Over on the west side of the stadium, another go at Orion came out well as it showed above the south stands.

The reason I was out here in the middle of the night? Nearby, where the Rideau Canal cuts through the city. On the far shore is the cupola of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. Orion is above it. I came here for a reason we'll look at tomorrow for the theme day.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Cosplay, Bombshells, And Artistic Work

These masks caught my eye at Comiccon.

Cosplayers are all over the place, and this trio looked good- Psylocke and Wolverine of the X-Men, and Kylo Ren from Star Wars.

Michael Myers stopped when he saw me. I have that same mask at home. Should have bought blue overalls and worn the mask.

This dress caught my eye. This appears to be done based on the DC Bombshells concept, an alternate reality series with heroines set in the Second World War. This one is the Batwoman's look.

At right, the Wonder Woman of the Bombshells design. The dress at left is a show stopper of its own.

More from this vendor.

Two very different cosplayers. The woman on the left was my favourite of all the cosplayers I saw, with a plague mask and fanciful formal dress.

Kylo Ren and Spider-Man- an odd combination. I've always preferred the black costume Spider-Man.

I thoroughly enjoyed Comiccon, and came away from it with a good deal of merchandise. That included this Tribble, on my desk at home.

I added to my graphic novels collection, now at two and a half shelves. I'm going to need another book shelf at some point.

And I finish with three prints by the artist Geof Isherwood, who I chatted with. Galactus is at left, with Conan and some of his women in the middle. The black suited Spider-Man is at right. I do like chatting with the artists or creative talents at these things, such as buying a couple of graphic novels from Ed Brisson, a Marvel writer who's been doing some Predator books for the company. Buying prints is a given as well.

Until next year, when presumably I'll have another bookshelf.