Thursday, December 8, 2016

Stepping Into Laurier House

Laurier House dates back to the late 1870s, built in the Second Empire style for an Ottawa jeweler, and was originally called Kininvie. It became home to Wilfred and Zoe Laurier some twenty years later as a new residence for the Liberal prime minister, and would remain their Ottawa quarters for the remainder of their lives. It was willed to William Lyon Mackenzie King, who'd been a young Liberal member of Parliament in Laurier's day, and would end up being our longest serving Prime Minister. King in turn willed it and his weekend retreat in the Gatineau Hills to the country. Today Laurier House is preserved and open for visits in season as a national historic site, with items of these three people to be found throughout the rooms. The public spaces take up much of the building, while private spaces, today used by Parks Canada staff, take up the bedrooms and working space that would have been used by household staff in the days of the Lauriers and King.

On the ground floor, this first room is called the Morning Room or Reception Room. Zoe Laurier used this room for receiving visitors. King used it as additional space for entertaining.

Across the hall is the dining room, used by both prime ministers to entertain visitors coming for dinner.

The third major room down here is the Drawing Room, used by the Lauriers and King for entertaining, and particularly home to a good deal of art, as well as portraits of visitors. Some of my readers might recognize the family in the third photo down.

The Lauriers and King can be found throughout the building in photographs and paintings. This is a formal portrait of King.

I like the style of the main staircase.

This portrait of Laurier is upstairs, on what is technically the first floor, which was used for private quarters for the families, guests, and household staff. The photo that follows shows differences in rooms between the Laurier and King years.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Home Of Two Prime Ministers

On the 20th of November, I went out to Sandy Hill for a special occasion. It was snowing, as you can see. I paused first here at All Saints, a former Anglican Church that has now seen a new life. Church services still take place in this historic church, but it's also something of a community center, saved by a local group eager to use this building and the surroundings for a walking tour of history.

Across the street from All Saints is a national historic site, Laurier House, which was home to two of our prime ministers, Wilfred Laurier and his wife Zoe, and later William Lyon Mackenzie King. It's run by Parks Canada, and usually only open from May until October to public visits. That weekend, however, was the special occasion, marking Laurier's 175th birthday, and so the place was open to visits. The adjoining property you see in the following shot is the visitor center, while Laurier House itself serves as a museum to two extraordinary leaders, preserving some of their personal items. And these days photography is allowed inside, so we'll start taking a look tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Just What Is The Moggy Anyway?

I was coming out of a grocery store in the Glebe when I noticed a rather unusual car parked. It's a Morris Minor, known affectionately as a Moggy or Moggies. I liked the little touches, like the back seat pillow or the little statue of Queen Elizabeth, complete with waving hand.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Centennial Images Of The Council

The terrace on the west side of the Chateau Laurier offers a walkway towards Major's Hill Park. Each year, a government agency puts up display panels that last from summer well into fall. This year, with the centennial of the National Research Council being marked, the panels emphasized numerous projects the scientific organization has undertaken in the hundred years since its founding. I photographed several of the panels. Each can be enlarged by clicking on the images.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

One Last Blast Of The Fall Colours

I took these shots on the first Sunday in November. Late fall colours here seemed to extend later this fall, and yellow seemed to feature prominently.

This view from Plaza Bridge of Parliament Hill, the Canal, and the Bytown Museum is dominated by those yellows. The last time I showed views here, red colours were dominating the trees.

I then headed over to Major's Hill Park, where the fall colours stood out among landmarks like the Connaught Building and the US Embassy, and the statue of Colonel By.

Leaving the park took me past the Peacekeeping Monument, which features the spires of Notre Dame beyond it.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Late Autumn In The Museum Garden

The Landscapes of Canada Garden is at the Canadian Museum of Nature, having had been finished this past spring. It portrays topography and vegetation of Canada, starting with the mammoth steppe (complete with a life sized family of them in statue form), moving into Arctic tundra, Prairie grassland, and finishing with Boreal forest. It's a work in progress, as the evergreens of the Boreal section are relatively young trees (and seemingly wrapped up for the winter), but it's a delightful spot to wander. I passed through on a gloomy day a few days back. The vegetation itself, particularly the grasslands, is largely dormant now, waiting for next spring.