Friday, January 31, 2014

Sunset Over Sunnyside

Experimenting today. Sunnyside Avenue is the main east-west street through Old Ottawa South, and at this time of year, the sun is setting nearly even with the street. Come summer, the sun will be setting much further away from here. I took this as I crossed the street heading back to campus. My place is a short walk beyond this intersection, in the block to the left, so we're close to home.

I am linking this to Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Scarves And Statues

Back in Ottawa to close out the month before the CDP theme day on the first of February. This month's theme is Entry.

I've meant to photograph these monuments downtown, but I'll wait til the spring for a proper go over. The Valiants are a set of statues and busts at Plaza Bridge, next to the War Memorial. They surround the staircase coming up from the Canal below. These are figures from Canadian military history.

Last week, someone anonymously placed knitted scarves around their necks, with tags for anyone in need of a scarf to feel free to take one. It's a curious gesture, but the scarves stand out nicely against the statues. By the time I got up there, scarves were still in place around three. It turns out that the people who did this were a group of knitters, performing an act of kindness for those out in the cold. It's caught quite a bit of attention.

This first one is Lt.-Colonel Charles de Salaberry, a French-Canadian officer who, during the War of 1812, served with distinction, commanding a force of troops in the victory against Americans at Chateauguay. The Conference Centre rises up behind this statue.

This second one dates back from the era of the American Revolution. Joseph Brant, as he was known to the English, was a Mohawk leader with close ties to the British. He served throughout the Revolution, taking on the Colonials in northern New York State, later relocating to southern Ontario with his tribe. He is backdropped by the Chateau Laurier.

This bust depicts Corporal Joseph Kaeble, a First World War infantryman who won the Victoria Cross posthumously for an extraordinary repulse of German attackers in 1918, the final act of his life.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Harrier Hawk

Finishing up today with the Royal Ontario Museum. Coming out of the East Asia galleries, I found the source of the squawking that had caught my ear. It was a harrier hawk with his handler.

This striking looking fellow is named Linus. He's part of the education program at the ROM, and there were two handlers speaking with members of the public, while Linus was taking in the view, glaring about, and squawking.

It seems that he likes being the focus of attention, according to the handlers.

And he does make noise! When he's quiet, they said, you know he's up to something.

Perhaps world domination?

He certainly did have an audience at his beck and call, and he is a magnificent hawk.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Another gallery inside the ROM concerns itself with East Asia, specifically China, Japan, and Korea. These three shots were from the Chinese side of things, starting with this structure.

While these two large statues stood facing each other.

It's said that one of the ghosts who haunts the museum is seen in this area; he's a former director of the museum. Apparently he liked the Far Eastern artifacts.

While I was in this gallery, I kept hearing this unusual sound. It was a squawking kind of noise. I'll show you what it was tomorrow.

Monday, January 27, 2014


Ancient Egypt also tends to draw the crowds in the museum, with a number of artifacts from the region among the collection. This sphinx is set against a larger wall of Egyptian hieroglyphs (I can't recall offhand if the wall is a replica of an original or not, but given that it's not behind glass, odds are it's a replica).

This statue fragment of Cleopatra stands nearby.

My sister-in-law related a story some days later about one of her sons on a visit to the museum. She and my late brother were standing near this sarcophagus with their sons, talking about getting some lunch, and my nephew blurted out about how they could bear to talk about food when they were so close to a dead body.

Another thing I could never quite outgrow from childhood: a fascination with Egypt. I look at this mummy and it draws all sorts of memories to the surface.

It's probably not a good idea to do something like reading from the Book Of The Dead in here. That usually doesn't end well. You wind up getting the dead rising from the grave, Arnold Vosloo running wild, and the ten plagues of Egypt getting unleashed all over the place.

It is an odd thing... to be buried three thousand years ago and end up having your casket on view for all to see long, long after you've gone the way of the dodo.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


When I was a child, I had a fascination with Greek mythology. Somehow I don't think I ever quite outgrew it.

The ROM features a number of artifacts from the ancient Greek world, including vases that depict scenes of myth. When my mother would bring me through the museum back then, she was surprised that I'd spend so much time looking at these artifacts. This one, if memory serves, is thought to depict Achilles and Hector.

This vase of course features the very recognizable Heracles (Hercules to the Romans).

While this bust is of Dionysus, the god of wine.

Finally, this scale model is of the Parthenon, the ancient temple in Athens where once it contained a massive statue of the goddess Athena. Having models of people down below on the floor gives the viewer a sense of the scale of the original statue.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Another gallery within the ROM shifts back in time, delving into the world of ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt. These sculptures are from the Roman section.

The sculptors really do breathe life into these busts.

A few days back, fellow CDP blogger Merry from Syracuse was up in my neck of the woods, and has been posting several Ottawa blogs from time spent here. Check out some of them here.

Friday, January 24, 2014


The fossil gallery inside the ROM is in the interior of the Crystal. 

Those of you with children will recall that though they have no idea who poured apple sauce all over the dog, they can somehow recite every single fact about a Triceratops, Stegosaurus, or Tyrannosaurus Rex.

While the museum was very busy while I was visiting, by some trick of good fate, the fossil gallery was quiet (perhaps only for a few minutes) while I was inside. So getting a shot of a Triceratops was possible without having rugrats running about in the background (have I mentioned I'm not a dad?)

Of course, the king of dinosaurs is present and accounted for here. The T-Rex is impressive to gaze on.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Moving out of human history for a moment, and into biodiversity. The ROM features displays of animals from around the world through this section. This rhino posed something of a challenge in terms of framing a photograph.

As did this bison, a native of the North American plains.

Capturing an image through glass, of course, can be a nuisance, but I like the stance of this leopard.

In this nearby area, the glass is removed. This part of the museum offers a more up close experience for kids, touching things, with staff on hand. This raccoon and beaver are placed side by side here.

While this wolf, not behind glass, is still close enough to the passerby to appreciate. I have heard the howl of wolves on a number of occasions, and it's pure magic. I have even had the good fortune to see them from time to time, including sharing a clifftop with a wolf in Algonquin Park several years ago. That's the kind of experience you never forget.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


This stylized map of Europe appears on the floor of this area of the ROM. While I was passing through, one of the museum staffers was speaking with a small group of people nearby, hence the chairs.

A statue of the Virgin Mary with child can be found nearby, one of several sculptures here.

Also present in this part of the museum are a series of rooms, behind glass, decorated in the fashion of the time or the country, each of them different in turn.

The lavish decor from an earlier era makes for an interesting area to pass through. Though perhaps little ones might be looking for the dinosaurs.

Moving out from Europe tomorrow, for a step into nature, so to speak...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Arms And Armour

The European section in the museum covers a period from the dark ages (more or less) to the post Victorian era. One portion of the gallery displays a series of armours and weapons of those centuries. As a child I remember the armour, though I'm sure the displays have been moved in the years since then.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Wandering Into The Museum

The Royal Ontario Museum sprawls over several floors, with galleries containing various themes from around the world. The first gallery I went through contained a First Nations theme, with carved chests and artifacts on display.

That includes tribal ceremonial dress.

As a child, I was always awestruck by two massive totem poles in the museum. It's impossible to take a picture of one in full; these staircases wind around them, giving the visitor a look at the details as they ascend. Instead, combining the stairs and a section of the pole makes for a stark contrast in a photograph.

With the renovations, the entrance area has shifted away from where it was, and been reconfigured. Close to the totem poles, on a wall in that central hall, is this dinosaur skeletal display. There are plenty of fossils elsewhere in the museum, but this is a taste of what's to come for the visitor.

The rotunda is off this hall, and while I was there, there were four singers in Victorian garb singing Christmas carols. It seemed strangely fitting. This vase is in one of the alcoves in the rotunda.

It always helps to look up in a museum. This is the ceiling of the rotunda.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Church And A Monstrosity

A couple of days after Christmas, I went down to Toronto again to do a bit of shopping and check in at a place I haven't been in for several years. From the sidewalk in front of my destination, I snapped this shot of the church on the far corner. This is the Anglican Church Of The Redeemer. It dates back to the 19th century and contrasts quite well with the modern buildings beyond it.

The reason for my visit? The Royal Ontario Museum, or ROM as it's often called. I visited from time to time growing up, fascinated by the collection (it probably spoke to the archaeologist I might have been), but I hadn't been inside since the last set of renovations, which contrast (not in a good way) with the original aspects of the building, which dates back to 1914.

This metal and glass monstrosity is called the Crystal, meant to evoke the crystals that spring out of rock. It just ends up looking out of place against the stone of the original building, as far as I'm concerned.

Still, it's what's inside the building that actually counts. Tomorrow we'll start taking a look inside.