Monday, March 31, 2014

Daily Rituals, Stained Glass, And Hallowed Ground

The largest cabinet containing the names of the dead from the First World War is the heart of the Memorial Chamber. The book within (one of two holding those names from that war) has a page turned once a day, right at eleven in the morning, a ritual undertaken by Parliamentary security officers every day.

I like the angels at each corner of the cover.

On a nearby wall, this panel is etched with the toll of the dead and places they served.

While this panel of marble carries an appropriate and solemn psalm.

Leaving the Memorial Chamber, these two stained glass windows caught my eyes. 

Of course, I have always had an appreciation for stained glass.

I'm wrapping up our look at Parliament Hill in a couple of days, since tomorrow is City Daily Photo Theme Day, with triangles as the theme.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

One Bad Night For The 404 Maritime Patrol Squadron

The lighting inside the Memorial Chamber was different on my more recent trip some weeks ago.

I paused by one of the cabinets containing books of remembrance, this particular one for those who have died in active service on various assignments since the Korean War. The pages in these cabinets are turned on a regular schedule. The repeated deaths on this page, on the same date and involving the same squadron, led me to look up that date and its significance. The details of what happened are here.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Memorial Chamber: Back Within Sacred Ground

I was in the Memorial Chamber again at the end of the tour I took in December, as well as during my more recent trip inside. I have shown it to you before, here and here. These two lions stand sentinel at the entrance.

Their shields hold the dates of the Great War.

There's always something to photograph in here I might not have noticed before. And the carvings are exquisite work, done not just during the rebuilding of Centre Block, but through decades afterwards.

The war dead of Canada through early beginnings, two World Wars, Korea, and active service since are commemorated here.

And the mason's work stands the test of time.

This particular panel I haven't shown you before refers to campaigns involving Canadians during the 19th century. More from inside the Memorial Chamber tomorrow.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Luxurious Furnishings And One Shadowy Gargoyle

Still in the Senate today. The senators are from the Conservative or Liberal parties (with the odd independent from time to time), as those have been the parties governing the country and appointing senators. Recently, however, the Liberal leader did something unexpected in an effort to depoliticize the Senate: he removed the status of Liberal senators as Liberals, so they're all independents now. Darth Harper was not amused. Granted, he never is.

The desks in the central portion are used by clerks and staffers during sessions.

I want that desk. Do you suppose anyone would miss it?

A good senator's chair would do nicely too, while we're at it.

The woodworking in here is just as intricate as the woodwork elsewhere. This stands above the entrance.

It includes a clock at the top.

And in the shadows of the woodworking, a gargoyle is lurking. One wonders how many senators have passed beneath its gaze.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Last Refuge Of The Damned... That Is, The Senate

Another glimpse in the Senate foyer, this takes in the portrait of the Queen. Another portrait can be glimpsed in the gallery upstairs. It was Prince Phillip. Unfortunately that promenade was not part of the tour.

The ceiling in this area was certainly unique.

Here we have the entrance into the Senate. Drawing from British parliamentary tradition with their House Of Lords, the decor here has red dominating it, while green is prevalent over in the House of Commons, as I showed you some days ago.

Inside the Senate, the walls are decked out with large murals.

The senators are not elected, appointed by the government of the day as vacancies appear. It's meant to be a chamber of sober second thought. And while there are senators who do a good job- a former general named Romeo Dallaire comes to mind- in the last year or so, the Senate has been under fire for the spending habits of several senators, all but one of whom were appointed by Darth Harper.

Speeches from the throne take place here to start a new session, drawing members of parliament over from the Commons.

I must say, I do like the ceiling.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Royal Flush Beats Your Four Of A Kind

It's been a long time since I've played poker.

Moving away from the Library, the tour took us through corridors towards the Senate. I liked the look of this corridor.

Not to mention this staircase.

The foyer outside the Senate is circled with portraits of royalty, representing the kings and queens since Confederation. It starts with this portrait of Queen Victoria. The guide told us that if there would ever be another fire in the building, staff would remove this- it's that valuable.

Followed by King Edward VII. Ah, if only I'd thought of getting the whole frame in...

And King George V. If there was a portrait of Edward VIII, I didn't notice it, but given that he was king for such a short time before he ran off and married Mrs. Simpson, I doubt it.

Across the foyer were portraits of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.

Another take on the subject shows the upper floor above their portraits.

Tomorrow we'll be stepping inside the Senate. Fortunately Senator Duffy was not around. Only Canadians will understand that one.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Would You Like Something To Read?

In regards to a question from yesterday, yes, there were no problems at all with photography while I was in here, so the rules must have been changed at some point. Incidentally, the rules against photography over at our National Gallery have also been relaxed, so I'll have to get on over there sometime.

The detail of the woodworking here in the Library of Parliament shows exquisite craftmanship.

This reading room and the archives associated it with are a primary resource for parliamentarians and staff.

The collection belonging to the library numbers around six hundred thousand items, ranging over hundreds of years. 

The most valuable book in the collection is a personal copy of Audobon's Birds Of America, dating back to the 1840s; the guide said it's valued in the millions.

 Obviously the visitor is not allowed to borrow it.

At the heart of the whole room is this statue of Queen Victoria, our Queen in 1867 when Confederation came into being.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Parliamentary Library

The Library Of Parliament is the one remaining part of the original Centre Block to have survived the 1916 fire. This is looking back to the main entrance. Though the doors don't look the part, they're actually iron doors, and the quick actions of a clerk here on that night saved the library and its contents.

The room itself is grand, filled with amazing woodwork and shelves upon shelves of books.

Everything in here draws the eyes, including the pattern of the domed ceiling.

I'd say it's the most beautiful room in the entire city.

There's even a bust of Queen Elizabeth here, one of several busts.

More from the Library tomorrow...