Friday, October 31, 2014

Revenge Of The Ghost Of Anne Boleyn

She's right behind you! Severed head and all! And she's got a machete and a rusted spoon! 

Don't look! Just run for your lives!

I know. I'm silly. This surly looking Jack O'Lantern is in Old Ottawa South. Happy Hallowe'en!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Playing Games In The Nest

I have some action shots for you today. The Raven's Nest is the name for the largest gym in the athletics complex at Carleton University, so named for the sports teams, the Ravens. The men's basketball team here is the best in the country, having had won almost all of the championship titles since 2002. Games in here tend to be well attended, and the team performs at the top of their game.

In August, a number of American college teams came up for some inter-league play, including the Hoosiers. It was mentioned in some of the papers that people drove up from Indiana for the occasion, since the games there are sold out long in advance, and this was a chance to see the team they root for in person.

A reminder to members of City Daily Photo: the theme for November is Landmarks.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Tribute To Animals

In Confederation Park is the newest military monument in the city, one that I've shown on a previous occasion, but not the plaques. It's dedicated to animals that served with soldiers through various conflicts. The plaques tell the story, with vivid work done on the bronzework to illustrate their role. Each plaque is set on old stone, which seems appropriate.

The three plaques are accompanied at the monument by this statue of a working dog, which I have shown before, but which seems right to feature again. The monument in the background is the oldest in the park, commemorating veterans of the South African War. Having both side by side is fitting.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Going Up The Steps

A few days back I showed you the York Steps. Here they are again at late in the afternoon, during a day with different sky conditions.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Stealing Lollipops

"Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects." ~ Lester Pearson

"Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad name." ~ Henry Kissinger

"Unlike some politicians, I can admit to a mistake." ~ Nelson Mandela

"Listen, I'm a politician, which means I'm a cheat and a liar, and when I'm not kissing babies, I'm stealing their lollipops." ~ Jeffrey Pelt, The Hunt For Red October

Today is the day across Ontario for municipal elections, with mayors, councilors, and school board trustees all running for office. I thought this spring archive shot of the Heritage Building at City Hall would do nicely. I  have already voted in an advance poll. Our mayor is almost certain to win re-election; his only two serious opponents leave much to be desired in actual ideas and competence. While I disagree with his cheerleading of the Lansdowne Park project and think he's far too fond of photo ops, those are the only issues I have with him. Otherwise, he's bland but does reasonably well. With the events of last week, he came across as calm and steady (imagine the current mayor of Toronto in the same situation had it happened there).

Speaking of which, to my readers in Toronto: I hope your city does the country a favour and turfs out all three members of that reprehensible family of drunken hillbillies running for office. Yes, I mean Rob, Doug, and Michael Ford. Enough is enough of the Ford circus in whatever combination. And check out my election day prediction over at my writer's blog.

For those of you who might not have seen these the first time around, the parody bobbleheads are still more accurate than Rob Ford's official version.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Muskoka Chairs

Each summer these Muskoka chairs (Adirondacks to you Yankees) are set out in this area alongside Plaza Bridge. It's a nice place to relax, with the Government Conference Centre in the background. This is right across Elgin Street from the War Memorial.

This is more of an autumn shot, one of several I took about a year ago, but from a short walk away on Plaza Bridge, looking south along the Rideau Canal to the Laurier Avenue Bridge. The water in the Canal is already lower than the summer season.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

In Memory

After my post the other day, an editorial cartoon turned up in the Chronicle Herald out of Halifax. Bruce MacKinnon is one of two such artists at that newspaper, a man whose work I've enjoyed for years, and who has won numerous awards for his cartoons. He captured the events in Ottawa on Wednesday in just the right way, linking the fallen Corporal Cirillo to the War Memorial. This cartoon caught attention both here and abroad and has gone viral. I think it's the best of his career thus far, and it is a powerful yet comforting work of art. You can also view it here at the newspaper website, and bookmark that link as a future reference if you enjoy his style. In addition, this link is for an article on the national and international reaction to Bruce's work, and is well worth the read. Reprints of the work are being made available from the Chronicle Herald, with a portion of the proceeds going to Nathan Cirillo's family.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pure Red

Thank you all for your kind remarks in yesterday's post.

This tree on a quiet street in the Glebe can always be counted on to put on a good autumn display.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Yesterday, a corporal named Nathan Cirillo lost his life while on duty. And it wasn't overseas on hazardous duties. It was here, as an honour guard at the War Memorial. It is a tradition for several years now to post sentries during the summer at the foot of the Memorial; they're on duty for an hour and relieved. There's a distinct ceremony to each change in shift, and I'd meant to photograph it. It should have been just another day, but a gunman shot the corporal there at the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier.

National War Memorial

There are still plenty of questions at this point in time. Was he acting alone or were there others? How did he get from the Memorial up into Centre Block armed? Unconfirmed reports circulated here through the day, people speaking with strangers to see what they knew. We do know that this particular gunman met his end in the Hall of Honour. Members of Parliament were in nearby rooms at the time, having caucus meetings. More than anyone else, the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons, a former Mountie named Kevin Vickers stopped him, shooting him down in this corridor. Many of our politicians and their staff literally owe him their lives.

Hall Of Honour, Parliament Hill

I was downtown at the time at an appointment, a few blocks away. Little did any of us know how radically the day would change. Buildings were evacuated, appointments interrupted, shops closed down, office towers and schools placed on lockdown. Buses and cars were re-routed, and a police line established in the core. There was an eerie quiet downtown- I've never heard it that quiet- and a tension on the faces of others, a sense of uneasiness. 

As I write this in the evening, I'm still feeling uneasy. I'm also feeling angry that someone has turned these places into crime scenes, into places of violence. Particularly with the Memorial, which I consider hallowed ground. A young man in the prime of his life is gone, just like that, killed by a coward. What his family must be going through...

It's been a difficult day. I think I'll leave off with two editorial cartoonists whose work, of what I've seen thus far, seem to be the most effective. Brian Gable works for The Globe And Mail, while Graeme Mackay draws for the Hamilton Spectator.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In Pursuit

I have photographed these statues before, but it doesn't hurt to take shots from time to time of a favourite subject. The work depicts a First Nations hunter on the lower side, a row of vegetation separating him from his prey, a deer on the far side. The pair are set outside an office building a couple of blocks south of Parliament Hill, meant to be taken in together, though you can only glimpse them at the same time now in winter, as the vegetation grows throughout spring into the fall.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Church?

It doesn't look the part, at least at first. This is the Mennonite Church in the Ottawa South neighbourhood. The design is different than what I'm used to.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Old Stone

This is St. Mary's Catholic Church on the western edges of Little Italy. The old stone appeals to me.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Rascal

Since I'm often the person behind the camera, there are few pics of me out there. This happens to be one, from where I grew up in Halton, in southern Ontario. The house in the background belonged to the neighbour; our house was to the left of whoever photographed this. One of my nieces had a copy of it and photographed it and sent it to me.

I look thoroughly disreputable. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Menin Gate

In my Wednesday post on Vimy Ridge, Grace from Perth Daily Photo mentioned another work by William Longstaff, Menin Gate At Midnight (Ghosts Of Menin Gate), painted in 1927, depicting spectral ghosts around the monument in Belgium. The painting is in the collection of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. I had seen the painting before, which is reproduced here from the Memorial's website. The Gate itself is a massive memorial to Commonwealth dead of the First World War, with the names of over fifty thousand soldiers whose bodies were never identified or found. Each evening, the citizens of Ypres observe a ceremony here, with buglers sounding the Last Post.

Australian War Memorial collection

It turns out that Longstaff's painting has arrived here in Ottawa on loan to the War Museum for an exhibit, opening in early November. I plan on seeing the exhibit, of course. I can certainly see Longstaff's spectral influences in the painting, a theme he revisited in other works, including his Ghosts Of Vimy Ridge. For more on Longstaff and the Menin Gate, click this link.

Friday, October 17, 2014

High Waters

Today we're back in the same general area as yesterday, with the same footbridge, about a year later. The Oxtongue River was much higher, however. I would not have wanted to be backpacking on the Uplands trail in these conditions.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Quiet Bridge

This is a spring shot from some years ago taken in Algonquin Park. The river below is the Oxtongue River, which I showed you in other locations earlier in the month. The footbridge marks the beginning of the Western Uplands backpacking trail, which I have never been on even for a day hike, unless you count wandering a few metres on the other side of the bridge. The largest loop of the trail is eighty eight kilometres in total, with some shorter loops.

Tomorrow we'll see this spot again from another year, but roughly the same time of year. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ghosts At Vimy

This is not one of my shots, but instead is taken from the museum's catalogue site, since the painting in question is currently not on display. The painting is called The Ghosts Of Vimy Ridge, by the Australian artist William Longstaff. It depicts Walter Allward's memorial in France at night, with the ghosts of the dead rising from the ruined earth around the ridge. Longstaff painted this at some point in 1929-1930, years before the memorial was finished in 1936, while the land still bore the scars of the battle, but he knew what the finished monument would look like. The canvas had been displayed in Regeneration Hall for several years. At present, it is in the vaults for awhile, as another Vimy-related painting is hanging in its place. I have seen Ghosts Of Vimy Ridge many times, and it is huge... and haunting to behold. It's one of my favourite works of art.

Canadian War Museum Collection

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Regeneration Hall

Could someone with flower expertise identify these for Cheryl? And for those who looked in early yesterday, I added a link later in the day for a passage I wrote for that sequence in question, with some shots from the place I finally settled on.

From the War Museum, this is a view from the staircase inside Regeneration Hall, where Walter Allward's plaster statues are gathered together. These were the half-scale models Allward used in his design for the Vimy Ridge Memorial in France, commemorating the First World War battle won by Canadian soldiers.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Murder Scene 2.0

Yesterday's post reminded me of another spot I thought of to stage a murder in a future book. This is the pedestrian space beneath Plaza Bridge downtown; the Rideau Canal is off to the left, and  the National Arts Centre is off at the far end. The War Memorial is up the stairs to the right; these days there's an hourly change in the guard; the new shift of troops goes up those stairs to the Memorial. I enjoy walking through this space in daytime or nighttime, and thought about setting the scene in question here... but there will no doubt be many surveillance cameras here as well. Instead I ended up deciding that a spot across the river up in the Gatineau Hills would do well. By the way, if you want to read the scene, click here. It might be a bit different when I get around to writing that book, but that's where it starts.

To my Canadian followers: Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

At The York Steps

The York Steps ascend from the Byward Market up into Major's Hill Park, with Parliament's Peace Tower visible in the background. They lie between the American embassy to the right and the Connaught Building to the left- the Connaught is the headquarters of Revenue Canada, for you Canadians who grind your teeth in annoyance in the run-up to tax time. The steps are a beautiful set of stairs, often used for wedding photos. I had mused on staging a murder on these steps in a future novel, but given how many security cameras have to be lingering about here, that was probably not a good idea.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Two Flowerbed Views

I haven't been out to photograph the flowerbeds down at Dow's Lake lately. I did mention during my posts on the Tulip Festival that once the tulips were done, flowers were planted in the beds in their place. Have a look at this bed of tulips from this year's festival, in a flowerbed at the north end of the lake.

This is the same flowerbed, taken last fall, with fall colours in bright red behind it. That difference in plants in the flowerbed is quite a contrast to the tulips, and it's typical of the various flowerbeds. Soon it'll be time for the tulip bulbs to be planted in these beds.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Literary Stained Glass

I've posted this window before, but from straight on. This stained glass window is in the main branch of the public library downtown. Instead of religious figures as you'd see in a church, we get literary titans like Shakespeare, Dickens, Scott, Tennyson, and others in the window. It's a bit of a challenge to photograph, but it's a worthwhile subject to capture.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Library Windowpiece

The Rosemount branch of the Ottawa Public Library is out in Hintonburg. When I lived out there, I was a regular visitor to this branch. I photographed this sculpture that stands on the windowsill above the staircase leading down to the exit. The first version of this shot was in my writer's blog. This second shot is one I hadn't posted, but came across again recently. It depicts a parson speaking with a bride and groom. A cat and dog are their feet.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Departing Ungrateful Company

As fall goes on, one of the sounds we're guaranteed to hear is Canada geese honking as they gather for the flight south. I've often said they can't possibly be Canadian, since most of them scatter as far south as they can at the first hint of frost. Of course, there is a good share of human Canadians who do the same thing. Both migrating birds and migrating humans get the moniker snowbirds.

I thought I'd address the snowbird thing with a meme on this pic of two Canada geese I took earlier in the year, coming ashore off the Ottawa River.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Peaceful Quiet On The Oxtongue

The Oxtongue River has its headwaters in Algonquin Park, flowing west to empty out into Lake Of Bays in the district of Muskoka. These autumn views are along its course, west of Algonquin, taken some years ago.

There's a quiet gravel road that follows some of its length here, used by snowmobiles during the winter. In autumn, it's a quieter stretch of river, but I've been here in spring, and the water is roaring and high at that time of year. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Inspiration For A David Lynch Film

I have two shots today, taken a couple of years back, and several months apart. This is the Ottawa River up the valley at Deep River, a small town, and both shots are along the same stretch of waterfront. Across the river is the Quebec shore. The first shot is a spring shot, with high waters; the second is later in the year. Deep River is a planned community, dating back to the 1940s. It was built to house employees of a nearby nuclear facility, and is in the northern reaches of Renfrew County.

Deep River is so named because the river is at its deepest here; early French voyageurs were already using the term coming through here in the wake of Champlain's trips up the river. It is a lovely stretch of the Valley here, and at some point the eccentric film director David Lynch must have come through the area. He references the place at least twice in his films, once in Blue Velvet, and the second time in Mulholland Drive, when the character Betty, played by Naomi Watts, mentions that she came from this town.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Garden On The Top Of The Building

I visited the top of the C.D. Howe building during Doors Open, and you can visit the original post here.  I had a couple of extra shots stashed away. The garden up here is pleasant to visit, and the views of both Ottawa and Gatineau are splendid. The cranes and scaffolding are part of the ongoing work on Parliament Hill. I'll have to come back here again next year for the weekend, now that I know about it.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Last Charge Of The Light Brigade

Kipling and Tennyson might want to have a word with me for that title.

Here we have some more of the crowd of runners in motion from Ottawa Race Weekend.