Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Family Scowl: The Not That Camera Shy Self Portrait

Tomorrow is the theme day for City Daily Photo bloggers, playing around with the notion of Camera Shy Self Portraits. As a lead-in, I thought I'd mess around with my standard photo that appears in comments throughout the blogs I follow. This shot was taken some years back on the deck of the Visitor Centre in Algonquin Park. My face happens to be setting into that genetic quirk that runs on my mother's side of the family- from my grandfather to my mother and aunts, to some of my cousins, and yours truly- there's a tendency for our face to set into an expression that suggests we're thoroughly annoyed, even when we're not.

And so as we head into tomorrow, I added some memes into this photo.

Monday, March 30, 2015

After Winter, Spring Eventually Shows Up... Or Not

Spring still seems elusive in these parts, though supposedly there will be a warm-up sometime this week. This is Central Park in the Glebe neighbourhood. At least around the edges of the park, snow is giving way.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Big Enough For An Aircraft Hanger

The interior of the Ottawa Convention Centre is spread out over four levels. There are a number of meeting rooms, ranging from the sort of size suited for perhaps a couple dozen people to larger spaces for company conferences, meetings, or receptions. The largest space is Canada Hall, on the third level.

Canada Hall is big enough to fit a plane (as long as you assemble it, because that's the only way it's getting in here). It can accomodate six thousand people, and one can expect things like trade shows, large conferences, or political conventions in here. The Hall can be subdivided into smaller sections with retractable walls as needed.

Here work is being done in between trade shows. The benefit of living here is that one can take a peek inside the Convention Centre at leisure.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

No Smoke, Just Plenty Of Mirrors

The wall of the Conference Centre gives off unusual reflections from here of both the Rideau Canal....

...as well as the National Arts Centre.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Distorted Views Of A Glass Wall

The glass wall here at the Convention Centre certainly allows for good reflections.

My title yesterday was in reference to the character Kang, a time travelling pain in the neck Big Bad where the Avengers are concerned. A terrific character, but let's just say trying to work him into a movie would cause no end of headaches.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Council Of Infinite Kendalls

A reminder: the theme on the first day of April for City Daily Photo bloggers happens to be My Camera Shy Self Portrait. 

I was down at the Ottawa Convention Centre not so long ago, and that fabulous wall of glass triangles makes for some good photo opportunities. The photographer looks rather small amid the reflections. And more than one reflection of said photographer might be found.

I expect only comic book readers might be able to make sense of that title.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bringing Back The Hardware

While Americans are busy obsessing on college basketball, our Canadian national university basketball championships wrapped up a few days ago. The Carleton Ravens men's team won the trophy yet again. This is the fifth consecutive win and the eleventh national championship in the last thirteen years.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ghosts Of The Past

Today I am back in Dundonald Park, with these views of this particular apartment building.

It's quite nondescript, but history happened here. A Soviet clerk working at the embassy lived here with his wife and children at the end of the Second World War. His name was Igor Gouzenko. His story can be found here and here. The short version is that in September 1945 he defected into Canadian custody with his family, armed with numerous files proving the Soviets were spying on Western nations. The evidence he brought was one of the triggers of the Cold War.

Gouzenko and his family lived out the rest of their lives in Canada, and he wrote two books. When he appeared in public on television, he always wore a mask. Several years ago this historical plaque and an information panel were placed in Dundonald Park across from the building.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Work In Progress

I am still at Dundonald Park today, only it was a day earlier than yesterday's shots.

Across from the park on the north side of Somerset Street, there was a store here, the Beer Store. This is not the sort of business that goes out of business... but something happened here last summer. One day it was open, and then it was closed up, with notices of no trespassing, work being done, and trucks marked with damage assessment tags parked at the site. Lo and behold, the building was torn down during the fall, and the site cordoned off. This began some weeks ago, construction gear brought in, the first steps of a new building going up. Whatever happened in that store must have done something substantial and catastrophic to the structure, but I expect when this is finished, the same store will be in place again.

It is next door to a small apartment building. I found the texture of the exposed wall interesting (though I see the work of taggers on it). I have featured this building early on when I got started blogging, and will show it again tomorrow.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Not Yet Spring

It's been quite awhile since I've photographed in Dundonald Park, in the downtown core. These two photographs were taken on Friday. The snow is still around, of course, though the snow pack is reduced from what it was at the height of winter. Still, for the first day of spring, it didn't feel like it.

Turning around to the east, we have this view of what was once a church, now converted into apartments. As trees start sprouting leaves through spring, the view to this structure gets obscured to a photographer in the park. This time of year it's still possible to still get a shot of it. It is a building I have always liked.

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Finishing off this set from the Bank Street Bridge and the Canal, I have three shots of a favourite photographic subject. Southminster United Church looms above the Canal at the north end of Old Ottawa South.

I prefer to avoid photographing moving cars in a shot, but this one turned up, and somehow seemed fitting.

And over on the west side of the bridge, I have this view of the church and the Canal. I took another shot from here, but I'll save that one for a spring view in comparison. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

West View

And across the street from yesterday's shots, here we have views west on the final day of skating the Canal.

I really like the dramatic skies in these two shots. I'm finishing this series from the bridge tomorrow.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

East View

More from the bridge today. These two east views give us some of the last skaters for the Rideau Canal's skating season this winter.

These shots were taken around four in the afternoon last week Monday. The skies to the east were very different from those to the west, which I'll show you tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Royal College

 I was on the Bank Street Bridge getting skating photos over the Rideau Canal on what turned out to be the final day of skating, just over a week ago. This view over the east side features the former convent overlooking the Canal. Today it serves as home for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Our St. Patrick

"May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows you're dead." ~ Irish blessing

"Better fifty enemies outside the house than one within." ~ Irish proverb

"Don't give cherries to pigs or advice to fools." ~ Irish proverb

"Ladies and gentlemen, what you are seeing is a total disregard for the things St. Patrick's Day stands for. All this drinking, violence, destruction of property, are these the things we think of when we think of the Irish?" ~ Kent Brockman, The Simpsons

"Ye'll not be stopping me world domination plans, Mr. Bond! Now, where's me Lucky Charms?" ~ Lucky The Leprechaun, From Dublin With Love


Now I want to see 007 in From Dublin With Love. 

Two quick shots of one of our St. Patricks in the parade- I believe there was another one further back, but I was on the move south with the parade at this point, instead of against it.

You might have noticed the building behind the float in this shot in yesterday's post as well. It is a branch for the Bank of Nova Scotia, and it dates back over 120 years. I've always liked this one; it is much more pleasing to the eye than the branches built these days.

If you haven't had a look, take a peek at my writer's blog- yesterday I posted a nod to today. Happy St. Patrick's Day! Slainte!

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Leprechaun

This colourful leprechaun stopped to pose for me in the midst of the freezing rain on Saturday. Inquiries were made, but the devious imp wouldn't give up the location of that pot of gold.

Just up the street, this truck was carrying a portable party from one of the local pubs. They'll be busy tomorrow.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cead Mile Failte

That means a hundred thousand welcomes in Irish, the language of kings.

Yesterday the St. Patrick's Day parade wound its way from City Hall, along Laurier Avenue and Bank Street, to Lansdowne Park. I snapped some shots, which I'll be sharing today, tomorrow, and Tuesday before moving onto other things. There is a large Irish population here in Ottawa and the surrounding area, and as such, it was a long parade group and a long route. There were a lot of people along the route, though I took my shots from places where gaps could be found, so the number of onlookers isn't quite that apparent.

I really liked these two big horses, bearing the parade's grand marshal in the carriage.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

From The Bridge

This shot is from the Bank Street Bridge, taken on Monday, which turned out to be the last day for skating on the Canal. It concludes this particular series on Lansdowne Park. I was busy taking shots of the Canal and the skaters that were present; almost as an afterthought I looked back, framing the southside stands of the stadium between poles on the bridge.

The southside stands were completely rebuilt, while the northside stands to the left got some refurbishment as part of OSEG's takeover at Lansdowne. The stadium, once named Frank Clair Stadium after a particular coach in the CFL, is now TD Place, yet another exercise in the cultural tackiness that is corporate branding. The TD Bank pays a mint to have themselves advertised in this capacity, and in fact TD Place is more prominently marked here than Lansdowne Park is on any sign. That green logo on the wooden screen is theirs. I feel sorry for people who live across the Canal and have to see a bank's logo on that abomination.

The stadium itself hosts a soccer team and a Canadian football team, the Redblacks (the OSEG brain trust insists on writing their idiotic team name in all capital letters). The arena beneath the northside stands hosts the other sports team based here, the minor league hockey team, the Ottawa 67s.

Onto other things tomorrow. I'll be less of a Grumpy Cat.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Aberdeen Pavilion

This is really the last part of Lansdowne that the OSEG bandits got right- pretty much because they were forbidden to tamper with it. The Aberdeen Pavilion was built as the crown jewel of Lansdowne Park, an exhibition hall nicknamed the Cattle Castle. Dating back to 1898, it is the last surviving Canadian hall of what was once a common Victorian style. It also once hosted hockey games, and is in fact the oldest surviving venue in which the Stanley Cup was ever contested.

This view from the east takes in one of the two entrances along its length. As much as OSEG swore that the sightlines to the Pavilion would not be hindered or infringed upon, that oath was worthless, as taking in the view from Bank Street on the west side of Lansdowne, the Pavilion is crowded by the big box store architecture to one side, and the expanded arena and stadium to the other. Of course, since OSEG's entire "we swear, we're doing the right thing for the community" mantra has been shown to be of no value, that's not a surprise.

Still, the Aberdeen remains a real jewel, and along with the nearby Horticulture Building a pleasant distraction from all the crap OSEG has added onto the site. While those greedy bastards may have ruined a lot of this place, they didn't finish it all off. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Horticulture Building

Aside from my general disdain for what's been done to Lansdowne Park, and my feeling that the negatives vastly overwhelm any positives, there were things that weren't a total disaster. The Horticulture Building was preserved. Mind you, the greedy bastards... that is, the OSEG overlords, wanted to move the entire thing out of the way of their precious retail components. City council being the way it was, they said, "why not?" And so it was moved, 140 metres to the east. 

The building dates back to 1914. Built in a Prairie style, it is a permanent exhibition hall used for various trade shows. It's been restored on the outside and inside, with windows letting in a lot of light. I do like some of the touches inside, including letting some of the faded paint of the past stay as is on the brickwork. Admittedly, this is a better use of the building than what it had been undergoing before all this started, when it was used more for storage. Still, it doesn't let the greedy bastards of OSEG off the hook for desecrating most of Lansdowne. Along with the park aspect, this building, and what I'll show you tomorrow, they are the sum total of what's still good here. That's not much when you take into account the visual clutter of everything else.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

This Is Unique Retail?

For a look at Lansdowne while the bulk of construction was underway, check this link.

One of the promises made when OSEG got the rights to demolish, I mean, refurbish Lansdowne Park was that the retail components they would put on the old exhibition grounds would be unique and fresh and vibrant and... blah, blah, blah... cue whatever drivel a Marketing Chimp wrote up for the leadership of the group.

Instead the retail components of all this have turned out to be the same bloody variations on big box architecture that clutter up the suburbs, and what are we seeing in terms of actual stores? The same kind of shops that aren't that hard to find elsewhere. Aside from Whole Foods, we've got a pharmacy, a liquor store, an electronic shop, a couple of banks, restaurants, and other things that are either already in place or soon to open. None of them are "unique" to Ottawa. 

OSEG has had its biggest cheerleader in the form of one of the local newspapers, a tabloid rag that's part of the Sun chain of papers. I have never seen one critical question in that joke of a newspaper about the Lansdowne project. Instead it's been rah-rah this is a wonderful thing on the one hand, and blasting apart anyone who dares to question the almighty glory that is OSEG on the other. In case certain columnists from the Sun ever see this: how much has OSEG paid you to be their personal publicist? Of course, considering the Sun does the exact same thing where Conservative politicians are concerned, why am I not surprised?

Well, I'll say this much: at least the paving stone patterns have some merit.

Edit: a second look at the first photograph shows Abbotsford House, which I featured in this month's theme, visible at the far end.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Skating On An Ice Rink

I am spending a few posts at Lansdowne Park, and I'll be ranting and venting whilst here. Aside from a New Year's Eve visit, it has been a long while since I've photographed the place. OSEG (Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group), the group of real estate developers that pretty much got the place handed to them for their own benefit for the remainder of their natural lives (thanks a lot, city council) has been busy here, with most of the construction nearly done. Is it obvious I really dislike the fact that these swindlers pretty much stole what could have been so much better out from under the city? By the way, if OSEG happens to see this: from the bottom of my heart, I'll say it once again- middle finger fully extended at the lot of you no-good underhanded double-dealing crooks. If you guys were on fire, and I had a glass of water, I'd drink it.

Anyway, to start things off, we have one of the three things about the whole development that they got right. A portion of the place has been set aside as an actual park (go figure). While the skateboarding area and the playground are dormant this time of year, the skating rink is open. For those who might be peckish, a Beavertail hut is at the far end, along with another establishment.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Snowdrifts And Shadow

Looking at these two shots, I could have used them for the upcoming theme on Camera Shy Self Portraits, what with my shadow making cameo appearances.

These two shots are from a morning last week, on the northeast quadrant of the campus at Carleton University. This hill dominates this section of the property, blocking the view of Dow's Lake beyond it.

I liked the morning light against the textures of the snowdrifts.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

From The Mists Of Time

I could have used the photograph in this first shot for this month's aging theme. It is placed in the Ottawa Room, and dates back to 1898. The view is from a building that stood where the Government Conference Centre now stands, on the east side of the Rideau Canal. My search through fire insurance maps from the era was for the name of this building; it was likely the original train station that stood here, one that predated the construction of the building, which dates back to 1912. The photo itself has similarities and differences to the view from this area today. The two bridges you see here merging here, Dufferin and Sappers Bridges, are no more; there was a reconfiguration of the roads here, and Plaza Bridge replaced them. The building at the left was the main Post Office of its time; the National War Memorial stands now in its place. The building to the right of Sappers Bridge is still there- it's the lockmaster station for the Ottawa Locks. Parliament Hill lurks in the background, but this dates back to before the 1916 fire, which destroyed the Centre Block at the time. While the East and West Blocks closer to the street were untouched by that fire, only the Parliamentary Library, at the extreme right of the photograph, survived the destruction of Centre Block itself.

It is not possible to get into the Government Conference Centre for a comparison shot- the only time in the past for the public to access it has been during Doors Open, but the building is undergoing work as it will be a temporary home to the Senate during renovations on the Hill in the coming years. For comparison to then and now, this view is by the Canal below the Centre, a short distance south of the bridge, taken last summer. The Centre Block of today is most noticeably different from the one in 1898 by the presence of the Peace Tower and its distinctive clock. Plaza Bridge is also higher than Sappers and Dufferin Bridges were. The foundation stones of Sappers Bridge can still be found along the west walkway, beneath the bridge.

And this view on the north side of the Conference Centre was taken last spring. Dufferin Bridge, if it was still here today, would be starting below where I was standing, and down near the level where those women are walking.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Stern Looking Queen

The cabinet in yesterday's post is still in use. I was in the Ottawa Room yesterday, and spoke with one of the librarians for awhile. The cabinet stores index card information, mostly for genealogy records. I also spent time looking at fire insurance maps from the late 19th century and early 20th century, something related to tomorrow's post.

You might have noticed a bust on this cabinet. This is Queen Victoria as we often think of her- the grandmother in the late stages of her reign. It's a contrast to the statue of the Queen inside the Library of Parliament, a statue that shows her at a younger age.