Monday, June 15, 2015

Two Embassies

I am starting out my series on Doors Open today- with two buildings that weren't part of the festivities, but which I would not have seen if I hadn't been in the area. My first intended stop of the weekend was the Algerian embassy in Sandy Hill, which I'll show you tomorrow. I was a bit early, stopped in the nearby Strathcona Park to take some pics (to be shown sometime later this summer when I don't have this many pics waiting to be sorted), and then went up to my destination. This is the Russian embassy, which is very close to the Algerian embassy- you can see this monstrosity from the latter's backyard. The building is even more of a fortress than the American embassy, and practically screams "go away, screw you, and rot in hell." No doubt a gigantic portrait of Darth Vladimir is inside. Which reminds me- I don't understand why our Prime Minister dislikes him so much; they're both megalomaniacal dark lords of the Sith. 

I spoke with a volunteer at another site the next day, and she mentioned that the building dates back to when there was still a Soviet Union, and that the RCMP owned all the houses across the street, just to keep an eye on them.

A short way up the street- and a complete contrast- is Stadacona Hall, which has a historical plaque along one of the gates. Sir John A. Macdonald seemed to be following me throughout the weekend as I visited places. After World War Two the mansion and property was the residence of the Belgian ambassador for many years. Today it serves as the high commission for the nation of Brunei Darussalam. A high commission and high commissioners are the same things as embassies and ambassadors, by the way- they are called that if a Commonwealth country has a diplomatic mission in another Commonwealth country.

This view of the mansion shows a vast difference from the Russian embassy nearby- warm, inviting, and dignified. I will have to photograph it in other seasons.


  1. Wow! What a contrast in the buildings and in your perspective! In reading about the Russian/Soviet building, I wanted to say, "It is OK, William, we don't want you to have a heart attack." Happy Monday!


  2. The second one looks like a cosy (if large) family house. You can imagine bikes strewn on the lawn and the sound of children's laughter.

  3. Former Soviet embassy is probably still bugged. :-)

  4. The second building is a beautiful house, with its prairie and its garden...


  5. I agree: the second one looks like a family home....
    Well done

  6. Huge contrast in building construction, William.

  7. i love the little evergreens - like soldiers standing at attention. quite appropriate.

  8. The first building suits the Russians very well, I think, it's cold and hard as Vlad himself.
    The second building is wonderful, that could do for me ... :-)

  9. Your photos show a good contrast between the two facilities but it goes much further than the photo. Propaganda? If you are insecure and make up some good lies you can try to tell people you are wonderful but your actions give you away.

  10. @Janis: the difference between the two really struck me!

    @Linda: I wonder if it's ever been part of Doors Open.

    @Revrunner: no doubt!

    @Tomas: thank you, I think so too.

    @Blueshell: it really does. The place appeals tremendously to me.

    @Linda: a big contrast, and it's quite telling in terms of appeal.

    @Linda: I certainly think so.

    @Tex: they must have good gardeners. The property looked well cared for.

    @Jan: cold and hard is definitely the order of the day for the Russians!

    @Red: it does look like the sort of building old Joe Stalin would have loved.

  11. Yes, that does look like Soviet era architecture.

  12. An interesting story and a bit of history. Stadacona Hall is really a lovely piece of architecture!

  13. What a fascinating post. You have a plethora of interesting buildings in Ottawa. That ol' Russian embassy is scary. I an imagine the dungeon underneath with cells and chains...

    BTW, did you get my email?

  14. Hahaha, Darth Vladimir!
    I like the mansion. It's very warm and inviting indeed.

  15. I think there were some "doors open" events here in Berlin this past weekend as well. I'm sad I didn't look into that more - I always loved visiting different places in Toronto every year.
    I have been inside the Russian Embassy here in Berlin. They have a really nice, historic building. Located in the former Eastern part of the city, of course!

  16. Fascinating post and your photos are lovely, William. When I saw "Stadcona", it brought to mind a street in Montreal...Strathcona. :)

  17. @Sharon: cold and brutalist, just like a Soviet ambassador would have loved.

    @VP: I was greatly impressed by the look of the Hall.

    @Lowell: it wouldn't surprise me if there is a dungeon!

    @Tamago: I don't think Vladimir would approve of that. Of course, I've said much worse of him at my writing blog.

    @Halcyon: one would not accuse this one of being nice!

    @Linda: I guess the name travels into other parts of the country, so I'm not surprised.

  18. I am not too crazy about the Russian embassy, but that mansion is a beauty.

  19. It's a lovely mansion - they probably aren't as concerned about security.

  20. Smart of the RCMP! But it looks like a bank to me, not a fortress. And thanks for explaining about 'high commission'!

  21. The mansion's charm appeals to me. But the Russian embassy looks quite cold and forbidding. The entrance looks nondescript and the even pines look regimented. I notice they don't seem to have grown too much.

  22. Maybe Putin will pay a visit and get lost in all the dying tulips.

  23. Now I am looking forward to seeing the next few photos. That Russian one does look forbidding.........

  24. i enjoy the style. very very unique. ( :

  25. Quite a difference William Inbetween the two buildings, are the Mounties still in situ?

  26. @Ciel: much more pleasing to the eyes.

    @Jack: I hope one day to see the interior.

    @RedPat: I have no idea how much interaction we have with Brunei, but they don't have to worry about masses of protestors.

    @Cheryl: And I will be finishing up, I think, with another high commission!

    @Gemma: it is a place that seems very Russian. Cold and hard.

    @Birdman: that would be lovely.

    @Gill: for tomorrow and the next day's posts, quite a contrast with the neighbour!

    @Shelly: so do I.

    @Beth: Thanks!

    @Geoff: It wouldn't surprise me if they keep a close eye out.

    @Jen: I think so too!

  27. Quite a contrast between mid-century stark lines and an early concept of a rich man's home.

  28. Putin and Harper are Dark Lords of the Sith? You may be hearing from one of Emperor Palpatine's representatives over that one!

  29. Very cool. There are bugs embedded in the concrete, too! I heard it from someone I knew who supervised the installation!

  30. I agree with Mari about the contrast.

  31. If there were a geiger counter for bugs I'll bet the Russian embassy would be off the charts. What a contrast with Stadacona Hall!

  32. The last building is very beautiful.

  33. It doesn't surprise me that the Russian Embassy is so austere William, they're not a 'cosy' bunch :) the mansion is very much more appealing!

  34. @Mari: quite so!

    @Norma: The Emperor wouldn't like that.

    @Jennifer: that doesn't surprise me!

    @Randy: such a stark contrast too.

    @Kay: it would definitely be off the charts.

    @Orvokki: thanks, I quite agree!

    @Grace: they definitely are not cosy!

  35. Superb picture takes and your explanations is grateful .

  36. Replies
    1. So do I. They have opened it up for Doors Open events since, and it is lovely inside.

  37. You made me laugh with the "go away" screaming! :-)