Monday, August 31, 2015

Odds And Ends And Random Curiosities

To close out the month, an odds and ends mix of images. This sculpture stands outside the front entrance of Library And Archives Canada.

This little one could be seen crossing a sidewalk at a fair clip into Dundonald Park. I believe it to be an American dagger moth caterpillar.

The 417 is the east-west freeway that crosses the city, combined with the 416, which runs south to the St. Lawrence River. This work site is at Kent Street in the core, where work has been going on for some time. It appears now that a bridge section is being put together here as a replacement for the nearby bridge. That's the technique used here as much as possible- build the replacement close by, and then over the course of one weekend, close the freeway, remove the old bridge, and put the new bridge in. If it happens to be sometime soon, I'll document that process.

A spare shot from the Busker's Festival on Sparks Street, I took this shot because of these unusual stilts this man was walking around on.

Down at the Ottawa Locks along the Canal, this mother and her brood of ducklings were busy preening before a swim.

Along Wellington Street, I liked this reflection shot of the Confederation Block of Parliament Hill against the modern tower. The more old fashioned building among the glass is the core of the Bank of Canada. This complex has been undergoing serious work in the last year or so.

Finishing off with this, we have these two dinosaurs on the grounds at the Museum of Nature. These are chasmosaurus irvinensis, on the east lawn. For those members of City Daily Photo who have been looking at the theme day post for tomorrow, this is a summer shot of the sculptures as a comparison to the winter shot at that link.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Summer Gardens And Flowers

Gardens and parks across the city are filled with flowers and blooming plants through the summer, and this one's been pretty good for them. In these parts in July, what I've always thought of as snowball bushes start to bloom. This one is outside the Lord Lansdowne retirement home in the Glebe. As of the moment, where one finds them in the city, these bushes are doing quite well.

These flowers were up in Dundonald Park.

The flowers in these two shots could be found at homes in the downtown core.

These sunflowers are by a restaurant in the city core.

While down at Dow's Lake, this gives you a look at what gets planted in Commissioner's Park after the tulips are gone. You may remember that stone wall.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Crossroads Of Justice

I left off yesterday by mentioning the Federal Court of Canada. I wanted courtroom interior shots (and realized after the fact that I should have left the flash off), so this is my only interior view of the building's courtrooms, of the bench for the judges. Oh well, I can always come back.

The Supreme Court itself is up at the top of the stairs. While members of the public can come into the entrance hall during open hours, only those who go on guided tours are offered courtroom access (when the Court is not in session, though any member of the public can watch Court proceedings). I went on a guided tour, and by chance I was the sole visitor on the tour, which takes about twenty five minutes and deals with the Court, its role in Canada, and the building. The current Court has nine judges, one of whom is the Chief Justice.

Canadian law finds its roots both in the British and French systems of law. Under the provisions of the Supreme Court Act and tradition, the Court is made up of three judges from Ontario, three from Quebec, one from the Atlantic provinces, and two from the West. The Court receives 600-800 applications for appeal through the year, and from that number will hear on average 65-80 cases. It also takes consideration when the federal government requests an issue be examined by the Court for constitutionality (which has not been done as often as of late as with previous governments).

The badge of the Court is found on the entrance floor.

While this view is taken from the top of the stairs. It's a beautiful building, and well worth the visit. I hope you've enjoyed my bringing you around.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Inside The Supreme Court

The entrance hall of the Supreme Court is grand, very fitting in terms of the architectural style. The building might be large, but there's no sense of space wasted- courtrooms, offices for the judges, their staff, and a law library occupy the building.

The busts of several chief justices can be found here; Antonio Lamer and Brian Dickson are these two examples.

Nearby is this bust of John Cartwright.

Chief Justice Lyman Duff's bust stands alongside a display case with a judge's robe. These are ceremonial robes only; the usual working attire features a black robe.

One bust in this space not featuring a Supreme Court judge is this one- the sculptor Walter Allward, whose statues grace the entrance.

Aside from the Supreme Court itself, the Federal Court of Canada and Federal Court of Appeals are based here. More from here tomorrow.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

An Art Deco Masterpiece

The Supreme Court of Canada has been around since 1875 as an institution, dealing with appeals of court cases at the highest level. In its first decades it was housed in various locations around Parliament Hill. The current building was started in 1939, its cornerstone unveiled by the late Queen Mother during a visit by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to the city. Designed by the architect Ernest Cormier in the Art Deco style (of which we have not that many examples in the city), the building came into use after the War for the Court.

Two statues flank the entrance, Veritas and Justitia. Truth and Justice, these are sculptures by Walter Allward, who also created the Vimy Ridge Memorial in France. They were actually meant to be for a memorial to King Edward VII, which was never actually built; the statues, crated and stored until completion of that memorial were found where they'd been placed- beneath a parking lot, forgotten for fifty years. It is much better that they see new life here.

This view of Justice would be a familiar one to Canadians- news items about the Court often have an image of the statue with a view towards Parliament Hill.

The entrance doors are wood, with these carvings set into them.

Justice has a view out towards the Confederation and Justice blocks of Parliament. Tomorrow I'll take you inside.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Bone Headed Idea

A question to my international readers: does the translation feature below the header image stand out well enough?

Back during my Doors Open posts at Mercury Court, I made mention of a bone headed idea on the part of the federal government. Today I'll explain. 

This parcel of land lies between the headquarters of Library and Archives Canada and the Supreme Court. It had been earmarked for many years for future use as a federal courts building to be named after a former prime minister, the late Pierre Trudeau. Some years back, the government removed that designation (the Dark Lord, among other things, truly despises the late Trudeau). There is a great deal of controversy here at present, because the Harper cabal intends to let a private charity, called Tribute To Liberty, build a monument here called the Memorial To The Victims of Communism. 

The memorial would tear up a large part of this area, erecting a monstrously ugly monument that is little more than a political statement by a Prime Minister who wishes he was living in the Cold War- not to mention a cynical and calculated attempt at gaining votes from people who came from areas where communist regimes had been in power. Ironically, the various designs are things that Joe Stalin would have loved and had erected himself- take a look at the basic idea here. This is not the only such incident of public land being in essence handed to a private organization- Harper wants to let a Toronto businessman have a peninsula in Cape Breton National Park so that he can build a monstrously huge statue (a gigantic copy of one of the statues that belong to the Vimy Monument)- all so that said businessman can make even more money for himself selling souvenirs. Both projects show a contempt for the public- absolutely no transparency, no regard for opposing views, and the fact that private organizations are being given so much leeway over public space is appalling. City council, numerous Members of Parliament, high profile architects, and members of the public have been very vocal in their opposition here, and a court case is now before the courts to stop this. It is hoped that whichever of the two opposition parties win in the upcoming election will do the right thing and end this nonsense.

There are three other elements to this. As mentioned, Harper hates Trudeau's name, which explains his particular venom where his son, the current leader of the Liberal Party is concerned. I have no doubt if he could dig up the elder Trudeau's corpse and set it on fire, he'd do it. So cancelling a building that was supposed to bear Trudeau's name must fill his blackened withered void of a soul with glee. Second, Harper despises the city- he literally cannot put aside his hatred of the functions of government like the civil service aside and respect the institutions of a national capital, so having something like this erected- much of it at the expense of the government- would be a thumb in the eye of the city. And third, Harper truly loathes the Supreme Court itself, which over the years has spent a great deal of time doing its job- being an independent branch of the government, while rightfully calling into question many of his governmental actions as unconstitutional. He would prefer them to be nothing more than lapdogs, following his orders. If he could get away with building a monument like this, it would be a massive middle finger to the Court for all time.

Turning around, this view of the Court takes us where I'll be going tomorrow. I paid a couple of visits for shots recently. It is a beautiful building. I deeply hope the view is never hindered by a monstrosity of a monument. If the group behind Tribute To Liberty ever read this, you people should be ashamed of yourselves, letting yourselves be used by the most hyper-partisan and sociopathic politician this country has ever seen. You should be, but somehow I doubt you're capable of feeling that way.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Around The Hill

Behind Centre Block, we have two views of the exterior of the Library of Parliament. In recent years it's had extensive rehabilitation work done to it, hence its general looks. It's a beautiful part of the Parliamentary precinct.

Nearby is the Summer Pavilion, overlooking the Ottawa River, with views of Gatineau and Ottawa. I'll be featuring this again in an upcoming theme day.

This view from the Pavilion takes in the Confederation and Justice Blocks of Parliament on the left, with the Supreme Court to the right. I'll be taking you over to the Court starting tomorrow.

Monday, August 24, 2015

On The Hill

It has been awhile since I last took a shot of the Peace Tower from this covered entrance at the East Block.

The West Block, meanwhile, is slowly emerging from the scaffolding that has enveloped it for a long while. The windows are not yet replaced, but the stone is clean, the sand blasting process clearing off the effects of pollution. This is part of the ongoing work on the Hill for rehabilitation of the buildings. 

Contrast the above with this shot of an arch on the Centre Block. You can see the dark marks- that's the effect of pollution over time, and has to be removed when the Centre Block gets its work done next.

The status quo is even more obvious on the East Block, which will be entombed beneath scaffolding in the coming years. The entire process, by the time it's said and done, will still take over a decade.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

March Out

When the Changing Of The Guard ceremony is finished, a process of around a half hour, the entire body of troops march off Parliament Hill to the accompaniment of the brass, drums, and bagpipes. The police officer you see in the third shot is a Mountie, one of a number stationed here (Mounties wear the utility uniform in everyday work, and leave the red serge to special occasions) The Guards proceed back through the streets, heading towards Cartier Square. The rest of the day, some of their numbers are on sentry duty at Rideau Hall. I recently paid a visit there (my first time on the premises) and will be featuring it in a series next month.