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.


  1. Thank goodness Truth and Justice were found and outed William, they look very much at home here. Love the Art Deco details on the Supreme Court building, my fav style of architecture.
    P.s. When pointed out yes, it is easy too see translator gadget but I think it would be more easily seen on the right maybe under your followers?

  2. It's all explained in detail, very well William.


  3. Beautiful, beautiful! You have the coolest old buildings there!

  4. Beautiful building, I like the wooden doors.

  5. I think King Edward here looks vaguely like Darth Vader. :-)

  6. Handsome building, I thing Revrunner may be right about the statue of the king...

  7. A style so much nicer than the current buildings

  8. there are some very interesting and historic building in Ottawa. Thank you for letting us "visit" them with you.

  9. Oh my gosh! You mean there's Truth and Justice in Ottawa? (You just got my blood boiling when I read you previous post. lol)

  10. Love Art Deco style! I'm looking forward to seeing inside.
    Do you think that Truth and Justice should have been moved to Parliament to give politicians a hint?
    Jane x

  11. That's quite a building. Good home for Truth and Justice. And yes, like EG CameraGirl thought about your previous post.

  12. @Linda: thanks!

    @Grace: I've thought about putting it on the right- I've even tried it once, but it ended up somewhere I didn't want it.

    @Tomas: thank you!

    @Tamera: this one particularly stands out for me. I have no idea why it's taken me so long to really do a series on it.

    @Marianne: so did I, so I decided to photograph at least some of the door details.

    @Revrunner: hah!

    @VP: it's a very different style for us- we've got so much Gothic styles, not that much Art Deco. The French embassy, which I've photographed recently, is also Art Deco.

    @Mo: we have no shortage of glass monstrosities here.

    @Gill: you're quite welcome.

    @EG: there are, particularly when the city empties out of politicians in the summer.

    @Jane and Chris: they're much better suited here! There's actually a statue on the grounds here that I didn't photograph, but will sometime in the fall, that seems out of place, until you know a little bit about the man himself.

    @Birdman: it is a very impressive building to my eyes.

  13. We hear about the Supreme Court everyday but seldom hear anything about the building. There's lots of symbolism that adds to the court. Nice post.

  14. That is a building that really appeals to me.

  15. It is a most impressive building as is fitting for such an august body! Love the sculptures, too. The rule of law is so important, and seems to be challenged daily all over the world with barbarians of every stripe doing their best to destroy what is best about human life and history!

  16. A serious looking building to take care of serious business. Wonderful detail on this impressive piece of architecture.

  17. Very stately! I like the idea of the statues being unearthed to stand guard!

  18. I would have guessed the building was newer.

  19. I like the statues better than I do the monolithic building!

  20. The statues suit the locations so well!
    The buskerfest here is always extremely crowded and it is difficult to see much so I probably won't go.

  21. I like Art Nouveau more to be honest. Beautiful details in that door though!

  22. I love Art Deco...and these photos!

  23. The building, the statues and the carvings are magnificent. Beautifully captured!

  24. Interesting architecture William and as always very interesting facts...

  25. @Red: the building's fascinating, architecturally and in terms of its history.

    @Sharon: me too.

    @Lowell: I did a guided tour in here- it was the first of the day, and I was the only one on the tour, which provides a different experience.

    @Lauren: and even though it's a different style, it doesn't clash with the Parliament buildings, all of which are done in a Gothic style of one or another.

    @Cheryl: I just wonder how they were forgotten!

    @Tex: it is quite imposing.

    @Janey: no, it does date back to the era. Art Deco was a pretty popular style in the 30s and 40s. I do like it a lot as architecture is concerned.

    @Jackie: indeed!

    @Ciel: I can see that too. I think back to childhood and seeing the statue of Justice on the news.

    @RedPat: I thought I'd give you a heads up- most of them are different acts from what we had here.

    @Marleen: thank you!

    @Norma: thanks!

    @Whisk: thanks!

    @Denise: thank you kindly!

    @Geoff: I'm just surprised it's taken me this long to seriously photograph it.

  26. Excellent commentary, especially about the statues.

  27. Nice to see the artwork. Thanks for the stories behind them.

  28. I especially like the statues but it is overall quite a fine looking building.
    I read the stone in your photo, but I'm confused. Wasn't Queen Elizabeth actually Princess Elizabeth in 1939 when King George VI was alive? She didn't become queen until after his death, did she?

  29. I suppose one doesn't wish to HAVE to visit these buildings, unless they work there!

  30. That is an impressive building, especially in the first photo, William!

  31. The building has such stately presence. The statues outside the building look quite grand.

  32. Was that last statute headless?

  33. The building has a simple and yet classical shape. It seems distinctly Canadian to me. Maybe it is because the roof brings to mind the roof of the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec.

  34. @Mari: thanks!

    @Linda: you're welcome.

    @Kay: she was. In this case Queen Elizabeth refers to the Queen Mother, who accompanied him on the tour.

    @Jennifer: this is a grand building.

    @Beatrice: it was well designed.

    @Beth: so do I.

    @Gemma: they do!

    @Shelly: no, it's taken from behind, and the cloak has a hood that might make it seem that way from that angle.

    @Jack: it's a different style than the Gothic of the Parliamentary blocks, but it compliments them quite well.