Saturday, October 31, 2015

Just How Polite Are Canadian Zombies?

"So sorry to be eating you, but really... must have braiiiiiiiiiinnnnns." ~ Kyle Carlaw, Canadian zombie, 2028

The above shot is one I meant to put in yesterday's post. It's a second hand bookstore here in Ottawa that has a number of Hallowe'en related material in their front window.

Earlier in October there was a zombie walk here in the city which ended up at Parliament Hill. While I missed the walk, I was up there in time for the official and unofficial photo session on the steps in front of Centre Block.A lot of people were taking shots of these local residents, many of whom really went all out in making themselves look like the undead. For another look at All Hallow's Eve, check out my writer's blog, as my post today is an image blog dedicated to the occasion. Happy Hallowe'en!

Friday, October 30, 2015

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night

 Only at this time of year can one get away with a title like that. My Hallowe'en post for tomorrow is from a single location, so here are some varied images for the occasion. The jack o'lanterns above can be found in the Byward Market. Each fall in the Market there's always one very large pumpkin on display. Such is the case with this one, which according to a nearby display weighs in at over nine hundred pounds.

These ones outside a nearby restaurant are obviously not that big.

This Hallowe'en decoration hangs off a tree in my neighbourhood.

Here we have views of the Chateau Laurier, in day and night. The hotel was opened in 1912, and has several ghost stories. Some of you will have heard this one before; to others it's new. The hotel was built at the orders of railroad baron Charles Melville Hays, who was in the midst of building a new transcontinental railroad system across the country at the time, with accompanying luxurious hotels. This one was due to open in the spring, and Hays and his family were over in Europe on business, including the purchases of luxury furnishings for the hotel. They booked passage for themselves and their cargo to head back across the Atlantic.

Their choice was the most esteemed ship of the time: the Titanic. 

Long story short, the ship had a wee bit of a run-in with an iceberg, the ship went down, 1500 people died, and one of them was Hays himself. His body was recovered, and he was buried in Montreal. Since then, there have been numerous sightings of Hays in the hotel. He never got to see the opening of his hotel, and so his ghost wanders the halls.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chinatown And The Gateway

It's been awhile since I've photographed the arch in our Chinatown neighbourhood. This view is from the west side, early in the morning on a late August day.

If you look closely in the first shot, the building at the left has this mural placed on its wall. It's three dimensional, and depicts the arch and a dragon on the run, as viewed from the east side. It was commissioned by the Ottawa Police Service.

This view from the east side is always a pleasant one.

A reminder to those City Daily Photo members: the first of November is soon upon us, and the theme is Ephemeral.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Bridge In Two Seasons

Most of these shots, with the exception of the last, are from the summer, in the vicinity of the Pretoria Bridge, where it crosses the Rideau Canal. The bridge, a vertical lift bridge, takes its name from Pretoria Avenue, a nod to veterans of the South African War of 1899-1902.

This view of the bridge also takes in fall colours- the tree below can be found in the above shots for comparison. The water in the Canal has been lowered for the winter season since I've taken this shot.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Faces Of The First Nations

There's an underpass in the heart of the city, close to the Byward Market and the Government Conference Centre, allowing pedestrians to pass beneath a busy street section. There are often large photo banners placed here, and at the moment, they consist of these three First Nations images that I wanted to show you. The man in the third shot stands on Victoria Island, an island in the midst of the Ottawa River which has a First Nations site. I have not  photographed from the island in quite a long time, before I even started this blog. I'll have to remedy that.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Peacekeeping Monument

I was passing by the Peacekeeping Monument, officially called Reconciliation, in the heart of the city, in August. There had been a ceremony earlier, before I had been there. The flags and vehicles were still present.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

We Band Of Brothers

Today I have something different. Six hundred years ago today, on St. Crispin's Day, October 25th, 1415, Henry V personally led an outnumbered English army against the French at Agincourt, winning the battle and the day. The Union Jack seems appropriate for the occasion, and it hangs from a downtown hotel alongside other flags. The English flag of St. George is taken from my archives; I photographed it in the Glebe during the last World Cup.

William Shakespeare incorporated the battle into his play Henry V. You can see Kenneth Branagh give his version of the Crispin's Day speech here. And if you've never seen Branagh's film adaptation, you should. For a more irreverent  take on that speech, check out Leslie Nielsen giving the Eleventh Of March speech from Due South.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Departing The NAC

In Southam Hall at the National Arts Centre, these two shots of the stage, set up for Opera Lyra's The Barber Of Seville, were taken from the seats.

Down in the lobby, this dance troupe from The School Of Dance were performing. I took several shots, but was most satisfied with this one.

I conclude this series with Fourth Stage, the fourth and smallest of the performance spaces within the NAC. It's ideal for smaller, more intimate performances, and on this day, it was crowded and in use. Musicians were on stage, and singers were invited to come up for some karaoke. No, I did not take part- if I tried singing, people would be asking, "who's strangling the cat?" The young woman singing was doing a rendition of 'Holding Out For A Hero'. And she had a good voice.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Behind The Scene

Back into the series, which I'll be concluding tomorrow. This is one of the rehearsal halls in the National Arts Centre, where the orchestras actually do most of their practicing as an ensemble. I was standing where the conductor normally would stand. I'd be out of my depth trying that- I can't read a note of music, after all, and there's more to conducting than flailing your arms about.

These can be found in the dressing rooms. They are costumes for lead performers in Opera Lyra's production of The Barber Of Seville. Design sketches were close by, and the closing image, a prop angel, could be found near the stage in Southam Hall.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

One Year Later

These shots are from the last few weeks, taken at the National War Memorial and its surroundings.

A year ago today, two days after the death of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, rammed by a hit and run driver lunatic in Quebec, another deranged individual shot and killed Corporal Nathan Cirillo, who was serving that day here at the Memorial as one of the two sentries by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The gunman made it into Centre Block, where he was shot and killed.

It was a shocking day for us. I was a few blocks away that morning at an appointment, and remember the lockdown of buildings, the strange deserted atmosphere of the downtown core later in the day. And I remember the following days, when the Memorial was reopened and the public started placing wreaths, flowers, and objects of remembrance at the site. One moment stands out to me- standing looking at these items and seeing a bride and groom come up out of the crowd and place a wreath. I found it touching- that on the most important day of their lives, a couple would take the time to show their respects in this way.