Saturday, January 31, 2015

Who Started The Damned Love Lock Trend Anyway?

I added in a link in yesterday's post- there are a number of places in Canada that have Beavertail outlets at least at some point during the year, so have a look if you missed it; perhaps there's a spot within a reasonable distance to you.

At her blog Paris Through My Lens this week, Virginia has been posting on the problem of these locks placed on the bridges of Paris since Wednesday. It's been awhile since I've shown this pic- the same thing is taking place here on the Corktown Bridge, a pedestrian bridge linking Centretown with the University of Ottawa. 

As time goes on, I'm finding this habit to be more and more of a problem. People seem to have no regard for the eyesore that these are becoming, the possible damage the collective weight these things can inflict on a structure, or the fact that these bridges are not their private property that they're free to do with as they like.

Friday, January 30, 2015

One Does Not Simply Have Only One Beavertail

Questions were asked the other day about what Beavertails are. I thought I'd repost two shots in explanation. Beavertails are an Ottawa based institution that's been around for years; it has a permanent place in the Byward Market and puts special huts in locations for various festivals and special days through the year. This one is on the Canal, with the Ottawa Convention Centre in the background.

They're pastry treats, fried dough in the shape of a beaver tail, with an assortment of toppings. This one is cinnamon and sugar. And yes, they are delicious.

During the last two presidential inaugurations, the company owners have gone down to DC and had these on hand at the Canadian embassy during the parade. That's something for readers in the vicinity to keep in mind the next time out. And for those of you across the country, check this link for other locations where Beavertails turn up from time to time.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Orthodoxy Inside The Museum

This  unpublished shot from my archives is also from the Museum of History. The Orthodox sanctuary that resides in Canada Hall can also be glimpsed from the side windows. For the original post, click here. Canada Hall is presently closed up (there are other exhibits available inside the place, while the Museum is reorganizing and reconfiguring, all thanks to a government mandated decree- from a government that swore it would be hands off with museums- that the museum follow its orders). The Hall will be reopened in 2017, it seems, but the sanctuary, one assumes, will continue to be part of the Hall. Whether or not the reconfiguration of Canada Hall adheres to the narrow minded view of the Prime Minister, well, that depends on the results of a federal election this year (want to guess what party I'm not voting for?).

This view of the front of the sanctuary is as close as you can get to it; from the entrance, the sanctuary is roped off.

This reminder for City Daily Photo Bloggers on the theme day for February. You must answer this question: If you had to leave forever the city from which you usually post, what would you miss most?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Five Hundred Posts Later

Today happens to be my five hundredth post. I thought I'd mark the occasion with this detail shot of Alex Janvier's mural Morning Star at the Museum of History. For those of you dealing with that winter storm, you could use some colour.

And the number five hundred brings to mind this song.

That'll stay in your head all day

You're welcome.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Horizontal Or Vertical

I tend to prefer taking pictures of the Canal downtown in the vertical as opposed to the horizontal. It parallels the lines of the Canal, and tends to cut down on the presence of that monstrosity to the left. That particular hideousness is the headquarters for National Defence, in other words, our Pentagon. Let's just say when they were building it, the architect must have been thinking, "just how ugly a building can I get away with designing?" The place always seems like it was hit by an ugly stick. Anyway, National Defence is in the process of pulling up stakes to new quarters out in the west end somewhere. Ideally they can demolish this eye sore and build something of significance, like a national portrait gallery (which we would have right now, if not for it being cancelled as one of the very first acts of government by the hyper-partisan lunatic in the Prime Minister's Office) or a new science and technology museum (things strictly frowned upon by the Dark Lord). Honestly, the man's hatred for the National Capital has been glaringly obvious for years. Americans might gripe about their government, but they get the idea that a national capital's institutions deserve full support. Why is that so hard for our Prime Minister to grasp?

Anyway, rant over. Before I get hauled off for speaking ill of the Not So Glorious As He Thinks Leader, Janis from Greensboro Daily Photo asked yesterday if there were any organized races on the Canal. Yes, there are, and they're both tied into Winterlude. One is a winter triathlon, so the skating portion of that is done on the ice here. The other is what's called a bed race, namely four people skating with a bed frame along a race-course with a person on top of the frame, trying to get the best time over other competitors. 

Yes. It's strange. It's something we do to get ourselves through winter.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Evening Skate

This is taken downtown from the Mackenzie King Bridge looking over the Rideau Canal filled with skaters.

This reminder for City Daily Photo Bloggers on the theme day for February. You must answer this question: If you had to leave forever the city from which you usually post, what would you miss most?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pass The Haggis

"There were places today that looked very like Scotland, remind me of Scotland. And I've been struck by how much the world looks like Scotland, and it just adds to my theory, you know, that we, we made the rest of the world in Scotland. We made it all, you know, we made it all in the image of our homeland." ~ Ewan McGregor, Long Way Round

"The birthplace of valour, the country of Worth; wherever I wander, wherever I rove, the hills of the Highlands for ever I love." ~ Robert Burns

"Wherever a Scotsman goes, here goes Burns. His grand whole catholic soul squares with the good of all; therefore we find him in everything, everywhere." ~ John Muir

"God help England if she had no Scots to think for her." ~ George Bernard Shaw

I thought of an appropriate photo for Robert Burns Day, and remembered this photograph of a kilt wearing piper from last summer downtown.

As for the traditional Robert Burns Day meal, well, I'm rather full, so you can have my plate of haggis. No, really, I insist, I couldn't eat another bite of anything after all that chocolate. And if I'm lying, may lightning strike...

Um, we'd better not start going off with making dares about lightning and things like that. Let's just say you have the haggis and I'll enjoy watching your grimace when you realize what it actually is. Wait, ignore that last part. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Of Tomfoolery

I'm running low on pics (I really have to take some photographs over the weekend), and haven't been feeling well the last couple of days (I ended up with a cold), so I thought I'd add a meme to my bagpipes shot from a couple of days ago. I'll have something appropriate for Robbie Burns Day tomorrow. 

You just know that somewhere, someone has played that song on the pipes. Freddie Mercury would be spinning over in his grave.

Friday, January 23, 2015

No Trousers

I must say that it is, on such occasions, a very bad idea to ask a Scotsman three questions.

"What's with the skirt?"

"Are you wearing underwear or not?"

"Hamish, where are your trousers?"

Though if I wish to amuse myself, I could suggest my idiot ex-brother-in-law go and ask Hamish those three questions.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


On New Year's Eve, when I was still under the effects of painkillers and dealing with a sore leg, I went with friends to the Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne Park, where a traditional Scottish New Year's Eve was taking place. Hogamanay is the Scottish word for the last day of the year, and the evening was filled with music, drink, and Scottish cooking. In a bit of a rush (and a bit of a daze), I photographed a highland bagpipe and drum band in mid-march through the pavilion.

Another take on this event tomorrow. I might need witness protection after it gets posted.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Frosted Glass

Very close to home would be an understatement. The outer windows from my bedroom on some very cold nights get these intricate patterns of frost on them. The inner windows, however, are clear. Opening the inner windows started creating that hole in the frost very quickly.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Ice Storm

Comments were made in yesterday's post about the Ice Storm of January 1998, which wrecked havoc in a swath all the way from Eastern Ontario to the Maritimes on this side of the border, and from upper New York State to Maine on the American side of the border. Details on the disaster can be found here. I thought I would show images of the scale of the damage at the time. These are not mine, but where I could find locations and sources for the shots, I have added them into captions.

This being an Ottawa blog, I start with this view of Parliament Hill above the Ottawa River, likely taken from Nepean Point.; the trees you see probably were too damaged by the effects of the ice to have survived. Such is still the case today, where all these years later throughout the areas hit by the storm, you can still see the catastrophic effects if you look closely.

Montreal, Canadian Press
Montreal, Canadian Press
Global News

Jen B. mentioned a book about the storm; it's one that I have too. The Ice Storm is a coffee table edition of the works of a multitude of photojournalists from various newspapers throughout the affected areas chronicling the storm. The book is still out there, and can be found at Amazon.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Iced Branches

After our holiday thaw, winter returned with a vengeance in a weather system that gave us snow, freezing rain, and a plummeting of temperatures. The way freezing rain interacts with trees and bushes is beautiful, albeit destructive.

These two shots are at the north side of the Bank Street Bridge, where bushes and trees rise up alongside the bridge. In such cases, it's best to leave the branches alone, weighted down with ice though they are. They'll bounce back when the ice shakes loose, but trying to remove the ice will just break branches.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Bleak Sky

Another shot taken between Christmas and New Years when we had a warm up, this was on a bleak day, on the east side of the Bank Street Bridge looking over the Canal. The ice was off limits that day, definitely vulnerable for anyone foolish enough to try stepping on it. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Nativity Job

Perhaps it's a bit late to be posting Christmas shots, but well, why not? Between Christmas and New Years we had a warm up spell that resulted in quite a bit of the snowpack vanishing on us. Hence the grass you see around this Nativity. This is set at St. Patrick's Basilica, the Catholic church I showed you a few days ago. I also happened to catch the reflection of a Mini Cooper in the glass.

There was no sign of Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, or Jason Statham around, though.

For City Daily Photo bloggers, this note about February:

City Daily Photo bloggers post photographs on a theme on the first day of each month. On
February 1, they will address this intriguing question: If you had to leave forever the city
from which you usually post, what would you miss most?  

Friday, January 16, 2015

Skating The Lake

The Rideau Canal widens west of yesterday's pic where it forms Dow's Lake. The Skateway travels up to the top of the lake before coming back down and heading towards its end at the Hartwell Locks at Carleton University- the last turn can be glimpsed at the center of the pic. Many students commute to the city's three universities by skating too, since Carleton, the University of Ottawa, and Saint Paul University are all within reasonable distance along the length of the Canal. The full length of the Skateway is 7.8 kilometres, and the cleared ice has a surface area equivalent to 90 Olympic hockey rinks. Guinness World Records lists the Skateway as the largest naturally frozen skating rink in the world.

The snow at the right side is fine for walkers like myself who don't happen to know how to skate (I know, it's positively un-Canadian). The plows maintain a path along the ice with a thin layer of snow that makes for surprisingly easy walking.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Another View West

From the same bridge as yesterday's post, this was photographed in the afternoon on another day last winter. Clear skies make quite a difference.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Skating On The Canal

I have a familiar perspective from atop the Bank Street Bridge today. This photo from last winter looks west. The Rideau Canal finally opened this weekend for skaters, at least in part. The skateway starts from below here- the fence is right about where the staircases are- up to the Corktown Bridge downtown. The rest of the Canal, west from this spot and all the way to the end from the Corktown Bridge, should be open soon. On the gray day I shot this, there were relatively few skaters on this stretch of the Canal, but that can change very quickly. Particularly with rush hour when many civil servants decide to commute home by skating.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

An Organ Loft Window

My two posts from last week about Christ Church Cathedral made me remember this window shining over the church's organ loft that I have shown before. It's as much of the window as can be photographed from close up, unless one wants to take a header over the balcony edge.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Killed By An Assassin

In my post from yesterday, Jackie mentioned finishing a biography on Thomas D'Arcy McGee, so I looked up this summer photograph of his statue on Parliament Hill, with Gatineau in the background. This Irish-born Father of Confederation was a close friend of John A. Macdonald, and a fierce critic of the Fenian movement. He was gunned down while returning to his boarding house on Sparks Street, a block south of the Hill, late one evening in April 1868. The details of that night can be found here.

The man arrested for the crime, Patrick James Whelan, an Irishman with sympathies to the Fenian movement, was convicted (there's an argument to be made that it wasn't a fair trial, given the interference of the Prime Minister), and hung at what was at the time called the Carleton County Gaol. The building is still downtown, though these days it houses, among other things, a hostel for travelling students. I've been in there a couple of times... and the corridors of that old gaol feel oppressive... as if you're being watched. Needless to say, the place has many ghost stories. Is Whelan one of them?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sir John Wants A Drink

Today is the date of John A. Macdonald's birth in Glasgow, Scotland. A Father of Confederation, co-premier of the Canadas, and the nation's first Prime Minister, Sir John is more than anyone of his time the driving force behind the creation of the country. Without him there simply wouldn't be a Canada. He is our founding father, and today marks the bicentennial of his birth. Much about his life can be found here. 

He had his flaws, certainly, and policies that must be criticized, but on a day like today, we can remember his ingenuity and political skill at persuasion, forging a country out of a collection of disparate colonies. He learned from the mistakes that led to the American Civil War, and heeded those lessons well. The vision he and his fellow Fathers of Confederation devised called for a strong central government binding the country together, something the Dark Lord currently residing in the Prime Minister's office could certainly pay heed to.

The above sculpture features Sir John on Parliament Hill, taken last winter. The statue in the background on horseback is Queen Elizabeth. Below, these summer photos are the statues at the airport terminal, where Fathers of Confederation and co-premiers Macdonald and Sir George-Etienne Cartier greet newcomers to the capital.

Sir John, of course, aside from being a nation's father was also a drunken scoundrel and a rogue, and would no doubt appreciate raising a glass in his honour. Happy Birthday, Sir John; you don't look a day over fifty.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Richness Of Glass Colours

It can be a trial to capture stained glass in churches. These windows can be found in Christ Church Cathedral.

The richness of the reds and purples particularly stand out.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Hawk Is Up In His Nest

I was in a bit of a med-fogged mind when I came up with that title some days back (I'm off the painkillers now, fortunately, no longer limping, and feeling more myself). Anyway, it's an apt title, since we're on high ground in this shot. This is from the organ loft above Christ Church Cathedral, taken last June during Doors Open. The view of the sanctuary from up here takes it all in.

More from inside the sanctuary tomorrow. For reference, this is what the church looked like at that  time of year outside. It was much warmer than it is these days.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

It Is Mightier Than The Sword

Bruce MacKinnon, Halifax Chronicle-Herald
Paresh Nath, The Khaleej Times
Patrick Chappatte, International New York Times

Rainer Hachfeld, Neues Deutchland

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Old Train Station By Night

I have shown this shot from a year ago before, but it's one that I like. The Government Conference Centre is viewed from the National Arts Centre at night in this shot, across the Rideau Canal. The Chateau Laurier can be glimpsed to the left, and the hotel and the Centre are in fact linked together. The Centre was once the main train station here in the city (its replacement is rather non-descript). The building is currently undergoing some work inside, as the Senate will be sitting here for a few years when serious work gets underway on Centre Block.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Skating Around On A Large Oval

Over in Brewer Park here in Old Ottawa South, a minute's walk from my front door, I've noticed preparations underway to get the long outdoor skating oval ready for skaters, such as this fellow from last winter. Neighbourhood volunteers look after the ice, as is generally the case with any flooded ice surface in parks here (often used for outdoor hockey games across the land, because, well... we're Canadians, and that's what Canadians do, along with knowing how to make love in a canoe). What sets this skating oval apart is that it's the same regulation size as the skating ovals you'll see for long or short track speed skating in the Winter Olympics, a very rare thing for an outdoor skating surface. 

We're also waiting on the Rideau Canal to be ready for skating. There have been the footsteps of people on the surface, but it'll still be a few days at least. We certainly do have the cold temperatures for it, of course.

Mind you, I've never learned how to skate, so it's kind of a moot point.

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Very Long Streak Of Bad Timing

The other day at Occasional Toronto, RedPat mentioned finally getting into a church to photograph the windows. Below we have St. Patrick's Basilica downtown here in Ottawa. There are gorgeous stained glass windows inside... but every time I'm around there, either I don't have a camera, or there's a mass, wedding, or funeral going on (obviously not at the same time).

This is taken in the morning from the north; the sunlight reflects off the office tower to my right and illuminates the old stone on the north side of the church.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Twilight Skies In The Midst Of Winter

This spare shot from last winter shows the last light of day on a cold winter's afternoon. This happens to be at the north end of the O-Train line; west of here are the Hintonburg and Westboro neighbourhoods.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

All That Remains Of A Winter Festival

In the aftermath of Winterlude in February, I passed through Confederation Park and took these two shots, but never published them. Perhaps because after all those beautiful sculptures, it seemed sad to see what became of them all. Due to liability issues (in this day and age we can't have someone hurt themselves or worse because of mishaps involving a melting sculpture, after all- there are far too many lawyers in the world pursuing far too many lawsuits... which reminds me, Shakespeare had it right: the first thing we do is kill all the lawyers), the sculptures are all broken down into these blocks, which are soon removed from the park. The colour you see in some of the blocks are from some interactive sculptures that had the work of children applying something along the lines of food colouring to them.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Yes, I Have A Slightly Twisted Sense Of Humour

At my writer's blog I started making use of the website Imgflip to create memes for pics (mostly for posts about a certain crack smoking former mayor of Toronto, but often for other things). I started on occasion doing the same with my pics here in the photoblog, adding memes into pics. These five are my favourite in that category from 2014. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

City Daily Photo Theme Day: Photo Of The Year

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2015! The first day of each month is a theme day for members of City Daily Photo. For the first of January, the theme is Photo Of The Year. You can find other favourite photos of  bloggers by clicking right here.

I had several that stood out for me in 2014. The first two were ice sculptures, lit at night, in Confederation Park during Winterlude.

This one, on Parliament Hill, was taken on a day supposedly meant to honour veterans of the Afghan War, but basically little more than an excuse for our not so beloved Prime Minister to bask in his own bloated ego. Still, it stands out for me because of the moment of contact captured here between a civilian on the ground and one of the soldiers on the Leopard tank.

The Tulip Festival in May is always big here in Ottawa and in Gatineau. This bed of tulips, on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River in Jacques Cartier Park, stood out for many readers because of that lone yellow tulip lurking among the red and white tulips.

This bed of tulips at the base of the Peace Tower is one of my favourite shots, both of the Festival and of the Tower.

The shooting and death of a ceremonial guard on the 22nd of October at the War Memorial brought out much concern and sympathy from readers. I used this previously posted detail photograph of the monument in my post the following day. It's my favourite of the many photographs I've taken of the Memorial.

I close out with this look at Alex Janvier's Morning Star, which is perched high above the Museum of History, aka the Museum of Civilization, over in Gatineau. It's an amazingly vibrant, bright work of art that always takes my breath away. Tomorrow I'll be presenting a variation of this theme for pics from 2014.