The present Canadian War Museum dates back to 2005, replacing an older one up beside the National Gallery after the collection had outgrown its confines. It has the shape and feel of a bunker or a battleship, depending on your point of view, and is ideally suited for its subject. It presents the story of Canadian military history as well as the context of global affairs. It rises up out of the ground on its west end, featuring grasses on its rooftop, and rises to a prominent spike on its east end, pointing towards Parliament Hill. I headed up onto the roof for the views- the pathway up there has the feel of a trench in its design, and features views of the grassy roof, as well as vantages of Parliament Hill to the east, and the nearby Ottawa River and Gatineau to the north.
As you can see, fall colours were still prominent along the riverside.
Typically on Remembrance Day in the large entry hall, one can find various displays. This year the emphasis was on the experience of black soldiers in the Canadian military down through time, including a series of panels on specific people, such as this man. I chatted with a couple of people who were manning the tables. One of them mentioned a black soldier who was part of the joint Canadian-American special operations force known as the Devil's Brigade. The other related the story of a man who was a decorated sergeant major whose family happened to live in the same town near where I grew up, as well as an officer who started out as a surgeon and wanted to be a military pilot- and did just that.
Memorial Hall is one of the two axis points of the entire museum, which is designed to be based around them. The room is stark and quiet, featuring a reflecting pool on one side and the tombstone of the Unknown Soldier on the other, topped with poppies on this occasion. The architects designed the building so that at eleven in the morning on November 11th, sunlight will be coming through an overhead window, illuminating the tombstone at that precise moment. I have no idea how they'd figure that out.
Emerging from the Memorial Hall and back into the entrance hall, I photographed this harpist playing. She might well have been the same musician playing last year in Regeneration Hall, and she was one of several musicians placed here and there in the museum that day.
The special exhibit going on at the museum is on the air war in Europe during the First World War.
For those of us who are photographers, a relic from the past was in this exhibit. This Kodak camera was carried by a Canadian pilot back in the day.