A few days back when I was taking shots for my last National Arts Centre update, I photographed the Ottawa Convention Centre across the Rideau Canal, and decided to head across the bridge to pay a visit.
Coming down the stairs towards the main entrance gives a view of Parliament Hill on one side of the Canal, and on the other, the current work site of the Government Conference Centre, which will be serving as a temporary base of operations for the Canadian Senate in coming years while work is done on Centre Block. The triangles that make up the glass wall of the Convention Centre once served as material for a theme day we had on triangles. The building is a few years old, having had replaced the old Congress Centre that stood at this location. Its four levels inside provide plenty of space, large and small, for conferences, receptions, and meetings, and its promenades provide great views out over the city. These days the building is named for a Canadian communications company that got a ten year contract for the branding rights, but since I despise corporate branding on public buildings, it's always going to be the Ottawa Convention Centre to me. The building itself, though? I love it.
Coming inside, I noticed this glider hanging overhead. It's an ultralight that was flown by Canadian artist and inventor Bill Lishman, whose more recent work includes the iceberg sculpture outside the Canadian Museum of Nature. In 1993, he flew with Canada geese from Ontario to Virginia as a test study to determine the viability of introducing new migration routes to bird species who were endangered. He repeated the flight the following year with more birds and more distance, to the Carolinas. You've probably seen the movie Fly Away Home, which is based on his story.
The promenades outside the meeting spaces are wonderful, used sometimes for trade shows, and when trade shows are not on here, they're open for anyone to come up and have a look. The views are well worth it. There was even a photo shoot going on while I was here; I got a shot for a theme day later in the year.
I took this shot to give you a sense of the amount of space in the third level promenade. The largest meeting space, which is off to my right, is the size of an aircraft hanger- rising two levels high- and can be subdivided into smaller spaces. When it's fully open, six thousand people can be seated in that space. There are plenty of other rooms on the first and second levels- from large conference spaces to rooms just big enough for a small wedding reception of around thirty people. The fourth floor is taken up with a ballroom promenade with this same view looking out.
The Convention Centre is linked by passages to the Westin Hotel and the Rideau Centre mall. Leaving to go to the mall, I took one more shot of the glider.