Friday, April 7, 2017

Origin Of A Championship

I was walking along Sparks Street on the 18th of March when I came across a ceremony taking place at the end of the street, across from the War Memorial, beside the main post office, which is currently undergoing renewal work. This was a groundbreaking ceremony of sorts for a sculpture that is to be installed at this location this year, a celebration of hockey's Stanley Cup. The trophy is named for Lord Stanley of Preston, a Governor General of Canada. On March 18th, 1892, at Russell House, which stood on what are now the grounds of the War Memorial, Lord Stanley proposed the idea of a championship to the best hockey team in Canada. 125 years after that day, this ceremony was held to mark the occasion and inaugurate the site. The current Governor General, David Johnston, who can be seen in the blue coat, was present. The tall man to his right is Ottawa's mayor, Jim Watson, and between them is the Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre and Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna. In attendance were organizers behind the project, as well as hockey legends- and a group of boys clad in the jerseys of each present day Canadian team.

I was noticed while taking photos. Given his proximity to the Governor General, this would have to be a Mountie. 

Coming back from running errands nearby, I saw the boys gathered around the Stanley Cup itself, present for the occasion. Usually I refrain from taking photos of children, but journalists were doing so themselves, so I figured it was fair game to do so. This was the first of two days that I saw the Cup- there was an event held elsewhere in the city that weekend that I'll be showing you later this month. This is pretty much as close as I'll ever personally get to it. Regardless of the proximity of a Maple Leafs jersey to the Cup, the drought of the team itself having a Stanley Cup shall (barring any Apocalypse fore-running cataclysm) continue undisturbed.

There are nearby panels on display that show the sculpture that will be placed here later this year. My one concern about this project when I first heard about it was whether or not the sculpture would detract from the War Memorial across the street. This one does not- I had seen some concept designs that would have been the opposite. I rather like the look of this one.

I took this view a bit later in the morning, looking towards the Memorial and the Chateau Laurier. The sculpture will be installed here, in the foreground.

It will be taking the place of this sculpture of a bear, which stood at that location until a few months ago. The bear got moved down the street, where it now stands before the Thomas D'Arcy McGee Building. I think the bear cub and the fish at the bottom are an addition to the sculpture, something that the artist left out of their original project, because I don't remember them being present in the former location.


  1. That is a beautiful sculpture. Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. Glad to know the new Stanley Cup has your approval. ;-)

  3. Isn't it great when you stumble into things like this? A little bit of history and you were there. Err - are they always called 'Mounties', regardless? Surely, this one's a Dismountie? Love that bear sculpture.

  4. love the beard. i have never seen a hockey game before, it is on my to do list for sure. ( ;

  5. You could have made this several entries. So much information. I love the bowl-looking monument. I never new the backstory on the Stanley cup-- the origin of the name; so, thank you. When I was in the hospital giving birth a couple of decades ago, Mario Lemieux and his wife were having a child, too. He is Canadian, but was playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Now, he owns them! Great memories.


  6. I have only been to one hocky game...but I understand that "cup" is a much sought after award!

  7. So that's how the Stanley Cup got its name! On a skating theme: Australia generally does poorly at the winter Olympics, however my favorite Olympian is Steven Bradbury.

  8. I see your Senators have clinched a spot in the playoffs!

  9. @Nancy: thanks!

    @Linda: both of them are!

    @Halcyon: one of the other designs was particularly tacky. This is a good one.

    @Mike: they are always called Mounties, even when dismounted!

    @Francisco: thank you!

    @Marleen: I look forward to seeing it finished.

    @Marianne: indeed!

    @Revrunner: go Sens!

    @Beth: they are fun to watch.

    @Tom: indeed.

    @Janis: it does reflect the look of the original trophy.

    @Janey: it is highly prized!

    @Peter: I'll.look him up!

    @Norma: so I heard!

  10. Although I'm not a hockey fan I think it's suitable to have a fitting tribute to hockey. Now the bear? It's one of the worst pieces of sculpture I've seen.

  11. Another sculpture! You will soon run out of room!

  12. It looks like you were in the right place at the right time!

  13. It's all fascinating...and you were in the midst of it! I don't understand the "fanatics" of any professional sport (well, maybe golf) but to each his/her own!

  14. Another sculpture to add to the many others Ottawa has. Nice series William.

  15. Thanks for the cool backstory!

  16. @Red: I'm actually quite fond of the bear!

    @RedPat: we have no shortage of them.

    @Sharon: yes, if I'd gone by another route to my errand, which I sometimes do, I'd have missed at least the first shots.

    @Lowell: I can appreciate hockey and baseball, watch a game and enjoy it. With football (or soccer), it just baffles me how these incredibly boring sports can be so popular.

    @Bill: thanks!

    @Cloudia: you're welcome.

    @Lois: I think it will be!

  17. After seeing the photo of the bear sculpture at the end of the post, I can't honestly say that I would miss it.

  18. I'm beginning to think they look for a subject or man so that they can put in another sculpture. Some people in my little city complain about the number of statues we have.

  19. It's a good thing Lord Stanley wasn't impatiently waiting to be memorialized.

  20. I enjoyed the information and the photographs.

    All the best Jan

  21. Iddakno. I'm just not that into hockey!!!

  22. Nice event. Cool pictures and very informative post, now I know, why it's Stanley Cup :) I expect pictures of new sculpture soon :)

  23. @Beatrice: I'm rather fond of the bear.

    @Whisk: kids end up growing into them.

    @Mari: we do have a lot of them.

    @Kay: well, having your name on the Cup is a nice way of being immortalized.

    @Furry Gnome: I can't recall precisely when they moved the bear, but it must have been after you were up.

    @Jan: you're welcome!

    @Jennifer: I can watch a game and enjoy it, but I'm not zealous about it.

    @Klara: at some point later in the year. I know it's due to be installed this year, just not when.