Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Taking A Winter Stroll In A Garden

I went by the Canadian Museum of Nature a couple of weeks back on a grey day, because I wanted to photograph the Landscapes Of Canada Gardens in winter conditions. I will do so again at some point in the spring. This is the main entrance, still marked with the building's original name, the Victoria Memorial Museum. The building combines Gothic Revival and Scottish baronial styles, and looks very much like a castle.

I went in reverse of my usual course this time, starting with the mammoth family. The Mammoth Steppe is one of four ecosystems represented here, along with Prairie Grasslands, Arctic Tundra, and Boreal Forest, each featuring plants from those ecosystems planted along the path. This time of year, the plants are dormant, mostly buried beneath the snow.

The path leads beneath this large sculpture of an iceberg. This was done by Bill Lishman, the Canadian artist, naturalist, and inventor whose achievements include an ultra light glider he used to guide geese on migrations. His story was adapted for the film Fly Away Home, and I took these shots after the news came out that Lishman passed away of leukemia just before the new year.

As you can see, the plants are mostly buried beneath the snow this time of year. That's certainly true of the grasslands area, as well as low lying plants in the boreal forest area, but not the trees. 

A couple of days later, I returned, but this time to the east side of the property, where a pair of statues of mother and baby dinosaurs can be found. These are of the species chasmosaurus irvinensis.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Skating On Parliament Hill

On the first Sunday in January, I came up onto Parliament Hill to photograph skaters on the rink that's been placed here as a finale for Canada 150, and will be open through Winterlude. The rink stands out well amid the Gothic architecture of the Parliamentary blocks.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Skating Along The Canal

The Rideau Canal opened for the skating season early in the month, starting initially with one section of it before opening up the full length of the skateway, 7.8 kilometres winding through the downtown core. It holds the Guinness World Record for world's largest outdoor naturally frozen rink- the equivalent of 90 Olympic skating rinks in surface area. There are webcams from select spots along the Canal if you check the skateway home page and scroll down. 

These two shots are from a snowy day early on. Standing on the Bank Street Bridge, I photographed to the east, then crossed the street to take in a western view. 

This was the view some days later, again, first to the east, then the west. The volume of skaters varies- it's busier on weekends, and at particular times of the day, with things picking up during Winterlude, which gets underway on Friday.

This is the view looking south from Plaza Bridge one morning. The National Arts Centre is at right, while the Government Conference Centre and Ottawa Convention Centre are at left. The Canal's start point is at the fence line, with a kilometre marker bearing the numbers 0.0. These can be found every two hundred metres.

A few minutes later, after running errands, this was the view looking north towards Plaza Bridge from the Mackenzie King Bridge.

I then crossed the street to look south. National Defence occupies the building on the left hand side of the Canal here. The Cartier Square drill hall can be seen at the right, on the far side of the Laurier Avenue Bridge.

I finish where I started, on the Bank Street Bridge, with a view looking east at skaters on the ice at night.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Convention Centre

A couple of weeks back, on a clear, cold Sunday afternoon, I paid a visit to the Ottawa Convention Centre, on the east side of the Rideau Canal. It's otherwise called the Shaw Centre, but I prefer the former title, as I personally dislike corporate naming rights. The building has been here since 2011, having had replaced the former Ottawa Congress Centre. It consists of four levels, with promenades on each level looking out on the city, while the meeting rooms within the building go from big enough to fit thirty people to one the size of an aircraft hanger. The massive glass wall is a particular visual treat for the photographer, with its wonderful views and design. This first view looks north from the second floor.

A second view from this level looks across the Canal to the National Arts Centre.

I ascended to the third floor, where I looked at the Mackenzie King Bridge crossing the Canal. Beyond that is Confederation Park, with City Hall and the provincial courthouse in the background.

Cars were parked on display here. Within the largest space nearby, a trade show was going on. No, it wasn't an auto show. It was something else, which I'll be showing you in some posts after the beginning of the month.

Here we have a view looking towards Parliament Hill. The chairs are a regular fixture. I should really come in here sometime for a sunset view.

Here we take in a view at the south side of the government's Conference Centre. Once the main train station, it has for decades served as a meeting place for the federal government. Later this year it will house the Senate for some years. Final work is being done inside and around the building.

On the north side of the Conference Centre is the Chateau Laurier. The two buildings were built at the same time, as the hotel was meant to be a railway hotel. A tunnel still links them.

I didn't go up to the fourth floor, which is primarily used as a ballroom. This is a view coming down the escalator.

This is new since the last time I'd been in here. A canoe hangs near the first floor entrance.

Outside, that big glass wall makes for a good photo subject.

And here we have a view of the building from the other side of the Canal.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

In Confederation Hall

Leaving the Memorial Chamber takes one out through this passage, and down a staircase back to the main level in Centre Block. The visitor ends up in the same corridor that leads west to the House of Commons.

Along this corridor are the portraits of recent prime ministers, done after their tenure in office is complete. Here we have two prime ministers, John Turner and Kim Campbell, whose times at the helm of the country were brief. Turner was a Liberal PM after Pierre Trudeau stepped down, losing the next election to Brian Mulroney. When Mulroney's tenure came to an end, Campbell replaced him as Conservative leader and Prime Minister- only to lose the federal election some months later.

The way out goes through Confederation Hall. This grand space is a focal point for the building, with corridors branching off for the Commons, the Senate, and the Library of Parliament from here. It was decorated for Christmas during my visit. I hope you've enjoyed this tour. I will likely do one more tour in here before the building closes up for the scheduled rehabilitation work, which is due to be underway in September.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Memorial Chamber

The Memorial Chamber awes the visitor into silence. Inscribed passages, dates of campaigns, and other carvings adorn the walls.

This is the case that contains the book of remembrance for Canadians who fell in the line of duty in the First World War. It is the centrepiece of the room, with four angels surrounding the glass case itself.