Friday, April 6, 2018

The Locks At The End Of Winter

On the last Sunday in March, I had a bit of time on my hands around the noon hour, and decided to get some end of the winter photos in at a couple of locations. The first was at the Ottawa Locks, where the Rideau Canal meets the Ottawa River. I approached by passing beneath Plaza Bridge. The staircase you see here is closed during the winter. The building in the background is the lockmaster station, dating to the latter 19th century, and doubling these days as a gift shop linked to the Canal.

The eight locks here, nestled between Parliament Hill and the Chateau Laurier, are still open and empty, but later this month the water levels will start to rise for the boating season's kick off. During the winter, it is typical to find boats dry docked in the locks, as has been the case this winter, with these locks housing two of them.

The pathway follows the course of the locks down towards the Ottawa River.

Along the way is the Bytown Museum. Originally the Commissariat when Colonel John By was managing the building of the Canal, it now serves as home to a local history museum, all in the shadow of Parliament Hill. It dates back to 1827, constructed shortly after work on the Canal had commenced.

A view from the other side takes in the Museum, with the Chateau in the background, backlit in the sunlight.

The path led to the shoreline, where the Ottawa River was still mostly frozen over, but up around the bend you can see open water. The Canadian Museum of History is across the water on the Gatineau shore. Last spring, this area of the waterfront was closed off due to high waters- high enough that the bases of the lights you see here were in the water, as was the path itself.

Shifting right gives us a view of the Alexandra Bridge and Nepean Point. I left here and took shots from up on the Point, which I'll have in a comparative post later in the month.

Heading back out, I paused to photograph the other side of the Canal. Major's Hill Park is up there, and Colonel By's statue stands there looking down on his achievement. That side gets more sunlight during the day, so grass was already exposed.

Here I have one more view of the scene, taken from the Chateau's perspective, with the Canal and the Bytown Museum against the splendid backdrop of Parliament Hill. Tomorrow's post will start up there.


  1. Why are the steps closed during the winter, too dangerous? Can't believe it's still so snowy and cold. Did Ottawa not get the message that spring has arrived? :)

  2. My favourite is the first one taken beneath the Plaza bridge. No doubt it won't be too long before it all looks completely different.

  3. Such a picturesque and serene place William.

  4. How wonderful! The waterways look wonderful in your photos. I can see why those steps would be closed in the winter:)

  5. The Chateau looks like a little bit of France dropped down in Ottawa.

  6. sure have a lot of winter to get rid of!

  7. It's amazing what people can build!

  8. Hello, Thank you for the interesting tour. I love the architecture. It will be fun to see the same areas when it warms up. I appreciate your blog visits and wish you a nice weekend.

  9. Nice tour, William. You have still a lot of snow there...

  10. It's beautiful with the remaining snow, but soon it will all be green and that will be wonderful too, I think.

  11. Hello, pretty series of photos. I like the shot of the staircase. The chateau is beautiful. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

  12. I love the lines in that first photo!

  13. @Lowell: those steps aren't used over the winter- they line up chains from side to side above and below, and just let the snow be as it is. There's another staircase on the north side of the bridge that is cleared through the winter, and on the south side there's the walkway down by the NAC, so both sides are accessible.

    @Fun60: it's already looking quite different, but it'll still take some weeks. The snow in the shade on the Hill tends to be the last of the snow to go.

    @Joe: it certainly is.

    @Rosie: I wouldn't take them if they were open- having had descended them regularly during the rest of the year, they would be treacherous before being cleared of snow or ice.

    @Rosemary: it does have a French architectural design.

    @Francisco: thank you!

    @Tom: and it still feels cold.

    @Sandi: it is! The Canal is quite an achievement, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site at that.

    @Mildred: thank you!

    @Karl: some of what was here has gone since I took these shots, a little under two weeks ago, but we got some back to replenish it in recent days.

    @Jan: the greening of the lawns will take a couple of weeks.

    @Eileen: thank you.

    @Marie: so do I.

  14. It really is interesting seeing the guts of the places in winter. That last photo is amazing. I don't think I've ever seen it from that point of view.
    I'm still picturing you, horizontal, on a bridge in the windstorm!

  15. Lovely territory. I really love seeing the same building with different lighting -- front and back. And that last one -- really lovely!

  16. You had such a bright and sunny day for these photos!

  17. Oooh ~ Awesome wintry photos ~ love the first one!

    Happy Days to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  18. @Jennifer: I took it from the top of the steps at the Chateau, where it leads down to the terrace. I like photographing from that spot.

    @Jeanie: it's an iconic view.

    @RedPat: so do I.

    @Sharon: it was ideal conditions, from the photographer's perspective.

    @Carol: thank you!

    @Stefan: thanks!

  19. Great photos. I especially love the first one. Nice contract of dark and light!

  20. where is every one? it is so empty. reminds me of the Harry Potter ... guess my creative mind is associating it with that. ( ;

  21. Looks like that first shot is the overall favorite. I especially liked the lighting effect. And thanks again for the spam alert. I am now being more vigilant in checking comments. And that Johnson or whoever is one sick mind for sure.

  22. The first photo shows a nice construction. I like the curves.

  23. The first photo is nicely composed, I love it. Nice post, William!

  24. I love the last photo. What a beautiful picture it is. Snow in April? Is it freezing too now?

  25. @Tamago: that bridge is quite a pleasure from the photographer's point of view.

    @Beth: well, in that last shot I count four people on the path below. Parliament's architecture does tend to feel like Hogwarts!

    @Beatrice: I was appalled when I saw his comment on another blog last night. Whoever he really is, he's a gutless coward as well as a white supremacist.

    @Marleen: that curve is a wonderful shape.

    @Bill: thank you!

    @Aritha: yes, it's still freezing here. We may have snow coming.

  26. Splendid series of photos William. I have enjoyed seeing your city again.

  27. I love that final picture. That huge pile up on the hill looks like a haunted castle.

  28. There's still quite a bit of snow for late March. (And possibly more coming??) I like the lines in your first shot.

  29. Your first photo is beautiful, with those dramatic sweeps of dark shadow and light.

  30. Nice photographs ...
    Can't believe all that snow!

    All the best Jan

  31. You still have snow on the ground, I see!

  32. So much snow! Here the spring finally has arrived. Over 20 C degrees was nice today. I hope it'll last.

  33. Beautiful snowy pictures! My favourite is the last picture!

  34. I really like the top image!

  35. @Denise: thanks!

    @Catalyst: it does have that effect.

    @Kay: we can still get the odd snowfall in April.

    @Jack: thank you!

    @Jan: thanks!

    @Norma: and that's a good thing.

    @Klara: today the temperatures are probably just a bit above freezing.

    @Nancy: thank you!

    @Gunn: so do I.