Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Grand Hall

My last museum stop on Canada Day was at the Canadian Museum of Nature, over on the Gatineau side of the Ottawa River. The marvelous architecture by Douglas Cardinal is always a pleasure to see. This view, with the gap between the curatorial wing to the left and the exhibit wing at right, gives a view of Parliament across the river.

As I approached I could hear music being played. It was this large wagon cart parked in place, mounted with multiple drums and other instruments for other people to come up to and play.

The Snowbirds happened to fly overhead as I proceeded on. I caught them in formation.

Here we have a view looking down the stairs. The riverside park area would have been ideal for watching the fireworks that evening; the only reason I've never watched them from here is that the nearby Alexandra Bridge is completely shut down during that evening until midnight, and that's the best route home.

I went into the museum, first taking in one of the temporary exhibits, Death In The Ice, about the Franklin Expedition, which you might recall I showed you back in May. The other major temporary exhibit on life in medieval Europe had a line up, but it's on until January, so I'll see that sooner or later.

The Grand Hall as it is called was busy when I came down into it. This fellow was on stilts, posing for photos with anyone who wanted it, playing the part of Optimus Prime of the Transformers franchise (otherwise known as Michael Bay's excuse to blow stuff up). The Grand Hall itself is the architectural masterpiece of the museum, housing totem poles and facades of six Pacific Coast tribes, with exhibit spaces behind those facades. 

At the south end of the Grand Hall, looking up at the dome overhead gives you my favourite work of art in the National Capital Region. Morning Star is the massive 1993 abstract mural by the Dene Suline artist Alex Janvier, incorporating ideas of his First Nations background. 

Janvier's mural uses motifs such as the circle of life- spiritual and physical, natural and human, the seasons, regalia colours of various tribes, and the notion of the morning star as a guide. It is astonishing to behold from down at ground level or closer. This second shot incorporates two women on the top platform, reinforcing how big the mural is.

Another work of art by another First Nations artist is here. Spirit Of Haida Gwaii is a plaster cast version of Bill Reid's sculpture, the original done in order to create a bronze version that resides at the Canadian embassy in Washington. It depicts a Haida canoe with a mix of people and sacred animals as paddlers and passengers.

The totems and facades dominate this space, and always fascinate me when I visit here.

I headed upstairs to take in the permanent galleries, pausing for an up close view of Morning Star.


  1. Love the Janvier's mural and Douglas Cardinal's interesting architecture.

  2. Wonderful, I don't tire seeing photos of that place

  3. I remeber this museum very well, once visited it on a tour through Canada.

  4. ...grand indeed, I'd love to hear the music!

  5. i love transformers ... so cool!! wanna play on the drums 2 ... looks fun!! ( ;

  6. That mural is truly remarkable. Thank you for taking me along on this tour. I wasn't following you back in May, so it was a treat to see the entire place for me. :-)

  7. @Francisco: it is!

    @Rosemary: they're amazing.

    @Bill: I love photographing it.

    @Marianne: it's a grand place to be in.

    @Tom: it was loud!

    @Beth: the kids were having fun.

    @DJan: you're welcome. I did the tour of the Franklin exhibit again, but because it had just been a couple of months since I had posted it, I decided not to photograph in there.

  8. such an amazing place to visit and wonderful art work,,

  9. Hello, wonderful museum and one I would love to visit. The totems are awesome. Love the murals, statues and the music cart outside. Neat capture of the Snowbirds. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

  10. I want to visit that museum one day.

  11. The grand Hall is a very busy place with some very significant displays.

  12. I love that music cart! What fun!

  13. @Laurie: when visiting museums here, this one should be the first.

    @Janey: very colourful!

    @Eileen: it was good timing getting the Snowbirds. I heard them coming, and fortunately my camera was on.

    @RedPat: I love visiting it. I'm thinking of going back for the Europe exhibit sometime in the next couple of days.

    @Red: it's such a marvelous space.

    @Sharon: yes, it was fun!

  14. I am not musically gifted, but I'd have had a heck of a good time with that instrument contraption.

  15. Wow the wagon with musical instruments is quite eye-catching! I bet kids are thrilled to play some music there :-)

  16. What a beautiful place ~ unique architecture and creations inside the building too!

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

  17. I remember the grand hall, it's quite impressive. Definitely a must see for anyone who is visiting Ottawa.

  18. @Pat: I imagine many people were during the day.

    @Lady Fi: I had fun.

    @Tamago: it'd be a heck of a thing to get it out of there. I think it's a bike!

    @Carol: it's a marvelous museum.

    @Marie: I love coming into this one.

    @Bill: it definitely impresses.

  19. You certainly got in a lot on Canada Day! That's such a lovely museum. And that band setup is quite a spectacle.

  20. Gosh, you have so many wonderful things to see there. Lots of culture.
    Thanks for sharing.

  21. I like the music wagon! So many interesting things to see in the museum.

  22. Great capture of the Snowbird formation, William! It seems that area is always celebrating something. Or do you just find the celebrations? :)

  23. The first nations sculptures take my breath away. I don't think my feet could have done all you did on Canada Day. Bravo!

  24. Lots to see here William, thanks for taking time to share these pictures.
    I thought the large wagon cart with multiple drums and other instruments looked amazing, I would definitely have had a go! Lol!

    All the best Jan

  25. Morning Star is amazing. And the place is wonderful.

  26. @Kay: I love being at this museum.

    @Tammie: you're welcome.

    @Nancy: that there is.

    @Sandi: thank you!

    @Jeanie: I get in a lot on Canada Day.

    @Jan: you're welcome.

    @Klara: that it is.