Thursday, November 1, 2018

City Daily Photo Theme Day: Friend

The first day of each month happens to be a theme day for those of us who are members of City Daily Photo, and for the first of November, that theme is Friend. Take a look at how others are handling this theme here.

My primary take on the theme is taken from history, but at the suggestion of one of my readers, I thought I would start with this topiary that I recently featured, and am reusing one of the shots for today. MosaiCanada was a two year event held here, at Jacques Cartier Park on the Gatineau side of the Ottawa River. It featured a series of topiary sculptures on a big scale. I spent a good part of October on a series with my visit, which you can start looking at right here if you'd like. One of the final topiaries was a fitting one for this theme. Hachiko The Loyal Dog is based on the true story of a Tokyo professor and his dog, who accompanied him to the train station each day when the professor would go off to work, and would wait there each day for his return. This continued for years after the professor had suddenly died. Today a statue of the dog is at that station.

My main take on this theme highlights the friendship of two of our founding Fathers of Confederation: our first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald and the most eloquent speaker and writer in Parliament, Thomas D'Arcy McGee. They were among the politicians who worked together in the 1860s to forge the country that would become Canada, and theirs was a friendship that was very much a brotherhood. Both men were drinkers; in his book Blood And Daring, which tells the story of Canada during the American Civil War, John Boyko recounts an incident that speaks to the camaraderie of the two. One morning after a long night drinking, McGee was found sleeping it off under an editor's desk at the Ottawa Citizen. Macdonald admonished him by saying, "look here, McGee, this cabinet can't afford two drunkards, and I'm not quitting."

The Bytown Museum, a local history museum nestled by the Ottawa Locks of the Rideau Canal, has a section that examines the McGee assassination. McGee was shot in the back of the head coming home  to his boarding house from a session in the House of Commons one night in April 1868, and a Fenian sympathist was tried, convicted, and hung for it. Macdonald took the murder of his friend hard. I took these shots in August, on Colonel By Day. A portrait of McGee himself hangs here among the displays.

This bust is by Marshall Wood, done in 1874 in marble. It depicts Lady Agnes Macdonald, the wife of Sir John. The quote on the wall indicates her shock at the assassination, as well as the closeness she would have felt where her husband's friend was concerned.

A display case features various items related to the assassination- the original plaque that hung at the site of the crime, a book by McGee, funeral souvenirs, and something a bit odd- a casting of McGee's hand, done after his death. Death masks were common at the time in Victorian culture, but given the damage sustained in the shooting, it was not possible in this case. His hand was a suitable alternative, particularly given his eloquence as a writer.

One day in October, I went up to Parliament Hill. Statues of both Macdonald and McGee are among the set of monuments up there around the buildings. Macdonald's statue stands to the east side of Centre Block, with an allegorical figure at the base.

I finish with this photo of McGee's statue on the Hill, from a post earlier in the year, taken in the winter. When I took the above shots around Macdonald's statue, I came around to this area on the north side of Centre Block, hoping to get another shot or two of McGee from this spot. The work going on here at the Hill prevented that- this particular spot is presently just beyond public access. While one can go along the fenceline behind the statue, one can't get in front of it. So this wintery shot of the great man will do quite nicely. It is an appropriate spot for his monument- his statue stands facing the Library of Parliament, a fitting location for such a gifted writer and speaker.


  1. ...a great perspective on the history of your great nation.

  2. Interesting stories.
    For the photos, I prefer the first and last one.

  3. I love the story of Hachiko. I just posted on the CDP theme day portal. I hope more people do so.


  4. that is a great movie, how i know about it ... Richard Gere take on it all ... i can not imagine ... u feel for the pup waiting on the owner. i guess dogs and human companionship is a big friendship indeed. ( ;

  5. Hello, the monuments are beautiful and I love the dog. Great info and post. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

  6. @Nancy: thanks!

    @Tom: I thought it fitting.

    @Jan: I like both too.

    @Janis: I'll be adding mine shortly.

    @Beth: I have never seen the movie.

    @Eileen: thanks!

  7. Monumentos muito bonitos e gostei do cão.
    Um abraço e bom Feriado neste dia de Todos os Santos.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa

  8. That was a really interesting post, learning about those two friends who are responsible for Canada being what it has become. And the dog, and the story, are very touching. Thank you so much for the history lesson. :-)

  9. Enjoyed your take on the theme, William.

  10. A very informative post.
    I did not know the story about the dog. They are so dedicated to their owners!!

  11. Thanks for sharing the information about your country. Nice take on the theme!

  12. I did not know that McGee and MacDonald were good personal friends.

  13. @Francisco: thank you.

    @DJan: you're welcome.

    @Marie: I enjoyed showing it.

    @Catarina: they are indeed.

    @Bill: you're welcome.

    @Red: when McGee was assassinated, Macdonald took it hard. So much so that it's been concluded that he was putting pressure for a conviction- including being in the courtroom. Instead of thinking like a prime minister, he was thinking like a friend.

  14. There is something special about the bond between a dog and his owner. That story of Hachiko represents that bond beautifully.

  15. What an interesting take on the "Friend" theme. I love the story and the movie of Hachiko - and the topiary is fabulous. Quite an interesting story about the assassination. Thanks for educating us about it!

  16. A very informative post, thank you William.

  17. That is a friendship I wasn't aware of, William! An interesting take on the theme.

  18. A very interesting theme day post!

  19. Great post. You know, I've never been down to that little museum.

  20. @Sharon: quite true.

    @Susie: you're welcome.

    @Lady Fi: it was well done.

    @Karl: it's a pleasure to do so.

    @RedPat: I thought it was fitting.

    @Lois: thank you!

    @Anvilcloud: I highly recommend it.

  21. What an interesting lesson in Canadian history for this American! I also loved the photo of the topiary and the story behind it.

  22. Man's best friend--how appropriate for today's theme!

  23. I love the photo of Hachiko. There's a modern remake of that true story,with Richard Gere. Wonder whether Robert Service used the name McGee as a type of tribute
    in his most famous poem?

  24. Great take on the theme.
    Interesting post.

    All the best Jan

  25. @Marleen: it was appropriate to use him!

    @Barbara: that event was a whole lot of fun to attend.

    @Norma: definitely! Some of the other posts involve the live ones!

    @Eve: I had to look it up- the McGee in Service's poem is based on a man of that name, William Samuel McGee, so it's not D'Arcy McGee.

    @Jan: thank you!

  26. So much to see! Thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful week!

  27. You go to great places and take great photos ~ Love that doggie!

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

  28. Interesting story of a friendship. This and the dog are good takes on today's theme.

  29. Fascinating history and a great story about the two topers.

  30. Love the friendly dog and the allegorical figure!

  31. Mr McGee was certainly a good friend to Canada William, as was Hachiko to his master ✨

  32. @Kelleyn: thanks!

    @Carol: thank you.

    @Magiceye: I thought so!

    @Kay: I thought both were fitting.

    @Catalyst: it's some fascinating history. That book is one I recommend.

    @Linda: so do I. I notice that her knee seems shiny. Lots of people pose there.

    @Grace: that's definitely true.

  33. Oh, yes, I read about Hachiko´s story, very bitter-sweet...
    Oh, that hand! Well, better than nothing, I guess. To friends, right.

  34. Love that topiary dog. Such a wonderful idea and so well executed.

  35. Topiary doggie is the best! And the story behind it.