Wednesday, January 2, 2019

City Daily Photo Theme Day: Best Of The Year

Continuing on with my favourite shots of 2018, today I'm concentrating on Gatineau and the larger area called the Outaouais- a French translation for the Ottawa River and this area along its shore in the province of Quebec. Winterlude has activities in Gatineau as well as in Ottawa in February, with Jacques Cartier Park on the shore of the Ottawa River being turned into a massive snowy playground. Snow sculptures are part of that.

In May, Tom and his wife came up to Ottawa to see the tulips, and I escorted them on tours of the area. That included an excursion into Gatineau Park, a large swath of nature beyond the city of Gatineau in the regional municipality of Les Collines-des-l'Outaouais. We stopped at this countryside church, St. Stephen's Catholic Church, in the village of Chelsea. The parish has roots that go back to 1840, with the current building dated to the 1880s.

Up in Gatineau Park itself, the Mackenzie King Estate is to be found. William Lyon Mackenzie King, one of our finest prime ministers, left this weekend retreat that had been his real home to the people of Canada in his will. This is a view of one of the houses, Moorside, taken in May.

The Gatineau River flows along the east edges of Gatineau Park towards its terminus with the Ottawa River, and here at the village of Wakefield, we find the Wakefield Covered Bridge crossing it. This view from the north gives a good view of the bridge, which was rebuilt in the 1990s after the first bridge was destroyed by fire. Today it is a pedestrian and bikes only bridge, and it is a beauty, spanning a length of 87.8 metres.

The Canadian Museum of History stands along the shore of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, another of our national museums, and I've visited several times over the year. Each visit always includes a look at the monumental abstract mural Morning Star, by the First Nations artist Alex Janvier, high over the Grand Hall. This photo includes people in the upper level, reinforcing how big the mural is. If I had to pick a favourite work of art in the National Capital Region, this would be it.

On another visit, I took in one of the temporary exhibits. Medieval Europe is soon to finish up its time here, and examines life in Europe from the end of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance. At the heart of the space are a series of screens that rotate between images of European architecture and period statues. This particular one, with visitors amid the architecture, stuck with me.

Jacques Cartier Park hosted the topiary event MosaiCanada for the second and final year, a fabulous collection of living, sculpted art. They included a mother and cub pair of foxes, much larger than life.

This one featured a shepherd, sheep dog, and sheep- the dog's expression was priceless.

One of the show stoppers was this massive tree containing a variety of birds.

And of course my favourite of all the topiaries, a First Nations inspired take on Mother Earth, surrounded by animals and looking quite peaceful.

An October visit back to the Gatineau Hills brought me back to the Mackenzie King Estate for the fall colours. King was something of an eccentric, taking bits and pieces of buildings that were demolished and incorporating them into his estate as follies. They included various pieces that make up what is today called the Abbey, which looks splendid among fall colours.

And I finish with this grand view. There are several lookout spots not far from the Estate. This one is the Champlain Lookout. Here the visitor can look out over the steep drop to the valley floor. The Ottawa River is there in the distance, winding its way upstream.


  1. It is amazing the amount of time that some people spend creating snow sculptures and sand sculptures for others pleasure which are so transitory and ephemeral.

  2. Great photos
    It takes me time to see the people in Janvier's mural its so fascinating.

  3. ...thanks for the fabulous tour, William. How I wish that we had been able to see the topiary event MosaiCanada! If it ever returns, we should return too!

  4. So many great things - I fail to pick a favorite!

  5. i love the wider views ... but Jacques park is amazing!! such a winner there, that is for sure on our must see list ... one day!! ( ;

  6. I love the photos that really anchor the scene in Ottawa. I've learned so much about your city over the years.


  7. Thanks for all the additional information on the Mackenzie King estate. I enjoyed my visit there a few weeks ago, or was that last year?!

  8. A nice review. Onward and upward.

  9. This is a great tour for us as well, William.
    : )

  10. @Rosemary: it's a lot of work, but well worth it for the pleasure such sculptures bring.

    @Maywyn: I usually don't go for abstract art, but I absolutely love that one.

    @Tom: I'll have to see come spring if one of the sculptures has been left behind on a permanent basis.

    @Iris: I thoroughly enjoyed each of these spots.

    @Beth: it's a great park, right on the shore of the river.

    @Janis: thank you.

    @David: both! I remember your recent snowy shots of the estate!

    @Anvilcloud: thanks!

    @Catarina: thank you!

  11. I love ice and snow sculptures,too. But you sure do show more than just that in this retrospective. It was a fine year and I look forward to what you will share this coming year. :-)

  12. More wonderful shots. I love the mural:)

  13. The shot of St. Stephens is my favorite. Happy New Year William.

  14. It is nice to see the summer pics, William!

  15. I think I like the Morning Star mural the best in this selection.

  16. It's a nice overview of 2018 in images.

  17. You bring back good memories.

  18. Thank you for the virtual tour. Love the sculptures and the grand view in the last picture.

  19. I was ready to say the covered bridge was my favorite, then I saw the mural, and it won my heart.

  20. You've had a great year for photos! My favourites are the ones with green, to remind us that spring is coming!!!

  21. How fun to have met Tom! Great photos William! Happy New Year!!

  22. @DJan: I've got a lot of material to cover over the next year!

    @Rosie: so do I.

    @Janey: thanks!

    @RedPat: thank you!

    @Sharon: it is a stunning painting.

    @Jan: I certainly thought so.

    @Red: thank you!

    @Nancy: you're welcome.

    @Barbara: they're both good.

    @Jennifer: spring will come eventually!

    @Tanya: yes, it was a fun visit.

  23. I enjoyed all of the MosaiCanada very much. Nice to see some of the photos again :)

  24. Wonderful photo reflections of 2018 ~

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

  25. Nice to see non winter scenes again!

  26. Tom and his wife must have had a great time with you as their escort around the city. Love these photos!

  27. A wonderful visual display of photos throughout the year. Thank you, William!

  28. 'Mother Nature' is the best for me!
    Happy New Year, William.

  29. @Marleen: thanks!

    @Carol: thank you.

    @Marie: yes, it seems here like winter's been settled in for the better part of two months.

    @Denise: it was a good visit- and I knew Tom would go for things like churches, covered bridges, and cemeteries.

    @Bill: you're welcome!

    @Klara: it's a good one!

  30. Those winter scenes seem so unusual and out of place. It was 80 degrees F here today.

  31. You've covered most of my favorite posts over the last couple of days, including MosaiCanada. Thanks.

  32. So lovely. Thanks for the tour. Love the topiaries and the morning star.

  33. Great photos. I think the topiary garden was one of the coolest things I saw this year on your blog (in person must be even better!!)

  34. Loved seeing this selection of photographs, and that last one 'grand view' is fabulous.

    All the best Jan

  35. @Catalyst: thanks!

    @Lowell: and here we're below freezing for the next two or three months.

    @Kay: you're welcome.

    @Eve: thanks!

    @Jenn: it was.

    @Jan: thanks!