Friday, January 31, 2020

A Winter Ramble Through The Gardens

The Landscapes Of Canada Gardens are to be found at the Canadian Museum of Nature downtown. This occupies an area on the west side of the property, and features plants from four ecosystems of the country. I make a point of coming here and photographing the gardens in each season. I'm planning on paying a visit inside the Museum in February at some point.

The first ecosystem is the Boreal Forest, with a mix of trees, shrubs and other plants, some of that buried by winter snow.

The Prairie Grassland, the next ecosystem, has long grasses and flowers that will start to emerge in spring, but for now are beneath the snow between the path and the museum.

Signage along the path includes photographs and information on each of the ecosystems.

A large sculpture of an iceberg looms over the path.

This view, from the sidewalk, features the Museum, the iceberg, and some hardy plants belonging to the next ecosystem: Arctic Tundra. Most of the plants placed here are under the snow at the moment.

The Mammoth Steppe is the last of the ecosystems represented, with information on signs to the right of the path, while the ecosystem itself is to the left of the path. The plants here were all around in the days of the mammoth, and have survived to the current day. 

They're planted here on the left side, around a family of mammoths in sculpture form. At this time of year, the Steppe plants are all beneath the snow.

Over on the east side of the property, another sculpture set of a mother and baby pair of dinosaurs can be found, of the chasmosaurus irvinensis species.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

A Cold Blast Of The Best Weather

I have some snowy shots for you today. Dundonald Park is in Centretown, near to where I live. This first shot is in early January.

One snowy evening, I took these two shots, a few streets apart, in Centretown.

The following day, I passed through the Glebe, photographing this view of a side street, waiting to be cleared.

A few minutes later, I photographed this view of the stadium at Lansdowne in the early morning light, with snow on the field.

This was taken on a different day back in Centretown, where piles of snow were accumulated on the sides of the road. These are removed in the days that follow a snowstorm, though it can take time.

Here we have three views of Dundonald Park, taken one sunny day.

And I finish with these shots at Dow's Lake, part of the Rideau Canal skateway. The wooded area on the far shore is the Arboretum.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Odds And Ends In The Province

A reminder to those in the area: Winterlude starts this Friday and runs through to February 17th.

I have some odds and ends today. I'm starting with this spot in Little Italy. A rock cut allows for the passage of one of our commuter LRT lines, and in the winter ice tends to build up on the walls. I took this in December.

This shot from December is out in Westboro, where the utility boxes are adorned with images of nature or gardens, in this case tulips.

I passed by Central Park in the Glebe one evening between Christmas and New Year's, and noticed snowmen.

This is the first photo I took in 2020. I was in Major's Hill Park and noticed more snowmen. The American embassy is in the background.

After New Year's I went away for a few days to southern Ontario. Coming back, I took this shot out a window on the GO commuter train heading for Toronto. This would have been somewhere west of Brampton, in Peel Region.

This is taken later in the day, somewhere in the Brockville area, where my VIA train had paused on a switchback to allow an oncoming train to pass.

Back in Ottawa, here we have the front facade of St. Matthew's Anglican Church in the Glebe.

This was taken one evening in Confederation Park. The Aboriginal Veterans Monument honours First Nations veterans.

Here we have the Supreme Court of Canada, with its distinctive Art Deco design.

On the grounds of the Court is a statue of Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent, who succeeded Mackenzie King in the office. Had he not gone into politics (at King's request), this lawyer probably would have ended up on the Court, so his placement here is appropriate.

Out on Lebreton Flats, I paid a visit to the Canadian Firefighters Memorial, which stands near the Holocaust Monument. The names of firefighters who have given their lives in service across the country are inscribed on the wall. A large statue of a firefighter stands vigil over the area.

A worksite, nearby at the Garden of the Provinces and Territories, is currently dormant. Sometime later in the year, a new memorial is to open. The Memorial To The Victims Of Communism, also called Canada, A Land Of Refuge, was first thought of by the previous government, at another location and on a much larger scale. Our former prime minister, Stephen Harper (aka He Who Must Not Be Named, aka Darth Harper, aka Sauron The Deceiver) sought to build a giant monument near the Supreme Court as a great big screw you to the Court in general and to the memory of Pierre Trudeau in particular, as the grounds had been set aside for a future justice building to bear his name. Fortunately his ambitions were thwarted, a new government came into place, and a new version of the monument, better designed and better scaled, is to be built at this other location.

I finish with this view looking down a staircase. The Rideau station in the LRT line here in Ottawa happens to have a particular distinction. One of its escalators, beside the stairs here, is the longest transit escalator in the country, at 35 metres long. The station is the deepest one in the network, as the section of the line going through the downtown is all underground. The platform is 26.5 metres below street level.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

National Holocaust Monument

Yesterday was the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. A few days back I went out to Lebreton Flats, where the National Holocaust Monument stands near the War Museum. Opened in 2017, it is a collaborative effort between architect Daniel Libeskind, historian Doris Bergen, landscape architect Claude Cormier, and photographer Edward Burtynsky. Its jagged, harsh angles fit the subject matter well. As it is an open air monument, during the winter, two of the three access points are not winter maintained. Paths within are maintained, however, for the winter visitor.

Inside, a series of panels tells the story of the Holocaust, the darkest chapter of World War Two.

Burtynsky has several of his photographs of Holocaust sites, taken in the current day, etched onto the walls.

This one is Site Of Death March, depicting a country road in Austria where death camp prisoners were marched out near the end of the war by their captors.

Track 17 is at left, showing a freight yard track in Berlin where Jews and other persecuted people were loaded onto the trains. At right is Fence, Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Abandoned Railbed gives a current day view of the old railbed near Treblinka, as nature slowly reclaims it.

At left here is Hiding Place. A Jewish cemetery outside Warsaw became a place of refuge for Jews. At right is Prayer Room, a place of sanctuary in Therensienstadt, now part of the Czech Republic. Created in the conditions of the ghetto during the occupation, this place of prayer and devotion was preserved.

Two more views of the monument. I've visited here on a number of occasions, and it is always haunting.