Saturday, February 29, 2020

Walking From One Bridge To The Next Bridge

Is it odd to say Happy Leap Year Day?

Today I'm carrying on with this walk on the Rideau Canal. Turning around from where I left off yesterday, this gives us a view of the next bridge along the route.

This is the Pretoria Bridge, named in commemoration of veterans of the South African War. It is a vertical lift bridge, with the middle section capable of being elevated to allow for the passage of taller boats. The Pretoria parallels the overpass for the 417 freeway, just to its north.

Here we have the view of the bridge from the other side.

I continued on, taking note of the house at the centre of this shot. It houses the Armenian embassy.

The skateway heads towards its final bend up ahead here. The University of Ottawa campus can be seen in the distance.

I turned back at this spot to photograph behind me.

And then I went around the bend, with the last stretch of the Canal ahead of me.

The Corktown Bridge, where I left the skating surface, is a pedestrian bridge that links the university campus at right with Centretown at left. The Chateau Laurier can be seen in the distance.

I turned back for one last shot from the surface before heading off the ice.

I came up onto the bridge, photographing the view from both sides. I'll be back with Winterlude on the 2nd of the month, but tomorrow we have a look at the theme day.

Friday, February 28, 2020

A Stroll On The Canal

During the course of Winterlude, I generally get out on the ice several times, walking it; I've never learned how to skate. Once each year, I like to walk a given stretch of the Canal and photograph as I go along, which I did this year early one morning on the last weekend of the festival. I started down at Lansdowne Park, where this view takes in the stadium in the background at left, the Aberdeen Pavilion at centre, and the Horticulture Building at right.

I then headed for the ice nearby. There were a few skaters on the ice during my walk, but it was early enough in the morning that most skaters wouldn't be awake yet.

I turned and continued with my walk, heading for the downtown. Last year when I made this walk, I showed you the Flora Bridge, still under construction at the time. It's been completed since then. The bridge is a pedestrian bridge linking the Glebe neighbourhood at left with Old Ottawa East on the right. It is named for Flora MacDonald, a cabinet minister in the governments of Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney. A Red Tory in the best of ways, she was known for humanitarian work after politics, and lived in the area in retirement. The bridge named after her has an appropriately graceful look. I haven't actually been on it as of yet, a matter I'll have to remedy.

I mentioned in yesterday's post how the ice surface is flooded regularly when the surface gets rough. Here we have one of the drill holes, along the side of the skateway, below the bridge.

I carried on with my walk, pausing to photograph the bridge behind me. I generally find it's easiest to walk along the side, where a thin layer of snow left on the side of the ice makes for better walking than on the ice itself.

The route next took me to Patterson Creek, an inlet of the Canal coming out of the Glebe. A lovely bridge spans the inlet, which is part of the skateway route. An impressive old tree looms above the Canal.

Coming out of Patterson Creek, I photographed back to where I had come from. We'll pick up here tomorrow.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Skating History

Carrying on with this look at the photographs of Winterlude over fifty years, here we have a timeless shot.

This banner gives an overview of the photographs beneath the Bank Street Bridge. The south section of the stadium at Lansdowne Park is in the background at left.

The ice is maintained by workers each year, with vehicles and on foot. Snowplows keep the skateway clear. When the surface gets rough, workers use drills and pumps to flood the ice with water from beneath, smoothing things out as the fresh surface freezes up. This work is generally done at night.

The Ice Hogs, the mascots of Winterlude, have changed over the years.

Our prime minister, Justin Trudeau, was seven when this photograph of him was taken on the Canal during an event called Trotting On The Ice. 

Here we have a photograph of an attempt at the world's longest human chain record, back in the 1980s. It would have been taken from the Bronson Avenue Bridge, looking east.

Who do we have to thank for the skateway? NCC chairman Douglas Fullerton, who came up with the idea, seen here skating on the Canal.

I finish today with a shot of the Bank Street Bridge at night. We'll be closing out the month over the next two days with a walk on the Canal.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Skateway

The Rideau Canal skateway is the heart of Winterlude, and this year is the fiftieth anniversary of the skateway. This is the largest outdoor rink in the world, 7.8 kilometres of skating routes with a total area equalling 90 Olympic rinks. Each year, before, during, and after Winterlude, this stretch of the Canal is offered up for skaters. Weekdays can be quieter, but weekends can be busy on the ice. This first shot I took from the Bank Street Bridge looking east.

Some days later, it was more grey, with light snow falling. 

This was the view to the west.

I headed down to the ice surface.

Here we have a view of the bridge itself, turning around from where I was standing in the above shot.

Most years during Winterlude, the bridge itself hosts a series of photographs with various themes. This year it's been the history of Winterlude, with photographs from various sources mounted on the walls of the main arch. This first one shows members of the Ottawa Senators team, a kids hockey team, and mascots of Winterlude carrying a Canadian flag on the ice during a shinny day. Shinny, for those who are wondering, is an informal variation of hockey often played on a pond. On that date, 110 games were being played on the ice. The Senators usually will get out on the ice once during Winterlude.

The skateway chalets, spots along the ice where you can get your skates on, have changed over the last fifty years.

A contrast between seasons: this view, taken from the Mackenzie King Bridge, shows the same spot in winter and summer. I've photographed this view many times.

Dow's Lake, a reservoir for the Canal further upstream from this spot, hosts Winterlude activities, including speed skating in the past. We'll carry on with this tomorrow.