Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Statues And Architecture On The Hill

 Picking up where we left off yesterday, here we have the Peace Tower. At present Centre Block is fenced off, with construction access points here and there for the work going on inside and around it.

A turn in another direction looks towards West Block. You might notice a low modern glass structure on the roof, to the left of the tower. That is the glass roof placed over the temporary House of Commons. 

Another new feature of the Hill is this entrance, placed below the hill I showed in yesterday's post. The statues of Pearson and Queen Victoria can be seen in this shot. A new visitor centre was installed between West Block and Centre Block during the preparations for transferring the Commons to West Block. This is its primary entrance.

Heading along, I took this shot of West Block.

Turning, I took a shot of East Block. Some of the work is going on there as well, with sections of the building in scaffolding at present.

This is the last of the Parliament buildings, and it has the distinction of being the only one not actually on the Hill. The Hill is deemed to be on the north side of Wellington Street, and this is on the south. Formerly the Langevin Block, this is now referred to as the Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council. It dates to the 1880s, and is done in the Second Empire style.

A classic Canadian view of Centre Block. Complete with construction cranes. Behind the wall a lot of work is happening, with excavation in front of the building, but it's not easily photographed.

I continued my walk, heading east, taking in this view. No sign of the PM at any of the windows.

Here we have a view of East Block.

The most recent monument is one that's been here since the previous Conservative government. I do think it would be more fitting down the street in Confederation Park where there are other military monuments. However, I do like the monument itself. This is the War of 1812 Monument, erected in 2014, depicting several figures, both military and civilian. Landmarks like the government conference centre, the War Memorial, and the Chambers can be seen in these two shots.

To my American readers: your side wanted to boot the Brits out of North America and take us over. We didn't want that. Guess which side achieved their objective?

That's right. We won. You're welcome.

One last shot, with the Chateau Laurier in the background. Two prime ministers stand here in the east end of the property. At the top of the slope is Wilfred Laurier. At the bottom of the slope, temporarily moved here during work, is a statue for William Lyon Mackenzie King, who saw the country through the Depression and the Second World War.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Wandering Through Parliament Hill

 A few days after the excursion in the post I showed two days ago, I decided to spend a bit of time around the Parliamentary precinct. It was a day with above freezing temperatures and melting snow. This view, from the terrace at the Bank of Canada, takes in the West Block at right and the Confederation Building at left as I'm approaching Parliament Hill. The Hill as properly known is on the north side of Wellington Street.

Coming around the corner, this shot includes the Confederation Building at right and the Justice Building at left. Both buildings were finished in the 1930s, and were done in the same Gothic style as the other Parliament Buildings.

To the west of the Justice Building is the Supreme Court of Canada, an Art Deco masterpiece. At the extreme left in this shot, one might make out a sitting figure. It's Louis St. Laurent, 12th prime minister of Canada, and the only one of the Parliament statues out here. It's fitting, as he spent many years as a respected lawyer, and probably would have been a Justice in the Court had he not gone into politics.

Behind the Court is a viewing outlook over the Ottawa River at the bottom of the Hill. As you can see the winter ice was wearing down below when I took these shots. The Alexandra Bridge is seen in the distance, spanning the river between Gatineau and Ottawa.

A look east from here gives us the dramatic highest ground of the Hill. A close eye at the slope leading up from the river at left might make out the artificial lines in the trees of what is a staircase leading to the top.

I looked back to photograph the Confederation and Justice Buildings.

Then my route led me onwards. The West Block takes centre stage in this shot.

And here are a couple of detail shots of West Block. Another Prime Minister can be seen here in the foreground: Robert Borden. The Hill contains a number of prime ministers, leaders of the country, and monarchs in statues scattered here and there. Some have been removed at the moment because of the work going on at present. Others have simply been moved to other spots. And more are inaccessible because they're behind the lines of the work going on, generally behind Centre Block. Borden led the country through the First World War.

Another side of the West Block. While Centre Block is the focus of much work at present, the House of Commons is meeting inside here. I hope to get in sometime, but public tours are out of the question due to Covid restrictions.

Turning around from the above shot is a low hill. Two statues are up here. One is that of Lester Pearson, prime minister of the country during a time of growth and change in the 1960s, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his concept of peacekeeping troops, and in my mind one of the two best prime ministers the country has ever had.

He shares this hill with a statue commemorating Queen Victoria.

Monday, March 29, 2021

River Views Through The Seasons

A couple of times each month I come out to the Portage Bridge for an ongoing series, photographing the view of the Ottawa River downstream from here as the bridge crosses from Gatineau at left to Ottawa on the right. Landmarks visible in these shots include the Alexandra Bridge, National Gallery of Canada, Parliament Hill, and the Supreme Court. Where I stand on the bridge is right about where the provincial border is.
This first view was taken in the first half of October, with fall colours showing around some of the landmarks.

And here it was later in October.

In early November, skies were different.

Late in November, I returned on a snowy day.

This shot was taken in the middle of December, late in the day.

While this shot was taken around mid-day on New Year's Eve.

Snow was falling on a day in mid January when I returned. Ice was starting to build downstream, but because of the force of the current coming from the Chaudiere Falls upstream from here, this area does not freeze over.

In late January, we had a day with partial clearing and a different mood.

All was clear on an early February day.

And similar conditions were underway on a mid-February day. 

By the beginning of this month, things were more brooding.

And lastly, this shot taken on St. Patrick's Day in the afternoon. The ice was breaking up.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Late Winter Within The Park

On the same early March day as I left off in yesterday's post, I carried on into Major's Hill Park. This view looks back towards the Connaught Building and the Chateau Laurier from the path

A look over to the east side of the park gives us a look at the American embassy.

And a look over to the north shows the National Gallery of Canada and Notre Dame.

Back again where I'd been.

And then to the west for a view of Parliament Hill as it looms over the Ottawa River.

This view looks at the Rideau Canal and the Ottawa Locks as it ascends from the river, in between Major's Hill and Parliament Hill.

While this view looks towards the river itself and Gatineau on the far shore. There's open water out there, and a bridge: the Portage Bridge. We'll be over there tomorrow for a look downstream at this area through the seasons in tomorrow's post.

Looking north gives us a glimpse of the Alexandra Bridge as it crosses the river. Off in the distance are the Gatineau Hills.

Coming towards the north end of the park, I took this shot of the Gallery.

And this shot of Notre Dame.

I headed for the Alexandra Bridge, where once a month I photograph the view from an outlook towards Parliament Hill for a post later on in the year. I paused to look at the ice down below, and decided to take a shot of it, with the patterns of snow drifts on its surface. As comfortable as I am walking on the Canal ice, I would never, ever walk on river ice. Particularly this one- the Ottawa River can be lethal. The bridge spans to a height of 95 feet up from the river, but I assume that includes the height of its arches. We're probably seventy or so feet up at the surface of the bridge.

A look upstream to the west. The Ottawa River is a big river, with a large watershed that ends in the St. Lawrence at Montreal.

And I finish with this view on the grounds of the National Gallery, towards Notre Dame. The sculpture at right is Maman, by Louise Bourgeois. She liked using spiders as a dominant theme in her work, and this one is a welcome sight. Unless one's an arachnophobe.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

A Ramble Through Town

Today I have some odds and ends shots taken at various points in February and into early March. I start with the Chinatown arch, which is close to home, as I live on the eastern edges of the neighbourhood and see this each day.

Little Italy is nearby, and one day I noticed this detail in a store window. The day of the dead motif drew my eye.

Earlier in the month during my series of posts walking along the Rideau Canal, I mentioned that there's a light sculpture at Lansdowne Park. Here it is on two different nights, lit up. People can be seen in the second shot, giving a sense of scale to the whole thing.

Outside the entrances to the main post office on Sparks Street, each entrance is flanked by lions. Such as this pair.

Here we have a view from Plaza Bridge looking over the Rideau Canal as it descends to meet the Ottawa River. Gatineau lies on the far shore of the river. Water flowing through the Ottawa Locks here is at a minimum, but stays open over the winter.

One day in early March I happened to go out to the Portage Bridge to take a shot of the downstream view for a post I'll have in a couple of days. I decided to keep going into Gatineau for a bit, as I haven't been over there yet this year. As the bridge crosses onto the shore, this parkland is off to the side. A snow fence protects a bed of tulips here, waiting on the spring.

Across the road is part of the large complex Place du Portage, housing federal government offices, all interconnected by overpasses and bridges. It's a maze in there.

I went in regardless and photographed this colourful wall.

Most everything inside was closed. To be honest, I had no idea what the Quebec provincial status quo is in regards to Covid restrictions, so rather than go further into the city I decided I'd head back for the bridge and home. On my way I paused to photograph a model of the Portage complex.

And departing from the complex, I paused to take this view on the street. The spires of Parliament Hill back across the river can be seen.

And on another early March day, a more bright one, I took this photograph of the National War Memorial. Crews keep paths- including wheelchair ramps- clear of snow to allow for access throughout the winter for the monument. From here, I was heading nearby to Major's Hill Park for a walk, and we'll have a look at that tomorrow.