Friday, April 2, 2021

Six Landmarks And One Abomination

 On my way over to photograph Strathcona Park for yesterday's post, I decided to photograph some spots along the way in Sandy Hill. I started with this. Toller House dates to 1875 and today is home to the embassy of Croatia. I have been inside here for Doors Open.

A couple of blocks away stands Laurier House, a home to two prime ministers and a national historic site. Built in the Second Empire style and initially built in 1878, it became home to Wilfred and Zoe Laurier, and after her death was willed to the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, William Lyon Mackenzie King, who would be our longest serving PM. Artifacts of the Lauriers and King are inside, and it is open to the public during part of the year. Well, when there's not Covid. Hopefully later in the year I'll get a chance to get back inside.

Across from Laurier House stands the former All Saints Anglican Church, a place with plenty of history of its own. After the parish moved on, it was acquired by an organizer with a vision; she created allsaints, an event space and arts centre. A restaurant has taken up quarters in what was the church basement, something that had been in planning stages when I was last here during a Doors Open visit.

Two more views of Laurier House.

Just down the street stands Stadacona Hall. Dating to 1871 and built for a timber baron, it was subsequently home to our first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald, and his family, for a few years before they moved off to Earnscliffe not so far away. Today it is an embassy, the High Commission for Brunei Darussalam. For those who might not be aware, high commissions are the term used for any embassy for a Commonwealth member in another country that's part of the Commonwealth.

A peek between hedge bushes. I've been inside a couple of times, during Doors Open, which usually happens the first weekend of June here. Covid being as it is, odds are Doors Open won't happen again this year.

And a bit further up the street, with a view looking down into Strathcona Park. This building dates to 1877, in the Tudor Revival style. What was a mansion now houses a restaurant and culinary art institute in one setting. Signatures is the restaurant side of things, and Le Cordon Bleu is the other side of it. Also a mainstay of Doors Open, and a popular one. I mentioned in yesterday's post about a building with a dash of blue seen from in the park. This is it.

And yet another regular feature at Doors Open, and one I've visited several times. Fleck-Paterson House dates to 1901, built by the timber baron J.R. Booth for his daughter Gertrude Fleck. It later came into the hands of a senator, Norman Paterson. Today it is home to the embassy of Algeria.

Six beautiful buildings above.

Now for the abomination.

The Russian embassy stands close to the Algerian embassy; if standing in the backyard of the latter and looking at the west side of the property perimeter, you're looking up at the back wall of the place. This is the view of the front of the embassy, from the intersection of Laurier Avenue and Charlotte Street. The place looks like a bunker. Hideous. Out of place. Unfriendly.

I took a couple of shots, wondering if I was being watched.

To which I'll say this much to the occupants of this monstrosity: your embassy is ugly, and your president Vladimir is a petty little despotic wanker of a human being with sticky fingers, the pallor of a corpse, a mad-on against the universe just because he was born, and a desperate need to compensate for being overly short, along with other shortcomings- especially south of the beltline.

I don't think Putin's going to invite me for dinner. 


  1. Those are beautifully designed houses.

  2. A delight! Thank you! To dream away...

  3. Hello,
    Beautiful collection of houses. I agree with you. The embassy is ugly. Take care, have a great weekend! Happy Easter!

  4. My sentiments regarding Putin and his régime mirror you own, but I don't find the building especially unattractive.

  5. Oh you made me laugh with last comments William 😀 Apart from the Russian Embassy the architecture here is wonderful, I especially like Laurier House ✨

  6. @Italiafinlandia: thanks!

    @Nancy: and quite old fashioned.

    @Stefan: definitely.

    @Iris: you're welcome.

    @Gattina: indeed.

    @Eileen: I think it dates to before the fall of the Soviet Union. The old embassy at this site would have been a beautiful old house, much like the others. I have seen pictures. The Mounties had a tight surveillance on it. These days CSIS probably still does.

    @Tom: as there must be.

    @David: Vlad might send some poloniuom my way. That is his modus operandi.

    @Grace: I love Laurier House.

  7. There are quite a few beautiful houses there.
    It is a pity that a large apartment building has been built almost against Laurier house.

  8. just gorgeous architecture amazing. i enjoy the green. ( ;

  9. The photographs of the buildings are wonderful and that rant against Putin.... phew!

  10. They are magnificent, and I think you are quite right about the last one.

  11. Loathe Putin. Many followers who adore him though. Like Trump.

  12. Quite the architectual display ~ neat photos ~ Xo

    Living Moment by Moment,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  13. I gather that you don't like Putin? I don't think anybody else likes him either.

  14. There was a park near the Russian embassy where we always went with our daughter. I imagine we were watched being so close to the place.

  15. That Russian embassy is quite different from the beautiful buildings you featured here.

  16. @Jan: there's enough space from the property line, but if you're photographing from the west there is no avoiding it.

    @Beth: thank you.

    @Magiceye: he has it coming.

    @Anvilcloud: it sticks out like a sore thumb.

    @Micheline: the man is a thug.

    @Carol: thank you.

    @Red: I despise him.

    @Marie: that would be Strathcona Park.

    @Sharon: such a contrast.

  17. The Russian embassy is a bit of an eyesore among the other buildings.

  18. Some lovely mansions but the Russian Embassy is really an eye-sore! Not a fan of Putin either!!!
    Have a lovely Easter William

  19. Some beautiful old buildings there, very nice to see.

  20. I like the homes, especially the one on the first photo.

  21. @Michelle: it really is.

    @Sami: he's a vile man.

    @Bill: thank you!

    @Agnieszka: thanks.

    @Marleen: I do too.

  22. Ah, porches! An almost lost feature of modern homes.

  23. I agree, that Russian place is an abomination. Love the first six, though. :-)

  24. Abomination it certainly is!

  25. I bet that embassy is totally of poured concrete.
    Those homes are incredible. Wrap around porches. Turrets. What more could one ask.

  26. When it was constructed our spies put bugs in it, that embassy. Pretty funny!

  27. I am almost obsessed with historical places, good to see all the buildings looking so nice.

  28. Well, the Russian embassy is not a surprise, especially since they dont' seem to have bought an older available embassy. "Brutalist" is a description I've seen applied to USSR architecture. Though truth be told, I find it not much worse than many "new" buildings.

  29. That last one is in a style called brutalism. There's an argument to be made for it, though I don't think anyone would consider it beautiful! It seems particularly apt for the Russian embassy, don't you think? Tamera :-)

  30. Laurier House is beautiful not so the 'bunker':)

  31. You're right -- definitely an abomination -- hideous and unfriendly, as you said.

  32. "Unfriendly" you say. I think they got the architecture just right. (Did something beautiful come down to put this up?)

  33. @Revrunner: indeed.

    @DJan: me too.

    @Gemel: it is.

    @Joanne: its predecessor matched the neighbourhood, and was the most under surveillance property in the city.

    @Jennifer: there would have been CSIS people among the contractors, no doubt.

    @Amy: thank you.

  34. @Judith: we've got other Brutalist architecture. I'm pretty sure they just tore down the preceding embassy building, which I've seen in photos, and that one matched the architecture of the neighbourhood.

    @Orvokki: thanks.

    @Tamera: I don't care for the Brutalist style.

    @Rosie: I agree with you.

    @Jeanie: very much so.

    @Rockinon: yes, it did.