Thursday, September 30, 2021

Changing Faces Of The Ottawa River

Twice each month, I come out onto the Portage Bridge as it crosses the Ottawa River from Ottawa into Gatineau. I come to photograph the downstream view in changing conditions. Landmarks seen here include the Alexandra Bridge, Nepean Point, the National Gallery, Notre Dame, Parliament Hill, the Supreme Court, and Victoria Island. 

I start with a view of the river in the first half of April.

Later in April saw a different mood to things.

Here we had things near the middle of May.

The late days of May brought this view.

In mid-June, it was a brooding, overcast, and relatively cool day when I came by.

Later in June, we had clear conditions when I took this shot.

Early July saw a brooding sky here.

And this was later in July.

Late in the afternoon one early August day I was returning from the Museum of History, my current series, and took this shot.

On the last day of August, things looked like this.

On a mid-September day, things were mostly cloudy when I stopped by.

And lastly, just a few days ago a sunny morning greeted me as I made the crossing on a walk into Gatineau. I'll start taking photos of this view again starting sometime in the first half of October.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Towards Responsible Government

It was time to switch out to a fall header. Yesterday I added one taken last year during a walk along the Ottawa River towards Parliament Hill.

This quote from Lord Durham is on a wall in the Museum of History, near where I left off yesterday.

Two figures rose out of the new colonial legislature to lead it together, men who laid the groundwork for Confederation: Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine. Their initiatives towards responsible government and moving forward were fully supported by a successor to Durham as governor-general, Lord Elgin.

This is a bust of Lord Elgin.

In the years that followed, colonial leaders in the various Canadian colonies continued their own efforts. The 1860s would give rise to Confederation. This large area begins to explore the era in detail.

One of the factors driving Confederation was the situation south of the border with the bloodshed of the American Civil War. It emphasized the need for a strong central government. The American Secretary of State, William Seward, mused on more than one occasion about annexing Canada, all while his country was at war with itself. Irish-American veterans of that war would launch what were called the Fenian Raids after the war in an attempt to hold Canada for ransom and force Britain to grant independence to Ireland. The raids were thwarted each time.

This medal was given in honour of service during the Fenian Raids.

A rifle taken from one of the raiders is on display, along with a U.S. service coat and trousers of the Civil War era. Many of the Fenian Raiders simply wore their Union uniforms during the time of the Raids.

I leave off with this for today, giving a sense of politics in the Canadian colonies during this era. I'll be back to this after the start of the month, but interrupting this series for the next couple of days.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Rebellion And Responsibility

Picking up from where we left off, here we have more artifacts of settlers from the first part of the 19th century.

The thirty years from 1837-67 would be transformative for Canada. The Rebellions of 1837-38 would change the organizations of the colonies, and then lead towards the move towards responsible self government.

Life in the Canadian colonies changed over the first half of the century, with Montreal very much the driving force of the country.

Artifacts here include a beautiful sleigh.

Across is a portrait of Queen Victoria and a crest that once hung in Montreal.

Out of the failed rebellions came the Durham Report, and the fusing of Upper and Lower Canada, today Ontario and Quebec, into a single legislative entity.

Lord John George Lambton Durham became Governor-General of Canada in 1838 and prepared the report on the fallout of the rebellions.

We conclude today with a portrait of Lord Durham.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Life In A New Canada

In the decades following their expulsion from the Maritimes preceding the French and Indian War, many Acadians made their way home and began rebuilding new lives with a distinctive culture.

English speaking settlers also increased in this era. Some came from the United States. Others crossed from Europe. Some of their personal items are part of the collection here.

An illustration on a wall features a familiar place, though the scale seems off. The Rideau Canal as it would have appeared in its early years, circa the 1830s, is seen here, with the Commissariat that now serves as home to the Bytown Museum at its centre. But what is today Parliament Hill (and what at the time would have been called Barracks Hill) is shorter than it actually is, and barren of tree life. 

More artifacts of the times.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Continental Struggle

An unknown artist painted Portrait Of Louis-Joseph de Montcalm in the 1800s. Montcalm was the commanding French general at the pivotal Battle Of the Plains of Abraham at Quebec City, climax of the French and Indian War. Like his counterpart James Wolfe, Montcalm would die of wounds sustained at the battle, but Wolfe would be the victor.

The second gallery space here in the Canadian History Hall picks up the story in the wake of the war's conclusion. New France was no more, but Britain had multiple issues to deal with in having greatly expanded their territory. How to govern all those French speaking settlers. How to deal with the First Nations peoples. Pragmatism seemed to be the proper course to follow.

This display case and artwork caught my eye.

The American Revolution would have its own impact on the development of Canada, with a big influx of Loyalists from south of the border coming north to start over. Tensions would remain in place, leading eventually to the War of 1812.

Here we have a uniform and other items of that period.

The clothing here are all made by Huron-Wendet artisans. 

And to finish off today, this is a capot, a hooded overcoat that started being worn in the days of New France. This particular one dates to the mid 19th century.