Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ottawa Trip Photos Day 2 = Houses of Parliament, etc.

On my second day in Ottawa, I slept in until close to noon. It was appropriate, since I had gone over 36 hours without truly sleeping. Upon waking, I had time left in the day for only two major sights in Canada's capital = the Houses of Parliament, and the National Gallery of Canada. Today was a hockey-free day... sniff.
The Houses of Parliament had a Christmas theme to them.

View from the Peace Tower, which is Canada's version of Big Ben.

The West Block, seen from the Peace Tower.

Fascinating facts.
View over the Ottawa River into Quebec (I'd walk over that bridge later in the evening).

The Library of Parliament, on the backside of Centre Block (the interior is fabulous, but they forbid photos).

Looking up at the clockface.

The ceiling of the tower's observation deck was a curious sight.

Je suis ici...

Looking south into Ottawa with the eternal flame at bottom center.

The memorial chapel.







"In Flanders Fields" was written by a Canadian officer, Lieut. Col. John McCrae

Interior of Centre Block, outside the House of Commons (I think)



Silly Newfoundland, holding out on the dominion :-)

Our tour guide wasn't able to take us into either the Senate chamber (seen here) or the House of Commons, so he had some visual aids. I'd later go into the House of Commons, where I had to check my camera.

 True story = as I was talking to the security guards, they suddenly took a keen interest in my presence. Weirded out as I was, they then told me that Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, walked right behind me and out of the corridor. I saw him only from behind. Tall man, very gray hair.

On my walk from Parliament Hill to the National Gallery, I passed by the heavily fortified US Embassy, which enjoyed a much more excellent location than I've seen in other countries. I suppose the prime real estate has something to do with the fact that we're Canada's only neighbor.

Notre-Dame Cathedral, across the street from the National Gallery.



The interior is very similar to Montreal's Old Town cathedral







National Gallery of Canada, and some silly spider sculpture.

Fred Ross's "People on a Bus" (1948) Note = I wasn't supposed to take photos, so I only got a few.

Reflection pool inside the museum.

Canadian artist Henrietta Shore's painting (can't remember the title). Interestingly enough, Shore was the only person privately tutored by the famous American painter John Singer Sargent, and also died in SAN JOSE, CA in 1963. Go figure.

Parliament Hill lit up at night (this photo was taken just after 5pm), seen from the bridge to Quebec.

Back at the Ottawa Jail Hostel, I signed up for a tour, which was the only way to see parts of the building.

Solitary confinement.

Planning to alter a note? Sucks to be you.

Our tour guide takes us through death row, a series of 4 cells.

Color-coded map of the world's countries according to their capital punishment status. Canada outlawed executions in the 20th century. I'm opposed to capital punishment myself, and I always cringe to think that the US is similar to China and the Middle East in this regard.

The gallows.

Same gallows, seen from the outside courtyard, beneath the trap door.

Someone was cheeky and designed a skeleton made of branches, topped off with a mannequin's head.

After my tour I settled down in the hostel's bar, and had a bit much to drink. To sober up before bed, I went out to Zack's and had poutine. Lo and behold, their poutine was a colossal behemoth, and it set me straight.
My time in Canada was coming to an end... the following morning I would drive to Cooperstown, NY, to see the Baseball Hall of Fame before flying home from Syracuse. To be continued...

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Oh, the araignee!!! It's name is "Maman." I saw it in front of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Here's some trivia for you on the symbolism behind it...it's a very cool sculpture and a clever re-interpretation indeed!:

"Spider Sculptures

Then came the series of works of public art that made Louise Bourgeois a household name. In 1999 she created Maman (Guggenheim Museum Bilbao), a huge stainless steel and marble structure of a spider, which is over 30 feet high. It was one of the most ambitious undertakings of the artist's career, and evokes emotions from her childhood. It alludes to motherhood, with concepts of spinning, weaving, nurturing and protection. The artist stated: 'The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. My family was in the business of tapestry restoration, and my mother was in charge of the workshop. Like a spider, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.'"

To read more about the artist:
http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/sculpture/louise-bourgeois.htm