Recently happening to be in our “nation’s”i capital concurrently with the 150th Anniversary of Confederation, I took some photos and notes. Here they are :
Arriving a few days early, the omens were looking promising! Even the entrails of doves and rats agreed with this staggeringly complete rainbow. Though, yes, it did rain pretty much the whole fucking time.
The locks in the valley between the Fairmont Hotel and Parliament bridge 80 feet in height between the higher Rideau Canal and the lower Ottawa River. There are eight locks in total, compared with just three at the Panama Canal.
Decorations were, predictably, everywhere and anywhere, especially along Sussex Drive, #24 of which is the residence of the Yogi-In-Chief.
No socialist capital city would be complete without its own Moscow Tea Room.ii No word on whether Lenin reincarnate was either a patron, founder, or simply the inspiration but figure that bathing isn’t high on the list of priorities for anyone inside.
Another watering hole of note was this “carbon-neutral” bar that encouraged its guests to tweet or ‘gram using the hashtag “#sorrynotsorry” to be entered for prize draws. Presumably they’re not sorry for being such recalcitrant shit stains yet are too Canadian to drop the first “sorry.” Sorry ?
Easily the most popular street vendors were the queues de castors and poutine merchants. Both did a brisk trade and always had lines of twenty or more, rain or shine. Even the Vietnamese, Indian, and Mexican stands were in on the action.
Never keen to pass up opportunities to
whore market itself, the left is seen here hand-wringing, community-engaging, architect-posturing, and general persisting under the delusion that it’s evil “populism” when they’re butthurt and “ourdemocracy” when little girls are in office. Because what else are they gonna do, turn back the clock twenty years and grow the fuck up when they had the chance ?
Seen below is Parliament in the background and similarly indestructable tents propped up by Canada’s actual most important insitution – Tim Horton’s – in the foreground. Seen also are a pair of bicycles, of which there were many in Ottawa. It’s a very bikeable place. And not just because of the segregated lanes!
You should recognise this spider. It’s a bronze recasting of Maman originally commissioned for the Guggenheim Bilbao in 1999, duh. Because if it’s good enough for a bunch of hick spicks then it must be good enough for our “nation’s” capital! Le Musée des beaux-arts du Canada reportedly paid C$3.2mn in 2005 for the centrepiece. Compare and contrast with The Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica,iii if you’re feeling particularly sadistic.
In other scars, this “RECONCILIATION” herpaderpatron wound mars an entire face of this “peacekeeping” monument, which was originally erected in 1992. I guess this buzzword isn’t just appeasement slang for third-worlders insider Canada’s borders but outside too ?
A glamour shot of the Gothic Revivaliv Parliament building.
Across the bay from which is what first appeared to be the work of Arthur Erickson’s masterful pen for its broad horizontal reading but quickly reveals itself to be of Douglas Cardinal’s hand for the distinctively curving brick facades.v The sandstone-coloured building on the water’s edge is in fact Cardinal’s Canadian Museum of History, completed in 1989. I haven’t been inside yet, but I’ve still another day or two in town.
More of a headscratcher was this “pluralisme” thingamajig, situated directly across the street from the Royal Mint and the… Kuwaiti Embassy. Even more curious were the number of tourists taking their pictures with it. To me it looks like a merit washing hogwarts, but maybe I’m missing something here ?
Speaking of the Mint, this is it. Most of the coinage in use nationally is printed/minted in Winnipeg but the special edition numismatic scamcoins are still stamped here in Ottawawa.
We’ll close this session with a lightly ornamented and freshly painted truss bridge. I dunno about you but seeing century-plus-old steel structures in such fine condition makes me wistful for the days when “industry” meant something on this continent other than talking loudly into a memory hole. Also, Edmonton could learn a thing or two from Ottawa about applying a motherfucking paintbrush now and again.
There was also a spot of karoake at a pub calling itself The Cock and Lion. It wasn’t much, but for a Wednesday night it was a damned sight better than the soi-disant nightlife in Edmonton. The healthy student population, flat topography, and better land-lockingvi in Ottawa helps. But the world’s a better place if we don’t have pictures or videos of that particular soiree, so none there are!
Anyways, this is clearly getting a bit long-winded for a single post so let’s break it up into at least one more part. Next up is Rideau Hall, spangly curtain walls, police bikers, and more lulzy signage. Adieu!
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- The idea that anything other than TMSR is or could ever one day hope to be sovereign is by now such a foregone impossibility that humour is the only remaining value of the remnants of the nation formerly known as Canada. So it’s humour we’ll find! [↩]
- Australia’s capital city didn’t quite have a parallel last I checked but its most populous city certainly did. Weird innit. [↩]
- Carrying both titles simply means that Notre-Dame is both the home of a Roman Catholic bishop or archbishop and a special and permanent designate of the Pope for some other supposedly important reason. I’ll be checking out the interior in a later part of this series. [↩]
- Every bit as fetching as other revivalist styles, n’est pas ? These styles aren’t dead and done yet. Marks my words. [↩]
- You’d never guess that the Space and Science Centre in Edmonton is Cardinal’s work, but that just goes to show that facile heuristics will only get you so far in this grossly complex world. [↩]
- The degree to which Edmonton is land-locked borders on the negligible, which is why the new multi-b$ surface trams are such a lulzy disaster. [↩]