Meandering between the puddles, slurries, and slop,i I found myself at the 70-acre residence of the Governor General of Canada. The
beaver-bear-hatted guards were just changing as I arrived.
Since I’m sadly not a foreign dignitary from any recognised “legitimate” “non-terrorist” nation, I was unable to enter what could only be the most nearly-priceless house in town without a guided tour. The English-language tour was an hour-long wait, overbooked as hell, and there was nothing to do in the interim but get more soaking wet. Thankfully the French tour started almost immediately and was attended by just myself and two women from Martinique. Our guide, seen below imitating a T-Rex, was full of useless and frankly incorrect trivia about how the GG was “apolitical” and didn’t interfere with “ourdemocracy” unless he/sheii had a “very strong reason” for doing so and that this “almost never” happened anyways so don’t even worry about it. Uh-huh. I’m sure that’s how the world works.
The front foyer of Rideau Hall, seen below, is exceedingly modest. The walls are covered in paintings of GGs from the 20th century.
The grandest hall in Rideau is this mirrored salon, which features a 1-tonne crystal chandelier gifted by the Crown to Canada for her efforts in the Second World War. Better than a thank you card, I guess ?
That highly sanitised and mostly uninteresting walk-through of the interior spaces open to the public, the transport truck out back gave a glimpse of the kinds of local culinary delights enjoyed by royalty, or at least Prince Charles, who was staying at the residence during the festivities. Some of the names on the boxes read “Lake Erie Farms”, ” Orleans Fresh Fruit”, “Paramount”, “AMCU”, “Adam Broiler”, and “St. David’s”. Don’t recognise any of them ? Then it’s hard to say you live “like a King“!
Speaking of The Soi-Disant Prince, he’s seen here on July 1st in his motorcade of… Toyota family vehicles. That’s a Toyota Sienna, A Cadillac DTS, and a Toyota Highlander. Such priviledge!! So when MP reminds usiii that we live better than the bureauweasels, he’s not fucking kidding!
In other motorscapades, the overweight motopolice were on full display on Canada Day. None of them could’ve chased and caught a 9-year-old pickpocket, but then again this is Canada and not (yet, nor ever will be) Istanbul or Marakesh. So what pickpocket ? As long as they can say “please”, “thank you”, “s’il vous plait”, “merci”, and ride a two-wheeled scootypuff, they’ll never be out of work.
The full regalia was entirely necessary given the purported momentousness of the occasion. But do you see anyone being super fucking jazzed ? Even the kid on his dad’s shoulder is, like, meh. And he’s not wrong.
Not that everyone was so indifferent. The invisible protesters took this opportunity to fuss quietly about “ongoing land theft”. Bitch, you signed the papers. That’s it. Fin de l’histoire. The thief crying thief is the oldest trick in the book and this “theft” construction is papier mache in this gimme-gimme downpour ; it’s melting like ice cream in the Arizona sun. The mere suggestion that a bunch of uncultured natives had anything stolen from them implies that they ever owned it – a claim they themselves would deny to their graves!! You understand this, don’t you ? Exactly like the derps who were “bitcoin rich” in 2011 yet are today still playing javabro at a hotdesking hub in Minnesota, the Canadian indians didn’t see anything particularly special about the treasure beneath their feet, so they gave it all up to the first white man offering coloured beads or alpaca socks. Because why the hell not ? It seemed like something for nothing!! A bargain they’re eager to renew now even though their once-in-a-lifetime opportunities in fact extended all the way down the genetic and historial trees until the present day and really ended up being closer to once-in-a-millennia opportunities. It’s just a shame, for them of course, that the human grasp of time is broadly speaking so miserable that anything further away than next week seems like someone else’s problem.
Though clearly not everyone suffers from this maladaptation, as evidenced by the owners of these perfectly placed watercraft on the Rideau Canal.
Equally well placed were these “for reasons” barricades. They were off on the side being ignored, just as they should be. The fuck isn’t safety-related, eh ?
Less ignored was this “China is a terrorist state” poster. I dunno why they’re singling out China though. In case you hadn’t noticed, all fiat states are terrorist states. If you’re scared, they’re the reason why!
Not that you should be scared. The CRA’s HQ down the street from Parliament might look regal and imposing compared to the paper shacks of your accountant at H&R Block, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. And what’s inside ain’t much to write home about, much less fret over.
Other optimisms include the curtain wall installations at the newly renovated Centre National Des Arts. While it appears that every second vertical mullion is composed of timber, it’s in fact a wood cladding overtop of the steel framing doing the actual wind load resistance and glazing support. Protruding on the other side are exterior fins in lieu of conventional aluminum caps, whch provide pleasant symmetry to the transparent envelope while doubling as passive shading mechanisms and tripling as individuating elements against the seas of facade sameness typical of post-post-modern architecture. The overall effect from any distance other than microscopic inspection is one of warmth and verticality, if busyness from some angles and inelegant detail resolution close-up.
Another stand-out curtain wall installation was the Shaw Centre just across the street. The diamond-patterned mullions appeared completely custom, with foot-deep back sections to support the enormous and enormously sloping facade and giant six-pointed steel reinforcements at each intersection. The exterior appearance was punctuated by dutchies of a sort, but not the temporary ones usually seen as placeholders during construction but ones fixed and embedded into 4″-thick seams of structural silicone. The effect from the interior was far more impressive than this unusual exterior detailing, but admittedly, from 50-feet-plus the exterior looks like a glass-covered nod to Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome in Montreal. From that perspective, it sorta works.
À la troisième partie!
___ ___ ___
- Though Ottawa is an extraordinarily clean city ; before, during, and after the 150th celebrations even. It’s Singapore compared to Edmonton and it makes Vancouver look like Mumbai. [↩]
- There have been two “she” GGs in my lifetime. HK-born Adrienne Clarkson and Haiti-born Michaelle Jean. Trudeau is about to submit his candidates to the Queen for the next one, who may or may not be a woman but will almost certainly be francophone as there’s a tradition of see-sawing between the two national languages/identities. That both French and English are so equally represented at the federal level speaks not, obviously, to their proportional representation, but rather for what makes so many Canadians just slightly better rounded and more intelligent than ESLers to our south. [↩]
- If you can find the log line from #trilema, please to leave it in the comments. I spent ten minutes already and that’s really quite enough. [↩]