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parliament hill

we look like a geography but just scratch us and we bleed history

Posted on 2007.20.09 at 19:11
where am I: Pawtucket
How I feel about it all: accomplishedfuck me blue, I'm done
Tags: , , ,
I was feeling guilty for not posting these pics sooner, because really, I've been back to Ottawa since taking them, but now that I'm done I don't feel so guilty. This post literally took a couple of days to do, what with the uploading and resizing. Warning: This post is VERY graphic-intense. If you're on dial-up, get yourself a coffee while it loads.

Parliament Hill is only about a fifteen-minute walk from where I was staying on Laurier, but it was also HOT. It didn't help that I got all the way down before I realized I forgot my camera and had to go back for it. Fortunately that was the one nuisance in an otherwise lovely day.

Rideau Canal from bridge on Laurier St. E.:

Ceremonial Guard at the National War Memorial/Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on one of the hottest days of the year:

Detail of War Memorial:

Pictureboards with historical info. There were lots of these; they were pretty informative:

One of the reasons for choosing Ottawa for the capital was that it was far enough back from the US border. The War of 1812 was still a pretty fresh memory back then and they were worried about military attacks.

Centre Block, approaching from the East. These buildings really have to be seen in person to appreciate how beautiful they really are:

Far side of of East Block. The limestone's darkened with age and really makes its gothic-ness stand out:

This statue of John Diefenbaker was the first one I saw coming up the hill:

In summertime there are guided walking tours of the outside grounds. When I went to find out about them I was told one had just left and I had to run to catch up with them. I found them here, at the statue of Queen Victoria. The lion represents Great Britain and the woman with her arm out represents Canada:

The woman in the Ranger Rick outfit was our perky but informative tour guide. :)

Statue of Lester Bowles Pearson, fourteenth Prime Minister, Nobel Laureate and all around cool guy. His left shoe is shiny from people touching it for good luck:

Rideau Canal, from the Hill:

Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica:

Statue of Louis Hippolyte-Lafontaine and Robert Baldwin, on the Whispering Wall (if someone stands close to the wall on one end and whispers, someone else on the other end can hear it):

There were more statues on the walking tour, but I didn't take any pictures for some reason (I got a few later). The tour of the inside of the Centre Block didn't start for a while, so I wandered around and took some more pictures of other stuff.

The East Block again, from the other side:

The Centre Block. Remember when I said you have to see these to really appreciate them? This building most of all. It was actually hard to look away from, it's that gorgeous:

The Centre Block is newer than the other buildings. The original Centre Block burned to the ground in 1916 and had to be rebuilt. It reopened in 1920.

The Peace Tower, built to replace the Victoria Tower which was lost in the fire:

When it was time for the tour, we all lined up and went through security, which was like at an airport except they weren't all mean, and then waited in a foyer full of info stations until it was time to start the tour. I didn't take pictures of that or the way in past the plaques listing the various governments. When I got inside, I couldn't stop taking pictures.

This might be part of the House foyer, I'm not sure. It is, however, pretty. Note cool figures carved into the walls:

Ceremonial Mace of the House of Commons, representing the authority of the Monarch. It's brought in by official ceremony at the beginning of each session by the Sergeant At Arms and is placed on a table in front of the Speaker. The House can't officially meet without it:

The Chamber of the House of Commons has a green colour scheme like the British one. The party in power sits on the left, the major opposition party on the right. The other parties sit farther away:

The Speaker's Chair:

The Prime Minister's chair is tilted forward when Parliament isn't in session, which I find oddly amusing:

More from the House Chamber:

Ceiling of the Senate foyer:

Individual panes are of royal symbols and coats of arms, and also the names of all the Speakers of the Senate up to 1920. If you look close you can see the pane that says "Quelqu'un" ("Someone"). The artists figured there'd be plenty more Speakers coming along so they put this panel in to represent everyone else.

Close-up of some of the panels. So pretty:

The Senate Chamber, done up in Red like the British House of Lords. When the Queen visits she addresses Parliament from the red Throne. The Governor General represents her the rest of the time:

Ceiling of Senate Chamber:

The paintings of WWI scenes on the Senate Chamber walls are "on loan" from the War Museum. I don't think they're planning on asking for them back:

Nursing Sisters' Memorial:

Reading room converted to a committee room. It's one of the only rooms that's not Neo-Gothic in style. I think the pictures on the walls look like the Rider-Waite Tarot:

Hall of Honour

Rotunda/Confederation Hall:

Central column of the Rotunda, with inscription dedicated to those who participated in WWI. I wish this shot was clearer:

I got to see the Library as well (the only part of the Centre Block not destroyed in the fire) but picture-taking wasn't allowed because it was open. When scriggle and I were there last week she got a couple of really nice shots of it (pics # 21 and 22). Gorgeous, gorgeous place. It was a really nice tour. The guide was wee and very sweet.

Front doors of Centre Block:

These grotesques are everywhere on the building. Very cool:

The Peace Tower wasn't included in the guided tour so I went up by myself. The line was long because the elevator only holds seven or so, but the views on the way were awesome.

Looking down on the Rotunda from the second floor of the Tower. The arches and stonework are breathtaking:

I took so many pictures on the way to the elevator that I was afraid the cop would think I was a spy. The Rotunda is my favourite part of the whole building, even more than the Library.

I experimented with the flash and got two views of the same window:

I have a thing for photographs taken through bars/slats in general, but there's something about the ironwork in this building that's just...more, I guess:

One of the stone lions guarding the way to the tower. The other one has "1914" on its shield:

There were lots of info signs at the top of the tower. Canadians are all about fun facts, apparently:

Overlooking Rideau Canal. That's the roof of the Library in front:

Overlooking Wellington Street:

Overlooking East Block. If you look close you can see the National War Memorial on the upper-middle right just behind the tallest turret (are they called turrets?):

Weird ceiling of dangly gold thingies:

I hung around the top of the tower for a while taking pictures and reading all the info signs, then went back in the elevator (one side of the elevator is transparent and you can see the carillon with its sixty-three bells) to the second floor. On the way out is the Memorial Chamber. The atmosphere is very solemn and peaceful and everyone automatically dropped their conversation to a whisper:

The stone for these plaques is from France and Belgium:

There's a floor tile like this for each battle Canada fought in during WWI. The brass is from actual spent shell cases found on the battlefield:

One of the Books of Rememberance that list the names of the dead from past wars:

After the Memorial Chamber I took a tour of the East Block but didn't take any pictures (it was all reenactments which were fun but not picture-worthy). Then I wandered around the grounds a little.

West Block

The white pavilion is where we got the tickets for the tours:

Beaver sculpture over main entrance to Centre Block:

Statue of the current Queen, which is also the only statue on the Hill that was commissioned of someone living:

There's a whole story about how the horse's tail fell off while the statue was being delivered and how they had to solder it back on in a hurry.

Statue of the Famous Five, Alberta women whose case got the Supreme Court to rule that women were legally "persons" and could be appointed to the Senate:

Pretty iron gate:

I went back to the hostel after that but came back for the Sound and Light Show.

Centre Block at dusk:

The colours and pictures were projected right onto the front of the building. Everything was larger than life and full of brilliant purples and golds and blues. Everyone sang the national anthem at the end. The whole thing was flamboyant and musical, larger-than-life and unabashedly patriotic:

I had video of the beginning on my camera but I don't know if it's been deleted. I can't find it. And they were playing Gordon Lightfoot! *pout of woe*

Centennial Flame. I tried to get a picture without people but it was impossible. Last week I was downtown at night and there was nobody around, but I didn't have my camera:

After the show I wandered down to the Rideau Canal and took a longish walk along the path:

I had to Photoshop these next ones. I have a lot more pics of the canal but they all came out too dark or too fuzzy or both. These aren't perfect, but they give you a feel for what it looks like:

The next day I got pictures of the Centennial Flame during daylight:

More ironwork:

I did other stuff while I was in Ottawa, too, like go to Byward Market and walk along the quiet tree-lined streets near the University of Ottawa. I ate at a yummy Korean place that I liked so much I took scriggle there on my next trip. I found a small but awesome used bookstore on Rideau and spent a good half-hour talking to the owner about politics, Canadian and American both, and I bought a history book. Geeky fun! I loved being by myself for this trip because I could go where I wanted.

I also went to a screening of a US-made film called "New World Border" hosted by the Ottawa chapter of the Council for Canadians about undocumented workers and Bush's militarization of the border between Mexico and the US. Afterwards there was a discussion about the Security and Prosperity Partnership, and also about NAFTA and how it's affected everyone badly but big corporations.

I didn't get to go to the Museum of Civilization because it was really too hot to walk/bus there. It'll be there when I finally do get to go, so I'm not too worried.


scriggle at 2007-09-20 23:28 (UTC) ()
These pictures are great. You got lots of detail.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2007-09-20 23:35 (UTC) ()
Dude. I left OUT a really giant lot of pics. I didn't want to have everyone defriend me out of sheer boredom. Me? Obsessive? Nah.

Your pics from the Peace Tower are better than mine, and you got the Library.
Tarnish notte the majesty of my TOWER of HATS
meresy at 2007-09-20 23:50 (UTC) ()
Canadians are all about fun facts, apparently.

Absolutely. I love me a good fact. I totally read each an every info plaque picture you posted. /dork

I really, really (really) need to visit Ottawa in the summer.

You pictures are outstanding.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2007-09-20 23:53 (UTC) ()
Absolutely. I love me a good fact. I totally read each an every info plaque picture you posted. /dork

I have even more fun fact pictures that I didn't post.

I really, really (really) need to visit Ottawa in the summer.

Dude. Let me know when you're going. Because it's so seldom I get to go, and all.

You pictures are outstanding.

My little Canon does all right. I can't figure it out; it's not like it's fancy, but it takes good pictures.

isiscolo at 2007-09-20 23:52 (UTC) ()
Awesome! I love the architectural details, and the stained glass, and I'm totally with you on pictures taken through windows/bars/slits. But I am disappointed to see no photos of you and scriggle!
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2007-09-20 23:56 (UTC) ()
These pictures were taken at the end of July when I was in Ottawa by myself. scriggle took pictures last week but since both of us are photophobes, I'm not sure she got any of me, or vice versa.

I loaned out my camera and couldn't get it back before I left this time, so I bought a disposable. I have to get it developed.
Ten O'Clock Medievalist
tarimanveri at 2007-09-21 00:08 (UTC) ()
Awesome! When I went to Ottawa in 1998 it was for a choir festival, so even though I was there on Canada Day, I didn't actually see much. The only part of the Parliament Buildings I've actually visited is the Peace Tower - but after we got back down from the top my choir all stood in a circle around the Rotunda and sang for a while. The acoustics are excellent! So some good memories there...
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2007-09-21 00:13 (UTC) ()
I probably would have gone on Canada Day except for the fact that I had Stratford tickets for the end of July. I'd think it would be pretty crowded, also.

I'd love to sing in a choir in a round room, especially one as pretty as the Rotunda.
topaz7 at 2007-09-21 21:58 (UTC) ()
Wow, those pictures were worth the wait. I pored over every one of them. And Flanders Fields always makes me cry - you meanie! *sniffs*

And you were back again recently? What gives? Maybe you really are spying?
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2007-09-21 22:43 (UTC) ()
Woe, I didn't mean to make you cry! *hands over hankie* There were a lot more of those plaques, but I didn't want to take too many pictures in there. It felt like taking pictures in church or something. The Chamber is beautiful, though.

And you were back again recently? What gives? Maybe you really are spying?

I didn't mean to go back, honest. It was all scriggle's fault. She wanted to go to TIFF but not by herself so I said, hey, I'd like to go too, and then we went and it was fun and we then had an extra day and she suggested, hmm, we could go to Ottawa, and I said okay, yes.

Or maybe I really am spying, and nobody's told me yet. Maybe I'm even a double agent since you think I'm spying for the US and peacey thinks I'm spying for Canada.
peacey at 2007-09-22 01:00 (UTC) ()
Those buildings are spectacular. All that neo-gothic beauty took my breath away. Gah, thanks so much for posting them!

By the by, where have you been young lady? *misses*
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2007-09-22 05:57 (UTC) ()
I did invite you to come with me, darling. I'll try and tempt you for next time. *g*

I need to reinstall AIM. mr_t00by says there's a certain version that's best but he's not home. Maybe I'll just do it on my own.
sam80853 at 2007-09-23 02:58 (UTC) ()
Wow! Looks really impressing - I would have liked to be with you on that trip. Unfortunately I'm stuck in the Yukon ::sighs heavily::


Thanks for sharing your experience!
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2007-09-23 03:59 (UTC) ()
STUCK in the Yukon? I'd chew rocks to be able to go. :D The pictures alone make me want to go, I can only imagine what it's like in person.
malnpudl at 2007-09-24 00:44 (UTC) ()
I've had a million tabs open and finally got to this one, and... just... WOW.

Ottawa is one of most beautiful cities I've ever seen. Your pictures are spectacular. I almost felt like I was there with you; you're a marvelous tour guide.

And now I'm feeling incredibly patriotic... and I'm not even Canadian. *loves spiritual home*

Thank you so very much for posting all of this. I appreciate it more than I can say. Truly.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2007-09-24 06:01 (UTC) ()
Ottawa is one of most beautiful cities I've ever seen.

You really have to see it in person. I haven't seen all of it, of course, but what I've seen is gorgeous. The Centre Block is probably my favourite out of any buildings I've seen, ever, and dude. I've been to Rome.

Your pictures are spectacular. I almost felt like I was there with you; you're a marvelous tour guide.

Aww, thanks! I was afraid I was posting too many with too much dorky info. It was an angstfest to figure out which pictures to leave OUT (this is only a tiny bit of my Ottawa pics). I was really pleased with the way they came out for a basic camera. The only problems I had were the night ones of the Rideau Locks and the fact that some of them are a little crooked.

And now I'm feeling incredibly patriotic... and I'm not even Canadian.

Psst...neither am I. ;) But yeah, it was impossible not to get all Yay Canada with all the info boards and pretty buildings and dorkily wonderful light show (I need to see if anyone posted a YouTube of that).
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