Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Far North

The Ottawa Public Library has a couple of bookmobiles that make their way to various sites during the week that are either in areas perhaps underserved by library branches. One of them was parked at City Hall on Sundays throughout Winterlude.

As mentioned yesterday, City Hall was the scene for various activities, which included a climbing wall for kids to try the sport out.

Parks Canada had photo displays, as well as this inflatable mascot.

The photo displays were on panels, each of them taken from places in Canada's Far North, most of them around Sirmilik National Park in Nunavut, with wildlife, beautifully rugged landscapes, and even a First Nations woman in a striking profile shot. The Parks guide I chatted with talked about the balance between bringing visitors to this part of the country versus safeguarding its ecosystem. 

This critter happens to be an Arctic fox in summer colours.

There's even history in one of these photographs. This marker is the final resting place for a member of the ill fated Franklin Expedition. The two ships of that expedition, the Erebus and the Terror, sunken in Arctic waters, are now a national historic site, overseen by Parks Canada.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

At City Hall

City Hall has been the site of some Winterlude events, here in the plaza in front of the newer wing and the provincial courthouse. That includes inflatable versions of the festival's mascots, the Ice Hogs (groundhogs, in this case).

On the day I took these shots, the Ice Hogs themselves were strolling about. There are four of them in total, escorted about by volunteers during the festival from site to site. I saw them on numerous occasions throughout the festival.

The skating rink at City Hall is popular. It opens in December and might well stay open deep into March, providing a skating place when the Canal is not available. I caught it first at night, with skaters on the surface. The new wing of City Hall and the drill hall occupying Cartier Square provide the backdrop for these shots.

During Winterlude, aside from regular skating, the rink also held events and demonstrations, like a shinny game between NHL alumni, or figure skating. These are young skaters with the Minto Skating Club in the midst of a demonstration skate.

Friday, February 23, 2018


As noted in the comments for yesterday's post, the Rideau Canal is now closed for the skating season, though I will have more shots from here before I'm done with the Winterlude series. I left off yesterday with a view at two bridges along the skateway. Turning around, this was the view in the opposite direction. The Canal is in the first part of a final curve at this place. Up ahead is the University of Ottawa; some of its buildings feature in the second shot.

On the other side of the curve, we get a view looking down the last stretch of the Canal. The bridge you see here was opened in 2006, linking the university's campus on the right with the downtown core on the left. It is the Corktown Bridge, a gracefully designed pedestrian bridge that sees a good deal of use each day. The name is a nod to the many Irish immigrants and their families, who came to work on building the Rideau Canal nearly two hundred years ago, and built a life here afterwards.

Here we have a view looking south from on the bridge itself. This bridge has become infested with those obnoxious, pointless, irritating love locks. 

This is the view looking north. In the mist and snow, the Laurier Avenue Bridge can be made out, as well as the ghostly outline of the Chateau Laurier.

Thursday, February 22, 2018


The first Sunday in Winterlude was overcast and snowing. I went down to the farmer's market in the Glebe, and decided to come back along the Canal when I reached it over at the Pretoria Bridge. This is a view from the north, taken from beneath the freeway bridge that neighbours it. 

Here we have a view from on the bridge itself, looking south onto the skateway. 

I then proceeded down towards the ice surface, first capturing a view of the bridge framed by trees. This bridge dates back to 1915, and is a vertical lift bridge- its central section can be raised to allow taller boats to pass beneath. It was extensively reconstructed in the 1970s to match its original look. The bridge takes its name from Pretoria Avenue, which passes over it- the origin of that name is in honour of veterans of the South African War of 1899-1902. A large sign can be found closer to the Canal explaining the story of the bridge.

There's a staircase here to descend down to ice level.

Here we have views again from the north side of the bridge. The second one, taken at a further distance, shows both the Pretoria Bridge and the 417 freeway bridge. From here I walked downtown on the ice surface. I'll show you more of this walk tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Today I have snow sculptures from around the Glebe, taken on various days. These first two shots are different angles of the same sculpture, which I showed you as a work in progress with two carvers working on it in my first post of the series.

This one was down the street at Lansdowne Park, done for the Winter Olympics.

This is the one I mentioned in my first post, caught on another day as work was being done on it. A tribute to the late Canadian musician Gord Downie, the sculpture was being finished by the family of the late Brian Clemence, the longtime Ottawa sculptor who died of a heart attack one day while heading home from working on this.

Up the street was another snow sculpture. Snow was falling on this day, adding onto the finished work.

Here we have another look at the Gord Downie sculpture some days later. You can't see the sculptors, but two of them were here while I was photographing.

And here we have it fully finished. Flowers and other tributes had been placed by it for Mr. Clemence.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


These are the finished sculptures by solo carvers, sheltered on the north side of Confederation Park, across from the shelter containing the pairs sculptures.