Wednesday, July 29, 2009

where I visit Ottawa ... part 2

Long before XUP wrote to me "if you are ever in the area...", so that we could sit on a balcony and discover a mutual respect for Stella Artois, I have wanted to visit Ottawa. It always seemed such a lovely city to walk around in, full of riverside parks and interesting architecture and historical statues. And museums. Museums that are not just interesting for what they contain, but also for how they look. Ever since I first read about what used to be called the Museum of Man until that part of the name was changed to Civilization, I have wanted to see it for myself. It was opened in 1989. It takes me a little while to get organized.

There are some architects that, were I rich enough in money and time, I would tour the world to see their works. Once I became interested in local architecture, I started scouring Toronto to see the houses of Eden Smith (Arts and Crafts) and the buildings of E J Lennox (Richardsonian Romanesque - best example is Old City Hall) and Ray Moriyama and Frank Gehry (modern museums, galleries and libraries). Gaudi in Spain and Frank Lloyd Wright in the US are also high on my list.

I cannot begin to describe how much I loved seeing Douglas Cardinal's Museum of Civilization.
The sensuous curves that swoop and soar, the limestone and glass, the copper domes ... and inside where the floor of the Grand Hall is made to represent the Pacific and the ceiling resembles the underside of a canoe. If you are interested in the symbolism (and it is overflowing with symbolism) of this organic style you can read about it here.

Even the railings look organic as they ebb and flow

and it houses the largest collection of totem poles in the country

and The Spirit of Haida Gwaii sculpture by Bill Reid

and, yes, I know that it is not actually in Ottawa - it is located across the river in Hull, Quebec. And as a result, has the perfect vantage point of Parliament Hill and the National Art Gallery.

and damned if I know why they won't biggify.
more of my first batch of photos are on my flickr


  1. I really need to get my butt to that museum... Now, tell us about the balcony and the Stella...

  2. I really liked that museum a lot when I was in Ottawa (4 years ago now). It's just so orderly and airy and easy to wander through - and of course, so informative of our (relatively brief) Canadian history. Another museum I adored was the new War Museum. DD and I spent 3 or 4 hours there one afternoon, just soaking up the Canadian viewpoint of past wars in which our country has been involved. Fascinating! (I love museums - can you tell?)

  3. Yes, You must get yourself there, Jazz - the best museum I have ever wandered through.

    There was a balcony and a pitcher of Stella....

  4. I also went to the War Museum, Pinklea, and enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. Unfortunately they all closed at 6pm (though I really had to get home by then anyway) so I had no time left for the Art Gallery or Natrural History.

  5. gorgeous shots - it really makes me want to visit.

  6. And if you ever do, Char, you must let me know - I'm really liking this meeting of blogfriends!

  7. Fantastic post. That building is amazing. I would love to visit it in the 'flesh' so to say.

  8. Thanks, Meggie. I thought I would have been content just to see it, but now I know that you have to wander inside and experience it.

  9. Nice! I love museums and that first picture really appeals to me too. I love places like that. It reminds me of the Gaslamp District in San Diego. That last picture does exactly what a picture should do: it makes me want to be right there.

  10. What wonderful architecture! I could look at it for ages, never mind what is inside!

    I really think I ought to save up for a Canadian trip!!

  11. Wow! Gorgeous! And that view in the last photo is really beautiful. Add this to my 1,000 places to visit before I die list.

    So, when you come to visit ME, I will take you to a Frank Lloyd Wright house that's only 40 miles away from me. And it has recently been refurbished. And Columbus, OH is not without its charms!

  12. We should have us a big old blogger convention in Ottawa, so everyone can come all at once and meet everyone else and go to all the lovely museums and sit on balconies and meet Stella

  13. If I ever make it up to Canada I will visit too:)

    These photos reminded me of the Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC...part of the I looked it up and sure enough it is the same architect! Just beautiful lines in both of the buildings. I love to travel with Mr O who is an architect because he gets me looking at buildings I normally may not pay any attention too...

  14. Museums aren't as stuffy as they used to be, Geewits. I could have wandered around there for hours, too, Gilly

    Susan, you're on my list.

    Yes, it is - I'm glad you looked it up, Oliag. oooh, to travel with an architect - that would save me trying to take notes and looking it up later, then wishing I'd paid closer attention to some interesting detail...

    Thanks, XUP.
    And Stella would be very pleased to see us all, I'm sure.

  15. Wow, that's really something, very cool!

  16. Glad you visited, Cricket-Smiling.

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