Sunday, May 30, 2010

SundayStills - logos

This week's theme is corporate logos.
Signage is another thing I love to capture for posterity.
And I was pleased to have gotten this beauty (which may only be meaningful to fellow Canadians) before it was changed to the new boring name of 'metro'.
Dominion grocery store
Here we have the Redpath sugar refinery (with a LCBO - Liquor Control Board of Ontario sign also included). This area is under massive redevelopment at the moment, which is an exciting change to a wasteland on the waterfront.
Redpath Sugar and Liquor Store

Then there is the iconic Hudson's Bay department store logo - Canada's first department store - conveniently truncated to simply "the Bay"
Hudson's Bay
And another iconic logo....
'crappy tire', er 'Canadian Tire'
"more than just tires" this store is an automotive centre, hardware, kitchen ware, home decor, sports store with a garden centre in the summer
But my all time favourite - for nostalgia reasons, perhaps - is this particular logo.

It belongs to a car dealership.

The 'girl on a swing' has swung in the east end of Toronto for
decades. When the area where the sign was located was slated for development, there was a huge outcry when the sign was thought to be outdated and to be removed forever. It was eventually moved further down the street and sits on the actual lot of Willison.

When I was young, I got excited when we drove past her, wishing for a red light so we could sit a moment and watch her swinging. There was a time when she wore a bikini in the summer, but I haven't seen that particular outfit lately.

Above is her winter outfit, and below is a fetching red number for spring.
(I also remember the top bit of the tree changing with the seasons, but it seems to stay constant in these days of restraint)

Isn't she a fun taste of the 50's?
more logos at SundayStills

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

woman in pink

There were only two of us in the gym, on an afternoon during +3oC temperatures.
I have decided that my new regimen will include spending a certain amount of time every day using the treadmill or elliptical, especially since walking in this heat just drains me of the will to live move.

I settled onto the more taxing of the machines with my water bottle and a newspaper section. Because the only way I can manage the elliptical is to be distracted from the fact that I am on an elliptical. I politely say hello to the woman in pink on the machine far off to my right. She is watching the television with subtitles for All My Children. I ask if I am blocking her view, because if I was I would gladly have used that excuse to move to the easier machine. But, no, she was fine. I notice that she is standing tall and elegant and I want to emulate this instead of gripping the bar for dear life.

I spend a fair bit of time programming the machine, organizing my water bottle on the little shelf and holding my newspaper as I pedal. I stare out the window, I read for a bit, I glance at the television, I read a bit more. I wipe off the sweat that is pouring down my forehead. I slow for a drink, but the water bottle is one of those with a wide mouth, and I have not slowed enough so it sploshes on my t-shirt. I check the time. 4 minutes. I realize I am panting. I furiously read a book review about a book I will never read by an author I have never heard of. Keep moving.

I decide I need a towel at the 6 minute mark and as I get off the machine I glance at the woman in pink. She is steadily doing what you do on her elliptical machine. Very fast. She has long, straight blonde hair. Not a strand seemed to be frizzed. I see no beads of perspiration. I am fascinated.

My hair is uncomfortably damp. My face, I know, is flushed (one reason I NEVER wear pink when I exercise). Keep moving. My legs are shaking, but to slow down is actually more difficult so I keep pedalling. I stop to drink some water. And rest. I cannot keep moving. It has been 16 minutes. Oh wait, plus the original 6 minutes. Yay, I actually went over the 20 minute level! I smile in pride. I wipe the sweat from my brow, my arms, my chest, my neck, my head... I try to stand upright as get off the machine. I try to breathe more slowly and less obviously. The woman in pink is still steadily pedalling. I feel a bit intimidated.

I move to the treadmill...
I move to the steam bath...
I move to the shower....
As I am drying my hair, the woman in pink comes into the change room. Still no beads of sweat, no frizzy hair. Still standing tall and elegant. She changes into street clothes and leaves, looking for all the world refreshed. I wonder if she was an illusion.

I think about another woman in pink, Pinklea.
She may or may not be an illusion, but she has bestowed upon me an award, so I like to think she must be real. And she lives in Vancouver where I hope to visit again some day....

A Prolific Blogger Award.
I'm not always particularly prolific, but now I have a responsibility to try harder.

And, of course, there are rules.
A Prolific Blogger must link back to the person who awarded them. That would be Pinklea. Done.
A Prolific Blogger must link to the original blog where the award is explained and add your blogname to Mr Linky so everyone else can read your prolificness. Done. I am #347.
Then, a Prolific Blogger must pass this award on to 7 other Prolific Bloggers.
Hmm. Well, if you think you are a prolific blogger and would like this award, it is yours. Take from me with my blessing. And keep blogging. Keep moving. And stand tall and elegant. And proud of your accomplishment.

Thank you Pinklea!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday AMuse

Today is May two-four.

Victoria Day.

A holiday in these parts. And for once, the holiday celebrating Queen Victoria's birthday actually falls on her birthday.
She would be 191 years old this year. She reigned for 63 years, 216 days.
This weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer, the weekend for planting your garden, the traditional opening of the cottage, the beginning of blackfly season.

It is celebrated often by the drinking of a traditional case of 24 beer. The beer store sales rise by about 20% this weekend. Thus, the play on words (in Eastern Canada, at least) of May two-four.

When I was young, the nickname for the holiday was Firecracker Day. That term has gone by the wayside now that backyard fireworks have been banned. And it is no longer the only day of the year for fireworks.

Drink Responsibly and Enjoy the Day

Sunday, May 23, 2010

SundayStills - landscapes

It is a long holiday weekend here, and of course, it is raining.

But, last week we had an all time high of 33C on Thursday. I didn't realize it was going to be quite that hot when I set out on my hike.

The day start started out like this, calm and understated.

I headed up the escarpment to walk some trails

and look back from whence I came

until I eventually reached my goal

Tew's Falls - 135' ribbon of water. The first time I visited these waterfalls (there is also a lower falls of 10') I found out that this one often dries up in the summer. So, I thought I'd get an earlier start.
See more landscapes at SundayStills

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

swoop -de- do

For three days last week they came.
Dozens of them. At least 50-60

It was cold and windy and I was inside reading when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the birds flying. I realized I had actually seen them for awhile (maybe an hour?) before it really registered that something was odd. My first thought was that a storm was brewing.

But they were so quiet. Eerily silent.
They swooped and soared. Taking up the whole sky in their acrobatic dance.

Not the synchronized swarming they are known to do. This was the individual dance portion of their program. The whole back lot was their arena. For about 2 hours they played until, at a predetermined ingrained signal, one by one they silently soared into the sky and were gone.

On the fourth day, I made my tea and settled on the balcony to watch.
They didn't come.

Now, the show outside is all the dancing puff balls.
Some as large a pingpong ball, others barely perceptible, they float in the gentle air like bits of cloud that have broken free.
Hundreds of dozens of them.

Equally as mesmerizing as the swallows.
Though not nearly as elegant.

Nor as mysterious.

Except, it is a mystery to me what tree these came from.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

the hill - part deux

There was a devastating fire on a cold winter's night in February 1916 in the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings.

Original Centre Block
Imagine what went through everyones mind, with the young (barely 50 years) country embroiled in the first world war. But it turned out it was not part of anything as sinister as enemy sabotage. It is believed the fire was most likely the cause of careless smoking in the Senate Reading Room.
Firemen Spray Water
The only part of the building to survive was the Library of Parliament (designed by Thomas Fuller) at the back of the building due to someone taking the time to close the big iron doors as he was fleeing.
Library After Fire
Library Windows after Re-opening 2006
In spite of the war, rebuilding took place almost immediately. As you can see from the top archival photo, the new building was built in a more modern Gothic Revival while the original was a High Victorian Gothic Revival (and as such much more ornate). There are 25 different types of stone and marble used in the construction with much of the exterior done in sandstone from a local quarry.
Parliament Fresh Start

Time and the weather has not been kind and a massive renovation project has been underway since 2002 on all three buildings which is expected to take until 2025.
The stone from the gates are slowly being cleaned and restored to their original glory.

this bell was taken from the ruins
of the clock tower destroyed by fire
February 3, 1916
"The fire raced fiercely for hours. the main tower was not touched until about 11pm, and one of the most pathetic incidents of the night, which moved the spectators, was the striking of the midnight hour by the old tower clock. There seemed almost a human touch as its familiar tones boomed out from the mass of flames"

archival photos from CanadaOnline

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

the Hill - part un

Going for a walk - or a drive - with someone who loves to take pictures can be a bit annoying, I know. I try to curtail my snapping habits when I am with other people but it is difficult and sometimes I just have to lag behind, or pull a u-turn. It doesn't help that I have interests that may not mesh with my companions interests. Sometimes they smile indulgently.

One of my interests is architecture.

So how can one interested in architecture not be awed by the sight of the Parliament Buildings?

I won't bore you with details. Basically there are three buildings high up on a hill on a piece of land that overlooks the Ottawa River. They are conveniently and simply called the Centre Block (the one that has the Peace Tower), East Block and West Block.

They were built after Queen Victoria stuck a pin on a map and thus made her decision to have Ottawa the capital of the new "Province of Canada". High Victorian Gothic Revival was the design of choice. Unfortunately, the Centre Block burned down in 1916 and was rebuilt not quite in the same style, but still distinctively in a sympathetic Gothic.

Each of the buildings is overloaded with pointed arches, spires with crockets, lancet windows, and, as a whole, are considered to be one of the most important examples of Gothic Revival style anywhere in the world.

There is also a requisite gargoyle, or two.

Monday, May 10, 2010

and then it snowed

Of course, it wasn't Ottawa's fault that the temperature plummeted from 27C (80F) to 4C (39F) overnight and just in time for the world renowned Tulip Festival. Or that the driest winter and spring we've ever had suddenly decided to turn wet and windy and miserable. Or that I came prepared for the weather people to be wrong about the cold. My sandals were ditched and I was awfully pleased with my gifted scarf from Paris and I knew that if I dug around in the trunk of my car I'd find a pair of dollar store one size fits all gloves.
Because by Sunday, the rain turned to snow.

The earlier warm weather of March and April brought out many of the blooms two weeks earlier than anticipated.

Then again, tulips only bloom for about a week to ten days, so there's always different varieties of early and late bloomers planted to keep the gardens full.

The raindrops made for nice photos (if you could keep the horizontal rain off the camera lens).

Too bad about the wind and rain that battered a few of the blooms ... and the spectators.

I have wanted to go to the Tulip Festival in Ottawa for several years and I thought, with this year marking the 65th anniversary of the Liberation of Holland, that this should be the year to visit. The tulips were a gift from Princess Juliana of The Netherlands for helping out her family by giving them refuge in Canada during the occupation and then liberating her country. Over 120,000 bulbs were given the first year after 1945 and they have been continuing to arrive every year since. Now there are about 3 million of them decorating the city. I didn't count them all, but that seems to be the accepted number, although maybe only 1 to 2 million were blooming at one time.

So XUP and Jazz and I ventured out into the rain and dodged the many, many Japanese tourists taking pictures of themselves tiptoeing through the tulips.

A few umbrellas got in the way of the photos.

I'm not exactly sure what I expected the tulip festival to be like. Maybe a little more festival-ish.
Though, to be fair, we missed the street party on Friday where Ottawa planned to hold its 'first-ever liberation street party ... to recreate the spontaneous party that broke out when the news of the end of World War II first hit the streets on May 7, 1945'. And there was a parade of 'vintage jeeps and vehicles and costumes' and a fly past of WWII aircraft which we didn't quite manage to see. As I recall, we were eating during those events. And we missed the vintage wine auction to be held next weekend. We didn't find the beer tent with the special brew created just for this anniversary. Considering the festival runs from May 7th to May 24, a surprising amount of preparations were still to be done.

Displays and tents were still to be put up for events held only later in the week. (why not when the festival opened?) The lacklustre food tents and crafts tent just left us wanting for a warm, dry marketplace. And with so much construction, it was difficult to get near the war memorial and the display of archival photos about the history of the tulips and Ottawa.

After a while of wandering in the cold after Jazz went home and XUP was being feted by XUP Jr for Mother's Day, I sought refuge in the National Art Gallery just in time for a Bach Choir to perform in the Rideau Chapel (click on link to see pictures the restored and reconstructed chapel, because I followed the rules and did not take any illegal photographs).

But the weekend wasn't only about tulips.

Jazz and I had the opportunity to break burnt toast bread with some of the many bloggers in Ottawa. There are an awful lot of people in Ottawa who just can't keep their thoughts to themselves and they are an organized, fun bunch who get together every couple of months for breakfast and even for an annual Blog Out Loud.

And XUP puts on a great wine and cheese spread.

And that Bazel cat is most entertaining.

Now, go read XUP's version of the weekend.

...and now Jazz has hers up.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

SundayStills - 'B'

I am not here this weekend.

off on a car trip to visit friends
where we hope to see lots of this
where we will partake of some of these

and perhaps imbibe some of this

with a visit to here

but not likely here

no matter what they want.

I'll be back to visit you all later.

This post was brought to you by the letter 'B'. See more at SundayStills