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.


  1. I love me a good gargoyle. And the whole pile of rocks comment? Actually I think the look is really cool. But it was cold and wet and Japanese riddled. And I'll always be indugent with your U-turns. You've gotta come to Mtl. We have some kick ass architecture.

  2. Jazz: yeah, I sensed that another long walk in the damp was not what you guys really wanted to do :)
    anyway, it was MUCH less crowded on Sunday when I went back.

    I would love to see Montreal again - with someone who actually lives there!

  3. Love the shots of the architecture and tulips in your previous post. I was in Ottawa 30 some years ago on a short business trip (in February - coldest I have ever been!). Your shots of the tulips in rain are superb!

  4. I didn't know that style is called Gothic Revival. The windows and doorways look like the old buildings of Duke University and I've always loved that look! Nice pics.

  5. Years ago, Husband and I traveled from Mo'real to Ottawa, reaching the place after 9pm on, I think, a Sunday evening. We were starving; everything was closed. But I remember seeing the Parliament building lit by its exterior lights. It was worth the trip.

  6. Very definitely Gothic Revivial! We have a lot of that inEngland! And around here - each Town Hall seemed to want to outdo each other with pointy bits, curly bits, etc. added on.

    And that clock looks like a copy of Big Ben in London! I suppose if Queen Victoria had a hand in it , it might well be!

    However, your parliament buildings look in much better surroundings than ours - foundtains, grass, space - lovely!

  7. What beautiful buildings. Since I am not from that area...not even close...seeing these examples of Gothic Revival is awe-inspiring. Amazing structures. And the surrounding area is fabulous. Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. I love Gothic buildings, such a feast for the eyes.

    My photography is now available for purchase - visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!

  9. oh my dear, I love all these beautiful photographs of this stonework and carvings.. I never realized how detailed this structure was as I have never been there, so thanks so much for letting me see it.. take care!!

  10. Those are very impressive buildings. It's a shame that the world at large knows so little about Canada, but it's good that you're informing us.

  11. Even on a gray, rainy day, the pics and building are gorgeous. I love all the detail and character.

  12. Lew: thank you. yes, February would be cold!

    Geewits: glad I could learn you something! I like this style for universities and churches, but my eyes need a rest after a bit.

    June: oh dear. that is always disappointing in a city when they roll up the carpets on you. I think the livelier places are on the other side of the canal. but I noticed that too, on Sunday, the place was DEAD, with little for tourists to even shop unless you ventured for a bit of a walk.

  13. Gilly: it does resemble Westminster, but with lots of green space.

    SueAnn: I imagine this is very different from the usual architecture in NM!

    Robin: a veritable feast - and with three buildings to choose from, it is like a buffet.

  14. Gwen: detailed and a bit 'sooty'. there is more to come. you could have a field day sketching the gargoyles faces!

    Nora: yes it is. it makes us seem rather bland when really we are just, erm, not exciting.

    Joanna: the rain added some sheen...

  15. I think it's actually fun to have someone visit who has such enthusiasm for things I sort of take for granted and/or never noticed before. I don't find the architectural style of the Parliament Buildings particularly attractive, but they certainly are full of interesting nooks and crannies...and gargoyles....and pointy things

  16. XUP: I think I am fascinated by the detail and craftsmanship more than the beauty of the buildings. And that there is some effort made to make some of the surrounding buildings reflect the style (of the rooftops at least).
    Next time, I think I will actually venture inside...

  17. Ottawa really is an interesting city...and NOT just because the people there give us so much to talk about. :)

  18. That is a massive hunk of granite! Beautiful detailing. It reminds me of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

    You can make U-ies anytime with me!

    Love your new header...gorgeous!

  19. EGWow: it has a number of great musea and a lovely river to make up for the 'people'

    Susan: it is massive (sandstone, actually, not granite, but I quibble).

    SAW: I am always surprised that they can hang on through all kinds of wind and storms.

  20. Even though are some amazing modern and innovative building styles, the Gothic Revival is still my favorite, because of the pointed arch -in my opinion much more sophisticated looking than the rounded Roman arch:)


Glad you stopped by. For anyone who stumbled here, don't be shy to say 'hi' and let me know you've visited!