Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Some photos around Ottawa

In 2017 Canada will celebrate it's 150 Anniversary as a unified country, this is when the 4 original Provinces ( Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) united to create the Federal Government in Ottawa.

So you can imagine everything that can be re-built, renovated, improved is being done right now and will be until 2018. The City Ottawa is under an impossible to drive around program of re-building the sewer system on all major roads, re-surfacing is taking place also, a new light train system is being built. Then major improvements and new buildings are springing up everywhere. The Queensway highway 417 which crosses the city from East to West is also being enlarged with new overpass and more lanes.  In the centre of the City the Parliament precinct is completely being re-built at a cost of well over 3.5 Billion dollars, politicians want the best for themselves but not for you. There are barricades everywhere, not to mention new monuments to pet projects of our controversial and infamous Prime Minister Stephen Harper, hopefully he will be gone next year and polls indicate that there will be a totally new administration in town in 2015.

So in other words skip Ottawa until 2017 when most of this construction will be over with. Ottawa is worth visiting when there is no construction. However in the summer what is very nice around the city is the display of flowers.

One of the original Trafalgar Square (London) fountain from 1843 given to the National Gallery of Canada in 1955 and installed in Confederation Park in 1975.

 Flowers on Elgin street in front of the National Arts Centre

Flowers on Sparks Street 

Sparks Street is the oldest pedestrian mall in Canada. Unfortunately deserted after 5pm and on weekends. It is an office tower area with very few shops and a lot of construction right now in the Parliament Precinct area. 

Queen Street, the Light Train tunnel is 30 meters underneath but the real story here is the old Cemetery and the hundred or so graves discovered in this trench. About 110 years ago the cemetery was moved from this area but those who could not afford to move their dead relatives or the dead who had no one to claim them were simply paved over. Now the City has moved everyone out and is looking for relatives who might want to claim those unfortunates. This is going to be very difficult to see the least. They probably will simply end up in a communal grave in one of the Cemeteries in the City.

The West Block of Parliament under wraps, no it is not an art installation by Christo et Jeanne-Claude. No it is part of the massive renovation project of $3.5 Billion dollars so far to modernize these buildings built around 1860. This is only phase one, once this project is completed in 2017 the central block will be closed and renovated. Both the House of Commons and the Senate will move out. The House will sit in the Courtyard of the West Block in a exact replica of the House and the Senate will sit in the old Train Station for a period of a few years. The whole project is to be completed by 2027. The final cost is a closely guarded secret.

 The Bank of Montreal branch on Sparks street at O'Connor across the street from Parliament
is to become the new Party Central for Parliament. This spectacular building in pure Art Deco was built in 1930, it is all black and white marble inside and the floor also in marble is made to look like waves from sea to shining sea. It is now under renovation some $210 million dollars has been spent modifying the building, I do hope they have not ruined it in the process. Mind you the public will never know since once it is completed it will be off limits to mere mortals.

Details of the wrought iron in the windows re-silvered and re-gilded.

Sparks Street in Ottawa has been transformed in the last 50 years from a vibrant pedestrian mall with shops to a dead zone. Once the Parliamentary precinct work is completed it will become part of Official Ottawa and off limits to citizens, occupied mostly by Parliamentarians and their staff when they are in town Monday to Thursday.

However another chain is opening for beer drinkers, Ottawa is a beer town it is simply a question of dollars and cents, you can buy a lot more beer than wine.

In the old abandoned Woolworth's and Zeller's store Bier Markt is opening a giant restaurant and beer garden. You have to wonder how they will succeed given that they depend on the lunch crowd. No one around after 5PM and no one on weekends.

Another heritage building circa 1890, the old Yesterday's which use to be Sherry's restaurant, the food was rather pedestrian to go with the mall, it finally closed. It is being renovated and Dunn's smoke meat house is opening to go with the Beer hall across the street.

Grant House on Elgin Street, for years this old patrician house built in 1873 was a famous roast beef restaurant, then it closed. The house sat empty for a few years and now it has been restored and Chef Beckta is opening a million dollar restaurant and wine cellar which given his reputation would be a premier restaurant in the Capital. The house has been incorporated into the new Canada Council building.

Next to Grant House is the First Baptist Church c. 1875.

The Old Teacher's College on Elgin street, c.1870 now the Office of the Mayor of Ottawa.


  1. I enjoyed seeing all these photos of Ottawa! Some of them were a trip down memory lane.

    1. The City is changing rapidly and becoming a better place.

  2. I only visited Ottawa once - in 2012. I love our capital city. There appears to be so much more "culture" there than here in Edmonton, despite the museums etc. that this city has to offer. It must be the combination of real bilingualism and history. I honestly believe that the only truly bilingual place in Canada is Ottawa. Montreal is second, but not nearly as bilingual. Calling other places bilingual is a stretch...

  3. where are the Tim Hortons?

    1. In the inner city we have Bridgehead and Starbucks, in the suburb T.H..