Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On The Hill

Have I told you about the rest of the family? No? Violinist and I went to visit them over the weekend. They are a little bit Goth and they just let people wander around the property. Frisbee. Picnics. Sunning. You can do it all on the front lawn of Canada's Parliament buildings. The real security is over in former Rockcliffe Park at 24 Sussex Drive. There, Inuit soapstone sculptures are de rigeur in Prime Ministerial security systems.
This is Transylvania. Really? No. It is actually The East Block of the Canadian Parliament buildings. Some famous people used to come to work here, Sir John A. MacDonald, Sir George-Etienne Cartier. How about that. Creepy Goth architecture and Knights too. I don't know who she is, some fair maid, but she was sweet enough to smile for me. Violinist was being shy and wouldn't pose. Musicians are funny that way. Pull them offstage and they become different people. This is The Centre Block with the Peace Tower reaching up to the sky. You can travel up to the top and look out over Canada's capital, Ottawa, and across the Ottawa River behind the Centre Block, to Hull, Quebec and Gatineau Park but we didn't do that this time.This is the front of the East Block. "What time is it Mr. Clock?" Time for Tea. Which is exactly what Violinist and Decadent Housewife did after we got locked out of The House - no more tours for the poor relations, at least for today. And since the evening tours, would not be starting until midweek, we would be home before then.Probably just as well. I mean look at that face. "What's that?" asked a quaking Violinist. "Gargoyle gone bad," I offered. I don't like Goth. The Mansard roofing is nice but that's about all I like of it. I wasn't too sad about missing the evening tours either. I don't do real well tripping around gothic buildings at nighttime. Must have something to do with all those stupid Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff movies I watched Saturdays with my mother during the winters of my teen years. "Bill Kennedy at the Movies" and "Creature Feature," Channel 50 from Detroit - anybody else remember that?As much as I am a Canadian farmgirl, I've been quite affected by growing up next door to Detroit City. Motor City. Motown. Yet. I am Canadian. Dull. Boring. Y-aw-n. Almost a split personality. Okay. This is the Centennial Flame. It was lit in Canada's centennial year 1967 by then Prime Minister and equally boring Lester B. Pearson. At least that's what I thought back in 1967 as a something year old. A shield for each of the provinces encircles the flame. (The smell of gas was strong.) The year each province entered Confederation is engraved on the outer circular stone. Here we see 1870 and the corresponding shield for the province of Manitoba. It's mod, not goth. 1967, Expo '67, The Beatles, Go go boots. I didn't have go go boots. No. Not allowed. But I did somehow manage fishnet stockings. Ugh. My mother was right. Immediately east of Parliament Hill lies a moat. Really? No. I jest. It's actually The Rideau Canal. The Canal freezes over in winter and people come down here to skate on it. So that pretty much defeats the idea of a moat. Here we are looking north up the canal and we can see the bridge crossing the Ottawa River into Hull, Quebec. To the right is Chateau Laurier, one of the jewels of the great Canadian train hotels built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Oh great - a castle. Goth. Fair Maiden. Tower. Knights. Moody musician. Crazy housewife. The castle, Chateau Laurier was built between 1909 and 1912 to cater to train passengers pouring into the city from the train station which unfortunately is no longer located downtown. Too bad. The original train station is now a Government Conference Centre. I think train stations belong in city centers. However, the fact that this is no longer true for Ottawa meant that after we enjoyed breakfast at the Byward Market, Violinist was able to call a steed, I mean taxi, and we slid into the backseat on a very rainy morning, "Good morning, bonjour, train station please, la gare s'il vous plait." And we rode off into the sunset. Wait. That's John Wayne. And it was raining . I really needed this vacation.

10 comments:

Leila said...

Wow, you should make postcards for a living!!

I desperately wish my roof looked like that... what a great color!

Adeena said...

Great pictures! I haven't been in years... someday will take a trip with all the littles to see it. :)

Caution Flag said...

You do know how to tour, Decadent.

Checkered was just talking about Bill Kennedy at the Movies this week-end. Says I really missed something by not growing up here!

You do need to come through that tunnel or across the bridge and come see me. You might be able to teach me how to bake or explain why my flowers die.

Now, do you have a video of Violinist playing? I would so love to hear that...

Jeanne said...

Fabulous
I love Ottawa

Sally's World said...

what great pictures and a beautiful castle....

FrankandMary said...

I put those pictures on a calendar. Goths that just let you wander around their property. Is there a cemetery attached? Sounds like the makings of a Poe story.
I really enjoyed your pictures but I have no idea how I found your blog :-0.~Mary

Mental P Mama said...

I wish my Goth relations lived so nicely. Be so much easier to deal with them...

Sue said...

Those are some great photos! I am loving learning a bit about Canada from you. I have been to Toronto - many years ago - but, that's it. My husband loves BC, and we have a big Inuit print hanging in our living room to prove it (he went on a week long kayaking trip there before we were married) . I am going to do a unit study on Canada pretty soon with my kids, and I may have to pick your brain!

Decadent Housewife said...

Mary, However you found us here, thanks for stopping by.

Decadent Housewife said...

Caution,
I have ONE video when he was 14. I've mentioned to him about recording and adding music to the blog - but not sure if I want to do that. I'd be more music hall here.