This is the fourth in the canal series of posts, depicting photos from the Rideau Canal Skateway and Winterlude. Last time, in The Bridges of Rideau Canal, Part 1, we peered at the Arboretum footbridge, and visited the overbearing and majestic (respectively) Bronson and Bank street briges. From here, we'll continue North!
Since the Midtown Footbridge hasn't been built yet, the next bridge in our tour is the bridge at Patterson Creek in the Glebe. This is by far the smallest one you can skate under. I like to clack my skate blades against the ice to hear the echo while skating under it. But this wasn't possible the day this photo was taken. There was an awfully big snowfall in early January, so the snow would have muffled any echo. Here you can see some cross-country ski tracks in the snow leaving Patterson Creek:
The next one is another beautiful old bridge, Pretoria. I've shown shots of Pretoria bridge in some previous Canal posts, but we need a little backstory. Here it is early in the 2009 season, when the Canal was only open from Pretoria to Bank:
Pretoria Bridge is an old lift bridge that recently underwent a $6M rehabilitation (which, incidentally, is more than the entire cost to build the Corktown footbridge). Here's a shot of Pretoria bridge from the 2007 skating season, with the scaffolding built to allow skating underneath:
It's a wonderful metal bridge, and since it lifts, the bridgemaster must be able to ensure that no boats are still under it when it goes back down. Hence the innocuous-looking white camera under the bridge, which this skater doesn't even notice as she goes by:
Keeping watch over the camera is a model owl behind the metal grating (which, I believe, was installed in recent years to prevent people from sleeping under the bridge.) The owl, along with the netting covering the underside of the metalwork, prevents pigeons from nesting and mucking up the machinery.
Here's an owl's eye view out from under the bridge. My aunt and uncle, who now live in Texas, had their wedding photos taken under one of those old trees in the park (sadly, I think the one they used is no longer there).
Pretoria bridge is most eye-catching at dusk. The black metalwork contrasts sharply with the white highlighting, which then combine with the red warning lights to make a black-white-and-red-all-over type of image. I still haven't quite captured this to my full satisfaction, but here's my closest so far:
On the weekends during Winterlude, they swept the snow off the ice for the continued enjoyment of skaters. Here the sweeper trucks make their convoy, with a green-jacketed escort:
I really have no excuse for this next photo but to show off the awesome hat this person is wearing! It just so happens that it's at Pretoria bridge:
The next bridge (or rather, "overpass") makes me wish I had spared some epithets while describing the Bronson bridge in the last post. The Queensway is just a huge wound across our fair city, and the canal as well. I'm not even going to dignify it with a full view shot--yuck. It is populated by a flock of pigeons. Its only redeeming feature is that it shades the ice, keeping the ice surface smooth right below it. But that cracked pillar looks like it'll be needing some repairs soon:
As we toodle along and return to Centretown, we turn the corner at Concord, and come to the home stretch. The Corktown footbridge greets us all lit up:
At least on one side, the stairway is kept clear all the way down from Somerset. Surprisingly, a lot of people still use the canal to cross in the winter (avoiding the extra walk of the hairpin turn, I guess), when those people crossing was evidence that the bridge was needed (which it still is for wheelchair users and cyclists and for all users when the canal ice isn't open!).
Looking further down from atop the Corktown footbridge, we see the Laurier bridge:
Here's a ground shot taken from under the Corktown footbridge before the last stretch opened up for skating:
I had my tripod out and was trying to catch the machines clearing snow from the Laurier bridge. I adjusted the angle to get a better second shot of the bridge, and didn't realize until after taking the photo that I had perfectly framed the Château Laurier under the arches of the bridge named for the same person.
And this brings us to the last bridge before the end of the Rideau Canal Skateway--the Mackenzie-King bridge (the plaza bridge doesn't count; it's on the other side of the Snowbowl). Here's a shot I took while waiting for my delicious treat from the Poutine Machine stand, which makes the best sausuages and fries that you will ever gorge yourself on:
Well, as those last few night photos indicate, it's getting late, so that's it for now. Other canal-related theme posts I'm considering include Dow's Lake, More Sky, and possibly one on snow/weather.
Oh, and a gratuitous shot for you Obamaniacal beavertail lovers out there ;)