Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Floating Branch

Back in the Summer, I was travelling through Commissioner Park between Dow's Lake and Carling Avenue and noticed this peculiar tree:

It looks like two boughs had grown closely together, so much so that the bark overlapped and fused them together. When the other bough was chopped off, it looks like part of it was left behind, still attached to the remaining limb.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Bert and Ernie go to Lisgar Collegiate

I bought this postcard at an antique show some years ago, a coloured print of Lisgar Collegiate Institute, the oldest school in Ottawa. While the date is hard to read, I think it says August 1918. Back then, the street continued straight past, and of course the 1960's south building hadn't been built yet.

This isn't an identical angle, but it's close enough to notice many changes to the roofline, not to mention the skyline behind it. Still, much of the building has survived well through many trials, including a fire in the 1890s and the major renovation in the 1970s.

But the kicker is the text of the postcard itself:
Dear Effie
[I] Was talking to Bert about Ernie & he says....
It was addressed to Mrs. E. S. Brown of Kirks Ferry, Quebec and stamped at a post office in Cascades, Quebec.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Fields of Asphalt

Perhaps you've also stood at the corner of Elgin and Queen and marvelled at the geometry of the intersection. It's a large area dedicated to vehicles, smack dab in the middle of downtown Ottawa. If you're a cyclist, you've also probably cursed the potholes, too.

The entire length of Elgin Street was resurfaced this year, and this intersection was naturally repaved as part of that project.

With fresh smooth, black asphalt, not yet marked up with dashes, the intersection looks even more vast, and the blacktop continues down both sides of Confederation Boulevard.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The miniature street sweeper

Back in October when the Occupy Ottawa protest was still well-established in Confederation Park, I went by a couple of times to see what there was to see. Someone with a generator, bucket, and various tools was at the NCC's miniature bronze map of downtown Ottawa-Gatineau. The more tourist-oriented streets appear to be brass, and this person was cleaning them with a Dremel and various abrasive sponges.

I didn't realize she wasn't with the protesters, as a gasoline generator and water jugs was the kind of thing the protesters would have with them. But it turns out she works for the firm of the original artist, which was hired by the NCC to do some cleaning and updating some features on the map (like adding the new Convention Centre and removing the Capital Infocentre).

I chatted with her briefly, but unfortunately it's been too long for me to remember any noteworthy details.

Click on the photos to view full-size. I think it's a neat throwback to the scale models used by Jacques Gréber to illustrate his plans for the capital (Such as #151 and others listed here)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lansdowne Christmas Market

The Ottawa Farmer's Market is having its final Christmas Market in the Aberdeen Pavillion today, from 9am to 3pm. I went to the previous one two weeks ago, and was surprised by the number of vendors:

I was told that many farmers couldn't make it because the December market dates were scheduled after they had planned their planting seasons. Nevertheless, there were nearly 100 vendors last time!

In related news, the Glebe's roadwork is finished for the season, and Kettleman's, the infamous Glebe bagel shop kitty-corner from Lansdowne Park, is back open after closing for renovations a few weeks ago. Be forewarned, though: walk, bike, or maybe bus there. The traffic on Bank Street (and, for that matter, inside Kettleman's) is quite heavy! Nevertheless, support local farmers, artisans, and businesses by making a quick trip to the nearest farmer's market to Centretown, and the last one at Lansdowne this year.

As always, admission is free to the Lansdowne Market, but parking is in effect. They will exchange your parking chit for a $5 voucher at the info table if you do manage to drive there.

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]

Friday, December 16, 2011

Central corridor

The Central condominiums, at the site of the now-demolished Metropolitan Bible Church, are nearly done the first phase. It looks like people have started to move in, and if they haven't, it sure won't be long. (Modern Ottawa has had a number of posts on the construction of Central)

Recently, work started on phase two, the first public inklings of which were two years ago, and the plans for which have been approved virtually unchanged from the early pre-application renderings.

They've had to remove the Bank and McLeod bike cutout, and have installed some scaffolding to protect the pedestrian passage, which gives the impression that it goes on and disappears into nothing.

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Online maps in the fourth dimension

One of the fun things about having an archive of hundreds of photos from each of many construction projects in Centretown is that you can use it to tell when a particular photo was taken by somebody else. I made a reference to it in this post about Tommy & Lefebvre's reconstruction, when I pointed out that if you look at the site in Google Street View from one street, it's at one point in the project, and from another street, the photos are from a few weeks on.

So it didn't take me long to figure out when Google's 45-degree aerial photos (click screenshot below) of Centretown were taken. My Mondrian construction photos were a bust, but this big hole on the next block of Bank Street...

...was a dead ringer for this scene, taken as little as a few hours apart, from July 7, 2008:

Microsoft Live ("Bing") Maps introduced this view earlier than Google did (and with more promotion of it), and lets you look from four different perpendicular directions. Microsoft uses photos that are a bit older, also from 2008, but from before Bank Street was dug up that year (click to go to the page on Bing Maps):

Monday, December 12, 2011

Temporary eyetwister

The last temporary building, a.k.a the "Justice Annex", is slated for imminent demolition. The federal office building, built during World War II to house federal workers, was last occupied in 1998--the same year it received federal heritage designation.

These are its side doors. I have other photos of this building, some of which were used by URBSite in its posts about the building and about the temporary buildings more generally.

Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), the agency responsible for maintaining federal buildings, has decided that it is too expensive to repair this building, and instead will demolish it. This reminds me of some quips made earlier this year that it would be cheaper to demolish and replace 24 Sussex Drive than the estimates to repair it (thankfully, I no longer find any such references).

The CCCA has written to Public Works and MP Paul Dewar to oppose the demolition of this building, as has Heritage Ottawa in a letter supporting the CCCA's position. This is the last of the wartime buildings, and its loss will remove a reminder of the enormous effort that went into fighting the war--even on the home front by the civil servants who worked in these buildings. It is inevitable that veterans will eventually die, but buildings can be repaired and maintained. It is quite a disappointment that we will lose this heritage.

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]

Friday, December 9, 2011

Truck Pie

The Centropolis condo building under construction has had its share of controversy. Settling that has rendered the neighbouring building uninhabitable has been the most controversial, but I've been frequently frustrated by the debris, dirt, mud, gravel, and other obustructions strewn through the neighbourhood.

So with all that, I just had to laugh when I saw this.

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]

Monday, December 5, 2011

It only takes one

The City of Ottawa made a big ballyhoo in December 2009 about our official population reaching 900,000. They made a media event when they rolled out the new population signs announcing it. I was even lucky enough to see the City's sign shop making the numbers for these signs.

Alas, the temporary wood frame that was used for the sign on Booth Street in Lebreton Flats, for people entering Ottawa from Gatineau, was never replaced with a permanent structure. Parts of the sign have fallen off, and the sign itself has been literally pushed aside, oriented so that few will actually see it.

I hope it gets fixed soon.

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]