Monday, June 18, 2012

Courting behind the court

The Supreme Court of Canada is a spectacular building, with its iconic façade reproduced in photographs, paintings, and even LEGO.

But have you ever been behind it?

The Court sits on a castle-like stone wall that extends behind the building, out to the top of the cliff over the Ottawa River.

Rather than keeping visitors out, the area behind the courthouse is a spot where tourists can come to get a great vantage point of the Ottawa River, Gatineau, and the Parliament Buildings.

The semicircular wall surrounding this outcrop carries graffiti of visitors from years past. As in the castles of Europe, some of these etchings have become more bold with time. The most popular are couples' names, often circled with a heart. Here we see "Ken & Casey '74" and "Claudie G. Ginis, Greece Aug 27 '72". The capstones of the wall are covered with these names, with the highest concentration closest to the river.

Looking down from this wall, to the west, there is a secluded little park along the edge of the cliff.

This is accessed by a set of stairs across the driveway from the rear of the building. Continuing in the castle theme, the curving walls stone walls are built with narrow window openings to protect from intrusion. However, behind these walls is the Court's underground parking garage—a reminder that this building was built in the age of the automobile.

The view from this place is stunning. In the Winter, you can see the nighttime lights of Gatineau reflected in the ice sheet that covers the Ottawa River.

The Gatineau Tissue Mill, owned by Kruger products, is one of the last remaining facilities of this area, where a vast forest products industry used to extend across the Chaudiere and Victoria islands and through Lebreton Flats. According to an info sheet on the company's website, this plant produces some familiar paper products you see on supermarket shelves: Scotties®, White Swan® facial tissues, White Swan® Napkins and Cashmere® and White Swan® bathroom tissues.

1 comment:

  1. The earliest piece of graffiti I could find on the cap of the wall were the initials "AB" from 1947.