Thursday, August 30, 2012

3D Thursday: OBE building, 330 Gilmour

For the second 3D Thursday post, I should return to Centretown.

The old Ottawa Board of Education building at 330 Gilmour is a nice building, but I haven't posted any of my own photos of it, since the URBSite post on the building and its two blue spruce trees is very extensive.

Now, however, I can add my 3D photo of the building. If you download the full-size image (right click and select "Save Target As...") and zoom in, you can even see the branches of the two main spruce trees popping out from each other.

As always with my 3D photos posts, I'm inlcluding the link to the source images from which I made the composite red-blue 3D image. If you think you can do a better job, have at it!

Left image

Right image

[Tune in on Thursdays at noon for a new 3D image. View the 3D label for other posts with 3D images]

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

Monday, August 27, 2012

Capital Pride 2012

Yesterday was the annual Capital Pride Parade, which is orders of magnitude more populous than the last time I was able to get to Pride, back in 2005.

My usual group, the Human Powered Vehicle Operators of Ottawa (who won Best Float in the 2004 Pride parade) didn't participate this year, so instead I hitched along with the fine folks from the Dusty Owl Reading Series.

The parade was huge, and the crowds were immense. At the end of the parade, everyone files into Marion Dewar Plaza at City Hall for the Pride celebrations (or otherwise disperses). We were float number 80 of 84, so most of the parade was already in by the time we got there. And yet there were still hundreds, if not thousands, of people still clamouring toward the Plaza behind us:

China Doll (centre) is a fixture of Ottawa's Pride parade, harking from the Shanghai Restaurant, the first Chinese restaurant to open in what is now considered Chinatown. China Doll puts on a raucous Karaoke on Saturday nights that is hilariously over-the-top.

I hope you had a chance to make it to the celebrations, and if not, come next year!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Series - 3D Thursdays: Lansdowne Coliseum demolition

Since I posted my earlier 3D images, I've refined the process to get the 3D images looking pretty good, and I'm getting a collection of them going. Which means it's time to start putting them out on the blog!

So here it is: every Thursday, I'll post a new 3D image. Standard red/blue 3D glasses* are required. I'll also post the two source images that went into it, in case you think you can do it better (or if you want to use the wiggle method to view them).

Today's 3D image is of the lamentable demolition of the Coliseum building at Lansdowne Park. The Ottawa Citizen has a number of photos, including historical photos, accompanying its writeup of the demolition. (CBC also has an article)

I'd wanted to share this photo of the Aberdeen Pavillion and Horticulture Buliding, with a "DANGER" sign in front of it, in a separate post, but I'd might as well stick it here:

Here are the source images for the 3D Coliseum image. There are plenty of tutorials online to show you how to combine them into a 3D image. Here's the left image:

And here's the right image:
As a special treat to those of you who've read this far, here's my public Picasa web album of 3D photos. It updates automatically when I make a new one on my computer, so there isn't always a description for it (that's what the blog posts are for!). As you can see, I have a lot of them to work with, though many of them are in related sets. There's apparently an RSS feed on the album which might work; I don't currently have a functional RSS reader. Tip: click on the image to view the full resolution image, and zoom in to see things in the background pop out.

I hope you enjoy now getting four days a week of regular updates!

*If you don't have a pair of 3D glasses kicking around at home from the promotional poster you got in high school, you can buy them for $2.99 at the Comic Book Shoppe on Bank at Lisgar (they're on the display next to the front caah). Let me know if you find any other places to find them in Centretown. I have a few extra and usually have a spare pair with me to give to people.

[Tune in on Thursdays at noon for a new 3D image. View the 3D label for other posts with 3D images]

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Peds on Weds: U of O knows where peds go (Bronson, though, no)

Riding through the University of Ottawa recently, I noticed that the north-south crosswalk was repainted on the bend between the Montpetit building and the Brooks residence. Notice that the crosswalk was realigned when it was repainted. You can still see the old zebra crossing, which is blacked out.

Being on private property, the University can design its streets and pavement markings however they want to. By contrast, City of Ottawa streets are beholden to the designs dictated by traffic engineers' manuals. The new uOttawa crosswalk is actually longer than the old one, which is a big no-no in the guide books used by City of Ottawa engineers. Pedestrians need to be directed to cross where the distance is shortest between curb lines, say the rules. The theory is that if the City encourages pedestrians to be in the road longer than they absolutely need to, it exposes the City to liability.

However, the City engineers' position doesn't reflect reality. When you look beyond the curbs to the route that most pedestrians walk, it's clear that the new alignment is the natural path that would be taken by pedestrians, even if it 'exposes them to traffic' for a longer distance.

This is something I've long given up trying to communicate to the Bronson Avenue engineers. Here are a couple of paragraphs I wrote on the subject back in November leading up to the public open house:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Centretown Good Food Market this Saturday

Mark your calendars! This Saturday is the second Good Food Market at the Nanny Goat Hill Community Garden. The market was made possible with support from a community steering committee including other members of the Nanny Goat Hill Community Garden, the Centretown Community Health Centre, the City of Ottawa, and, with my participation, Councillor Diane Holmes' office, the CCCA and the DCA.

But the real legwork was done by Rosemary Tayler, shown here (holding lettuce) with Lesley-Anne, one of the other volunteers.

The volunteer-run market runs on similar principles to the "Good Food Box", also sponsored principally by the CCHC. The goal is to provide fresh fruits and vegetables in areas where this is not accessible or affordable.

There are three other Good Food Markets in the city, not all on the same day, however they're all new this year. The plan is see this year if it will work, and to work from there next year. The July market was a great success. (In case you're wondering, you can't sell produce from a community garden plot, so none of the produce is from there).

This year's second (and final) Good Food Market at Nanny Goat Hill takes place this Saturday, August 25, from 9am to 1pm, at Laurier just west of Bronson. Walk, bike, or bus there, because parking is limited, some in the Ottawa Technical High School lot (enter off Slater), or on Gloucester, one block south.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Deep Bronson

Since the end of March, anyone who lives or works within a block or two of Bronson Avenue has had to endure the nearly constant hammering of the bedrock under the street by the excavators as part of the Bronson Avenue reconstruction project. This photo shows why: the feedermain is a considerable distance under the surface. The bottom of the pit is at least three times as deep as these two workers are tall:

The feedermain—that black-sheathed concrete pipe—isn't what splits off to bring water to each property, that's for the regular watermain. The feedermain is the spine of the water system that feeds the watermains. This one that runs under Bronson is installed in precast segments about four feet in diameter, and delivers water at high pressure, eventually, to the south end of the city.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Peds on Weds: Not half bad for a temporary fix

With the already-narrow west end of Sparks Street reduced further between Bay and Bronson to accommodate construction work at Christ Church Cathedral, pedestrians were relegated to the north sidewalk, which is all of a couple feet wide. It looks like the firm doing the work has widened the sidewalk temporarily with asphalt to allow pedestrians and wheelchair users to continue to Bronson.

A hack job, but it does the trick. (A previous version actually proposed to close this section of roadway once the condo was built and install a large piazza in front of the church, but as I understand it, that idea was dropped due to red tape with the City)

[Tune in on Wednesdays at noon for a new pedestrian-themed blog post. View the Pedestrians label for previous Peds on Weds posts]

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fortress of Modernism

Decades after construction, some repairs are being undertaken to the PSAC building at 233 Gilmour, prompting me to photograph it. Its distinctive oval shape is very familiar, but from a certain angle it more closely resembles a hefty windowless tower. There are echoes of the medieval in this angle, as though an invading force had broken away some of the bricks, before using ropes to scale it.

The building, irrespective of its occupant, is representative of the "march of the hirises" that hit Centretown in the 1960s, demolishing sets of houses to build temples of modernism and the commuter culture (with ample parking, of course). As it happens, Ottawa author rob mclennan discovered that his mother lived in one of the houses demolished for this building.

As I documented in the video chronicling the origins of the CCCA, Centretown's community only started to organize itself in response to the indiscriminate revision of whole downtown neighbourhoods. They largely succeeded, as much of Centretown has remained residential; however, some may question whether the towers currently planned and under construction—while residential—echo the forces that threatened to redefine Centretown five decades ago.

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

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Birdcage gang

These three birds were at Bridgehead on Elgin one day recently, lined up like three gangsters up to no good.

They've been around for a while, and they have a record of sealing from Bridgehead customers. I put my spikey helmet on top of my plate to protect my food from them when I go inside!

I blogged a bunch of photos and videos in this 2008 post. In 2009, I took some photos of this one helping himself to my muffin. You can see the threatening mobster look in his eye, saying "don't even think about doing anything about this!"

He's got backup watching from the ledge, to make sure I don't try any funny stuff. They mean it! One of them left a 'surprise' on my head the other day.

And they were raised so well by their mother. Where did they go wrong?

Just kidding about the mob stuff! ;-)

But in other bird-related news, the free outdoor film festival Centretown Movies will be showing The Birdcage tonight (which was screened separately last year in the Village), 7pm at Dundonald Park. On the Friday screenings, donations collected go to a specific group or cause. Tonight's proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood Ottawa.

Donations collected at the Saturday films go toward the festival's operating costs to keep it free. Last week's screening of E.T. filled the park with moviegoers on their blankets, camping chairs, and even a couch!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Peds on Weds: Sidewalk Heave-Ho

One day in late June, I was biking up Elgin Street and saw this piece of sidewalk trying to jump out of the ground near the bus stop at Confederation Park. I phoned it in to 3-1-1.

I wasn't by there again for another three weeks or so but when I did in mid-July it had just been repaired, with a soldier row of pylons surrounding it to keep people off of it while the concrete sets.

Sidewalk repairs aren't as easy to execute as, say, potholes, because you can't just pour new concrete into a cavity in the way you can slap some an asphalt patch into a pothole. I'll go into more detail about the process in a future Wednesday blog post.

[Tune in on Wednesdays at noon for a new pedestrian-themed blog post. View the Pedestrians label for previous Peds on Weds posts]