Thursday, March 12, 2020

To Eastern Canada and Back, Part 2: Ottawa and Montreal - two great cities we had no clue about

At long last, the post no one has asked for but is getting anyway. I haven't been idle on le internet, I've simply been working on other things, such as art and more art and I started a blog on that process as well and it is HERE.

But in the back of my mind, I was always thinking: I never finished writing about our Canada trip, entitled To Eastern Canada and Back (Part 1, covering Niagra Falls and Toronto is HERE). Better late than never and here it is: Ottawa and Montreal.

We arrived in the nation's capital city Ontario in the early evening, in time to make the 15-minute walk from our hotel to Parliament Hill to see Northern Lights, the light and sound show on the history of Canada. I had no idea what this was, but it was super-cool. You sit on the lawn in front of the Parliament building, which is beautiful and has one of many skyscraper-sized brick clock towers that we saw on our trip (theoretically to look more English than the English—at least that's my theory), with digital projections, narration and sound effects that summarize this nation's past, present and future. Here are some shots of this pretty show.

Besides covering the history of the indigenous populations, as well as European exploration and expansion (i.e., land grabbing), the show has an overall theme and that theme, surprising to us scrappy highly individualized capitalist U.S. citizens is: cooperation and collaboration. Coming from a land that had drilled the Give me Liberty or Give Me Death anti-English philosophy since age 5, this was refreshing to see projected onto a government building. Cooperation and collaboration: imagine the possibilities, U.S.!

The Centennial Fountain is a nice fire/water feature at night.

Ottawa is pretty and walkable. Also boatable. You can take the aqua taxi to Gatineau, Quebec, where everything starts getting very French, very fast. A brief clip of the aqua taxi ride with musical accompaniment supplied by the firework-competition rehearsal on the banks of the Ottawa River (WHAT?! Read on...).

The majestic view of Parliament Hill from the aqua taxi.

The Canadian Museum of History, a gorgeous and fabulous building full of historical artifacts, Canadian art and postage stamps is on the other side of the river.

The cavernous main hall in the Museum, with totems.

The Spirit of Haida Gwaii by Bill Reid
To be continued...

Apologies for the late reply...

I have been so busy working on art the past few years, I have truly let this poor blog slide into Internet oblivion. Don't think it hasn't weighed heavily on my brain cells, dear readers. It has haunted me vaguely for a long while now. All my energies are pouring out in the art world here for the most part, and also here, due to political unrest in the U.S. And in this blog here.

Just on a whim, between bouts of anxiety over COVID-19, otherwise known as the Coronavirus—not the flu—stay informed! I happened to check out my "comments pending" page herein. And guess what? There were a lot (for me) of comments pending. I'm so sorry I let your comments pend for so long! Yeesh, truly this was a lapse in attention on my part.

My excuse is that for a very long time, there were no comments pending, except for the occasional spam-bot urging me to begin a lucrative business venture, and so I just gave up on ever receiving any comments. Sad! But I'm energized now. Your three years (!) worth of commentary has given me LIFE and for that I thank you, commenters. You are golden, and reading through all your thoughts has made today a lovely one.

Writers who gave up on publishing for filthy lucre (that would be me) and stuck to blogging for a long time, tend to write in a vacuum and although I happily would continue writing in a vacuum 'til the end of time, I dove back into the visual-making world and that takes a lot of time to figure out and master. I will be writing here again because I promised a Part 2 of my trip to eastern Canada and I never delivered and I so want to finish that because I really loved eastern Canada and I want other people to experience that part of the world. I mean, it took me decades to get there, which is crazy. It's far, but not THAT far. I mean, it's not like Antarctica. Anyway, that's on my list of THINGS TO DO.

Meanwhile, enjoy the day. Wash your hands. Avoid large crowds for the moment (subject to change), and make sure you're registered to vote and you know where and how to vote in your state (for U.S. voters—but good advice for any democracy). It's vitally important to get ethical and hard-working government in place on the Federal AND local levels, so jump in there, members of the Republic and make it a Democracy of the People once more. Love to you all. I'll be back.

Li'l comic I threw together recently, just for fun.