Aug. 4th, 2015

tocryabout: Martin Tielli, cover of Poppy Salesman album (poppy salesman)
Confederation Building, Ottawa


We had to go up to the city today, from home-where-I-live to Real Home, the city where I was born. We had to take care of dropping off some documents at a satellite office of the Russian embassy to get a visa for the trip we're taking in September, so it was a pretty boring trip. But look at how pretty the weather was! Downtown Ottawa was swathed in plastic sheets and tarps, construction going on all over Parliament Hill, and (for the first time any of us could recall) the green copper roofs of the buildings had been stripped and replaced -- the new roofs don't have any patina yet, so they look dull and wrong. Verdigris is the proper colour that you should see when you look up Bank or Elgin to the Hill; seeing plain copper-brown there is as wrong as seeing the Statue of Liberty without her green patina.

(Although there is a more modern type of green roof in Lower Town too, these days.)

But this building was still intact and untouched, so I took a photo like a tourist. I had to look up its name; it's called the Confederation Building, and...well, its purpose isn't too interesting. It's just full of offices, MPs and junior ministers. (Joel's father in The Aphanes wouldn't have had an office here, except maybe very early in his career.)

Here's the thing, though: from a distance, these neo-Gothic buildings on Wellington look dignified, staid, and sort of British. Up close, closer than any normal citizen will ever bother to look, the architecture is full of whimsical little touches. Mostly animals. Cougar cubs, bears, owls, squirrels, even a bat as well as carvings of Boy Scouts (?) and a broken weathervane ornamented with a tiny biplane.

Says the blogger at Urbsite:
I have a final question - castings or carvings? Usually multiples (like the lions on the Central Post Office at Sparks and Elgin were cast), but these beasts look like they were carved. Well actually I have another final question - why were they installed at a height where almost no one would see them?


Well, we know why -- we needed the company.

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F.A. MacNeil

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