Loving Ottawa...

Whodathunk, ya?  What a cool place we've discovered in Ottawa!  Ok, we're totally down with the easy confluence of French/English here.  And we're very interested in the creative way Ottawa blends the arts and festivals with economic development - we come from a small New England town exploring the blessings and curses of this experience - so we're taking in the new Van Gogh exhibit this weekend. I don't know all the politics - and will be reading more about the record and intentions of the current Tory government -but it is clear things are happening here. 

I was knocked on my butt when we came upon the beautiful gardens, trees and Victorian buildings.  This free, open public space that is well-cared for and well used speaks volumes about a society that cares for its people.  Now as I wrote earlier, this was un extraordinaire jour froid  (chill day) - Lord, we slept past noon - and then just wandered around checking out the local street vendors, farmer's markets and book stores - so I'm in a tres mellow mood.  But the beauty of this place is remarkable! 

And after our nap (OMG how embarrassing) it was more wandering until we found a Thai place for dinner. Following the lure of potential live music we headed towards Parliament Hill.  And while we never got there, we did become smitten by Notre Dame Basilica and the Canadian Peace Keepers Monument.  Let it be noted that I am a sucker for public art that evokes the complex challenge of caring for the common good - and damn but this monuments gets it right! It was very moving to me the way the artist was able to visually and emotionally capture the sacrificial depth what it means to keep the peace in a broken and violent world.

As we explored the beautiful parks at the North of the city and watched families of all shapes and varieties take in a hot summer night amidst the flowers and trees, I was washed over with a sense of gratitude.  Tomorrow we'll go full tourist and see what Parliament Hill has to offer - I already love the architecture - and maybe take in a late film at the nearby ByTowne Cinema (Take This Waltz is our current choice.)

As the day comes to a close, here's a picture that says it all: the blending of cultures in ways I still can't fully grasp...

Comments

Black Pete said…
Our politics, alas, may be summed up as follows: we are a relatively friendly dictatorship disguised as a democracy, rendered so by the politics of our current control-freak Prime Minister. The longer version may be found almost anywhere...
RJ said…
Sigh... what would be a good place to start reading about the current context, Peter? Thoughts?
Black Pete said…
Begin with this book:
http://www.harperland.ca/

As well, you could start reading our major English-language newspapers: the Toronto Star (Centre-Left); Globe and Mail (Centre-Right); the National Post (Right) Of course, the Gazette in Montreal, which I believe to be Centrist. Ottawa Citizen (Right, and rather British even now).

It would also help to read a bio of Pierre-Elliot Trudeau, who began the centralization of power in our executive branch in the 1960s. A fascinating, enigmatic, diabolical (to some of us) figure. John English's biography Just Watch Me might be a good place to start.

After Trudeau, Jean Chretien greatly increased the concentration of power in the PMO (Prime Minister's Office), which Stephen Harper has perfected. We haven't been a real democracy in nearly 20 years...
RJ said…
Thank you, Peter. I will start working through each of these and get online with the papers, too. This is a great help.

Popular Posts