There is another Chinatown in Ottawa, one less visited than Somerset Street. These photos are of the “Other Chinatown”:
above: The entrance gateway is much more modest than the Somerset one. But then, the dead lead quieter lives.
Pavillion with red posts, green roof tiles. The vocabulary of the construction is similar to the Somerset royal arch.
The lane in the background goes out to the St Laurent Blvd entrance to Beechwood Cemetery. The Chinese interment grounds are close to St Laurent.
In Chinese tradition, Dragon had nine sons. Chiwen likes high places, and is usually found on the roof ridge with a large open mouth facing inward to zoom along the beam and swallow evil influences. Here though, he faces outwards, like his brother Chaeofeng does, but Chaeofeng usually hangs out on the lower tips of the roof rather than the ridge.
There are many memorial trees in the garden, these ones had astonishingly bright red fruit or berries on them after all the leaves had fallen.
For more information on the Chinatown Arch on Somerset, go to www.OttawaChinatownRoyalArch.blogspot.com. The Chinatown BIA produced a little brochure for the opening ceremony that explained some of the symbolism of the Arch. Presumably it will be made available again for general public education about the art and architecture of the arch that now forms the heart of Chinatown Live.
There are many ways to get information in the city. One is file freedom of information requests. Another way is to just ask the workers what they are doing.
Each time I go by a new location with one of those boring crews drilling a hole into the street, I stop my bike or walk up and chat to the crew. What are you finding? Is it all limestone down there or are there soft spots? Can you identify fault lines and fissures? Any nasty surprises like big underground rivers? Vaults of money under the Bank of Canada building? Political bodies burried deep? UnCivil Service secrets?
The crews are friendly, and willing to talk for a few minutes with someone who is, for a change, not complaining.
Their answer is always the same: pure limestone. No rivers, nor money. No burried political bodies.
Note that I did not happen to run across them when they were drilling near the Rideau Centre and Campus Stations, where geomapping tells us to expect discontinuities and faults, so in those areas they will be identifying the boundaries of these expected events.
Here’s a snap of a big tunnel boring machine at work. It’s not in Ottawa, unfortunately, we are still drilling small bore holes. It’s sort of appropriate for small town bores like me.
The above pic is still of some educational value. It shows the rock face being bored. It shows the big curved forms being put in place immediately this side of the rock face; concrete stuff is pumped in behind the forms to make the finished tunnel surface. The concrete tunnel advances lock step with the boring operation. If Ottawans could stop bitching about the previous tunnel decisions, we could maybe move on with the current plans.
While walking down Lisgar Street last week I spotted this object lying on the pavement. Had it fallen out of someone’s car? If so, was it in use whilst driving or parked?
Or did someone throw it out, having gotten their jollies and now ready to move onto more adventurous toys?
Would some child walking down the street mistake it for a kid’s toy rather than an adult toy? Indeed, would most adults recognize it? I had to look twice before I recalled my sister-in-law’s address in Dildo, Newfoundland. Hey, maybe it’s part of a covert marketing campaign from Tourism Newfoundland.
This Maple Leaf Christmas tree ornament hangs from a tree branch over a grave in Beechwood Cemetery. Was the interred a fan? Will the Leafs have him rolling over?
Readers will recall the City’s plan first to widen Bronson at the expense of narrower sidewalks, later revised to some widening but still four lanes. Then at the public advisory group consultation last week they reported their initial results of modelling the “road diet” approach requested by the Rescue Bronson group. While not enthusiastically embracing the road diet concept, they did find that it was not impossible, and would not result in traffic chaos. Members of the PAC will be meeting with the planners next week to reassess some assumptions and try to come up with a road plan that will satisfy more than just the rush hour commuters.
Road rights of way are, after all, a scarce resource. They have only a certain width, and in built up urban areas widening these roads is prohibitively expensive, destructive to economic and social life, and then the new road goes … where? So there is some increased recognition that the public right of way is a scarce resource and must be carefully apportioned amongst competing users, and not given over totally to the commuter in a private car. In short, we have to stop sacrificing existing neighborhoods to satisfy peripheral neighborhoods. Slash and burn urban planning doesn’t work.
The slash and burn project that Bronson seems to be is now ON HOLD. That’s right, the City has postponed its plans to rebuild Bronson starting in 2011. The official reason is that it is not a high enough priority in times of austerity budgets. Did widespread public opposition and attention to this 1950-looking project have any affect?
What’s next? Well, the PAC will still meet with the planners to ensure that when the City pulls the plan off the shelf it will actually be a plan that improves Bronson for everybody. And we were enthused about tentative plans to totally revamp the Bronson-Albert-Slater-Commissioner intersection, and want to move that part along too.
Bronson is dead. Long live Bronson.
Caffe Italia used to offer a blank wall to Gladstone sidewalk users. The wall is much banged up and patched as motorists periodically fail to make the turn. These cracks and patches are now so frequent that they make an interesting old-world texture on the building.
Recently, they added a row of pictures to the wall. Neatly framed, they mimic windows, with a viewpoint that changes as you walk along the sidewalk and see the bar and dining areas “inside”. Clever, simple, and very well done, they successfully enliven the sidewalk experience.
Just another reason Preston deserves it’s destination reputation.
As seen at Parkdale Park in Hintonburg.