Thursday, August 02, 2012

Shades of London in Ottawa

With all the sights of London on the TV at the moment through the Olympic coverage, it reminds me of all the amazing places I used to live and walk passed, 6 years ago now!

The closest I have been to London of late, apart from the mentions of London, Ontario, was walking around Parliament Hill in Ottawa over the Canada Day long weekend. There were so many whispers of London and England all around!

Of course, the Peace Tower looks like Westminister's Big Ben, with it's big clock faces, and imposing presence over this portion of the city. Taking a ride up to the top, I learnt that that in fact the chiming of this clock rarely happens live. The peel of bells Ottawa hears every 15 minutes is in fact a recording of Big Ben, from the home land. The carillon is only used for very special occasions, like the Canada Day celebrations which occurred the day before my visit.

The changing of the guards, with their scarlet regimental tunics and a bearskin hats, and brass band sections, is just like the London experience - if not better, because it was much easier to get a good view here for the Canadian version!

The presence of images of Queen Elizabeth II is also ever-present in Canada, including on the back of all the coins, just like Australia. A prominent reminder of her hold on the throne is here at Parliament Hill also. This strong image of her in bronze taking her horse for a trot is pretty impressive, really. A real ode to the character we all associate with our matriarchal monarch!

Queen Victoria makes a bit more of an impression on the everyday lives of Canadians, because their Queen's Birthday public holiday is to mark her birthday, as opposed to the Aussie day off.

I love this stained glass window, deep within the Parliament Hill building, and around near the entrance to the Senate, with both Queens facing each other.

This window is The Diamond Jubilee Window, and represents the 60th anniversary of the crown of both Queen's. The detail here includes an image of Parliament Hill in it's state during each reign, with the Queen Victoria's version flying the British flag and has the older smaller tower in place, which was destroyed in fire.

Many reminders of the "homeland" within Canada, none more present that within the parliamentary area of Ottawa.

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