Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Knitting Sprawl - Ottawa, Ontario

It is hard to know how to properly write about Ottawa. It wasn't because it was a bad experience, indeed, quite the opposite - we all absolutely loved it there. I photographed very little, so perhaps that is the problem. On the other hand, the knit group we visited was amazing so we have nearly two hours of video documenting that.

In any case, here is some of what I learned about Ottawa. First and foremost, do not make the mistake of thinking that you know Ottawa if you have been to Toronto. Jeesh - who would be so stupid to think that?? (ahem...) Ottawa is quite fascinating in its own right and, now that I have spend almost 24 hours in Toronto, I can fairly say, they are nothing alike. I know 30 million people actually understand this important distinction, but I will just point it out for the rest who might be unclear about that.

I (again, mistakenly) imagined that once I crossed into Ontario, French would disappear, but not so in Ottawa. It retains a strong French presence because Quebec is just across the river. Ottawa might be the opposite of Montreal where French is first, then English. Here English is definitely first, but French is strong too.

But enough explaining through comparisons to other places! Ottawa is it's own thing. And we were digging it, big time. Here is a photograph I took for the long suffering husband. Note the remarkable eclectic style. Where else might you see a large wooden structure near a rotating restaurant in the sky, near a glass facade, near a whattayacallit British style architecture. All on the same street.

We saw churches of this style in Quebec too. Really lovely.

Ok, I know every tourist who visits Ottawa must have this photo, but dang it. The thing is photogenic! Especially with that blue sky.

May I insert a more cranky note here. I was not so impressed with the National Gallery's installation of Canadian Art. I was feeling mighty proud to be Canadian in Ottawa, but nowhere less so than there. Nearly every single woman represented was an anonymous Aboriginal artist, or so I am guessing. But why was I left guessing? It was obvious that they were trying to be inclusive of First Nation artists, although their works were often placed in the farthest, darkest corners of the galleries. Also noticeable was that there were simply very few works by women ANYWHERE in the museum. It was especially noticeable in the Canadian section but none of the special exhibitions featured any women. Sigh. It is hard to believe that we are still living in a time of such obvious discrimination.

I tried not to let the patriarchal tone of the museum get me down because I was heading to the Sunday afternoon knit group at Cuppedia. As I mentioned, they were fantastic - talking about their city in a really in-depth way for nearly two hours. And we had an excellent conversation about why knitting is such a bond between people. It was a great discussion.

Thank you knitters! Thank you Ottawa!


Taos Sunflower said...

I'm really enjoying touring with you in a part of Canada I've always wanted to see...keep up the good work!

Knit and Purl Mama said...

Love the spider monument thing! That's a neat photo!

Jan said...

the spider sculpture is by Louise Bourgeois and it is called Maman. I'm only saying - she's a woman. I know what you mean but they are trying. I've seen some wonderful woman exhibits there too.
Jan, who is in love with our national gallery but won't live in Ottawa just because it's there.