Description 53 - On the Hill

I'm in the seat of Canadian power (probably), reading a pamphlet, admiring statues of people holding documents, reducing an important monument to a Renaissance Faire hat and saying "awesome" too much. But the kitty-cats make up for it.

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Associated links
Ottawa Tourism
National Arts Centre
A Treasure to Explore: Parliament Hill, including history, the "Hill Cam" and a Flash Virtual Tour
The statues discussed: John Diefenbaker, Queen Victoria, Lester Pearson, Baldwin and Lafontaine, Sir John A. MacDonald
Lester B. Pearson @The Greatest Canadian
Canadian Parliamentary Cats @Wikipedia
Canadian Museum of Civilization
The Women Are Persons! Monument

The song I "sing" at the beginning is a mocking Rhapsody In Blue. In one of the sections I had to cut for time, I talked about a kiosk with ads of upcoming events at the NAC, and one was for Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducting the NACO in a program which includes George Gershwin's Piano Concerto In F. I was relieved they were doing that instead of that other Gershwin piece that has become such a cliché, then demonstrated what a cliché it's become.

To give you an idea of the multimedia brilliance of the NAC, on that page I've linked for the event, there's a link to an episode of their "Explore the Symphony" podcast, which discusses another composer featured in that night's program, Johannes Brahms. I just had to stop writing this post to listen to it. The NAC has been an important part of the Canadian podcasting community (a word used almost as much as Rhapsody In Blue has been played) for a few years now - in fact, I remember them doing video blogs before the concept was even invented, as early as 2000 (my friend Gavin worked on them). I highly recommend you explore all of their podcasts in English and French. There's even a cooking podcast, for heaven's sake! Other great podcasts produced in Ottawa include Fear and Loathing In Ottawa, The Gaelic Hour, and pretty much everything done by Mark Blevis.

Something else I cut was any mention of the big event going on in town at the time: the Canadian Tulip Festival (though there is the odd mention of tulips). Basically, through most of May every year, there are tulips just about everywhere they can be planted in Ottawa and Gatineau, with the biggest display at Major's Hill Park, sort of across from the U.S. Embassy. It is a pretty spectacular thing if you're so enclined.

Btw, I remember the location of that park in relation to the embassy not because of my background, but because of a time I attended the other big event that happens in Ottawa, Bluesfest in July. A few years ago, I went to see Danny Michel play in Major's Hill Park. During the set, Danny noticed an inexplicable echo. Trying to figure it out, he started playing short bursts to bounce back at him. The echo was a result of the sound going across the park to the tremendous wall of glass on the modern, imposing embassy. Once that was determined, he played a couple more echo games with us, then noted how symbolic it was that no matter what we tried to say to the Americans, it would just get bounced back at us.

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