Saturday, May 15, 2010

Museum of Civilization

We decided to take in the Museum of Civilization today. On the way there, we saw this sculpture. Not sure what it is or what it represents. Loved the girls' school uniforms...


The museum was designed by Douglas Cardinal, a Canadian architect with Native heritage.




The museum's Grand Hall is spectacular with more than 40 totem poles, representing the cultures of the Pacific northwest native people.


This is the original plaster pattern for the Spirit of Haida Gwaii by native artist Bill Reid. Did you know it's on the back of the $20? The bronze sculpture is outside the Canadian embassy in Washington.


A glimpse of the Parliament buildings across the river...


Canada Hall is a trip through 1000 years of history...


This is the beautiful 56 ft high dome ceiling...

The journey through Canada Hall begins on the east coast with the arrival of the Norsemen on Newfoundland's coast in AD 1000.


The stern section of a 16th century whaling ship...


Somehow this looked more real in the museum! A dying sailor on one of the whaling ships...


We moved through the Maritimes onto the main street of a town in Ontario where they were fortunate to have sidewalks, street lamps and stores with china and other luxuries.


On to Saskatchewan with a grain elevator that you could walk into...


A Ukrainian bookseller...the shop not only sold books, but all sorts of musical items including strings for guitars and violins, old tambourines...


Old calendars and all sorts of oddities...you could spend a lot of time in here!


This truck would have been used for all sorts of deliveries...


This is an actual Ukrainian church which was once in Alberta and was moved in its entirety to the museum.


After the completion of the railway, many Chinese labourers moved into other parts of Canada looking for work.


Racial and language barriers limited the work they were able to do. As it was before the time of machine washers, many Chinese established hand laundries as means of making a living. It was hard work, and still kept them below the poverty line.


A fishing boat from the west coast...


Jim outside the replica of the Wildcat Cafe in Yellowknife. Notice the headset Jim is wearing...to save $3(!) we took two sets of headphones and one audio guide. Now this is a lesson in cooperation. We were tethered together for the next 45 minutes. Every time I wanted to take a picture or look at an exhibit we had to turn together and head in the same direction. Clearly, we were practicing patience that day as we made it through without any arguments!


And with that, we waved goodbye to this exhibit...


Another Haida sculpture by Bill Reid. This one, a killer whale, is also just beautiful.


The lead dog appears to be looking right at you!


This is probably the most beautiful museum we have been in. Canada can be proud!


Coat of arms...


We also went to see the Imax movie "Sharks" in 3D. It was really well done. You felt like you could touch them. Sadly, most of the sharks are now endangered.

From there we went on to the Face to Face exhibit. I was looking forward to this as it was supposed to be about Canadian personalities. Now either both Jim and I are history ignoramuses or they made some weird selections. In each of the categories, we were lucky if we had heard of one person.


OK...the Eatons...now we're talking.



No Terry Fox even? It was supposed to be Canadians who changed the country. This had me so puzzled that when I got back to the hotel, I googled the 10 Greatest Canadians. The CBC website had these listed:


  • Frederick Banting

  • Alexander Graham Bell

  • Don Cherry (maybe questionable!)

  • Tommy Douglas

  • Terry Fox

  • Wayne Gretsky

  • Sir John A. Macdonald

  • Lester B. Pearson

  • David Suzuki

  • Pierre Trudeau

    1. Of those 10, only Sir John A. Macdonald, Tommy Douglas and Pierre Trudeau were shown in the exhibit. We were trying to think of who else we would have included...Pierre Berton, Laura Secord...

      The CBC's list goes on to list the top 100. http://www.cbc.ca/greatest/greatcanadians/

      I think there were maybe five or six people in the whole exhibit that we knew. Not that the people in the exhibit weren't great...we just had never heard of them! That was a bit of a disappointment.

      The museum is amazing though and worth a visit if you are in Ottawa/Gatineau. We didn't have time to do it all. You could easily spend the day there.

      They have some beautiful gardens outside and this fountain with the Parliament buildings in the background.




      We're planning to go to Parliament Hill tomorrow and hopefully go up in the Peace Tower.

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