Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ottawa Tulip Festival

On the second week of May, 2015, We received a visit from our good friend an neighbor from Calgary, Maria.

In Ottawa, Ontario, the Canadian Tulip Festival is held every year on the second week of May.

We took advantage of Maria's visit to do a bit of sightseeing in our neighborhood.
During Maria's visit we toured downtown Ottawa including the Parliament Buildings, The Prime Minister,s Residence, the Governor General's Residence, the Rideau Canal, as well as the Rideau Locks. We also got to see the National Gallery, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Dow's Lake, where the Tulip festival is mostly held  In St. Albert Ontario, we visited the St Albert Cheese Factory, world famous for their cheese curds.

Here are a few pictures from our week:




carriageIn May of 1940, following the Nazi Invasion of the Netherlands, Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch Royal Family were spirited out of the country to rule in exile from the United Kingdom. The following month, Princess Juliana brought daughters Princess Beatrix and Princess Irene to the safe harbour of Canada, arriving by ship in Halifax before proceeding to Ottawa, where mother and children were housed at Stornoway — now the official residence of the Leader of the Opposition.

January 19, 1943, while in exile in Canada, Princess Juliana gave birth to daughter Princess Margriet at the Ottawa Civic Hospital, which was temporarily declared extraterritorial by the Government of Canada, to ensure the princess would hold exclusively Dutch, rather than dual nationality. (The latter would have affected her status in the line of succession for the Dutch throne; Princess Margriet remains the only royal personage ever to be born within North America.) At the news of the princess’s birth, the Dutch flag was flown atop the Peace Tower and Dutch music rang out from its carillon. Overseas, the princess’s birth was seen by the Dutch as an important symbol of hope and source of inspiration.
tulips_vectorMay 2, 1945, following five years in exile in Canada, Princess Juliana and her children were reunited with Queen Wilhelmina in the liberated part of the Netherlands. As a show of gratitude for her stay in Canada, and for Canadian soldiers’ role in the liberation of her homeland, Princess Juliana presented to the people of Canada a number of gifts, including 100,000 tulip bulbs. The following year, an additional 20,500 bulbs were received in Canada, with a request to plant them on the grounds of the Ottawa Civic Hospital.
Juliana, who became Queen of the Netherlands in 1948, continued to send a gift of thousands of tulip bulbs to Canada each year during her reign, which ended with her abdication in April 1980 and the beginning of the reign of Queen Beatrix.
A Festival is Born
The arrival of Princess Juliana’s gift of tulips generated great interest, curiosity and admiration among Canadians and the magnificent display of tulips quickly became a treasured tourist attraction in the Nation’s Capital. Stunning pictures became a springtime ritual in newspapers and magazines nationwide, in turn inspiring events centred on the annual arrival of a blossoming number of tulips of many colours.
cameraIn 1953, at the suggestion of world-renowned photographer Malak Karsh, the Ottawa Board of Trade spearheaded the creation of a Canadian Tulip Festival, to be held each May in Canada’s Capital. A celebration of the arrival of spring as well as a commemoration of the significance of the tulip and its wartime connection in Canada, the festival has grown each year to become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting over 500,000 visitors annually.

In addition to providing entertainment and activities for all ages, the festival has welcomed notable guests — including Queen Juliana, who visited during Canada’s centennial year in 1967, as well as Princess Margriet, who returned in 2002 for the 50th edition of the annual event. Today, over 1 million bulbs bloom throughout the Tulip Route.
As part of sustaining the friendship that links the Netherlands and Canada, the National Capital Commission, as official gardener of Canada’s Capital, is now responsible for planting close to one million tulips every year in Canada’s Capital Region.
The Cheese Factory

Did you know that St-Albert Cheese Coop is one of the oldest cooperatives in Canada?
As early as the late 19th century, master cheesemakers in a charming Eastern Ontario village were already producing a high quality Cheddar: the St-Albert. Founding President Louis Génier and his nine partners could hardly have imagined back on January 8, 1894, that their little cheese factory would shape the history of the entire community and become a true regional institution.
Back in those days, there were lots of smaller local cheese factories, and the one in St-Albert was officially known as Fromagerie # 743 and registered as “The St-Albert Co-Operative Cheese Manufacturing Association”, this even before the famous Desjardins co-operative movement started (in 1900).

The first Fromagerie St-Albert in 1894
Today,  Fromagerie St-Albert is the only one to have survived in Eastern Ontario.
Little is known about the co-operative’s first 45 years because the first book of minutes is from late 1939. However, we know that the co-operative was sold to an individual in 1931, and bought back by its members in 1939 for $8,500, which included the building, the one-acre property and the equipment.
In 1950, St-Albert Cheese inaugurates a brand new building for the manufacture of butter and cheese, an impressive and completely modernized plant for that time.
usine 1950
St-Albert Co-Op in 1950

The Centenary and the Curd Festival

In 1994, the St-Albert Cheese Co-operative struck a special committee to prepare for its 100th anniversary. Roger Cayer wrote a book about the history of the Co-operative entitled Souvenances de la Fromagerie # 743. A great deal of research went into this book, which is filled with information and period photographs. Another highlight of the 100th anniversary was the first edition of the Curd Festival. Over the years since 1994, the Festival has become one of the big events of the summer, attracting up to 50,000 visitors annually to St-Albert for five days of shows and festivities.
True to the principles established by the founders in 1894, five generations of dairy producers and artisans have successfully developed and maintained the Co-operative’s tradition of quality cheeses. A fertile environment, a co-operative approach to every challenge, and a so-far unmatched expertise have earned St-Albert cheese its enviable reputation.

From 1994 to now

Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors stop by the St-Albert shop to buy our delicious cheeses and local products. At the same time, more than 2,000 points of sale throughout Western Quebec and Eastern Ontario carry our cheeses.
In 2007, the St-Albert Cheese Co-operative opened a second shop in Orleans,Cheddar Et Cetera, and in 2009 it purchased Fromagerie Mirabel, in Saint-Jérôme, Quebec. Over the years, many of the cheese products made in St-Albert have won awards in national and international competitions, including the Toronto Winter Fair, the Spencerville Fair, the British Empire Cheese Show and the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. In 2012, the Co-operative had its best year ever, employing 125 people, all driven by the same commitment to quality and freshness, the foundations of the Co-operative’s success.
On February 3, 2013, the St-Albert Cheese Co-operative was completely destroyed by a devastating fire. Over the next few days, production was quickly moved to other factories so that they could keep supplying their loyal customers. Some of the employees were redeployed to the St-Albert primary school, while others were temporarily laid off. The entire community was affected. Despite the challenges, in 2013, the Co-operative earned the title of Grand champion at the 86th edition of the British Empire Cheese Show, and won two prestigious awards for its matured cheeses.
In 2014, as the Co-operative was ready to mark its 120th anniversary, it emerged from its ashes, stronger than ever, with modern facilities, increased production capacity and an iron will, with but one goal in mind: to continue the tradition by producing the best cheddars and dairy products in the country.
Parliament Hill

Notre Dame Basilica

History of the Church
The first plan dates from 1839. The work on the building's structure was conducted between 1841 and 1865, and the interior ornamentation, from 1876 to 1885. Missionnaries on temporary postings initiated the actual construction. It was only after the arrival of the Oblate Fathers in 1844 that the work proceeded on a regular basis.

In 1847, the poor mission church was prematurely transformed into a cathedral, the seat of the first Bishop of Bytown, Most Reverend Joseph-Eugène-Bruno Guigues, O.M.I. With the growth of the diocese under the second Bishop of Ottawa, Most Reverend Thomas Duhamel, and with the impetus of a visionary artist, Canon Georges Bouillon, the cathedral was finally completed in 1885. Dedicated to the Immaculate Conception in 1853, Notre Dame Cathedral was elevated to the status of basilica in 1879.  In 1999, the Cathedral underwent a major restoration. This was the first phase of a multi-year project.

In 1978, both the National Capital Commission and the City of Ottawa officially recognized the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Ottawa as an historic monument. The cathedral is indeed the oldest surviving church in Ottawa. It stands on the site that was occupied by the first Catholic chapel open to both anglophones and francophones of Bytown. 

Interior Architecture
Today the spaciousness, majesty, and sacred character of the interior of this cathedral strike the visitor just as they did a hundred years ago. In the reigning dimness, one soon makes out the long, narrow, and high central nave, with its line of imposing Gothic arches running from the entrance all the way to the main altar. On each side, bundles of slender columns divide the nave from the aisles. Supported by these columns and covering the side aisles are terraced galleries that look out into the nave and help to define its vastness. Above these large arches runs a blind arcade, with three arches per span, which accentuates the rhythm of the nave. Over each segment stands a high window. In the sanctuary, the large arches progressively open up to a view of the windows set in behind them, the blind arcades display their theatrical decor and the high windows look like beams of light beneath the imposing sculpted flowerlet that terminates the lierne and unites the ribbing of the apse in a crown above the main altar.

The Sanctuary The most surprising and fascinating aspect of this sanctuary is the richness of its Gothic ornamentation and the originality of its iconographic programme. It is in studying the decoration and especially the sculptures of the sanctuary that the spirit of Canon Bouillon's utmost creativity becomes evident. Strongly inspired by a long medieval tradition and influenced by the neo-Gothic movement, this iconography is at once complex yet coherent, traditional yet innovative, symbolic yet largely accessible. Although it has a traditional air, it bears the markings of its nineteenth century central-Canadian roots. The sanctuary of Notre Dame of Ottawa permits us to enter into the circle of a great assembly: patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and saints gathered around Christ, amidst the angels, in the glory of the heavenly Jerusalem. But surprisingly, in different niches of honour, we recognize Saint Joseph, patron saint of Canada, as well as Saint John the Baptist, and St. Patrick, patron saints of the Archdiocese of Ottawa.

The Lateral altarsAt the entry to the sanctuary, in the two lateral rows joining the nave's side aisles, have been erected secondary altars of sculpted wood, covered with gold leaf and decorated with precious stones; they are rather like the shutters of a giant triptych of azure and gold. The altar located on the left side of the sanctuary was built in 1879 and dedicated to the Sacred Heart. The other one, on the right-hand side, dates from 1885 and is consecrated to the Virgin Mary; it is the most splendid of this church's three altars, and Canon Bouillon's final realization in the cathedral.
The Stained-Glass Windows
The first series of stained-glass windows installed in the cathedral dates 1879. Made by the English glassworker Horwood, these windows consist of geometrical motifs painted in grisaille and embellished by light touches of vivid colours. Most of them were replaced between 1956 and 1961 by a series of 17 historiated windows, made by the artist Guido Nincheri of Montreal, telling of the mysteries of Christ's life and that of the Virgin Mary. Of particular prominence is the large window located just above the cathedral's main entrance. The tall figures painted in the center of this window represent, from the left to right: St. Patrick, St. Paul, the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, St. Peter, and St. John the Baptist.

Byward Market

We visited the Byward Market
We had lunch at a Micro Brewery


Finally, it's only fitting to have a few pictures from our Summer home at Recreationland Campground in Cumberland Ontario.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Calgary Stampede

On July 10th, we visited Calgary and took in the Stampede. It was a beautiful day with temperatures in the 80's. They had a special day dedicated to seniors, with free admission, as well as free Tim Horton's coffee an doughnuts. The Westjet SkyRide was also free all day, as well as the rodeos and concerts. Here are a few pictures from our day: