Sir John Carling Building Demolition – Ottawa, Canada

P1070802.MOV.Still001July 13,2014 – Sir John Carling Building Demolition – Ottawa, Canada

It was a dull, dreary, overcast morning with lots of rain threatening from the south but, after 2 1/2 years of planning and preparation work, the planned implosion demolition of the 11 story Sir John Carling Building went ahead as scheduled and in only about 14 seconds the 11 story building became a contained pile of rubble. I was happy to have the opportunity to be there for the event and to assist Front Page Media Group in the documenting of this event. Unmanned GoPro cameras were stationed at various locations to capture the event from as many angles as possible.

The above high resolution video was taken with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 4K Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera from a prime location offering direct line of sight of the whole building. I left the camera filming after the explosions to capture not only the initial explosions that started the demolition process but also to capture the billowing cloud of dust that moved across the field toward our position a safe distance from the explosions. A pretty unique experience and the first of its kind in Ottawa, Canada. If you view this high resolution video at full screen size, you can see an employee scurrying to get to the safety of the cab of his truck before the billowing dust quickly closes in around him.

Haunted Walk Ottawa – Time Traveler Trail

The Haunted walk has a new trail for the time-travelers among us, its called the Time Traveler Trail and it focuses on Ottawa’s past when Ottawa was Bytown and riots and pistol fights in the market were more common than Beavertails. Guided by Steampunk attired guides prepare to set off on an adventure in time.

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The new walk has already gathered the attention of the Whovians in Ottawa, as the Society of Doctor Who made an appearance to take the walk through time.P1070732 P1070738Our guide was quick to take us back in time with the help of their timely-whimey device.

P1070748- ShunkThe tour was full of great historical stories about a time when Ottawa wasn’t as tame as it is now, in fact traveller’s beware, time travel can be hazardous to your health and you could end up finding yourself in a duel as a way of solving slanders and slights!

A duel was the way to settle disagreements in the past, although what these two had against eachother we will never know.
A duel was the way to settle disagreements in the past, although what these two had against eachother we will never know.

Also this might be a cleverly disguised Dalek, just saying…

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Along the route we had a chance to seem some clearly historical signs, some on purpose and others by time traveler luck?P1070761 - Cropped

P1070751-CroppedP1070764 - Cropped Finally as the night drew dark (7:30pm tour rather than the weekend matinee 11:00am tour) our Time Travel energy grew low with the fading light and we got to see some of Ottawa’s premier buildings in their evening glory.

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In the end, all by Steve (poor Steve) made it back to our present time alive and well about 2 hours after we headed off on our adventures through time and walking distance.

The Grand Canyon beckons

Three Ottawa, Ontario area kayakers won the lottery for a time slot on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Small problem. Their kayaks were in Vancouver, BC, 2200 kms away from the launch point. They needed someone to transport the kayaks to Las Vegas, Nevada. I volunteered for the task and so, here I was at 5:30 AM waking up to get to the airport for an early morning flight to Vancouver. This time around, I was flying Air Canada, but plenty were also there at that time of the morning to board the Westjet flight boarding at an adjacent gate.


I was flying with point redemption so, as is normal, the only spots that tend to be available are the flights that leave early in the morning or arrive very late at night (or have multiple stops along the way). Since flying from Ottawa to Vancouver takes about 6 hours non-stop, it was the non-stop flight that I wanted to be on. Not interested in extending that part of the trip by stopping for a chat or plane change in Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg or Calgary which made up all of the other options and would have added another hour or two to the travel time.

Before we could take-off, our pilot had to taxi the jet to the deicing area so that a solution  could be sprayed onto the wings.  While waiting for the deicing process to be completed, the couple sitting next to me began a discussion of the costs of the deicing process both in terms of the cost of time as well as the cost of the deicing fluids and the manpower and machinery needed to apply the stuff and clean up the excess fluids. That led to discussion of how coatings based on nanotechnology might some day eliminate the need for deicing altogether.



I was looking forward to visiting with my brother in Vancouver before loading the kayaks and heading south to Las Vegas. The slight difference in temperature between Ottawa and Vancouver was an added bonus of flying to Vancouver. When we were boarding the plane in Ottawa, the outside temperature was hovering around -25C while the forecast temperature in Vancouver was +8C and sunny.

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The flight with Air Canada went well with just a touch of turbulence as we approached the foothills of the Rockies near Lethbridge, Alberta. I was lucky to have a young couple sitting beside me on the plane who were involved in the mining industry in Peru. Although they had lived in places that I might only wish to visit some day (Chile and Peru), their Canadian roots in Squamish and Whitehorse (two places that I have visited) were locations of which we could share some knowledge and stories. Who knows, in this small world, my middle son’s career in Geophysics might some day lead him across their path on some flight in the future. Having interesting flying partners can certainly make the flight seem shorter.

As we flew along the 49th parallel, I could look south to see all sorts of mountains and patterns whenever the cloud cover thinned to allow a glimpse or two at was below.  Soon we were back on the ground at Vancouver International Airport .

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After my brother met me at the airport, we did a quick tour of Vancouver’s Gastown (cobblestone as demarcation from nearby Chinatown) The steam clock was an interesting piece of engineering.
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As we walked from place to place a number of different signs caught my attention as did Vancouver’s Flat Iron building which is a backdrop in many of the large number of films produced in Vancouver.
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Plenty of food establishments in the Gastown are but we finally decided on one with an interesting wall 🙂

After my brother headed back to work, I wandered around Vancouver’s Gastown and Chinatown area. Overhead the skies were clear blue and the sun shone brightly. Rather an uncommon sight in Vancouver in the winter.

Canada Day in Kanata (2013) – Fireworks and Stage Show

Canada Day in Kanata (2013)  – Fireworks and Stage Show

My original plan was to head downtown to the Parliament Buildings for the daytime activities and then return to Kanata for the night time fireworks and stage show. That plan was shortened to just the Kanata portion. Weather was perfect and the number of mosquitoes per person was quite low. At first, I thought that, this year, I might like to head to the top of the toboggan hill and shoot the fireworks from that vantage point but, by the time that I got to the hill and looked at all of those people enjoying the stage show, I decided that I would make too many people upset if I tried to gently tip-toe around everyone on the hill.


This year’s stage show starred the Canadian Juno award winning band “Trooper” with vocalist Ra McGuire, guitarist Brian Smith, bass player Scott Brown, keyboardist GoGo and drummer Clayton Hill. The folks on the hill were certainly enjoying the show and really reacted with enthusiasm to the group’s playing of “Raise A Little Hell”.

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It is always interesting when the performers decide to take their own photos. When keyboardist GoGo pulled out his Apple iPad mini and began photographing too, I just had to capture the moment.


After that he was back on the keyboard playing solo while the other members of the band got a moment to catch their breath.

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A quick walk over to the amusement grounds and then I was back to the pond in time for the first volley of fireworks.

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Since I had changed many of my camera settings to photograph the previous night time images, I ran into a few problems for the first few volleys of fireworks. Everything worked a lot better once I realized that I had the camera delay timer on.

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All too soon the fireworks display was over for another Canada Day and off we went to home.

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Happy Canada Day from Kanata, Ontario

Canada Day’s coming – Planning for Fireworks displays

Canada Day’s coming – Planning for Fireworks displays

Today, among other things, I’m actually thinking ahead and trying to decide where to go to photograph Canada Day fireworks. I’ve decided not to go to downtown Ottawa this year for the fireworks so that leaves something closer to home. Choices include Walter Baker Park, Kanata, or Stittsville although there are probably other choices as well. I’ve often photographed the fire works at Kanata but normally from the soccer field level. This year, just for something different, I might go to the top of the toboggan hill instead. One thing is for certain though, I expect the mosquitoes to be out in force considering all of the rain that the Kanata area has had in the past few weeks!

Planning for Canada Day 2013

Fireworks tutorial – things to think about.

Tim Horton’s Dragon Boat Festival – Ottawa June 2013

Tim Horton’s Dragon Boat Festival – Ottawa – Saturday June 22nd


I’m at Mooney’s Bay Park again today for the full course of dragon boat racing. The team that my wife is on, the CFUW – Ottawa Dragonauts, survived their participation in the special Friday night races and were all there in time for their photo session with their team-mate and photographer Lois Siegel. Since I got to park the car and just had to find the farthest away parking spot that I could, by the time that I arrived on the grounds the ladies were back at their tent discussing strategy, etc. for their Saturday heats. Lois, meanwhile was busy photographing the team next door – CBC Radio. Rain had been forecast but never came down hard enough to be disruptive. Its intermittent nature meant that umbrellas were in vogue among the spectators.

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With time to spare, I went off with my camera to see if I could find anything interesting to photograph before heading down to the beach to watch the races. Wasn’t hard :-).


With close to 200 boat teams, there was always something happening on the water so, similar to what I did for the Friday night blog, what follows is a series of snapshots of some of the teams that passed by my point on the beach (not necessarily in order of race heats).  There were two sets of boats in use, so it wasn’t always easy to tell which team was which especially if their t-shirts happened to be blue or black.


RON_3783-DragonboatAs was the case the night before, some of the crew were taking a more leisurely approach to get to the start line and, of course, while some stopped to look at the race, others took a moment to look at the gathering throngs on the shoreline.





The rain began to fall in earnest at one point and that meant that umbrellas had to be opened.  For obvious reasons, the folks in the dragon boats in the midst of full-out racing didn’t get to have umbrellas though some might have been concerned about the effect of the rain on their hairdos. :-).





In addition to what was going on out on the water, there was always something of interest happening on the docks or along the beach.  Whenever the media/VIP boat came up to the dock, I would watch to see how much photo equipment was going aboard and, of course, whenever the rains started, and the boat returned to the dock with dampened passengers, I felt a bit smug as I stood on dry land under the protection of a nice poncho.



For those photographers who stayed onshore, the problem was a bit different.  How does one hold up a large camera with a telephoto lens while keeping dry on the end of a dock under a large umbrella?

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I just hoped that the weather seals on my Nikon would keep the innards dry during the short periods of showers but others chose to bring out the full camera rain gear – usually if I try that, the rain stops before I get the camera covered :-).


I really have no idea what this boat’s drummer might have been saying at this point in time but “Now class, …” does enter my mind.


In a similar light-hearted vein, I can only guess what the drummer of this other boat might have been thinking when an unattended paddle handle came across her line of sight.


The organizers did an admirable job of keeping the heats on schedule even though, from time to time, they had to worry about various other waterway traffic causing a wake or wandering into the race area.

RON_3834-Fancy-boatAs I was taking shots of the various boats and crew passing my spot, some children were playing in my area.  Then I heard, “Look, there’s your mother, now –  the one in pink.” Definitely easier to spot someone wearing a different color of life jacket.



The one person on shore who seemed to take no notice of the weather conditions was the individual calling out the information of the upcoming heats. Dressed in his town crier outfit, he seemed to never miss a beat.

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After all of that waiting, I heard him announce the 11AM race with the CFUW- Dragonauts in lane 1.   A fellow beside me was happy, too.  I think that he said that he was cheering for someone on the lime green team in Lane 2 in the same heat. Of course, that led to a bit of friendly banter about which boat would be quickest :-).

RON_3854-Dragon-boatThe CFUW-Ottawa Dragonauts had one of the larger spectator contingents for their first heat and they were cheered vigorously as they passed by on their way to the starting line. They get a few more photos in my blog because I’m a bit biased :-).






A bit of a rest as they watch the boats in the heat ahead of them race by in the opposite direction.


Once the boats reached the start line, they all got into position without too much trouble and the start was fine. The pirate boat might have caused a distraction but didn’t have anything to do with what would happen about a minute or so later!!!


Up ahead, boats in lanes 2 & 3 swerved to avoid each other and ended up encroaching on Lane 1. Happily, the Dragonauts had room to maneuver past the congestion and, in the last 100 meters, they were able to keep their pace up and came in ahead of another boat – not a first place finish but ….



Beat them by a dragon head whisker!!!


Plenty of things to do and watch while waiting for the next CFUW-Ottawa heat to commence later in the afternoon so, with the heat completed, off I went again to photograph some of the other activities that were taking place.

Volunteers were doing a great job everywhere from directing traffic, to helping folks into and out of the boats, selling raffle tickets and giving directions to the lost or weary. Plenty of volunteers needed to make an event like this a smooth running success and great to have plenty of options for food and entertainment for the competitors and spectators between the heats. Food was on my mind and the sound of music from the main tent was reaching my ears.

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The rain had more or less stopped but it was nice to find a nice dry seat in the main tent where I could watch the world go by while listening to wonderful music and enjoying the other activities on stage. Here are three short iPad video clips of what that was like.

The clowns video clip


Bosco Samuel video clip



Tai Chi sword form video clip

(website: Ottawa Taichie)

Ottawa Tai Chi members demonstrated the Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan form and then the Sword form (video clip above) and then led audience participants through the motions.

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While I was under the canvas of the main tent, the weather outside had improved quite a bit and the various heats continued almost non-stop. Between heats, there was lots of movement along the various viewing locations as spectators cheering on friends and families in one heat would move out and make way for those coming in to do the cheering for the participants of  the next heat. Didn’t take long before I could move to a less obstructed vantage point to watch a few of the heats leading up to the next appearance of the CFUW-Ottawa entry.


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While I was checking out the on-going heats, some of the CFUW-Ottawa Dragonauts had gone over to the tattoo tent and got some decorative work done in preparation for their next heat.


While the ladies were getting all lined up with other competitors in their heat, I was faced with fielding applications for positions on the team :-).

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The CFUW ladies would be in lane 6 for this heat and, although they didn’t get their lucky boat from the first heat, it looks like they had a fierce one nontheless. Even the ducks feared this boat :-).




This heat would  be watched carefully from the VIP boat, and it wasn’t too long before the teams were ready at the start line and on their way again trying to beat their previous times.





The ladies maintained their form right to the end of the race and, although they wouldn’t be beating anyone in this heat, they did look like they might be a potential challenger in years to come.


Hi-5’s all around.

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Time to start planning for the next race weekend!


This weekend there were about 200 teams competing in the various heats and the top finishers got to come back on the Sunday to complete for the big prizes.

This is the third of three of our publicly visible blog posts relating to the 2013 version of the Tim Horton’s Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival. Please feel free to leave a comment or pass the links along to others who might be in the pictures or might be interested in seeing what the event was all about.

CFUW- Ottawa – Preparation – Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Opening night – Friday, June 21, 2013

Saturday activities – Saturday, June 20, 2013

Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival – Friday night

Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival – Friday night
We were at the Friday night event because my wife was a member of the CFUW-Ottawa team that was one of the top sixteen pledge ($) raisers and as a result they had an opportunity to be part of the Opening Ceremonies and a bonus “race” on the Friday night. After parking my car at the Post Office parking lot and walking over to the Mooney’s Bay Park, the next step was to find their tent location #56. When I got there, they were completing the last minute discussion about paddling positions so I spent a bit of time watching the kids at the adjacent Tim Horton’s Kids Fun Zone.


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The boats themselves were ready for the evening’s challenge and had been newly decked out with their polished dragon heads and the drummer’s drums were safely secured in the bow of the boat.

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Although I was interested in the CFUW boat and crew, I decided to take a few shots of the other top fund raisers as well. I wasn’t sure who was who out on the water but it was interesting to see how some of the teams dug right in and headed for the start line under a good head of steam while some of the other teams were much more laid back. A couple of the boats even looked like they intended to race each other to the starting line 500 meters away. Here, in no particular order, are some of the “competitors” for this evening’s honorary “race” (two heats of 8 boats in each heat – distance 500 meters).













As the CFUW-Ottawa team headed out they slowed their speed and found time for a wave to the many family members and spectators gathered along the shore line. These ladies were enjoying the moment. The real racing would begin on Saturday :-).


The heat that the CFUW women were in was pretty quick and the fastest boat of the evening was in their heat. Some of those all-male crews were really moving their boats along at a pretty good clip even if this was billed as just an honorary warm up race for the top fund raisers!


As the CFUW-Ottawa team crossed the finish line, drummer Sue gave them the sign to rest and they did just that.



The big races would be on Saturday. Friday was just for fun :-).


Kanata Badminton Club – AGM – 2013

The Kanata Badminton Club operates in Kanata, Ontario. (Club website)

The club is a volunteer-run recreational badminton club which utilizes the gymnasiums in three Kanata schools to provide members with a place to play badminton up to five nights a week during the winter months.  Each Spring,  as another season draws to a close, one night is reserved for food, speeches, prizes and award presentation and the election of next year’s executive.  This year was no different except that I was lucky and happy to win the door prize of a free membership for 2014!

This year’s AGM was held at Tommy’s Restaurant and, since we have used this facility for the meeting before, some of the members arrived bright and early to claim their favorite seats (closer to the kitchen :-)). In fact, I was a bit lucky to find a seat at all! Continue reading

Ottawa Valley Aquarium Society Annual GIANT AUCTION – March 24th, 2013


Ottawa Valley Aquarium Society Annual GIANT AUCTION – March 24th, 2013

This year, the Ottawa Valley Aquarium Society (OVAS) combined their annual auction held on the Sunday with a Saturday slate of guest speakers and  a room full of vendors to produce a fun-filled weekend dubbed AQUAMANIA.

Today’s entry will focus on the events of the GIANT AUCTION on Sunday March 24th, 2013. To see images and information relating to the Friday and Saturday activity see our previous two blog entries.

Friday night preparations
Saturday speakers and vendors

As has become the tradition in the past few years, Peter was hard at work late into the evening and again early in the morning dealing with the registration of a varied collection of items from gravel to driftwood to full sized aquariums and fish with unpronounceable Latin names. Other members and volunteers had already done all of the hard work of setting up the tables and chairs before I arrived – I was certainly happy to see that :-). Continue reading