Sunday, 23 April 2017

Museum Holiday, part 2

     The Canadian War Museum is a treasure trove for military buffs, collectors, and people who wonder about things that go "boom." Last Wednesday, through a driving rain and Ottawa's efficient but convoluted bus system, Beth and I spent the day at that museum. Lots of photos to follow.

     Since this year is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in the "War to end all wars", the specially featured display is focused on Vimy. Many folks believe that this battle was the one that inaugurated Canada into the family of nations as an independent nation rather than a colony. The memory of the sacrifice there is held in memory by Canadians.

A chilling piece of art that features both the Vimy memorial and the ghosts of the troops who died taking that ridge.
It is quite moving. No matter what anyone might think of the command and the reason for that war, the bravery and sacrifice... on both sides... is to be held in memory.

One light for each Canadian casualty

A view of most of the display -  much of it interactive.

Elsewhere in the museum, in the WWI portion, an aeroplane still flies.

An 8-inch howitzer.

An original uniform of the Canadian Nursing Sisters.


The original light blue has faded to grey over the years.
In the War of 1812 section, we found General Brock's coat.

The General took this wound at the Battle of Queenstown Heights in October, 1812.
The black spot is the actual hole from the shot that killed this man, one of the few
British officers who understood fighting in North America and how to work with the First Nations.
We didn't go into the WWII section or the UN peace-keeping section. We wanted to go downstairs to the BIG display of vehicles and artillery.

Quite a garage.

A t-34/85 and a Churchill tank. A Sherman 76 is trying to photo-bomb this shot.

Your humble blogger attempts to read the bronze plaque on the Canadian Leopard II
that warns that the coating on the tank could be toxic if you take a metal grinder to the armour.
I quickly ditched my grinder and Dremel tools.

A Canadian APC - a Grizzly, I believe.

A variant of the M-113 with a TOW projector on the top.
These are hefty vehicles.

For a change of pace, a soup-and-hot-coffee wagon from the UK.
built on a Ford chassis, it would make a nice side piece of "table clutter" for a WWII game.

German searchlight with the business end turned away.

Quite a line-up!
Sherman 75, Sexton self-propelled gun (25#), the clumsy-looking Lee, the sleek Panther, a Sherman 76, and the T-34/85.
Classics of armour each one.

My friend, Martin's favourite vehicle - the Bren Carrier.
The F-101 Voodoo in Canadian markings.
I'd heard that this venerable warbird soldiered on with the RCAF for a long, long time.

Need a garden tractor? Try this engineering vehicle!

A German Kriegsmarine midget submarine, brought back to Canada by Canadian author, Farley Mowat and the unit he was assigned to in the Netherlands at the end of WWII.

Goliath, a small, fully-tracked, remotely-controlled demolitions vehicle used
by the German Wehrmacht in WWII. It's smaller than my kitchen table,

Various trucks and cars, including a VW amphibious Schwimmwagen just to right of center.

If I had one, I'd ride it... and the neighbors would hate me.


A rarity! The German 2.8cm light anti-tank gun (2.8cm schwere Panzerb├╝chse 41...translation -
28cm heavy anti-tank rifle) referred to as a "squeeze-bore" weapon. The bore tapered and provided
more power and velocity to the projectile.

The 17-Pounder British anti-tank gun. This could take on almost any of the Axis
tanks near the end of WWII. The main armament of the Sherman "Firefly"

A German 8.8cm rocket-projector called the P├╝ppchen ("Dolly" as in toy)
Beth wanted to get an idea of the bore so I put my hand against it.

A bronze 18-pounder


A carronade on a garrison carriage


Looking into the display area from the outside.
You can see the Zimmerit anti-magnetic mine paste on the Panther.
Some "nose art" from Canadian aircraft.
If you get a chance to go to Ottawa and see this museum, I don't think you'll be disappointed. There is much we didn't see this time and much that we saw and didn't photograph. It's worth the trip... and you can purchase a pass that gets you into a number of museums for a discount price over the space of three days. Well worth getting. Beth and I saved about $18 by buying the pass and going into the three museums. There are also other ones we didn't try to see, either because they didn't interest us or they were closed when we had the time to go.

Meanwhile, back at the Museum of Nature, I engage the staff in a deep conversation.

Museum holiday

     Following Easter, I needed a little break, so Beth and I took the train from London to Ottawa to have our first holiday as a couple since... well, since we had children! Our holidays had always been family ones and lately, included campfires, canvas tents, gun powder, and reenactments.
     Although I going to eventually focus on one particular museum, we did visit three in all and has a number of wonderful meals.
At an Irish pub in Ottawa...
Shepherd's Pie with Guinness gravy for the lady,
Spicy curry chicken for her escort.
Oh, so good!

Perfectly poured

Thoroughly enjoyed

A "Beaver-Dog" at the Canadian Museum of History in Gateneau.
A hot dog wrapped in beavertail dough and deep fired.
Beth loved it!

Meanwhile, I had pulled pork poutine and we split a chocolate croissant.
At the Museum of Nature, I was enamored with the blue whale skeleton on display. I was awed by the immensity. The skeleton is over 90% complete, with replacement parts for lost dorsal fins. The whale encountered a ship or so it seems.
An amazing sight.

... from any angle.

The grey-ish vertebrae is a moulded replica of a lost piece of the skeleton.

Self-explanatory... obviously.

The outline on the floor of the size of the tail fluke which held no bones.
There were also... DINOSAURS! Little else in the world will reduce me to a Grade 3 boy than dinosaurs!
Even the shadows are impressive.

Sea-going beasties

Horns and frills for defense

One of the duck-bill clan.

A carnivore from South America - the ONLY replica on display.
All the others are the real thing, actual fossils.

Another top-of-the-line Alpha carnivore.
I can't remember all the names and so many new names have been coined, that I
can't keep up.
A massive sea-turtle
More contemporary displays were available as well... and some prehistoric mammals. 

A diorama of very small mammals of the distant past.

Brontotherium? Megatherium? Can't remember whichium.

The male and a calf

the female
Carnivorous boar or a fevered nightmare

Outside, a mastodon model is on display.

The museum building is a gem in and of itself.
Beth took this photo from our hotel room, which was literally around the corner.

The main entryway.
This was once the Parliament building when the original building was
destroyed by fire.

Looking up from the entryway.
Some iconic Canadian wildlife in diorama - beavers

Porcupine

Skunk

Wolves

Bison

Moose

Mountain goats

Prong-horn antelope

Not Canadian!
This is an actual skull of platypus put on display for comparison to other small skulls.
I'd never seen one before and I had to take a photo. 

We spent an afternoon at the Canadian Museum of History across the river in Gateneau, Quebec. It is quite a place to visit.
Parliament Hill in Ottawa from the Quebec side.

A walking trail at the Museum of History

Steps to the walking trail on the river front

A "transformation mask" from one of the First Nations on the west coast.

The museum has an incredibly impressive collection of totem poles
displayed in the main hall.

The explanation is below.



One of the most beautiful Transformation Masks there.

The colourful face which is revealed during the dance as the outer mask unfolds.

The Spirit of Haida - with many traditional figures and symbols of that people.

Another beautiful painting from the far West.

Beautiful weaving

The Haida canoe from a different perspective.

Faces... faces and symbols... and stories retold.

The Museum itself is something to see.
And wisdom to be remembered.
Why am I fascinated by Quebec's traffic lights? Two reds!

In downtown Ottawa, this stand was open and doing a brisk business.
Sad to say, we were too full to indulge.
(Really, they're a flat dough patty coated in sugar and cinnamon and deep-fried.)

Private joke. I minister to a congregation in Aylmer (Ontario)
and this STO bus is going to Aylmer (Quebec).
Even on holiday, I can't get away from Aylmer!! 
We visited the Canadian War Museum, but deserves an entry of it's own. I know more than a few of the blogs I follow do museum expositions, so I did as well. For those interested in the more military entries, wait for these words: Brock's coatee... T-34/85... squeeze-bore...