Photo Essay: Celebrating Sussex Drive, His Highness the Aga Khan and, Five Years on, the Crystalline Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Building
Compiled and prepared by Malik Merchant
INTRODUCTION: Sussex Drive with some other connecting streets in the National Capital Region, makes up what is known as the Confederation Boulevard or the “ceremonial and discovery route”. In order to connect these streets visually, urban designers employed the use of consistent street paving (using pink Canadian granite), lamp posts adorned with bronze maple leaves, and distinctive street furniture. Along the route, art exhibits and interpretation panels can also be found.
Ottawa’s Confederation Boulevard in a nutshell – the inlaid piece at the top, covered with light snow from the previous day, is a model depicting the connecting streets and historical sites which make up the National Capital Region’s ceremonial route. Photo: Malik Merchant. Photo date: 24 November 2013. Copyright.
Some of Canada’s most important institutions and landmarks including the residences of the Governor General and the Prime Minister are on Sussex Drive, a 2.9 kilometre street that begins at Rideau Street at the north end of Colonel By Drive, runs north and then bends northeast until MacKay Street, where it becomes the Rockcliffe Parkway. During state visits, Confederation Boulevard is toured by foreign dignitaries and on Canada Day, July 1, much of Confederation Boulevard is closed to cars. Other important historical and cultural landmarks along Sussex are Major’s Hill Park, the National Gallery of Canada, the Royal Canadian Mint, Rideau Falls Park, the Peacekeeping Monument, the National Laboratories, the Connaught Building, the Lester B. Pearson Building, the Global Centre for Pluralism, and 700 Sussex Drive, a residential condo and retail complex, as well as the embassies of France, Japan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, South Africa (High Commission) and the United States.
CLICK ON MAP FOR LARGE VERSION
Sussex Drive is denoted by the yellow line. Going East, you start at Rideau Street (blue line) where the 700 Sussex Condominium building is located. Between Rideau Street and #35 on the map, you pass the Connaught Building (550 Sussex) and the US Embassy (490 Sussex). The National Gallery of Art (380 Sussex) and the Basilica (385 Sussex) as well as Reconciliation Monument are located at or around #35. Then just a hundred metres east of #35 are located the Global Centre for Pluralism (330 Sussex), the Royal Canadian Mint (320 Sussex) and the Embassy of Kuwait (333 Sussex). The Saudi Embassy (201 Sussex) and the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Building (199 Sussex) are at #36, with the Lester Pearson Building (125 Sussex) and the John G. Diefenbacker or the Old City Hall (111 Sussex) approximately 100-200 metres further east. At #37 you reach Rideau Falls Park (50 Sussex) and the French Embassy (42 Sussex). Finally, Sussex Drive winds down (or starts if you are travelling South!) at #38, the residences of the Prime Minister (24 Sussex) and the Governor General (1 Sussex) as well as the High Commission of South Africa (15 Sussex). One of the pictures of the Delegation Building shown below was taken from Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau, which is denoted by #30 on the map. Map credit: The National Capital Commission (with minor edits by Simergphotos to represent Sussex Drive more clearly).
We are delighted to present this piece highlighting Sussex Drive, with its magnificent heritage buildings, monuments, parks as well as important works of art. The Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat stands as an architectural gem on the street with its representative rock crystal drawing one’s attention to it from numerous nearby and distant locations in the Capital Region. The views from King Edward Street, driving in either directions, are particularly stunning. To truly appreciate its architecture, it is good to view it from different vantage points on Sussex Drive, walking toward it from the Saudi Embassy, then taking a circular walk around the building. Finally, crossing the Ottawa River into Gatineau on the Quebec side will make one realize the prominence of the building from Jacques-Cartier Park!
Rideau Hall: The Governor General’s Residence, 1 Sussex Drive
Front façade of Rideau Hall
Of the six official residences and historic properties in Canada’s Capital Region, two are located on Sussex Drive, just 50 to 100 metres apart. They are the residences of the Governor General at 1 Sussex and the Prime Minister at 24 Sussex.
Rideau Hall has been the official residence and workplace of every governor general since 1867. This heritage site is a national gathering place, where the governor general lives, honours Canadians for their excellence, hosts foreign dignitaries and performs the functions of Canada’s Head of State, as the representative of the Crown in Canada. A classified federal heritage building, Rideau Hall is the largest official residence in Canada’s Capital Region and the only one open to visitors. Tours of the residence, art collection and grounds are offered all year long. The grounds of Rideau Hall are open to the public in all seasons of the year for a range of concerts, ceremonies, celebrations and sporting events. Heads of State and royalty stay at Rideau Hall during visits to Ottawa. Most recently, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II stayed at Rideau Hall during the 2010 Royal Tour of Canada. His Highness the Aga Khan has been received by Governor Generals on numerous occasions. In 2005, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, decorated him with the Order of Canada at Rideau Hall.
His Highness the Aga Khan is seen being welcomed at Rideau Hall on October 7, 2010, by the present and 28th Governor General of Canada, His Excellency Right Honourable David Johnston, during the 49th Ismaili Imam’s visit to Ottawa on the occasion of the inaugural board meeting of the Global Centre for Pluralism. Photographer: Sgt. Serge Gouin, Rideau Hall.
The Prime Minister’s Residence, 24 Sussex Drive
The Prime Minister’s Residence
24 Sussex Drive is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Canada. Built between 1866 and 1868 by Joseph Merrill Currier, it has been the official home of the Canadian prime minister since 1951. It is one of two official residences made available to the Prime Minister, the Harrington Lake estate in nearby Gatineau Park being the other.
Part of 24 Sussex is reserved for the use of the family. The other part, which is public, belongs to the nation. This is where the Prime Minister welcomes guests and associates for public functions. These rooms are decorated and furnished in keeping with their important public function.
His Highness the Aga Khan and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Photo: Website of the Prime Minister of Canada.
The first three owners of the house were prominent figures, successful businessmen and members of Parliament. From early on, the house has welcomed the political elite of Canada. Purchased by the government, it was refurbished as an official residence for the prime minister in 1950. Unlike Rideau Hall, the Prime Minister’s residence is not open to the public.
The house has changed relatively little since 1950, except for the addition of a windowed sunroom at the back, modernization of the kitchen, and the addition of an enclosed pool and sauna. Since 1986, 24 Sussex Drive has been managed by the National Capital Commission (NCC) which is now planning a long-term rehabilitation project to ensure that this valuable old heritage building remains in optimal condition. The work will continue in years to come.
The High Commission of South Africa, 15 Sussex Drive
The South African High Commission
The South African High Commission in Ottawa is the high commission of South Africa in Ottawa, Canada. It is located at 15 Sussex Drive directly across from 24 Sussex Drive, the official residence of the Prime Minister of Canada. East of the high commission is 7 Rideau Gate, Canada’s official guest house for visiting dignitaries. Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General of Canada is also nearby at 1 Sussex Drive.
The building was constructed for James Stevenson, the Bank of Montreal’s representative in Ottawa, in 1841. In 1867 it was purchased by Moss Kent Dickinson an industrialist and mayor of Ottawa.
During the apartheid era the embassy was the scene of frequent protests. When South Africa was expelled from the Commonwealth of Nations it was reduced to being only an embassy and there was pressure to end diplomatic relations between the country. With the end of apartheid it was restored to high commission status and the embassy received its first black envoy, Billy Modise, in April 1995. A former leader of the African National Congress Youth Wing, Modise spent 31 years in exile after fleeing South Africa in 1960. The current High Commissioner is His Excellency Membathisi Mdladlana.
Embassy of France, 42 Sussex Drive
The Embassy of France, pictured on November 24, 2011, with the compound dusted in light snow from the previous day’s fall. Photo: Malik Merchant, Ottawa. Copyright.
The Embassy of France in Ottawa is the diplomatic mission of France to Canada, located at 42 Sussex Drive, Ottawa. Inaugurated in 1939, this diplomatic mission was designed by French architect Eugène Beaudouin in the Art Deco style. Housing both the residence of the ambassador and embassy services, the building of grey granite is three stories and is organized around the Great Hall.
Rideau Falls Park and Green Island, 50 Sussex Drive
A picturesque night view of Rideau Falls.
Rideau Falls Park is 2.89 hectares in size and a Confederation Boulevard landmark. It has the Embassy of France and the National Research Council Canada Laboratories on either sides. The Park gets its name from the impressive twin waterfalls where the Rideau River empties into the Ottawa River. The Park has several commemorations.
Rideau Falls on 24 November 2013, a bright but cold and windy day. Photo: Malik Merchant, Ottawa. Copyright.
The falls are divided by Green Island, with the Old City Hall just to the south. In the 1800s the site was an industrial area powered by the waterfalls. Rideau Falls Park was developed after the Second World War when the area was acquired by the federal government and cleared of industry.
The National Research Council Canada laboratories , 100 Sussex Drive
“temple of science”
Designed by the famous Canadian architect, Henry Sproatt, and built in 1932 the building is often dubbed the “Temple of Science”. This building was designed as both a showpiece of artistry and a practical research facility. Made of Canadian limestone, sandstone and granite materials, the interior features the best of Italian-inspired Renaissance sculpturing. Includes a magnificent foyer, marble-wall auditorium, two-storey reading room, Council Chambers, and the Herzberg rooms occupied by Gerhard Herzberg, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (1971).
NRC plays a leading role in providing Canada with strategic S&T information, intelligence and connections to centres of advanced S&T around the world. NRC has created valuable international linkages and networks that help transfer S&T information back to Canadian firms, universities and public sector partners, and also generate new business opportunities for Canadian SMEs. Today, NRC is composed of 19 different institutes, as well as 6 technology and innovation centres located across the country.
John G. Diefenbaker Building, 111 Sussex Drive
The John G. Diefenbaker Building formerly served as Ottawa’s city hall from 1958 to 2000, and is commonly known as the Old City Hall. Purchased in 2003 by the Government of Canada, it was known by its municipal address, 111 Sussex Drive, until September, 2011 when it was renamed after Canada’s 13th prime minister, John Diefenbaker. Today, the building mainly houses Foreign Affairs employees. See also Lester Pearson Building (below).
The Lester B. Pearson Building, 125 Sussex Drive
The Lester B. Pearson Building is the headquarters of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. It is located at 125 Sussex Drive and was built between 1968 and 1973. It is named after Lester B. Pearson, former external affairs minister, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Prime Minister of Canada.
The Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Building, 199 Sussex Drive
The address neatly embossed at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Building. Photo: Muslim Harji, Montreal. Copyright.
Designed by award-winning architect Fumihiko Maki, the building was opened on December 6, 2008 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the presence of His Highness the Aga Khan, exactly a week before the culmination of the celebration of the Ismaili Imam’s Golden Jubilee.
His Highness the Aga Khan and the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, at the opening of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Building on Saturday, December 6, 2008. Collage prepared from photos at the Prime Minister’s website.
The Ottawa Delegation is the first building in the world that will represent the Ismaili Imamat and its institutions. It is configured as an elongated, rectangular ring, surrounding an interior atrium and an exterior courtyard that features a traditional Chahr-bagh Islamic garden.
A view of the char-bagh at the Delegation Building. Photo: Muslim Harji, Montreal. Copyright.
A rendering of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Imamat crest on a glass panel at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Building located on Sussex Drive in Ottawa. Photo: Muslim Harji. Montreal. Copyright.
The size and scope as well as dominance of the dome glass structure in the form of a rock crystal is best appreciated when the Delegation building is viewed from afar as in this image (see arrow). The shot was taken on 24 November 2013 from Jacques-Cartier Park located across the Ottawa River in Gatineau. Photo: Malik Merchant, Ottawa. Copyright..
The building rests on a solid linear granite podium, and is covered by a glass dome through which light illuminates the atrium and courtyard. The building as a whole is inspired by natural rock-crystal and is an interplay of visual clarity, opacity and translucency. It houses meeting rooms, exhibition areas, a lecture theatre, resource center, and private apartments.
A majestic view of the interior of the Delegation Building from the main floor, where the Rays of Light exhibit was held recently. Photo: Muslim Harji, Montreal, Copyright.
Two Canadian Flags at either end with flags of Ontario (2nd from left) and the Ismaili Imamat at the front compound of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Building. Photo: Malik Merchant, Ottawa. Copyright.
The Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat viewed through the security iron spindles of its next door neighbour, the Embassy of Saudi Arabia. Photo: Malik Merchant Ottawa. Copyright.
The Delegation Building has been included amongst other architecturally interesting and historically significant buildings in Doors Open Ottawa since its opening five years ago. It marks its 5th anniversary on December 6.
Embassy of Saudi Arabia, 201 Sussex Drive
The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Ottawa is Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic mission to Canada. The building is located at 201 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, next to the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat and overlooking the Ottawa River. Nations that choose to build a new structure to hold the embassy often incorporate local styles and motifs into their buildings, bringing added diversity to Ottawa’s architecture. The new Saudi Arabian incorporates distinctly Middle Eastern design elements. The Saudis bought the prime land in 1978 and top Canadian architect Arthur Erickson was hired to do the design. It was many years before construction began. The exterior of the building was completed in 2001; however it remained empty for some time. Work on the interior resumed in March 2004 and the embassy was opened in August 2005.
The Royal Canadian Mint, 320 Sussex Drive
Photo: Malik Merchant, Ottawa. Copyright
The Royal Canadian Mint’s headquarters occupy the historic building in central Ottawa where the Mint was founded in 1908. Today, the Ottawa facility produces hand-crafted collector and commemorative coins, gold bullion coins, medals and medallions. This is where the master tooling is done to create the dies that strike coin designs for both circulation and commemorative issues. The Mint’s gold refining and advanced engineering operations are also located here in Ottawa. The Mint is open to the public.
The Global Centre for Pluralism, 330 Sussex Drive
Photo: Malik Merchant, Ottawa. Copyright.
The Old Canadian War Museum will become the future site of the Global Centre for Pluralism, once renovations are completed inside the building. The Centre is governed by an international Board of Directors chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan. The Global Centre for Pluralism was inspired by the example of Canada’s inclusive approach to citizenship, and works to advance respect for diversity worldwide, believing that openness and understanding toward the cultures, social structures, values and faiths of other peoples are essential to the survival of an interdependent world.
Embassy of the State of Kuwait, 333 Sussex Drive
Photo: Malik Merchant, Ottawa. Copyright.
The National Gallery of Canada, 380 Sussex Drive
The National Gallery of Canada, with the huge spider sculptor dominating the front side, just by Sussex drive. Photo: Malik Merchant, Ottawa. Copyright
The National Gallery of Canada is a striking landmark against the capital’s skyline. Designed by architect Moshe Safdie and opened in 1988, this treasure house in granite and glass is the home of Canada’s exceptional art collection. Light, spacious galleries and quiet courtyards lead you on a voyage of discovery through the Canadian collection, a reflection of the rich diversity of Canada’s heritage and culture. Over 1,200 works from the permanent collection are on view. Special exhibitions, organized by the Gallery with other museums across Canada and around the world, highlight the work of Canadian and international artists. From the religious art of the past to the avant-garde of today, the Gallery offers a journey of exploration through the collective imagination of Canadian artists.
A close up of the Maman statue, a 9.144 m or 30 ft bronze cast of a spider located at the National Gallery of Canada. Photo: Malik Merchant, Ottawa. Copyright
Nepean Point, 380 Sussex Drive
Nepean Point in Ottawa offers a magnificent panoramic view of Parliament Hill and the heart of Canada’s Capital Region. At the top of Nepean Point is a majestic statue of Samuel de Champlain, who explored the Ottawa River in 1613. Nepean Point is the home to the Astrolabe Theatre. The Theatre was built in preparation for Canada’s centennial (1967) and served as a viewing point for the sound and light show on Parliament Hill. Over the years the Astrolabe Theatre has hosted various events and productions, including the Carnival of Cultures.
Statue of French explorer Samuel de Champlain at Nepean Point in Ottawa. The explorer is seen holding his famous astrolabe upsidedown. Nepean Point overlooks the Ottawa River, Parliament, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and other features of downtown Ottawa and Gatineau. It is located between the National Gallery of Canada and Alexandra Bridge. The sculpture was made by Hamilton MacCarthy in 1915. Photo: Malik Merchant, Copyright.
A monumental new sculpture now graces one of Ottawa’s most picturesque skylines, thanks to a new acquisition by the National Gallery of Canada. At 30.5 metres high, One Hundred Foot Line by critically-acclaimed contemporary artist Roxy Paine is his most ambitious sculpture to date in terms of upward scale. Overlooking the Ottawa River from Nepean Point, One Hundred Foot Line beautifully references Canada’s capital and its proximity to nature as well of industry in this region. The Stainless steel is 30.48 meters tall, 1.3 meters wide and weighs 5216 kg.
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica, 385 Sussex Drive
Photo: Malik Merchant, Ottawa. Copyright
Designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990, the Basilica pictured from the National Gallery of Art across the street is the oldest and largest church in Ottawa and the seat of the city’s Roman Catholic archbishop. Its twin spires and gilded Madonna (photo, below) are easily identifiable from nearby Parliament Hill and the surrounding area. Governor General Georges Vanier and Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier both were given state funerals at the Cathedral.
The Peacekeeping Monument, Sussex Drive at McKenzie Avenue
Photo: Malik Merchant, Ottawa. Copyright.
This special monument commemorates Canada’s role in international peacekeeping and the soldiers, both living and dead, who have participated or are currently participating in peacekeeping operations. Since 1947, Canadian peacekeepers have served overseas in a variety of United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and other multinational task forces. Canada played a leading role in the peacekeeping movement from the outset. In fact, a Canadian, Lester B. Pearson, won the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize for his pioneering vision in helping establish a United Nations force during the Suez Crisis of the 1950s. Since then, Canada’s commitment to international peace efforts and other overseas military actions has continued.
The monument depicts three peacekeepers — two men and a woman — standing on two sharp, knifelike edges of stone, cutting through the rubble and debris of war and converging at a high point, which symbolizes the resolution of conflict. The inscription on the monument is a quote from Lester B. Pearson: “We need action not only to end the fighting but to make the peace… My own government would be glad to recommend Canadian participation in such a United Nations force, a truly international peace and police force.”
Japanese Embassy, 255 Sussex Drive
The Embassy of Japan in Ottawa is the diplomatic mission of Japan in Canada. Since 1978 the chancery has been located on Sussex Drive near the Lester B. Pearson Building. The ambassadorial residence is at Waterstone (Alan Keefer, architect, built 1928-31), one of Ottawa’s largest manors in Rockcliffe Park. Japan first opened a consulate in Vancouver in 1889 and the embassy opened in 1928. With the outbreak of war the Japanese diplomats were expelled in 1941, and the embassy was not reopened until 1951.
The Embassy of the United States of America, 490 Sussex Drive
Photographed from Major’s Hill Park. Photo: Malik Merchant, Ottawa. Copyright.
The United States Embassy in Ottawa, with its design and its function, creates a bridge between places, peoples and ideas. As an important work of architecture, the building makes a statement about the United States and its significant relationship with Canada. The fine art which has been incorporated into the building also servies as a bridge, connecting peoples, cultures and values. The artwork in the Embassy is a diverse selection of American arts and crafts representing the broad range of possibility and creativity in the American visual arts. More than 60 works of art by artists from across the United States are included. The embassy was dedicated by President Bill Clinton on October 8, 1999, the first time in American history a president had personally dedicated a new embassy. The building was included amongst other architecturally interesting and historically significant buildings in Doors Open Ottawa, held June 2 and 3, 2012.
The Connaught Building, 550 Sussex Drive/555 MacKenzie Street
The Connaught Building is a large, multi-storey Tudor Gothic-style government departmental building located in central Ottawa facing Major’s Hill Park, Parliament Hill and the Chateau Laurier Hotel. The Connaught Building was designated a national historic site in 1990 because it is a tangible expression of Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s commitment to the enhancement of architecture in the National Capital. The designation refers to the building on its legal lot at 550 Sussex Drive.
The main entrance is from 555 MacKenzie Street just south of the American Embassy. To the east the building looks out on to Sussex Drive and the Byward Market and to the west is MacKenzie Avenue and Majors Hill Park. Today it houses the headquarters of the Canada Revenue Agency. The Minister and Commissioner of the CRA have offices in the building.
The heritage value of this site resides in its architectural style, design, materials and location. As Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier aimed to transform Ottawa into a more handsome national capital and supported a federal building program led by David Ewart, Chief Architect of the Department of Public Works (1897-1914). Under Ewart’s direction, a modified Tudor Gothic style, compatible with the buildings on Parliament Hill and thought appropriate for a capital associated with the British Empire, was used to build a federal identity in Canada’s capital. It originally served as the new Ottawa Customs Examining Warehouse and offices for the Department of Customs and Internal Revenue. It was named in honour of HRH The Duke of Connaught, who served as Canada’s Governor General between 1911 and 1916.
IMPORTANT WORKS OF ART AND MONUMENTS ON SUSSEX DRIVE
This bronze sculpture of an Anishinabe scout is located in Major’s Hill Park, in Ottawa. This work recognizes the role of First Nations people in the development of Canada. The sculpture used to be in front of the statue of Samuel de Champlain at Nepean Point. It was intended to show how Aboriginal peoples helped the explorer navigate the Ottawa River.
The sculpture was created in 1918 by Hamilton MacCarthy. Originally, the figure was supposed to be kneeling in a canoe. However, the citizens’ group had not raised enough funds in the 1920s, so an alternative solution was found.
THE OTTAWA MEMORIAL
(or the Commonwealth Air Force Memorial)
Unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on July 1, 1959, The Ottawa Memorial (Commonwealth Air Force Memorial) is located on Green Island, on Sussex Drive, overlooking the Ottawa River near the Rideau Falls. It is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. It commemorates approximately 800 men and women who sacrificed their lives during the Second World War. The men and women commemorated were in active service or in training with the Commonwealth Air Forces in Canada, the Caribbean and the United States. They have no known grave, or were buried at remote crash sites that are considered to be inaccessible.
This totem pole stands on Sussex Drive, near Rideau Falls Park. It features symbols of the unique heritage of the Kwakwaka’wakw peoples of the Pacific coast. At the top sits a thunderbird, which can cause lightning by blinking its eyes and thunder by flapping its wings. The pole also shows a man holding a salmon and a double-headed serpent known as a sisiutl, one of the most powerful beings in the myths of these peoples. The totem pole is the work of Mungo Martin. It was a gift to Governor General Lord Alexander in 1946, when he was named Honorary Chief Nakupunkim.
“Reflection” located in Rideau Falls Park in Ottawa honours Canada’s commitment to international development and humanitarian aid abroad. It also honours those who have risked their lives or died in the line of duty. This monument is dedicated to two such individuals, Nancy Malloy and Tim Stone, whose deaths inspired the project. The monument was created by John Greer in 2001 Halifax, Nova Scotia, who won the monument’s national design competition in May 1999. His design was entitled “Reflection” which also became the name of the monument. It consists of a rectangular bronze arch with two bronze feathers, one on the top and the other at the side of the arch, all standing on a granite platform. There are also two granite benches where visitors can sit. The height of the monument is 3.35 metres with a base area of 4.27 x 4.88 metres.
The monument has three key messages. First, it is intended to appreciate Canada’s long-standing activities in international development and humanitarian assistance; second, it honors all Canadians who died while serving in these fields abroad; third, it pays a personal tribute to two Canadian aid workers, Nancy Malloy and Tim Stone who were killed in two separate incidents. Part of the project was to create a permanent list of all Canadian aid workers who have lost their lives in foreign deployments. The list currently holds 88 individuals, marking their names and dates of birth and death.
Unveiled on October 4, 2006, the Hungarian Monument stands on Maple Island, near Sussex Drive, in Ottawa. In 1956, thousands of Hungarians fled their country to escape an oppressive Soviet regime. Canada responded by offering significant humanitarian assistance. It also permitted the rapid resettlement of close to 40,000 Hungarian refugees in Canada in the months following the revolution. Fifty years later, this monument was erected to commemorate Canada’s response to this desperate situation. The monument inscription reads:
“May this monument be a lasting symbol of the gratitude of Hungarian refugees who, having escaped after the revolution in Hungary, were welcomed and provided a safe haven to rebuild their lives in Canada.”
Samothrace is on Ottawa’s Sussex Drive, between the York Steps and the Connaught Building. This cast iron sculpture, painted black, was created by Armand Vaillancourt, a world-renowned avant-garde artist from Montréal who is best known for his monumental abstract, urban sculptures, as well as for his social and political activism to support causes he embraces. Armand Vaillancourt was awarded some 15 prizes in Quebec, Canada and the United States.
Shops and Residence
A block of specialty shops and boutiques on Sussex Drive, closer to the Byward Market and Rideau Street. Photo: Malik Merchant, Ottawa. Copyright.
700 Sussex, a high profile condominium building at the junction of Sussex Drive and Rideau Street. The iconic hotel Chateau Laurier is at the left. Photo: Malik Merchant, Ottawa. Copyright.
A peek down Sussex Drive from the point where it (nearly) meets Rideau Street (see last photo). The Connaught Building can be seen about 100 metres on the left. It is soon followed by the US Embassy on same side (not visible). The Basilica spires can be seen further down the road about 750 metres to the right. Photo: Malik Merchant, Ottawa. Copyright.
Date posted: Monday, November 24, 2013
Date last updated: Saturday, July 19, 2014 (New photo and text updates)
References and credits:
Profile of Malik Merchant at Contributors.