Friday, October 08, 2010

Ottawa’s Chinatown Gateway

Yesterday, the arch that we’ve seen slowly building up over Somerset Street West at Cambridge was finally unveiled in a ceremony that included John Baird, Ottawa Mayor Larry O’Brien, and the Chinese Ambassador to Canada, Lan Lijun. Said to be the most beautiful arch of its kind in Canada (alongside pre-existing arches in Edmonton, Montreal and Vancouver), it was built to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Canada-China Diplomatic Relations, and called a “twin-city project between the Cities of Ottawa and Beijing.” My photos of the royal style arch simply don’t do it justice, and really needs to be seen to be believed, such as in late afternoon, as the setting sun breezes through the glazed tiles and layers of gold leaf. For further pictures, there was a blog created to showcase the construction, which took six months and included a dozen green-uniformed artisans from China’s Hunan province who arrived in April to construct the 12-metre arch. What will the other communities around Ottawa do in response? Is this why we’ve seen, over the past few weeks, that series of fifteen statues appearing along the stretch of Preston Street, or those white sculptures that have mysteriously grown up around Parkdale along Wellington Street West?

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