Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Art in the Sussex Courtyards

One of my favourite parts of the Byward Market is the Sussex Courtyards, a series of 4 interconnected courtyards that cover 4 blocks between St. Patrick Street and George Street. Sometimes, I like to walk through them all and avoid the noisy busy streets, as I did this afternoon. The first is the Beaux-Arts Courtyard, which is closest to the National Gallery. Very artsy gateway to the courtyard! 

As I entered the courtyard, I noticed some pictures hanging on the wall to the right. I went over to investigate.

This sign was hanging nearby to explain what the pictures were. It is for a project called Portraits in the Street, and includes portraits from the Library and Archives of Canada. Since Canada does not have an actual portrait gallery building (shamefully), this is a way to display them to the public. They will be displayed in the Sussex Courtyards this summer.  

This is a portrait of Callixa Lavallee, the composer of Canada's national anthem. Wasn't he a sensitive-looking guy?

After leaving the Beaux Art Courtyard, one crosses Murray Street to get to the second courtyard, called the Tin House Courtyard.  

It is called the Tin House Courtyard because there is a reproduction of part of a tin house displayed on one wall inside the courtyard. The original was made by a tinsmith who lived in the area long ago. It is a beautiful ornate thing and is even better when it is lit up at night. As you can see, a portrait is hanging under it.

This is a portrait of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Canada's first French-Canadian prime minister. It is actually a reproduction of a caricature that appeared in Britain's Vanity Fair magazine.

Leaving the Tin House Courtyard, one crosses Clarence Street to enter the next courtyard, Jeanne d'Arc Court. The entryway is very narrow and easy to miss, but it is quite nice and open inside.

In the middle of the Jeanne d'Arc Court, there is a wonderful sculpture of a dancing bear.

The last courtyard is Clarendon Lanes. It is the biggest courtyard and has several restaurants, including Planet Coffee, one of my favourite cafes.

There were several portraits hanging in Clarendon Lanes. This is a portrait of Arthur Erickson, one of Canada's most significant architects. Lots of white space in this portrait, which is appropriate for an architect.

Unfortunately, it was a very cloudy dull day, and the Sussex Courtyards and portraits were not very bright and colourful. Just so you don't think my day was entirely grey and colourless, I took a picture of the tulips in Ottawa's Tulip Festival in Major's Hill Park, not far from the courtyards. Aren't the colours in this bed of tulips amazing?

1 comment:

Knatolee said...

I've walked by Planet Coffee several times. I need to go in there!!