Posts Tagged ‘festivals’

The Mexican Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) holiday is celebrated October 31st-November 2nd; however, festivities are being held at Harbourfront this weekend.

Ballet Folklorico Puro Mexico

Ballet Folklorico Puro Mexico

Ofrenda for Amalia Hernández Navarro

Ofrenda for Amalia Hernández Navarro


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On the Waterfront, 1st weekend of autumn

I had an interview earlier in the week. I actually didn’t make it to the interview. An hour and a half into the commute I called and cancelled. An hour and half and I still wasn’t there and this was in excellent weather with no transit mishaps. It was for a part-time research coordinator job at a college. I’ve applied for a number of jobs at the college and universities that are in walking distance of where I live but never anything. On my way back I got a call for another interview. It’s for a campaign manager at a small company about a 10-minute walk away. The interview’s on Monday.

Today’s photos are once again about just being out and about. I went for a walk along the waterfront and took in the Word On the Street Festival. I took advantage of the free admission at the Bata Shoe Museum as part of the Culture Days Festival. I made a return visit to the green roof podium at City Hall. I enjoyed the end of summer/early fall light while running errands.

Joining the Visible’s over at Patti’s Not Dead Yet Style link up.

Poetry Slam

Poetry Slam

Men in Heels exhibition

Men in Heels exhibition

Couple on the green podium

Alleyway with awesome light and a place to put my camera

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Photos from the first weekend of Winterlude at Confederation Park. The ice sculptors were busy adding the finishing touches to their work for the noon deadline.

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Central Chambers building, Queen Anne Revival style, 1890

June 4th & 5th marked the 10th annual Doors Open Ottawa weekend. Of the 111 participating sites I made it out to about 10. There were a few others I would have liked to visit but late starts, bus schedules, distances, walking and just enjoying the day came into play. Weatherwise it was a perfect weekend.

The Central Chambers building is one of my favourites. It looks more like a contemporary revival rather than a Victorian-era building. It was the first building in Ottawa to have an electric elevator and is thought to be the first in North America with bay windows.

The grounds at Rideau Hall are spectacular. I wonder if the Governor Generals ever have the time or inclination to enjoy this beautiful oasis. As for the residence, the tent room, a former indoor tennis court, is kinda quirky and gay, but, what I most enjoyed were the paintings representing early immigration to Canada.

And just a couple blocks away, Gordon Harrison’s cottage studio was a lovely spot with live music, wine and, of course, quite awesome art works.

The Lester B. Pearson building, home to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, had a great collection of models of Canadian embassies in other parts of the world, as well as staff, literature and video on DFAIT’s roles.

Maplelawn is a beautiful Georgian-style home and garden. The historical building has been re-adapted and currently functions as a restaurant. The walled gardens date back to 1833 and served as a vegetable garden. It holds a lovely collection of perennials and the grounds are maintained by volunteers.

The Enriched Bread Artists and Gladstone Clayworks Coop are housed in another re-adapted building. The 1924 industrial building was the site of the Standard Bread Factory. I had meant to stop in at the nearby Traffic Operations but with thoughts of coffee in my head it slipped my mind.

I had started Sunday at Fairfields, a 19th century Gothic Revival farmhouse. It was home to five generations of the Bell family and also functioned as a tavern and hotel. In addition to farming, various members of the family were active in law and politics. A number of period artifacts were on display in the garden and, even with the interpreter’s clues, I was not able to guess what most of them had been used for.

Keg Manor – Thompson House, Maplelawn

Maplelawn Gardens

Standard Bread, 1924

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Volunteered at the 7th annual Southern Ontario Amazing Race on Sunday. The event raises funds for the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington. I was stationed at the Taste Test Challenge and had a great time. Congratulations to all 20 race teams!

Prior to the event, I caught a couple of the Contemporary Dance Festival performances in Exhibition Park – Suddenly Dance Theatre’s Courtyard for a Bird and Lady Janitor’s Ah! Mes Synchronettes. I love the arts and the performances were simply amazing!

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Sucre is a beautiful city! The historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the square is surrounded by whitewashed buildings. It’s a small university city, with a population of approximately 215,000. It’s also the judicial capital of Bolivia and home to many law offices.

I had read that this is an excellent place to take Spanish lessons and I head over to Fox Academy to arrange for more lessons. It’s now been almost two months since taking classes in Guanajuato and I’m eager for more. Fox is a private non-profit school that is recommended by Volunteer South America. I also highly recommend them, particularly my instructor, Lourdes.

I arrive a couple days before the start of carnival and it seems like a quiet city.  Festivals have a way of loosening things up and Carnival is no exception! The streets fill with people and merriment. For about a week, the city is alive with music, parading, and water balloons.  At first it’s just the local youth having fun water bombing each other; but, as the week progresses just about everyone becomes a participant and target of the water celebrations. I can’t get more than a few steps from my hotel without a relentless soaking!  Fortunately, it’s a very warm week and everyone is in good spirits.
Carnival is associated with the growing season. On the final day, as I make my way to class, I notice quite a few people burning incense. Lourdes says it’s the most important day of the festival. It’s a much quieter day, although the festivities start up again later in the afternoon.

This is a great city to just hang out in but I do visit the Casa de Libertad, where the Declaration of Independence is on hand – the most important place in Bolivia. I also check out the museo enthografica – it has an interesting mask collection, and I take a day trip tour to Tarabuco, an indigenous market town about 65 km away. I even ride the Dino Truck to Parque Cretacico.

The dinosaur footprints are on a vertical section of mountain at a cement quarry; although, as the park interpreter explains, when the dinosaurs left these prints the ground was flat and Sucre was a lake. The Nazca tectonic plate is responsible for the formation of the Andes mountain range.

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(February 2009)

I catch my first glimpse of Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest commercially navigable lake, and my senses awake to its beauty. The feeling of awe sinks as the bus makes its way down into Puno. The city looks drab and dreary and as my impressions are taking shape I’m startled by the sight of a woman in a brightly-coloured, flamboyant dress and matching bowler hat. Her presence seems so at odds with the mid-morning hour and the blandness of the streetscape. By the time we reach the bus terminal at the foot of the port I can see and feel Puno’s bustle and energy.

Puno is the folklore capital of Peru and the Festival of the Virgen de la Candelaria, which takes place during the first two weeks of February, is in full swing. It combines religious processions where conservatively dressed people parade solemnly up and down the streets carrying statues of the Virgin with the more vibrant and larger processions of beautifully costumed dancers and marching bands. This starts small in the mornings and continues, gaining momentum and people, well into the nights!

I booked a half-day tour to nearby Sillustani. The funerary towers – chullpas – date from the Incas but are remnants of the Aymara-speaking Colla tribe. The location on a peninsula in Lago Umayo is starkly beautiful. After exploring the site we made a stop at a nearby village and were invited into a family’s homestead. The adobe buildings and outdoor cooking area speak of a very simple existence yet the welcoming cows statuette at the entrance, ginuea pig pen, llamas, flower garden and friendliness of the family conveyed a sense of well-being and comfort.

The following day I was off on another tour. This time to the Uros Islands. There are about 50 islands, which are home to approximately 2,000 inhabitants. The islands are constructed out of reeds, as are the houses and boats. The reeds rot and need to be continually replenished. The islanders’ ancestors wanted to avoid war and conflict with the Collas and Incas and thought the Sacred Lake, Titicaca, would make an ideal home. It is fascinating that they still choose to live on the lake, which houses a hospital and a couple of elementary schools.


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