|Photo credit: CBC|
At that price, I really hope they last a long time.
|Photo credit: www.canadianarchitect.com|
We would don our skates in the shelter of those old huts, and when the NCC upgraded those shelters, I couldn't help but remember those wonderful memories of those structures.
And while those huts no longer line the Rideau Canal, they have not left Ottawa. Since their final removal from the canal, they have sat outdoors, basking in the sunshine, enduring the rain, aging over the four seasons, not very far from my home.
I see them on my commute to work, in the distance, lined end-to-end between the grey agricultural buildings in the south end of the Greenbelt. They are visible from Woodroffe Avenue, near Slack Road, about a half kilometre or so from the transitway corridor.
I can still see them and remember the years of my childhood on the world's largest skating rink. I can almost taste the watery, chalk-like, but warming hot chocolate. The huts are as out of place in their new home as can be.
Earlier this year, I contacted the NCC in an attempt to gain permission to take photos of these nostalgic structures. I wanted to get close, to capture them in a way to honour their memory.
The NCC declined. At the time, I was told that the commission did not want to make it widely public as too the location of these huts. There was still some unwelcome controversy over the new huts, about their cost. They were concerned that photos of the old huts might stir up that controversy again.
While I assured the spokesperson that I wasn't interested in picking at that scab (personally, I feel the price is high but if we get the same number of years out of them as we had with the old huts, it would be money well spent—plus, the new huts look really good). The NCC wasn't willing to take that chance.
I addressed the issue of making the public aware of the huts' location by explaining that they were clearly visible from a major road that led to and from South Nepean, a highly populated neighbourhood. Thousands of commuters saw the huts every day.
Still, the answer was no.
"I have a telephoto lens," I explained. "There's nothing to prevent me from standing at the side of the road and capturing the huts."
The head of the NCC's public relations, whose name I'll withhold, said that he hoped I wouldn't do that.
Sorry. It's what I want.
|© 2014 Ross Brown|
Do you have memories of these huts? If so, share them by leaving a comment. Would you like to see better images of these huts? Let the NCC know by leaving a comment. Maybe, if I try them again, they will have a change of heart.
We can enjoy the new huts while still maintaining happy memories of the old ones.