19 February 2011

something old, something new

The old school-yard adage goes, "If you love something that much, why don't you marry it?"  Well, I love this park... and while I'm not preparing for any human-to-park nuptials, I did think it would be interesting to perform a something old, something new walk using an old map of the park, a new map of the park, and a series of photographs taken by the British Royal Engineers between 1870 and 1885 for inspiration.  I've been walking the park a lot this week, and it amazes me how much change is happening ALL the time.

Quarry Pond, 1875 and now
The quarry pond is said to have been excavated originally to mine the rock used in both the early Batteries and the Prince of Whales Tower.  Historically, the remaining dug-out site has been used for skating and a pond hockey rink, leaving only one question - why don't we still skate on Quarry Pond?

Prince of Whales Tower, early 1900's and now
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, for which the Prince of Whales Tower was named, must have had a penchant for round structures, he is responsible for not only for the clock-tower at the base of citadel hill, but also the round building on the Basin side of the Bedford Highway, called the Round House Prince's Lodge, which is rumoured to have been constructed as a cottage for his French lover, Julie St. Laurent... salacious!

Guardhouse at Prince of Whales Tower, 1880
The Guardhouse was also known as the Gunners' Quarters, and when the Tower was armed, it was manned by the Royal Artillery.  In this particular photo on the left, a corporal from the Artillery stands in front of the house.  The stick construction to the left of the Quarters is said to have been used to farm and keep poultry.  The current site, pictured on the right, is still cleared and holds the sense of a once-purposed site.

Cambridge Battery, 1878 and now
Currently, Parks Canada is doing restorative work on the Cambridge Battery site, I can't wait to see the site in spring!  The Batteries were not only an armament site where guns were placed, and later canons, but they were guarded sites where ammunition was kept.  Both photos above show the Cambridge magazines (store area for arms, munitions, provisions and explosives in military operations).

4-colour lithographic botanical illustration, tree on Ogilvie Road in Point Pleasant (current)
I couldn't resist including an image of this amazing tree growing in the park and supporting lovely specimens of tree fungi.  Around the same time when the park was first landed by the British, Charles Darwin was in the process of publishing his first scientific papers.  Botanical studies were performed on grand levels, such as Darwin's travels, but also on a more modest level in Victorian homes as a means of displaying governance over wild nature!  As spring progresses, I will be exploring a project that involves terrariums and Victorian notions of mastery through collection, food procurement, and how that relates to survival theory.  I have started a collection of vessels at the Gatekeeper's Lodge which will become these self-sustaining environments.

Postcard, 1910 and now
We end our something old, something new tour-de-force back at the Gatekeeper's Lodge, which out of all the sites, I find this structure has remained the most unchanged by far over the last century.  The span of time stretching between this before and after photo is officially 101 years - and that is something to celebrate.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like an amazing project and residency- looking forward to following your progress!