A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 234: MosaiCanada 150


Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday as a nation this year. The capital city of Ottawa, Ontario is my home and in many ways the center (or centre) of the birthday celebrations. But of all the amazing things that have gone on so far in Ottawa in 2017 to mark the occasion, from my perspective the most impressive one is happening right across the river in Gatineau, Quebec.

I had a chance to walk through the wonder that is MosaiCanada 150 in Jacques Cartier Park in Gatineau about a week ago. Here is a description from the City of Gatineau’s website:

For 107 days, Jacques-Cartier Park will host the biggest horticultural event in Canada, with MOSAÏCANADA 150/Gatineau 2017. Mosaiculture is a most spectacular horticultural technique that combines the following different art forms:

  • sculpture for the structure,
  • paint for the palette of colours, and
  • horticulture as the means of creating living and changing artworks with plants.

The theme of the Gatineau exhibit will reflect 150 years of history, values, culture and arts in Canada, represented by some 40 different arrangements. 


All the provinces are represented in different sculptures, as are key elements of history and culture, of the indigenous people and the impact of the arrival of the first Europeans and the waves of immigrants, creating the mosaic known as Canada. The beauty of the wilderness and the unique things that define this country are also on display. There are also contributions from China as an expression of goodwill and friendship for Canada’s 150th.

I was overwhelmed by the skill and artistry and the sheer scope of this project. It was beautiful and instructive and inspiring. If you are anywhere near Ottawa or planning to be here soon, I cannot recommend a visit more highly – It is free and on until October 15, 2017.

Here are more photos I took during my visit:

A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 51: A Gallery of Ice

Today is the final day of Winterlude 2017 here in Canada’s capital city. One of the privileges of living in Ottawa is being able to easily access special events like these. 2017 also happens to be the year of Canada’s 150th birthday. Ottawa will be at the center of that celebration and I am looking forward to all that is in store.

Each year Winterlude provides a great context to enjoy the season that must be embraced to be survived in our part of the world. By that I don’t mean you are necessarily in any physical danger (we do have central heating, wooly socks, Tim’s coffee and other Canadians to keep us warm). What I mean is that winter can drag you down with its short days, cold temps, seemingly endless shovelings, ice pellets, and potholes… lots of potholes. But to only focus on the negative of the season is to miss the magic and the beauty, the fun and brilliant sunshine, the sheer joy of the bracing cold that makes you feel wondrously alive. Embracing it is key to making it through.

Thank God, then, for Winterlude. The city of Ottawa puts on a wintry party every year with lots of opportunities for fun, music, food and, the annual highlight, sculptures of ice. Last week Friday evening, my wife, son and I went downtown to take in some of the festivities and to enjoy the skillful and creative work of sculptors from all over the world.

Below is a gallery of these impermanent masterpieces (they will all melt, after all). If you aren’t able to be in Ottawa to enjoy Winterlude or have the misfortune of living somewhere where there is no winter (poor you), here’s a chance to see the beauty of this frigid season captured in ice…


“Surfing with Dolphins” by Ross & Antonio Baises, the Philippines


“Dew Drop” by Kevin Ashe & Nathan McKeough, Canada


“Sweet Dreams” by Lawrence MacFarlane & Scott Harrison, Canada


“To a Lucky Star” by Valeriy Batalov & Eduard Ponomarenko, Russia


“Liquid Dream” by Angelito Baban & Fermin Jr. Gomez, the Philippines


“Dream Come True Bird” by Junichi Nakamura & Hideshi Terada ,Japan


“Wish for a Fish” by Egor Stepanov & Alexey Andreev, Russia


“Whale in the Wind” by Stephen Koch & Heather Brice, U.S.A.


“Dream Weaver” by Dean Murray & Michael Stoddart , U.S.A.


“Peace and Love in the World” by Samuel Girault (France) & Michael Mizula (Poland) – Grand Prize winner