Friday, June 23, 2017

Solstice Peace Walk Around the Labyrinth

On solstice evening, the community had a peace walk around the labyrinth behind the museum.

It began with a lovely dance by Parvaneh Rowshan in a gorgeous costume from India.

Then, there was a native drummer and singer.

As the crowd made ready to walk the labyrinth, the Rhythm and Song Community Choir from nearby Almonte began to lead them with beautiful, haunting melodies.

And the people walked and meditated.

Sue took some video, and I have put 3 clips together. They show the drummer, the choir, and some walking around the labyrinth. Length: 53 seconds.

It was a lovely summer evening with the winds dying down and the sun coming out after a not so nice day. What a fine way to greet the summer.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Those Cells

By the time the prison was mothballed, the cells were twice as wide as they were originally. In the photo below, that block in mid-ceiling would have been the dividing line between two cells.

Even after fist enlarging the cells, there was double occupancy, so there really wasn't much more room per prisoner.

After the '71 riot, however, the cells were changed to single occupancy, and as far as I could see, the inmates used the lower bunk as a table.

As I've mentioned previously, the original cells were a paltry 29" wide, 8' deep, and only 6'7" high. In the museum, which is located in the prison governor's mansion across the street, there was a replica of an original cell. Danica, standing in front of the gate/door, gives us an idea of what a narrow space it was.

I managed to get a bit of a shot of the inside showing a manikin in bed. The bed would have had to be rolled up in the morning to give the prisoner a bit of pacing room.

Pretty bleak, eh?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hubba Hubba

The title is a very poor bit of wordplay on The Hub of the prison, which we are featuring today. Or at least the hub of the cell block building, which I guess is fair to call the main part of the prison complex.

(Keep in mind in whatever I write that I am recalling information as best as I can from my memory from a fairly quick tour, so I don't guarantee complete accuracy. However I do think I have the gist of it.)

The hub operated under an impressive dome, with 4 cell blocks radiating away from the centre. There were 4 levels of cell blocks. You can see 3 active levels in the following photo, and you can also see that the 4th was closed off after the 1971 riots. 

After 1971 a secure, enclosed control room was built on the floor of the hub under the dome.

But it used to be open with the main and detested object being a brass bell which rang the order of the days. The bell was so detested that it was smashed during the riot, never to be replaced. It now sits in a display case in the museum across the street. Click on this YouTube link for about 1 minute to see and hear a bit about the bell.

Back to the hub, there was a picture of the inmates enjoying a concert, but such events were eliminated after the riot. I am not sure how the riot began although I did read an account of it in a book a very long time ago, but, plainly, such a gathering could be fraught with danger.

This is one of the rows of cell blocks as it radiates away from the hub on the ground floor.

And this is what a cell block looks like.

In this particular cell block, there hung a photo taken after the riot.

At one time the ceiling was open to all 4 levels of cell blocks. That was also changed after the big riot as yet another security measure. More about the riot on this YouTube link. The riot section of the video lasts for about 9 minutes if you decide to watch it all.

to be continued

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Kingston Pen

Naturally, I took loads of pics at the Pen on Fathers Day. On a timed tour, you do what you can while trying to stay up with the group, so they were hurried, but a few are okay. I am going to concentrate on the building, both outside and inside, in this post, which was constructed from local limestone.

Construction took place in 1833-34, and the Provincial Penitentiary of the Province of Upper Canada opened in 1835 with a total of 154 tiny cells but with only six initial prisoners.

I did this batch of photos in black and white with a bit of a gritty look, which seemed appropriate to me.

A corner tower seen from the outside. It would have overseen
one corner of the exercise yard.

Abandon hope all ye who enter here
The tower at the other corner of the Yard, which was cement covered and divided into two sections for crowd control.

We didn't get into most buildings, but we did see the inside of the former workshop building, the entrance of which was quite impressive. The follwing three photos are of the entrance hall,.

Unfortunately, the actual workshop rooms were empty, so it was difficult to get a flavour for the original workings. We did get into the former Mattress Workshop, and I was quite taken with the red brick ceiling. I am tempted to show it in colour, but I have decided to keep this post in monochrome.

That rascal, JJ, made an unscheduled appearance.

On the wall was an illustration of one of the shops in times past when work was going on.

And that's it for this post, but I am not finished with the Pen. No indeedy. I can hear the deep sighs of eager anticipation from you all the way over here.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Fathers Day in Jail

The second event of Fathers Day was a trip down to Kingston for a tour of the now defunct but historic Kingston Penitentiary. Thanks fully, they now run tours, which are heavily booked.

When Shauna asked us if we were interested, she noted that they were being booked quickly, and indeed there were no walkups for our tour.

We didn't really book it with Fathers Day in mind, but it really made for a nice, memorable day for me after that great start at the restaurant for breakfast.

I will probably post more photos and more detail later, but for now, let me hit you with a few photos, all done in an old fashioned albumen processing style because the history of this penitentiary goes back almost 200 years.

So, without much further comment ...

Mug shots ... sort of ↑

A cell block ↓

Hardened inmates ↓

From the segregation ward with the food slot in the second photo ↓

It was an interesting tour of what is arguably Canada's most famous prison, certainly Ontario's.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Fathers Day Breakfast

While it is Fathers Day for most of you right now as I type this, mine was yesterday because the grands have their own father to attend to today. Besides, if you're going to do breakfast out, it is well that you don't do it on the actual Sunday.

While we were waiting for the food to arrive, we had some hugs.

And we had gifts, which Danica had to help with. It's a good thing because I can use all of the help that I can get.

It turned out that they were solar lights for the garden. Excellent idea and gift.

Also, some hand crafted ceramic coasters.

From Sue came a shirt. This is funny because when we look back at older photos, whether it be Christmas, birthday or Fathers day, it seemed that I was always holding up a shirt, in this fashion.

There were also pjs, which included another shirt of sorts. The looks began to get weird. 😎

It was a very fine beginning to a most excellent Fathers Day. I will get to part 2 in due course.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Morning and Evening

I strolled along our woodsy path one morning and saw a lot of green, which, however much appreciated, did not make for an inspiring photo.

I did notice this little bundle of unfallen seedpods and thought they stood out from the background somewhat. I like the bokeh of other pods in the background.

I also spied a little clump of fleabane (erigeron), pretty little flowers but even smaller than in the photo below.

That evening, I drove up to Appleton at sunset. As I have previously bemoaned, it is difficult to find good sites for either sunrise or sunset shots locally. But there is a little boat launch that I thought might yield a western exposure, and I was right — sort of. It's not spectacular, but I was able to make it work. I shot with a very wide angle to find some foreground.

A little later, on the way out of the hamlet, I pulled over for this shot.

On my way home, the sky lit up even more spectacularly, but I wasn't able to pull over, and I wouldn't have been by water if I had. Just a note, however, that the best part of the sunset is sometimes after the sun goes down. The same is true of sunrise — once the sun rises the best light vanishes quickly.

The summer weather is drawing me out more, but the best photographic opportunities occur in a short window of time — sunrise and sunset — so one cannot always take advantage.