Thursday Doors – February 23, 2017

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time), by using the blue link-up button below. 

Cartier Square Drill Hall – Ottawa

While in our nation’s capitol of Ottawa a few weekends ago we visited Centennial Park to take in some of the annual Winterlude festivities.

This outdoor winter festival features live entertainment, family activities such as skating on the Rideau Canal, lots of food stands, and an impressive ice sculpture competition that attracts competitors from all around the world.

This year’s theme is of course Canada’s 150th birthday.


I have plans to show some of those amazing sculptures in an upcoming post, but today for Thursday Doors I thought I’d show you a simple place we discovered right across the road from there, the Drill Hall at Cartier Square.


What it lacks in the way of sexy doors, it more than makes up for in historical significance.

Since its construction in 1879, this building which looks out onto the heart of downtown and the Parliament Buildings has been an Ottawa landmark.

The history around the need for drill halls like this dates back to the years just prior to and just after Canadian Confederation in 1867.


By this time the British had largely given up on maintaining a military presence here and with the constant murmurings from the south of “manifest destiny” and an eventual American takeover of the continent, Canada saw a need to establish a more formal and structured military to replace the loosely aligned volunteer civilian militias spread out across the country.

With a formal military taking shape, places were needed to train them and this two story brick building measuring 230 feet (70 meters) long, with twin 140 foot towers, was one of the first.

In fact it is the only remaining completely intact example in the country of a military training facility built immediately after confederation, when the need to establish a military infrastructure and assert the role of our then fledgling federal government were considered urgent priorities.


It’s amazing to consider that if the U.S. Civil War had ended a few years earlier, or had not occurred at all, then perhaps instead of speaking English and French, today everyone in Canada would be speaking American 😀

But with the Americans still healing and rebuilding from their civil war, Canada had time to establish its own nationwide military infrastructure, and the idea of American manifest destiny was put to rest once and for all.


Today the Drill Hall is still in use and is home to two reserve infantry regiments: the Governor General’s Foot Guards and the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa.

The Governor General’s Foot Guard has a ceremonial side to it, as they are the ones who supply the young reservists who each summer enact the “Changing of the Guard” ceremony conducted daily at 10:00 am on Parliament Hill, a short 10 minute march from there.

Yes, these are the guys in the scarlet uniforms and bearskin hats similar to the ones you’ll see outside of Buckingham Palace in London, the only difference being that our guys are allowed to smile for the tourists 🙂

My favorite architectural feature of the Drill Hall is this beautiful stained glass window of the GGFG’s coat of arms.


As always I thank you for looking 🙂

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About Norm 2.0

World’s youngest grumpy old man & heart failure wonder boy. Interests: writing, woodworking, photography, travel, tennis, wine, and I know a bit about power tools.
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49 Responses to Thursday Doors – February 23, 2017

  1. Pingback: JAWRD – Just Another Water Related Door | Old Guy Walking

  2. That is an impressive building. I love how the dates and names were put in stonework on older buildings! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. reocochran says:

    The stained glass pattern is unique since the design is not balanced. Quite attractive and also special addition to be found in a military training facility building. This Drill Hall has elegance and true beauty in the structure and details, Norm. I liked the diamond shaped glass in the windows, too. 🙂
    I missed Thursday’s Doors this week since busy at work and with family. Thanks for showing us a glimpse of the gorgeous ice sculptures, Happy 150th to Canada! And you far less years, Norm. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nato says:

    What a grand impressive building, and some interesting history. As always, I enjoy your posts. I just need more time in my days to keep up with all that I want to read. You know, in my younger years, history would bore me. Now, and a lot of that has to do with you, I am discovering history is everywhere around us…we just need to look. So thanks for that!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pistachios says:

    It is an impressive building, and all the more so for its historical significance. Definitely looking forward to seeing these ice sculptures next week too! I just got back from some winter festivals in Japan; maybe this one in Ottawa can be my winter destination next year 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I like that coat of arms window too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice sets of doors…I haven’t participated in a long while but I have just added a link to your collection…(Suzanne)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Candy says:

    I really enjoy the history lessons you provide to us. Happy Anniversary year to Canada! You are great neighbors 😉
    I may have to get ‘creative’ this week with my post. Hope it’s not too far out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. jan says:

    It’s a pretty handsome building for a drill hall. I love buildings that have their dates of birth on them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      I agree Jan. Whether it’s on a cornerstone or a header there’s something special about a builder who was proud enough of their work to put a date on it; almost as if they new that what they built was going to last 🙂


  10. Helen Jones says:

    Fabulous old building, Norm! Shame the doors aren’t a bit more ‘sexy’, but the rest of the architecture certainly makes up for it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. jesh stg says:

    Looking so modern – I was surprised to see 1879! Was wondering about the no-nonsense door, but after I read your text, I understood!
    Maybe because you’re talking here about government buildings here, a totally unrelated question, that you as a Canadian would have some view on (approximately – first impression) – is it true that the Canadians have largely lost confidence in their leader? When I saw an article on that, it seemed somewhat exaggerated, or even “not true”?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      I’d be curious to know where you read this rather broad and totally untrue statement. The current government is only 18 months in to their mandate and though they don’t have everyone’s support, I suspect that if we held another election tomorrow they would get an even bigger majority than the one the have now. Yes they have dropped the ball on a few promises but the Prime Minister has for the most part done us proud.
      Plus the opposition parties are all in such disarray right now so there’s no one offering anything better to counter the few unsatisfactory notes.


      • jesh stg says:

        It sounded very exaggarated or untrue, but I don’t live in Canada, so I don’t know! Some of my Dutch countrymen have a totally wrong view of the USA, so I thought I’ld better ask you! Am glad it’s much better than that article said -don’t remember the source)

        Liked by 1 person

  12. marianallen says:

    What the Drill Hall lacks in portalsexiness it more than makes up for in window-and-arch-and-brickwork swooniness. Oh, and the two towers. –Say, that would make a swell book title, wouldn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Donna says:

    I miss Ottawa’s Winterlude…and its lovely old buildings. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Such interesting history! Just think, if the US hadn’t been so preoccupied with the Civil War and its aftermath, you too could be enjoying our current administration! Ever since seeing the Rideau Canal last year, I’ve wanted to take a boat or a kayak trip along its length. Now, maybe I should add ice skating to my wish-list.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Lovely old building, Norm, with fantastic windows. If the invasion of Canada by the Fenians in 1866, at the Battle of Ridgeway, had been successful you might be speaking Irish today, ;).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Jean. I read about those Fenians while researching this. They were in fact one of the factors that convinced the government to get moving on establishing our military as quickly as possible.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Vicky says:

    A rather splendid building, wonderful windows but the doors seem to have been an afterthought as far as splendour goes! Congrats to all Canadians on your 150th anniversary, I can’t believe it’s only 150 years actually, there is so much I don’t know, so much to learn!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Lynn says:

    Norm, we too, were in Ottawa a few weeks ago for Winterlude! Such a great festival & a beautiful city to explore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      I love the place Lynn. We end up in Ottawa usually once or twice a year; this time it was for the Davis Cup tennis event against Great Britain. Having family in the area makes it easier too. We’ll probably be going back in the summer for a Redblacks game – I haven’t been in the new stadium yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Happy 150th! I’m looking forward to the ice sculptures, but I enjoyed this bit of history as well as the drill hall itself in all its stately splen-door. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Janet. It’s going o be a year-long party. I’ll warn you now it might get noisy 😉
      I’m thinking of putting the ice-sculptures into a Tuesdays of Texture post next week. I’ll have to hurry though because with the unseasonably warm weather we’ve had they may just melt first.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Handsome building with a rich history. Beautiful doors and wonderful stained glass window. I’ll look forward to the ice sculptures. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Dan Antion says:

    This was a great discovery, Norm. Thanks for the photos and the history. I’ll apologize on behalf of any ancestors I have who wanted to mix down here. I think you guys are better off. Hopefully the next few years won’t add to the list of things I have to apologize for.

    Thanks again for hosting Thursday Doors. I’ve been swamped at work, and I’ve missed crawling through the lot of them. I hope to get back to that practice, this week. I follow a bunch of the usual gang, perhaps the best thing about Thursday Doors, the people I’ve met.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Dan. No need to apologize. I just find it all so fascinating how much of our history is intertwined and so much of what happened in one place had an effect on what happened in the other.
      I haven’t been around nearly as much myself over the past few months but hey, as you say, I have met some wonderful people I have met through this adventure 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  21. You’re right: that Drill Hall stained glass window is lovely. And kind of a window onto the soul of the place. Thanks for a great post, Norm

    Liked by 1 person

  22. ianbcross says:

    Plain as a pikestaff, solid doors for a solid place. Nice one, Norm.
    My rendition this week contains some photos of paintings of doors, but I revert to form later in the blog.
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Joanne Sisco says:

    A great catch, Norm. I’ve never heard of drill halls before so this was an interesting bit of history. I like the contrasting decorative design above and below the top windows with the horizontal bars.

    Liked by 1 person

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