Friday, June 18, 2004

Slick your hair and wear your buckled shoes

Because I'm off work today (slowdown for the lowest-seniority employees due to shipping problems from Canada Post - grrr), I felt like waxing Lileksian along Sparks Street, and captured this wonderful Art Deco triptych. The first of these architectural gewgaws belongs to 109 Bank (not on Sparks, but arguably the sleekest example of the style in the city), now a UPS retail outlet but formerly the Ottawa Hydro-Electric Commission - you can still see the ghost lettering - and built in 1935. The second is obviously from the Hardy Arcade, at 130 Sparks, and built in 1936; it's now empty, and though designated a heritage building, seems to be today in the process of being demolished. The third is from the Bank of Montreal's Ottawa flagship location, built in 1932, and featuring a frieze of such precise Palladian proportions that the basilica in Zeus' hands could be the old U of O logo. I wish Ottawa had more Art Deco buildings; they just feel so sharp and clean, even seventy-odd years on. They had style that depressing Stalinist office towers can never hope to match.

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