Forced appreciation of architecture

The Doors Open Ottawa event was just a couple of weekends ago, and I took the kids out to the Lemieux Island Water Purification Plant.

On the way out the kids were asking exactly where I was taking them, so I told them it was Lemieux Island. My daughter piped up with, “Lemeiux, that’s like the guy that owns the penguins.” Well, that’s how I heard it anyway. I thought perhaps she was talking about some book she’d read. What she really meant was, “Lemieux, that’s like the guy that owns the Penguins.” Apparently she’s been getting an education when she goes to hockey games with my husband.

It seems that Lemieux Island is like the smaller, less ornate, slightly-older cousin of the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant in Toronto. It opened in 1932 and was designed by Gore, Nasmith & Storrie – the same firm that designed R.C. Harris.

Like R.C. Harris, Lemieux Island is full of rich Art Deco details and materials: plenty of marble, bronze & brass. One of the workers was reminiscing about the guy who worked there when she started out. His job was to go around polishing all the brass.

I started snapping pictures as we were walking up to the building, and the kids seemed to understand that’s why I’d brought them there. They were not as excited as I was.

They didn’t mind playing with the now-defunct controls. And then when they got to the colouring/activity book table things improved.

We made it through most of a guided tour, but I wasn’t able to chat to anyone who could tell me anything in particular about the history of the building. I had a fantastic time anyway. Next up in Art Deco building exploration is a trip I took last week to Montreal with my friend Louise.

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One Response to Forced appreciation of architecture

  1. Mary Lou says:

    Sadly, I thought of Mario as well. Cool building.