an urban family day


goodbye mr. chips

After a weekend full of moving I bid farewell to my old apartment, leaving behind the shiny floors, high ceiling and western exposure. I left behind some plants, bookshelves, and a couch with upholstery I never liked. It was a long weekend in Alberta, Family Day to be precise, so I had an extra day to recover from all the packing and all the stress related to moving.

It can come as no surprise that my chosen method of relaxation involved my camera. It was a particularly beautiful winter day, a vivid blue sky and a temperature so mild that one could wander around gloveless and not suffer from fingers frozen from adjusting camera settings and pushing the shutter button.

My chum Tom and I decided to wander somewhat aimlessly around downtown, starting first with a stroll to Ezio Farone park to admire the High Level Bridge and frozen river, before venturing through the underground tunnel that connects the Legislature Grounds to the Grandin LRT station.

We arrived at the Legislature while volunteers were still preparing for Family Day celebrations. The tunnels are a bit hilarious in how dated they look. Display units for brochures and pamphlets have this classic look to them, so much so that you sort of doubt that any of the information available is up-to-date. One sort of expects there to be a thick layer of dust on everything.

on schedule

we worship the sun

Tom and I wandered as far as we could in the tunnels without requiring security access. There were a few happy surprises along the way, like this bunch of balloons locked in silent combat with the concrete ceiling.

hitting the concrete ceiling

Eventually we surfaced from the tunnels, randomly choosing a set of stairs that led to a view of the Legislature building. The tint and curve of the stairwell ceiling gave a sort of natural holga effect to the view. Tom and I both stood and admired the scene for a few minutes before carrying on our photographic stroll.

francis ford cupola

Last week I had gone for a stroll during the City's annual Winter Walk Day, and the selected route had offered numerous photographic opportunities that I wanted to go back when I had more time. Although I had been to the leg grounds many times, there were still numerous buildings that I had not photographed before. One was the Legislature Annex, a boxy mid-century modern structure whose turquoise panels are both hideous and beautiful.

the annex

We continued from the leg grounds to photograph buildings on the south side of Jasper. I don't usually have much reason to wander in that area on a regular basis, and other than the winter walk it had been almost a year since I had spent any amount of time in that neighbourhood.

building blocks


One rarely encounters another soul in that part of the city outside of regular work hours. I realize that it is not exactly a sign of downtown vibrancy and I should wish that more people would be out and about at all times, but there is something nice about the solitude, especially when I'm photographing. It's like I have the buildings all to myself and there's no pressure to get moving because I'm blocking someone's path. I like the unobstructed view, the unfettered access. Sure I would give that up if it meant that downtown could be more lively all the time, but for the time being I'm taking advantage of the quiet.


  1. Lovely post and photo essay. The tunnels under the legislature always remind me of a bygone era, one that likely won't be preserved to the same extent as other periods in architectural history.