seminar title The Upside-Down Astrolabe Tour: Colonialism & Confederation
In 1996, Assembly of First Nations Chief Ovide Mercredi visited Ottawa’s Nepean Point and was disgusted to find a racist statue of a nearly-naked, unnamed Indigenous man crouched at the feet of a grand statue to Samuel de Champlain, an explorer who the accompanying plaque described as “the first great Canadian”. As a response to protests led by Mercredi, the National Capital Commission moved the Indigenous scout to Major Hill’s Park. Champlain, however, has kept his spot, and continues to thrust an (upside-down) astrolabe triumphantly in the air, enjoying an excellent panoramic view of the National Capital Region. Beginning at Nepean Point, this walk and talk explores how colonial logic shapes Ottawa’s built environment. The tour continues through Major’s Hill Park, dips into the Byward Market, and ends on Parliament Hill where we will meet many storied statues (one statue was accused of sexual harassment, another was designed by the famous sculptor Walter Allward). Through the statues, we will discuss and unsettle the dominant understandings of Confederation celebrated on Parliament Hill. About your tour guide: Tonya Davidson is a sociologist who has spent many years studying the social lives of Ottawa’s statues. She has published in the academic journals: Space and Culture, Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, the Public Historian, and the Journal of Canadian Studies. Tonya has also written for various magazines including Briarpatch, Herizons, THIS, and Canadian Dimension. She teaches sociology at Carleton University. Further details: Meeting place: Nepean Point (Champlain statue) Ending place: Parliament Hill Duration: 1.5 hours Total distance covered: approx 2.5 km Ease of terrain: flat terrain, some stairs Accessibility: alternative route available to accommodate wheelchair accessibility, please ask On-demand: Tonya may also be able to offer this tour on demand to groups of 3+ (at flexible times). Please get in touch with us at email@example.com for more information about this option.
- walking seminar guide - The Upside-Down Astrolabe Tour: Colonialism & Confederation
- availability - Runs Saturdays (10:30am start) and Thursdays (2:00pm start)
- meeting place - Nepean Point