2014/11/22 Leave a comment
Andrew Cohen on the parochial nature of Ottawa. All too true:
John Baird, the minister responsible for Ottawa, who speaks of its “treasured” institutions, sees the capital much as he does our historic diplomatic residences abroad, which the government is selling. Too expensive. Too extravagant.
Recently, Baird went to Washington with Mark Kristmanson, the new head of the National Capital Commission. Kristmanson is smart, innovative and full of terrific ideas, one of which is to illuminate Ottawa in a symphony of light.
If Baird looked around Washington, he would have seen how to remake a great capital where museums matter.In the last 15 years, Washington has renovated the American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. It has built the National Museum of the American Indian and is building the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. It is re-imagining The Castle of the Smithsonian Institution.
But don’t stop there. Look at Baltimore, restoring its Museum of Art on its 100th anniversary. Or bankrupt Detroit, where they have saved the Detroit Institute of Arts. Or, Tacoma, Washington, where the art museum has been expanded.
Look at London, Paris, Tokyo, Rome and Berlin, where the German government, in particular, has sunk millions into a multi-year campaign to restore the treasures of Museum Island.
Ottawa? That would be presumptuous.