Downtown office workers walk by them every day. And over time, some of the most culturally and historically significant monuments in Ottawa's core become part of the backdrop.
In an effort to get city residents to take notice of and learn more about the city's significant monuments and sites, the National Capital Commission is offering free crash courses on landmarks Friday.
Monumental! — free hour-long tours to mark the International Day of Monuments and Sites Saturday — will touch on landmarks including the National War Memorial, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Valiants Memorial at Confederation Square; the Rideau Canal and the Government Conference Centre at the Plaza Bridge; the Queen Elizabeth II monument, Women are Persons! and Sir John A. Macdonald at Parliament Hill; the Centennial Flame; and the Kwakuitl Totem, the Colonel By Fountain and the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument at Confederation Park.
The tour is unique because instead of targeting tourists, it's aiming to draw "people who work in the core on their lunch hour," said tour guide Melannie Eldridge.
"I think it's a great idea. So many locals walk by on a regular basis, but so many probably don't take the time to reflect."
"I think people take them for granted and that they become part of day-to-day life," agreed Marion Mulvenna, co-ordinator of Commemorations and Public Art at the NCC.
The tours will be held Friday at 11:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in English and in French at noon.
Participants are asked to meet in front of 40 Elgin St. at Sparks Street.