Look at this building. It is a castle. The City Hall for Westmount is a castle. Westmount is a municipality on the island of Montréal. I think that Pickles’ workplace is in Westmount. Westmount is the area of Montréal that is very fancy-pants, it would seem.
I went for a walk around there to visit the library, and walked past this building. It is really impressive.
Here is the building for the Biomedical Ethics Unit. It is an extremely impressive structure. Just look at it! On the first floor, there are seminar rooms, and a fancy-looking foyer, and there are offices all through the other floors.
After my meeting with the philosophy department, it was recommended to me that I speak with the Biomedical Ethics Unit, to discuss my course choices, and to see what courses they could offer me for the autumn term.
When I arrived, I was greeted by the unit’s administrative coordinator, asking if I was their long-lost bioethicist.
“I might be …” I answered, not entirely sure. Apparently they were wondering when I was going to drop by or contact them. I had been doing most of my communication with the Department of Philosophy, but my programme is very much inter-disciplinary, and so I had neglected to communicate much with the Bioethics side.
We figured everything out and chose the remaining course that I will take this term, and I wandered off and took some pictures of the interior of the building, which is beautiful.
Here is a photograph of the sitting area that you’ll see when you first enter the building. Doesn’t it just look warm and inviting? Of course it does.
When I was talking to the director of the Bioethics programme, I finally got to ask about how big my class is. Ready for this? It turns out that there’s four new students in Bioethics this year. Four. Usually it’s a two-year degree, but of course there’s always a few hangers-on, and so there’s about 16 people in the programme, in total.
That’s a small class!
I remember back at Western, in second year, my professor proudly announced that at the time, my Orgo class was the single largest chemistry course ever taught at the undergraduate level, at 1600 students.
Mind you, I’m sure that there will be more than four people in my classes, but still: Four.
Here is a photograph of the door to the Unit, which is also beautiful. I’m going to enjoy studying here. :)
Here’s a cool-looking church in downtown Montréal. I like the way that the steeple reflects in the glass building behind it. The first time I walked past, there was an airplane flying such that I could see it reflected as well, but I was too slow on the trigger to catch it.
I like this building. I especially like the exterior of the corner of this building, as shown in the photograph, left. Maybe it’s the swirly-thing on top. Or maybe it’s the spikey roof over all the windows, which face in every direction.
Pickles and I went for a walk on Wednesday and stopped in at St Joseph’s Oratory, which is very close to our home. So close, in fact, that we use signs around the city that indicate the way to St Joseph’s as signs to help us get back home.
It is really a very beautiful building. It’s huge, for starters. And it’s built on the side of a mountain, so when you’re up inside the building, and you look out, you can see a lot of Montréal. I could see the Orange Julep building from there!
When we first got inside, there were a lot of candles. This is only one of the many banks of hundreds of candles. Some of them were just there in rows and columns, but other sets of candles spelled out words. This one spelled something out, but I can’t remember what, and I can’t make it out on the photograph now. Oh, and if you go behind this bank of candles, it will lead you to a tomb for Frère André (who, as far as I could tell, still lives in the small chapel on the site). You can sign a petition to have him canonised!
If you go behind the next bank of candles, you can find a weird rock-face with a net over it. I guess it’s there because the Oratory was built into a mountain-side, and so they never bothered to do anything with this part of the mountain. I don’t think I would have either. I think it looks pretty cool.
If you go up a few escalators, you’ll eventually make your way to the Basilica, and one of the things that struck me when I saw it first in high school, that Pickles also mentioned, is that it has a very modern-looking interior. I suppose that is shocking because from the outside it looks like a very old building.
On our way up, Pickles saw a sign saying “Basilique” with an arrow pointing up the escalator, and she asked what it meant.
“Oh, a basilique,” I answered, “It’s a sort of giant snake that kills you if it looks at you.”
Inside the basilica, one of my favourite things is the carvings of the Apostles. They’re wooden, and huge, and kind of scary, but also kind of weird. Can you guess which three these are? I’ll give you 5 points if you can.
To give you an idea of the scale of these carvings, I don’t think that the top of my head reached the bottom of the Apostles’ feet.
On our way out, Pickles and I noticed a “reserved” set of stairs going up the mountain to the Oratory. If you read the sign, it says, “reserved for pilgrims who go up on their knees.” And you know what? People were doing just that. Old people. They did it while praying.
Maybe this is me being insensitive and too much of a Baptist for my own good, but it’s much easier to go up on your feet. In fact, if you can get up a little further, there are escalators too, so you don’t have to use your feet even that much. I went all the way up and all the way down and I didn’t have to be at all introspective or prayerful.
On the subject of Catholic things that I don’t understand, Pickles and I saw a prayer to St Joseph written out on a plaque for people to use. It was talking about how no requests, if prayed to St Joseph, will go unanswered.
For those of you out there who weren’t sure (like me) the “Joseph” that is referred to in “St Joseph’s Oratory” is the New Testament Joseph, Mary’s husband. So, it’s not referring to sold-into-slavery, dream-interpreting, Prime-Minister-of-Egypt Joseph from Genesis. To be honest, I don’t even know if he’s a saint.
I had an idea of what the Catholic church thought of Mary, but I guess this tells you what they thought of Joseph.