Embassy of the People's Republic

I know: I stumped everyone, right up until the fifth clue.

For clues to past Where In Ottawa locations, I relied on the Internet and the information that I could glean on these sites. I would take that information and weave clues.

It took a multi-time winner to tell me, later, that he had taken my clues and used an Internet search to find the locations. The very method I used in creating the clues was used against me to unravel the location.

I still search the Internet but I use less information from that research directly in my clues. For the Embassy of the People's Republic of China, though, I relied less on the Internet and more on my overall knowledge of the century-old* structure.



After four days of tricky clues, which led to many guesses but no successes, I decided to give an easier clue, one that sealed the deal on the photo challenge.

Congratulations to DaniGee and her second victory at this contest. Here are the clues, explained:
  1. Church & state collide—it wasn't really a collision. This building, which is located at 515 St. Patrick Street in Ottawa's Lowertown area, was built by the Congregation of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd as a convent. In 1972, diplomatic relations were established between China and Canada, and The People's Republic purchased the building from the holy order for about $1.6M. Thus, a building that belonged to a religious order (church) met a sovereign state. I'm also guessing that when China took possession of the building, whatever religious statue occupied the recess between the windows, in my photo, was removed.
  2. NOT a church—several guesses pointed to various churches in our city. And I must remind those of you who participate in the contest to place your guesses only on the blog post, not via Twitter (direct messages or otherwise), Facebook, or text messages. While the building had seen decades of use as a convent, it was never classified as a church.
  3. From the sisters to the people—like I said, the convent was built and occupied by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, as the order was also known. In 1972, it passed from the sisters to the People's Republic of China.
  4. Back to the river—as the photo below shows, the back of the embassy faces the Rideau River, near Porter Island and across from Stanley Park, in New Edinburgh. The embassy literally has its back to the river.
  5. This spot can raise a red flag—yes, it can. And it had one when I took the photo, but the wind didn't cooperate and make the Chinese flag wave. DW pointed out the double entente of the clue, but I focused only on the flag.

As this month's winner of Where In Ottawa, DaniGee also got her hands on a copy of my book, Songsaengnim: A Korea Diary. I had the honour of meeting her and presenting her with the photo-challenge giveaway. This year marks the 20th anniversary of my travels in South Korea and the fifth year that my book has been in print.

Want to get your hands on a copy of my book? Visit Chapters-Indigo online, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble. If you live in the Ottawa area, I can provide an autographed copy for $25 (cheaper than the book stores): if you want one shipped to you, we can talk.

Or, you can play Where In Ottawa next month, when I'll give away another copy. The next photo challenge is Monday, May 8.


* I don't know the actual date of the building. A 1928 aerial photo from geoOttawa shows the building well-established, which indicates that it has been around for about 100 years or so.

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