Ottawa and the National Capital Region


144 pages
ISBN 1-55013-197-4
DDC 917.13'84'00222





Photos by Malak
Reviewed by Pleasance Crawford

Pleasance Crawford, a Canadian landscape and garden history researcher
and writer, is the editor of Landscape Architectural Review.


Ottawa and the National Capital Region is a fully bilingual,
large-format book featuring Malak’s color photographs of Ottawa, his
home since 1938. (At the start of a highly personal preface, he
describes his arrival in Ottawa as an apprentice to his brother, and the
birth of his interest in photographing the beauty and pagentry of his
adopted home.)

The photographs are distributed, somewhat arbitrarily, in three
sections: “Official Ottawa,” “The Livable City,” and
“Festivals.” The text consists of a foreword and a brief
introduction to each section by Jean Pigott, Chairman of the National
Capital Commission, plus captions that are occasionally trite and
generally uninspired.

The book is clearly intended for visitors and potential visitors to the
National Capital Region. As such, its selection of photographs is
quirky. Numerous shots show such tourist favorites as Parliament Hill,
the changing of the guard, fireworks displays, Winterlude activities,
the Festival of Spring, and the canal system—but not the Sparks Street
Mall, the first pedestrian shopping street in Canada. It amply
illustrates the city’s two newest tourist attractions: the National
Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Civilization (correctly
attributing the latter to architect Douglas Cardinal, but failing to
attribute the former to architect Moshe Safdie). But is has omissions
and imbalances that careful editing should have corrected. For example,
with one questionable exception, the only people shown in close-up are
white. And, despite the book’s title, photographs of Ottawa far
outnumber those of the National Capital Region.


Pigott, Jean E., “Ottawa and the National Capital Region,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 19, 2024,