National Gallery reopening Fountain Garden and Rideau Chapel

The renewed garden inside the National Gallery is about to reopen. Here is a peek. Photo: National Gallery of Canada

That place of quiet contemplation inside the National Gallery of Canada that is known now as the Fred & Elizabeth Fountain Garden Court will be open to the public starting on Saturday after a renovation and replanting under the keen eye of landscape architect  Cornelia Hahn Oberlander.

Working with Vancouver’s Enns Gauthier Landscape Architects the new garden is a metaphor for the Canadian Shield landscape people see when they look out from Nepean Point. It is also a reference to the works that have been produced in Canada by landscape artists over the decades, the Gallery said in a media release.

The Gallery has prepared a time lapsed video of the garden’s replanting, the release added. The garden court was named for Haligonians Fred and Elizabeth Fountain who made a $2 million gift to the National Gallery of Canada in 2017.

The Rideau Chapel, which was closed during the garden redesign, also reopens on Saturday where people can return to enjoy  the hypnotically beautiful Forty-Part Motet by Janet Cardiff inside the equally beautiful Rideau Chapel.

Oberlander described her vision for the garden court in an interview with ARTSFILE published earlier this week,

“It’s a whole new inspiration, and the old courtyard with the ficus trees and the ground cover was no longer valid. You know, after 25 years, things might have to change.

“I always bring a new inspiration to every job,” she said. “I never repeat myself.”

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.