There’s a tradition in magick that you must know the True Name of something in order to gain power over it. That goes double for story research.
Some things are easy. If you want to look up how many doors there are on a 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier all you have to do is search for 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier and boom! there it is.
But what if you have never been inside the Prime Minister of Canada’s private office and you want to know what it looks like? The obvious search term is Canada Prime Minister’s office, but all that gets you is a series of references to the Office of the Prime Minister,, which is a department. You can easily find its staff, and functions, but no pictures.
That’s when the fun begins. I discovered by looking through a ton of news reports that Canada’s Prime Minister doesn’t have a fixed office, like the U.S. President’s Oval Office. In theory the PM can choose any office they want. By tradition, a dinky little office on the third floor is the one most pick, leaving the big, sunny office upstairs for the Opposition Leader. So which PM’s office do you want?
Okay, after a side quest for the room number of the proper person’s office I found out that the one I wanted is indeed the traditional one. Now, what does it look like?
There are lots of pictures of PMs meeting with various VIPs, but no actual indication of where those pictures were taken. The office? A special meeting room?
After a while, I discovered that PM Harper let Google come in and take 360 degree pictures of some parts of the Parliament buildings, including his office. So, all I need is Google, right?
Wrong. Google Maps shows you where various photographs were taken in and around famous places, but none of them are actual Google photographs.
Google has a blog, and in one entry I found the pictures they’d taken. Why these aren’t easier to find, I have no idea, but I finally found out what the room looks like and how it is laid out. Of course, each PM is free to choose their own furniture, so I still wasn’t home free.
I had to find pictures of meetings that were obviously taken in the office (by recognising the panelling in the background), and hope that they showed enough of the furniture so I could describe it.
In case you want to find the pictures, try searching for official google canada prime minister’s office. That was obvious, wasn’t it?
Oh, and in case you want to cut corners, Justin Trudeau got rid of Stephen Harper’s desk (shown in the photos) and got his father’s old desk out of storage. You have to look up pictures of Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s desk to get the description right. Trust me, if you don’t, somebody somewhere will know and complain to everybody that you obviously have no idea what you are talking about.