I can't really seem to recall quite so many people the last time I was in Ottawa for Canada Day. This would have been back in 2001. Of course, as I recall, that day involved leave the dorm res I was stay at, going over to the Museum of Civilization, watching Dups become a citizen, then heading over to a pub in the Byward Market and drinking quite a bit.
All in all, an excellent day.
Today was also a good day, just filled a lot more people. We headed up to Parliament Hill today with friends Dups, Niall and Rebecca. We saw the musical ride, a few bands and, oh yes, the Queen. I know most Canadians really could give a rat's ass about the British monarch and when Elizabeth dies, I think Charles is going to in for quite a shock with the volume of Commonwealth countries that are going to abandon the monarchy.
But for right now, they still love her. Huge crowds to see her go by.
Most of the rest of the day was just ambling by, seeing all the stuff was going on, and watching one of those rare blasts of Canadian patriotism. Canadians seem to be allergic to patriotism unless it involves hockey. And yeah, a little goes a very long way. But it was nice to see lots and lots of people dressed up in red, wearing shirts that say Canada and generally enjoying the day.
Having said that, there were a few hiccups to the day.
1. Perhaps Ottawa has a good bus system, but maybe using a Sunday schedule and encourage people to use buses rather than trying to drive downtown was not the best idea. To call the buses crowded would be an understatement and there were a lot of very, very annoyed people waiting for buses. If you want to use buses, then use them, but organize them a lot better than what was done today. It was just chaos.
2. The police presence was pretty good, given that the queen was there and I'm sure that adds an extra level of security and whatnot. But 15 minutes after the Queen had left Parliament Hill, they were still not really letting people cross the street to get down to the Sparks Street area. So you were getting large groups of people who were getting very grumbly. The crowd control was not the best.
3. Perhaps after you finish playing "God Save the Queen" and making sure she's safely in her seat, your first musical act should not be French rappers. I'm just saying...
4. Some idiot brought vuvuzelas to the hill area and was selling them. And large groups of idiots were buying them and blowing them loudly. I actually saw the guy selling them and the temptation to grap him and shove one of them very, very far up his ass was deeply tempting.
But that's it. We got a bit too much sun and I suspect we're going to pass out early this evening. Tomorrow is the day of death march shopping. Pray for us...
1. I should have known better - The Beatles
2. Bad things - Jace Everett*
3. The old main drag - The Pogues
4. Hustle and cuss - The Dead Weather
5. Napoleon (Live) - Ani DiFranco