Thursday, 9 March 2017

March in the Capital – Ottawa 150 - 2017

Well, Ottawa has become a hotbed of excitment to party in 2017.  With all the hype of the Canada Table shared dining top chef event, I sadly did not get a ticket.  You had to buy in groups of two. Sigh!  Oh well, as my daughter always reminds me, some other more needy person probably deserved my seat….like a big corporation perhaps????   ;)

Well, last night made up for this crushing blow.  I excitedly anticipated the arrival of Red Bull Crashed Ice and while I like neither skating, nor the cold, the price was certainly in my visuals…Free!  I saw the canal being reconstructed into the raceway a mere few weeks earlier and it was fantastic to imagine.  Unfortunately, I imagined it going down the other direction of the Rideau and pretty much taking up half the city.  I guess its better that I’m not on the city planning committee because their setup made juuuuuust a little more sense than mine. 
I was coordinating with three other unrelated friends and that’s fraught with problems and millions of texts, and emails and Facebook.  I’m too old for all this social media tracking.  When I want to find a message I received, the steps I have to go thru to find it in every single program is daunting.  Quite often, it never does appear in any searches so I have to write the customers back requesting it again.  Ya, that’s professional.  Maybe I need an 8 year old on staff to do this stuff but I’m not sure I could handle the eyeball rolling. 

Back to Ottawa!    The grounds opened around 4pm and the race was advertised to start at 6pm so get there early.  Well, I layered up- a turtle neck, a long sleeved shirt and a hoodie, long johns, winter wooly sox, compression sox, a parka, hat, scarf, mitts and perhaps an airline shot…I said perhaps.  It was freakin’ omg cold but I was prepared.  Then, to add a little excitement, I caught a cold earlier in the week.  A wise man would have stayed home but this was a two day only in Ottawa event I could not miss.  Surprisingly, the crush of people was warming
The roadway to walk down the hill was wet and covered in ice, and treacherous.  I’m surprised they didn’t put gallons of road salt on that because I saw some epic near falls.  My friend was not allowed to climb the hill on the west side for taking pictures but on the other side of the canal, another death trap, they were all perched inside the fence.  Crazy but I bet the view was good.  Standing on the icy roadway was soooo cold on the feet.  I may have complained a bit in the beginning and was told to basically stifle myself; I was being a buzz kill.  How rude!  You know who you are. (see candy cane toque below)

 After waiting with nothing happening but videos playing and chatter, waiting from 5:30 until 7:30, our miss uppity manners was no longer on her game and wanting to go home too.  I just reminded her to "remember her warm place to visit". That was fun  and then I got to warm up in the Bytown Museum store while they gave out free popcorn.  I loooooove freeeeee!
It really was exciting being part of history in Ottawa.  I did see a woman texting on a phone that surprisingly still had juice in the cold and I watched a weird gush of fluids coming from her coat.  I told her she might be spilling her drink as she texted and she looked down to see that her coat was toast, totally drenched.  The bottom of her cup had separated and her drink was now empty.   She was beyond sad.  Her only night out on the town as a mom of three, all her medicinal drink gone and she had paid over $100 for the evening with childcare.  My heart went out to her; I could remember it all so well with my youngin’s.  I slipped her my hypothetical airline refreshment and she got all huggy and crying and laughing.  I think we both made each other’s night.  Now why do you keep getting me off topic while I’m simply trying to tell you a story?!
Watching the race was challenging.  All the best photo ops had volunteer security telling
 people to move on.
Every time we would find a “great” spot, tall people would stand in front of us. Before the event, a recon was done of Major’s hill park but pronounced blocked by all the construction vans.  The exciting end of the raceway was blocked so really, it was just a one second viewing of a hill that we could see.  Quite honestly, I was happier to see the Chateau Laurier lit up like the Neuschwanstein castle in Germany and the crush of people and just being there.  
I didn’t really care if I saw the race; I know that’s wrong to admit but it took too long, I have a short attention span, my feet were frozen and I had two boots full of toes that had broken off in the cold.  I was even content to only see the first two pre skaters zip down and then pack it in, but I didn’t.
When my friend, you remember the big complainer, said she was going home, we walked her up to the top, and realized that thousands of early arrivers were going home as well.  My thoughts are, if you have told us to arrive by 6 and refuse to tell us when the start time is, people are going to get fed up and cut out early.  Just be honest with us; tell us we won’t see any action until 7:30 but enjoy the videos.   If we know we have an hour, we might go inside to warm up, spend some money and not fear missing the action.
With that said, we walked to a sports bar on Elgin, and realized that some of the screens had the same races going on INSIDE, where it was warm, oh so warm.  I glued back on all my toes and we also realized that the race actually has an entire raceway, not just two barely visible humps to go over.  It was actually exciting to watch indoors and groan along with the crowds at the stumbles and triumphs.  I think I’m glad I did both but the cold entered my being and stayed with me till late, late into the night.  So that was my Red Bull experience.  Did not try a Red Bull that night, or ever but I overheard someone wanted to and it was frozen in the  -25 degree weather.  Now  that’s cold!!!

 Now don’t forget the next two upcoming events:        
                              Mar 15-18- The Stanley Cup Tribute and
                              March 27-2 Apr- The Juno Awards

And remember to book your rooms early or rent the whole house.

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