July 31, 2017
The two giant beasts that roamed the streets of Ottawa for four days are gone, but the superlatives are still flying.
Organizers estimate that 750,000 people watched the huge mechanical dragon-horse and spider from the French company La Machine perform during a four-day spectacle of street theatre in downtown Ottawa, the ByWard Market and LeBreton Flats.
Images of the graceful puppets ambling around will help put Ottawa on the map, in the estimation of the ByWard Market BIA, which issued an open letter on Monday to thank Ottawa 150 organizers for staging the event.
“Theatrical shots of giant robots with local imagery and landscapes as the backdrop will be the new standards in social media and in marketing campaigns,” said the letter from Jasna Jennings, executive director of the BIA, which represents more than 600 businesses. “This ‘sleepy’ little town sure came to life!”
Restaurants and cafés in the market were jammed on the weekend, with some running out of food.
“La Machine lived up to and surpassed all expectations,” said the BIA. “The anticipation and exhilaration were palpable.”
No one was happier than Guy Laflamme, the executive director of Ottawa 2017, which is sponsoring multiple events to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. “This was way beyond all of our wildest dreams in terms of the crowds,” he said.