One of my favorite kiddie summer traditions was Canada Day in the capital, Ottawa. Biking along the canal, camping at the now-defunct LeBreton Flats Campground (site of the War Museum), enjoying the shows on Parliament Hill.
A tradition of camping I managed to resurrect with 2 of my ladies for a few years, in my early 20s, that gradually got pushed aside, thanks to Canada Day falling mid-week, working weekends as a biologist, and friends drifting apart.
This year I managed to rally together a group of 7, and we headed to the capital, just for the day.
Times have changed. I’m not going to turn this into a political blog or rant, but: things have changed since 2007 when I last attended. Security has increased, making getting into and out of the site a bit of a challenge. The noon show, attended by the Prime Minister, was restricted to a small portion of the usual crowd, with everyone else forced to bottleneck in the street. The show itself lacked a bit of star power and life. The fireworks barely lasted 15 minutes. While I enjoyed chilling by the Ottawa River and being back at a favorite tradition…. budget cuts made it seems like a pale reflection of my childhood and early-2000s memories.
And then we got stuck in 2 hours’ worth of traffic in the parking garage. A word to festival-goers in future years: park away from Parliament Hill.