The two massive mechanical creatures that have been wandering through the streets of Ottawa have become so popular that organizers of the event had to hire more security guards and volunteers to manage the crowds.
The last two performances on Friday and Saturday were “like two Canada Days,” Guy Laflamme, executive director of Ottawa 2017, told CBC News Sunday morning.
Hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the 12-metre tall dragon-horse and the 20-metre wide spider — the hottest couple to visit the capital since Prince Charles and his wife Camilla.
The machines from France are the work of street theatre company La Machine and are in town as part of Canada’s 150th celebrations.
Between 200,000 and 300,000 people are estimated to have watched performances on both Friday and Saturday. The same volume of people is expected to attend the final day of shows on Sunday, Laflamme said.
The opening day, Thursday, drew about 35,000 people.
Well over half a million people are projected to attend the four-day event.
‘We got adults to become kids again.’
– Guy Laflamme
Laflamme said he faced skepticism when he first proposed bringing La Machine to Ottawa, but today he’s relishing in all the glory.
“I would say that right now I’m the proudest and happiest man in the world. I think this is for me, my biggest coup in my career and for the city this must be one — or the biggest — production ever,” he said.
“We got adults to become kids again. It was so amusing to see adults running on the streets giggling and try to run in front of Long Ma to take photos.”
Some spectators irked by Saturday show
Ottawa 2017 organizers are making changes to the show after the crowd exceeded capacity at the evening show on Saturday at the Supreme Court of Canada lawn.
Less than 10 minutes after the 9:30 p.m. Saturday show was scheduled to start, the city tweeted the site had already reached capacity and urged people to avoid a section of Wellington Street.
Some spectators tweeted about the crushing crowd while others complained they couldn’t see the beasts.