Saturday, July 2, 2011

For Canada Day Ottawa goes to bandcamp

After having a disastrous Canada Day last year, when it seemed to be more packed and I was just learning how to navigate my son's monster truck of a stroller, this year was an amazing experience. I'd hate to sound arrogant but you haven't experienced Canada Day until you've celebrated in Ottawa.

Some would question whether beatboxing battles and Red Bull skateboarding and BMX demos have anything to do with Canada Day and to be honest they don't. But in a city that many see as boring, a little urban culture can't hurt.

I was most impressed by the displays of art and culture. Bands randomnly jamming on a street corner. Scruffy-looking guys sitting on the steps of the Canada Revenue Agency building playing the bongos. East Indian guys breaking into Bhangra dancing to shouts of, "Hey! Hey! Hey!" (I tried to find a "flashmob" type name for this and couldn't come up with one that didn't sound offensive). There was even a group of black youth hanging out in front of a clothing store listening to music which reminded me of Toronto. And who can forget the group of people dancing to Reggae on Sparks Street. Surprisingly, the performers that seemed to attract the most people were these hispanic performers playing the guitar and flute, and singing Latin music. People were having fun.

If you had come to Ottawa for only yesterday's festivities you would think this fairly conservative city was a rowdy place. It reminded me of the nerdy girl from American Pie who went to band camp and did some questionable, uncharacteristic things. Yesterday I think Ottawa may have gone to bandcamp.

If that was Ottawa everyday this wouldn't be the city for me; I would've stayed in Toronto. But I'm happy that at least one day per year Ottawa can be the place to be in Canada. And let me tell you, nobody does Canada Day like Ottawa. Nobody.

Below you'll find a video from the beatboxing contest at the Rideau-Sussex intersection. I apologize in advance for the quality. Enjoy!

Kevin Bourne
reinventingottawa.blogspot.com


video

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