First Canal festival day ends with a bang

For the second annual Rideau Canal Festival the first day of August opened with a spectacularly sunny day and finished with a bang.

Crowds lined the canal and lake for the Dow’s fireworks show, having come using all sorts of transportation – cars, bikes, roller blades and boats. They were not disappointed by the red, green, blue, purple and yellow display that lit up the sky above and the water below.

After the show reached its grand finale the crowd cheered and honked their car horns in appreciation.

Earlier in the day festival goers were making noise of a different sort in the Musical Breeze Bicycle Parade. As its name suggests, the parade was more than a simple bike ride.

“It’s a sound parade also,” said festival CEO Michel Gauthier, “it’s a different way of exploring the canal.”

The riders were treated to bands en route and were asked to join in the music-making by following instructions such as “sing in a high pitch” at different intervals as they approached downtown.

Visitors may have been surprised encounter couples in decidedly unusual dress. There are five couples roaming the canal as “builder couples,” representing the five groups who helped complete the canal in 1832: the English, Irish, Scottish, Natives and French.

First thing in the morning meant bike tours up and down the canal, where participants were greeted by colourful “zero footprint” signs made by local children.

The zero footprint theme is an important part of the festival, said Gauthier. Besides trying to run environmentally friendly events and buying carbon offsets where necessary, festival organizers are asking the public to bike, take the bus or carpool to festival events.

Sunday and Monday bring more tours of the canal and information on its history, as well as a Flotilla at Dow’s Lake aimed at celebrating the canal’s heritage. On Monday Canada’s traditional method of transportation will be celebrated: the canoe. Organizers say they hope to pack Dow’s Lake with as many of the boats as possible.

Despite the rain on Sunday, sunny skies on Monday will see all festival activities continue as normal.

Monday’s Schedule:

Monday, August 3, 2009

Today is Colonel By Day!

Colonel By led the construction of our beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site – see if you can spot him at the Bytown Museum!

9:30am to 10:30am – Yoga on the Canal -Queen Elizabeth Drive & Third Avenue on the Canal

10 am – Rideau Canal Garden Tours  Dows Lake

10 am – Guided bicycle tour of the Canal East arch of Plaza Bridge

10 am to 1 pm – Explore the Docks! Dows Lake Pavilion

10 am to 1 pm – Great Canoe Rendezvous – Dows Lake Pavilion

Celebrate the heritage of the canoe on the Rideau Canal! Exhibits, games, prizes and fun on the water… bring your own canoe or rent on site. Get your paddle in the water and join in the fun!

10 am to 5 pm -Ecosphere Environmental Fair and Green Speakers Series – Over 70 exhibitors and 25 featured speakers! Energy Ottawa Green Rendezvous/Confederation Park

10 am to 6 pm – Rideau Heritage Village –Energy Ottawa Green Rendezvous/Confederation Park

11 am – Colonel By Day Proclamation Ceremony – Bytown Museum

The Bytown Museum will be open for free as part of the Colonel By Day celebrations!

11 am (French) and 2 pm (English) – Heritage Walking Tour – University of Ottawa Metre Lounge

11 am to 4 pm – Colonel By Day Celebrations – Bytown Museum

Activities include: Heritage demonstrations • Costumed characters • Musketry

demonstrations • Lace making • Ingleneuk Country Scottish Dancing • Aboriginal drumming and music by Northern Voices • Blacksmithing • Face painting • and much more!

11:30 am and 1:30 pm– Enbridge Buy Local BBQ Challenge

With chefs Susan Jessup and Roger Weldon – Energy Ottawa Green Rendezvous/Confederation Park