Ottawa is a city used to fire breathing politicians wandering the streets.
But tens of thousands of people in the nation’s capital were treated this week to the awakening of a beast of a different sort.
Long Ma, a giant smoke billowing, fire breathing mechanical dragon from France, gracefully wandered the city’s streets after being “awoken” in a ceremony at Ottawa city hall.
The dragon was part of an elaborate “street theatre” performance brought to Ottawa for the city’s celebrations of Canada’s 150th birthday, along with a 5.7-metre-high mechanical spider called Kumo.
Guy LaFlamme, executive director of Ottawa 2017, first saw the dragon while in France, where it was created for a philanthropist in Beijing.
LaFlamme says he immediately thought of bringing it to Ottawa, since Beijing is the sister city to Canada’s capital.
“So I felt this is a perfect fit, having the dragon Long Ma and the spider, which is becoming more and more a symbol of Ottawa, home to Maman,” the iconic Louise Bourgois spider sculpture located outside the National Gallery of Canada.
City streets were awash with people, including hundreds of families with young children, to witness Long Ma’s awakening and oscillating movements.
The Canadian Press