Too Much Excitement to Handle…

Since arriving in Ottawa on Saturday I’ve been having a grand time – taking in Winterlude festivities, (almost) seeing Obama, reconnecting with old friends…it’s all good.

Once upon a time when I lived in Ottawa, I was coordinator of the Canada Snow Sculpture Competition (since renamed the National Snow Sculpture Competition). We had teams of sculptors from every province and territory (13 in all) spending a week in the capital, competing for the national championship. It was hard work and long days spent outside in the cold, but I relished the time spent with such a motley, creative group comprised of musicians, jewellers, potters, ceramicists, wood carvers, painters, welders, cartographers, and chefs (to name but a few).

On Saturday I arrived in Ottawa just in time for the awards ceremony for this year’s competition – Team Alberta won first prize with their carving:

alberta-snow-sculpture Way to go Brian and team!!!

Keep in mind that these sculptures are 16 feet high and weigh 40 tons  – scary and impressive at the same time. I was honoured to be invited to join the sculptors at their closing dinner and was thrilled to reconnect with several old, familiar faces. I always feel deeply nostalgic when I remember the competition and sculptors – I can’t believe it’s been over 5 years since I last coordinated this event…

I’ve been spending lots of time meeting up with old friends, reminiscing about good times (and not so good ones too!). It’s been a nice break from the constant frenzy of the pesky day job, although I did spend two days this week actually working (hence the reason I travelled to Ottawa in the first place). Tomorrow I plan to visit the Bernini exhibit at the National Gallery, and Saturday I hope to go back and take some better photos of the snow and ice sculptures at Winterlude. Saturday night I’m looking forward to spending time with dear, dear friends from a former job.

Today was President Obama’s visit in Ottawa, and everyone was abuzz with excitement. After a long lunch with a friend, I drove over to the ByWard Market to hang out for a few hours (and to stock up on beads and paper). I was walking around, when I noticed that police had blocked off several streets in the area, and 3 or 4 helicopters were hovering low. I figured they must be getting ready for Obama’s departure toward the airport, so I didn’t really make much of it.

Until two ladies walked into the store where I was browsing, telling everyone that they had just seen Obama buying a cookie in the market! By the time I ran outside, the President and his entourage were gone. Only later did I find out that he had bought the cookie at the Moulin de Provence, which is where I had parked my car! Obama stood right beside my car and must have seen it – sigh… This is just too much excitement (and disappointment) to handle in one week.

More later…

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