La Machine was undeniably a huge success. Bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of Ottawa, it was an enormous coup and a big generator of economic activity for downtown businesses.
If I were to nitpick, I might wonder what a giant mechanical spider and dragon have to do with Canada and the milestone birthday we’re marking this year. But that doesn’t seem to have mattered to the 750,000 people who attended over four days. After the challenges on Canada Day, it was a big boost in morale for the city, and possibly a turning point for the organizers of Ottawa 2017.
It’s still not clear whether after all the rain and other challenges, we’ll hit our tourism targets this year but you have to applaud the effort. I still wish we had focused some of our energy on creating something with more of a legacy, a new recurring event like Bluesfest or Ottawa Race Weekend that would bring people to our city every year. But in the end, if we attract the right number of visitors, we’ll judge Ottawa 2017 a success. And in the meantime, bravo for the incredible achievement of La Machine.