July 28, 2017 11:58 am
Updated: July 28, 2017 8:20 pm

La Machine’s spider and dragon-horse captivate Ottawa

Mythical monsters are roaming the streets of Ottawa this weekend in a street art performance called La Machine. It's an impressive show meant help people rediscover their own city. Mike Le Couteur explains.


La Machine’s dragon-horse Long Ma and spider Kumo have emerged from hiding in Ottawa, drawing enormous crowds to the nation’s capital.

Kumo awoke Thursday night after a tense, 40-minute wait outside the city’s Notre Dame cathedral. She was lifted by crane down off the building after her operators rappelled down from another crane in a spectacular aerial display.

La Machine had to get special permission from the city’s Catholic archbishop to launch the spider from atop the church.

Kumo is pictured just before she woke on Thursday night in Ottawa.

Monique Scotti/Global News

On Friday morning, it was Long Ma’s turn. The dragon-horse awoke outside city hall in the presence of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson (with help from the tickle of a feather) and proceeded to stomp, roar and fume his way through the downtown core toward Kumo.

READ MORE: Otherworldly battle about to rage in downtown Ottawa

Hundreds of thousands of people were expected to turn out for the displays, which continue for the next three days, and Ottawa did not disappoint. The throngs stretched into the tens of thousands, filling the streets that have been closed down for the unique, $3.5-million event.

La Machine is a performance company based in France. They were convinced to select Ottawa for their North American debut this week, as part of the city’s contribution to Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations.

Ottawa 2017 executive director Guy Laflamme has been working with La Machine’s artistic director, François Delarozière, for years to bring their vision to life.

“This is not a parade, this is monumental street theatre,” Laflamme explained last week, adding that he wants to see people experience the spectacle through the eyes of a child.

Long Ma makes his way through downtown Ottawa on Friday, July 28, 2017.

Monique Scotti/Global News

Traffic throughout the downtown core will be significantly disrupted until late Sunday night as the machines carry out a series of “walkabouts” leading up to a climactic battle on Sunday outside the national war museum.

For a complete list of road closures and accompanying maps, click here. The city’s transit service is also providing live updates.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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