“Always take the weather with you,” they said. Well, Trudeau got that right. The day after he was elected? Gorgeous weather. The day he was sworn in? Lovely as well.
It could have been cold, damp, windy and rainy. Just a week ago, Ottawa got soaked with the remnants of Hurricane Patricia and we had a few miserable days. But this Wednesday was perfect—blue sky, barely any wind, about 15°C. Not bad for early November.
This is probably why Feng and I weren’t the only ones queuing in front of Rideau Hall to see Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau and his new cabinet being sworn in. It was a very public event, breaking with tradition and protocol: the grounds of “Canada’s House” were opened to the public so citizens could watch the proceedings on giant TV screens set up outside.
Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General of Canada, is a lovely place any time of the year, but the estate at 1, Sussex Drive is amazing in the fall and under a clear blue sky. Feng and I got there around 9:30 a.m. and the lineup was moving fast, as fast as the police on duty could take a quick peek inside people’s bags. Light security. I liked it. We felt like guests, not criminals or terrorists. I’m tired of fear-mongering and paranoia. People weren’t stressed out either—this wasn’t a VIP event but an inclusive one, there was enough room for all of us.
We all walked toward the main driveway where the crowd was waiting for Trudeau and his cabinet. Right on time, they walked up together, smiling and chatting. I quickly realized there was no way I could take news-worthy pictures, it was way too crowded.
So I focused on the people who had taken the morning off, like us, to see who was going to lead the country. This is the Canada I like—not the one portrayed in The Sun. We were a very multicultural gathering, with people of all ages and all walks of life. There were many parents with young kids skipping school (and presumably work), people in full office attire, checking their smartphone every five minutes, clusters of smokers by the tall trees, and kids playing with a ball waiting for the event to start. There were a few strong supporters wearing “Team Trudeau” gear but I felt that most people were just regular citizens who were ready to embrace change.
Let’s do this.
Bring us more sun, Trudeau.
You can see the complete set of Ottawa – Fall on Flickr.