La Machine spider and dragon coming to Ottawa 2017 celebrations
$3M machines from France part of Canada's 150th birthday celebrations
A giant mechanical dragon and spider from France will roam the streets of Ottawa next summer as part of celebrations for Canada's 150th birthday.
It will be the first time the fire-breathing and water spraying creatures invade North America.
We want to be the hub of national celebrations.- Guy Laflamme, executive director, Ottawa 2017
Securing the performance of the monsters from La Machine, a production company based in Nantes, France comes at a cost of $3 million — an amount that will be shared by both the public and private sector.
The Ottawa 2017 organizing committee has been working on booking the show for nearly a year and a half.
It hopes the bill is worth it to attract tourists to Ottawa for the hallmark birthday.
"We want to be the hub of national celebrations in 2017," said the executive director of Ottawa 2017, Guy Laflamme.
He said the City of Ottawa will pay 20 per cent of the bill, while private partners will shoulder the majority of the costs. Laflamme said the "prudent financial approach" will pay off.
"It will generate international visibility for Ottawa and I know for sure hotel rooms will be jam packed for the week they (La Machine) will be here."
Negotiations didn't just involve the City of Ottawa and the French production company. It also involved a Chinese businessman — Adam Yu, an entrepreneur based in Beijing who owns the rights to the dragon for La Machine.
Laflamme said mayor Jim Watson set aside time during his economic mission to China to meet with Yu and make the case for loaning the dragon to Ottawa.
Organizers have just started "storyboarding" the show with La Machine's artistic director, François Delarozière.
Although he's reticent to describe what the show will look like, Laflamme does provide some hints: the operators will be dressed like they stepped out of the movie, The Matrix, and the giant robots will make stops at Ottawa landmarks and interact with spectators.
Local musicians will also be hired to form a travelling orchestra for the soundtrack to the dragon's and spider's adventures.
The performances will take place over several days in the summer of 2017.