When the Apollo 11 astronauts landed in Ottawa in 1969
It was cold, but the American adventurers received a warm welcome in Canada
Having been to the moon, the Apollo 11 astronauts wouldn't be easy guests to impress by the time they landed in Ottawa.
But they were all smiles during their visit to the Canadian capital on a frosty December day about four and a half months after their historic lunar landing.
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau introduced Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to a crowd of what newspaper reports estimated was about 1,000 admirers on Parliament Hill on Dec. 2, 1969.
"They know and we know who these men are," the prime minister said. "We've had them in our minds, we've even had them in our living rooms and we want to tell them that they are very, very welcome in this country."
None of the astronauts was wearing a hat, despite sub-zero temperatures that day, though the weather conditions did set up Collins well for a joke about the cold.
"I'm told it's 20 degrees [Fahrenheit], but I can't really believe it — your welcome makes me feel at least up in the 60s," said Collins, cracking a smile as he made his remarks, following a brief introduction from Armstrong.
The Canadian connection
Aldrin spoke next, telling the crowd about the impact Canada had on the lunar mission.
"When the Eagle landed at Tranquility Base, it landed on Canadian legs," he said.
"They may not have been as shapely as some of the legs here on Earth, but when Neil and I stepped out on the lunar surface, they were indeed beautiful legs to us."
His joke perhaps revealed that although he was an astronaut and pioneer of space, he was also a man of his time.
The Toronto Star reported that the Apollo 11 astronauts were due to be feted at a reception and dinner that evening, before travelling to Montreal the next day.