Ottawa

La Machine wraps up with a fiery finale at LeBreton Flats

The event that brought a giant robotic spider and horse-dragon to Ottawa for four days came to a close Sunday night. Organizers of La Machine say more than 750,000 people saw the show over the four days, and call it the biggest theatrical production ever in Ottawa.

Organizers say more than 750,000 people took in the event over 4 days

Long Ma the horse-dragon breathes fire into the sky during the finale of La Machine Sunday night at LeBreton Flats. (CBC)

Organizers of La Machine, which wrapped up on Sunday night at LeBreton Flats, say the event drew more than 750,000 spectators over four days, and call it the "biggest theatrical production ever in Ottawa."

Sunday's finale featured an epic battle between giant robot creatures Long Ma, a horse-dragon, and Kumo, a spider. A 50-member live orchestra and choir provided the soundtrack as thousands watched.

After the robot operators and performers took their final bow, the crowd started chanting "La Machine! La Machine!"

Guy Laflamme, executive director of Ottawa 2017, which organized the event, called it a resounding success.

"I could have never envisioned to have this scope of success. I've produced over 10 Canada Day celebrations. We've had hundreds of thousands of people, but nothing came close to the scope, the magnitude of how we have transformed the city with kindness, with artistic excellence," he said.

For Laflamme, there was also a sense of personal vindication.

"For those who were laughing at me when we announced, to say, 'You're going to spend millions on robotic puppets?' I can say I was right."

'They have transformed Ottawa forever'

Despite a few hiccups — including a crowd that was over capacity at Saturday night's performance in front of the Supreme Court, leaving some frustrated — Laflamme said the joy the creatures brought to Ottawa was contagious.

"We've created memories that people will remember for the rest of their lives. And that's what we do in the events world, to make people happy, to forget about the dark side of life. And to bring hope, and to bring light in the eyes of kids, and joy in the hearts of people who experienced those machines," he said.

Laflamme thanked the volunteers — more than 250 of them — who helped the event run smoothly. But his greatest praise was for the artists who brought Long Ma and Kumo to life.

"We had the most incredible, generous volunteers, and the most incredible people in this city to assist us. But the brilliant artistic geniuses from La Machine, they have revolutionized this city. They have transformed Ottawa forever," he said.

"Let's just hope that this is the Ottawa that we preserve for the next 150 years."


Missed Sunday's finale of La Machine? Watch it below:

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