Tim Wieclawski/metro ottawa


NCC executive Guy Laflamme shows off some of the fireworks that will be used on Dec. 31 during the grand finale pyrotechnics display to end 2007 — a year that marked the 150th anniversary of Ottawa being named Canada’s capital.


As the grand finale to the 150th anniversary of Ottawa being chosen Canada’s capital, the National Capital Commission is ending with a bang.

On New Year’s Eve, the NCC will host a musical fireworks display at 6:57 p.m., or 18:57 hours — a play on the year 1857, when Queen Victoria decided on Ottawa.

The 17-minute, $200,000 show will feature more than 2,500 pyrotechnics, a cascade of lights along the Alexandria Bridge, lights on Parliament Hill and pyrotechnic effects on the Rideau Locks to mark the canal’s 175th anniversary and also its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There will be a second fireworks show to at midnight to salute Quebec City’s 400th anniversary in 2008. That display will last 400 seconds.

“What’s unique about this event is the fact that it is a high-leverage production,” said Guy Laflamme, NCC vice-president of national programming and marketing.

“A lot people will be able to enjoy the show from anywhere along Confederation Boulevard, but the main points, the main locations where we urge people to go, are Major’s Hill park on the Ottawa side and the Canadian Museum of Civilization.”

The NCC spent $850,000 this year to mark the anniversary, hosting events like Opera Under the Stars and Orchestra in the Park as well as educational items, like the banners along Confederation Boulevard, and the ‘1857 — A Capital Choice’ exhibits.

A recent poll indicated that more than 65 per cent of people in the capital region were aware of the anniversary.

“I’m sure that in the last few weeks that number has gone even higher,” said Laflamme.

“The main objective of the NCC was to get people to better appreciate why the decision was made … and what kind of impact it had in shaping the Canadian identity.”

skate schedule

  • Hot on the heels of the New Year’s celebration, the National Capital Commission is targeting early January for the opening of the Rideau Canal for winter skating. Guy Laflamme, with the NCC, said techniques are being used to get the ice frozen faster, including flooding the ice between Patterson Creek and the National Arts Centre and removing insulating snow off the canal, so the cold can freeze the water. There is about 30 centimetres of ice on stretches, but it is not high quality. About 25 cms of good ice are needed to open the canal. “At this point all we can say is we are hopeful, early in January the canal could be ready.”