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City prepares for Obama visit

The best place to see U.S. President Barack Obama while he’s in Ottawa is on television, but security officials are advising residents that Parliament Hill is the place to be if you must see him in person.

The best place to see U.S. President Barack Obama while he’s in Ottawa is on television, but security officials are advising residents that Parliament Hill is the place to be if you must see him in person.

“It’s a personal decision, obviously, but if you do want to get a glimpse of the motorcade, or the feel of the event, the hill is the best spot to go,” RCMP Supt. Mike McDonald said. “We have nothing to indicate a public viewing on the hill. It is possible that all we will see is a motorcade entering Parliament.”

Obama is expected to land in Ottawa at around 10:30 a.m. tomorrow, travel to Parliament Hill for a day of meetings then head back to the airport to leave Ottawa in the evening.

Air traffic will be shut down for 45 minutes around his arrival and departure, according to Krista Kealey with the Ottawa International Airport Authority.

Obama will not be making any public appearances at the airport and Kealey is urging people not to go there hoping to see him.

“There will be no extra parking for spectators and it is important that what limited parking we do have is available to the travelling public,” she said.

Several roads around Parliament Hill will be closed as of 7:30 a.m. and a visible police presence will be on hand during the visit.

For security reasons, Ottawa police Supt. Charles Bordeleau said police could not divulge the number of officers on duty, but insisted the police presence would be adequate for any development.

While the dynamic around this visit is far different from when former president George W. Bush last came to Ottawa, the security measures in place for this visit are the same, said McDonald.

“With this particular president, many people just want to see him — get a glimpse of him, but with respect to our measures, they remain the same,” McDonald said. “Our approach doesn’t change. We have to be able to respond to any eventualities.”

 
 
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