As part of the Canada 150 celebrations, the city of Ottawa has its own events planned including the Redbull Crashed Ice, La Machine, The Juno Awards, and many others that will be taking place throughout the year. One featured series of events is the “Ottawa Welcomes the World” cultural exhibitions.
Throughout the year, a large selection of different nations have and will set up at the Horticulture building to demonstrate aspects of their cultural heritage. There have been several so far, this year, but I haven’t been able to attend until today. Normally, these cultural celebrations take place over a one-day period, but fortunately, this whole weekend is a celebration of Mexico, timely planned to begin on cinco de mayo.
I arrived at the Horticulture building in Lansdowne Park at around 11:00am this morning and was immediately overwhelmed by the crowds that were packed into the building. Acknowledging that it was raining all day today, I shouldn’t have been surprised at the number of people in attendance but it was a little frustrating trying to make my way through to see everything while evading random children, dogs and people unaware of their surroundings.
The set up was pretty basic and I assume very similar to other country exhibitions. There were trade-show type table set ups through the middle of the room demonstrating different aspects of the local culture, and a large stage area at the far end of the building. I wandered around looking at the various artifacts and pictures throughout the building while listening to an act that was performing on the stage. I tried some free samples and looked at the tequila stand and got hungry. I then discovered that the food area is located on the side of the building and I was in heaven!! I was hungry arriving and was excited about eating some authentic Mexican food and when there was none in the building I was concerned. So don’t forget the tent area outside, make sure to go there and enjoy the amazing food.
I chose La Abuela for food and was so impressed. I had an order of Chorizo Tacos and they were just to die for. I could eat those every day!! The problem that I had was that there were no available tables to put the food down on so my shoes ended up covered in Chorizo bits. At least I have them for later. Mmmm…. La Abuela was located right beside the churro stand, but I held back on dessert as I didn’t want to be piggy. I’m sure I’ll end up doing a Menchie’s run later today though so I probably should have just eaten a churro or two.
Also in the food tent area, there was a tequila bar set up but it didn’t open until 1:00pm so I missed out on that….probably a good thing not to get into the tequila for lunch though, I’m sure that would have led to only good life decisions. They had a bunch of speakers set up too and looked like they were gearing up for a party. I also wanted to get out of the Lansdowne area before 1:00 as the Ottawa Fury had a game at 2:00 and I didn’t want to get caught in the chaos of the parking area.
In summary, the event was really fun, mostly because of the authentic food, which for me, makes or breaks any social event like these Ottawa2017 showcases. The spotlight on Mexico runs for three days wrapping up Sunday (tomorrow). I recommend you go down and check it out even if it’s just for lunch. The event is free to attend, but you buy your food from the vendors. The only complaint I had was that it was very very busy and difficult to make your way around to the various booths. Now that I’ve been to this one, I can’t wait to go check out the other nations spotlighting their cuisine. ? OH yeah….BUT….it’s not all about food, that’s just my stomach talking. haha