This summer in Ottawa will never be forgotten, especially after this past weekend’s performance from the La Machine Company. La Machine has beautifully constructed over the years two giant animatronic puppets – a part-dragon, part-horse named Long Ma, and a long-legged spider named Kumo – and their first official visit to North America was a few days ago.
Size: 12 metres high, 5 metres wide and weighs 45 tons
Description: A cosmic character that watched over humanity. He is part dragon and part horse, golden yellow from horns to hooves and when ready can release a warm fire breath like no other.
Size: 5.7 metres high and 6 metres wide when she’s still, but when she’s on the move she can reach up to 13 metres.
Description: Beautiful and repulsive, aggressive and gentle with eight legs that stretch wide across your path.
The Story – from the Ottawa 2017 site.
“From the ninth level of heaven, Long Ma—a cosmic creature who is half-horse, half-dragon—keeps watch over humanity. But a sinister force that has taken the form of a giant spider slips into his home as he sleeps, burning his wings and robbing his sacred temple. From this time forth, the Dragon-Horse roams the seven seas in search of his missing temple.
The giant spider, Kumo, takes refuge in Ottawa, the mother-city of all spiders. Buried deep beneath the waves, the temple remains concealed. But the recent work undertaken by the city to build Ottawa’s new transit line has disturbed Kumo, and she is forced to emerge from the ground. Her power depleted, the spider becomes vulnerable and loses control of the temple, which reappears in the city. Alerted by this apparition, Long Ma sets out on the route taken by Champlain several centuries earlier, with the intention of recovering his temple of travel, a shrine that he alone has the power to properly restore.”
Approximately, 750,000 people came form around the world to watch Kumo and Long Ma in their performance. But, lets take a moment to recap these legendary last few days for our guests at the Lord Elgin, as well as the public.
While most of the Lord Elgin guests checked in Thursday, the creatures from La Machine had secretly arrived in Ottawa a few weeks prior. At first, I thought they were shipped as one whole structure, but it turns out the team had to assemble the creatures once they had arrived in Ottawa.
By Wednesday, July 26 the public could see the heads of the creatures “resting” behind the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
But, the heighten excitement truly began when Kumo appeared on the tower of the church early Thursday morning. This was the beginning of the viral craze for the community, #LaMachine.
The performance entitled “The Spirit of the Dragon-Horse, The Stolen Wings” began on Thursday, July 27 at 8 p.m. Kumo, the spider, would awaken from the tower of the Notre-Dame Cathedral and cross the street to rest near Maman the Spider at the National Gallery of Canada. The beautiful thing about missing an event in Ottawa is you’ll be able to find live stream or a video on social media. Thankfully after work Lord Elgin’s amazing employee Christopher attended the opening performance to capture these pictures.
The National Gallery of Canada is approximately a 15-minute walk from the Lord Elgin Hotel.
Long Ma would be awakened by Ottawa’s Mayor, Jim Watson, at City Hall Friday, July 28 at 10 a.m. City Hall is a 3- minute walk from the Lord Elgin so, many of Lord Elgin’s guests and staff gathered on the streets to watch the show.
Long Ma would leave City Hall making his way down Elgin St., passing the Lord Elgin Hotel in the process, on his way to the National Gallery of Canada to find Kumo and hopefully his stolen wings. This was an amazing experience for the guests that stayed at the Lord Elgin, as Long Ma would be walking on Elgin St. several times throughout the weekend. This opportunity allowed our guests to either venture to see the creature at another location or looking out their room windows.
The next scene or the first action scene between the two creatures would happen at 2 p.m. at the National Gallery of Canada the same day. With each new scene, the crowd popularity would increasingly grow as the Long Ma and Kumo story continues.
After this jaw-dropping battle, Kumo ventures to the Shaw Centre and Long Ma back to City Hall. As they head to these destinations they walk through Byward Market and the many streets in between. Crowds of hundreds were running after them!
Long Ma passes by the Lord Elgin Hotel for the second time on his way to rest at City Hall, while Kumo rested on the street near the Shaw Centre.
The final scene on Friday happens at 8 p.m. on the Mackenzie King Bridge in an epic battle with a cotton candy coloured sky. Long Ma on top of the bridge and Kumo below. This scene was a 5-minute walk for guests at the Lord Elgin.
Early in the morning Long Ma would pass the Lord Elgin Hotel for the third time, as he makes his way to Byward Market in search of his wings. Ottawa’s community would be doing their early morning ByWard Market shopping with Kumo and Long Ma. The majority of Saturday the creatures would be in ByWard Market.
For the guest of Lord Elgin, the ByWard Market is only a 10-minute walk from the hotel. At 3pm, Long Ma would head back to City Hall, passing the Lord Elgin Hotel for the fourth time. Than he would pass the hotel again at 8:30 p.m. on his route to the Supreme Court of Canada to face Kumo in another epic battle. Unfortunately, I have no photos from this scene as the crowd had Wellington Street jammed packed. But, the creator of the story, Francois Detaroziere, La Machine vision becomes a reality this evening as, the thousands of tourists Ottawa encountered from around the world and the hundreds of locals came to experience the performances. Tonight, Long Ma would finally find his wings.
Crowd on Wellington. Photo via: @amyin613
Sunday, July 30 was the last day for Kumo and Long Ma to perform in Ottawa. Due to the popularity of the event the previous day, La Machine had to increase their volunteers, and security to ensure the safety of the crowd, as well as changed the final scene around for crowd control. Broadcasters were claiming the crowds were larger than Canada Day.
There were only two scenes on Sunday, the first scene of the day took place at 2:30pm as the creature depart from the Supreme Court of Canada. While, the grand finale happened at the Canadian War Museum. The crowd gathered to watch the final scene of “The Spirit of the Dragon-Horse, The Stolen Wings.”
The Canadian War Museum is approximately 30-minute walk from the Lord Elgin Hotel.
This past weekend an unforgettable urban street performance came to North America for the first time. The story “The Spirit of the Dragon-Horse, The Stolen Wings” created by the La Machine helped gather people from all around the world in the capital of Canada.
But, how did Ottawa score this indescribable opportunity? While, you can thank Guy Laflamme for that, Ottawa’s 2017 Executive Director and the mastermind behind Canada’s 150th anniversary celebration in the nation’s capital. In fact, I like to take a moment to say THANK YOU to Ottawa 2017, the many volunteers, city staff including police, firefighters and paramedics for providing the security and safety of those whom attended. THANK YOU to the Mayor and City Council who allowed this vision to come to life, and to the many tourist that travelled the distance to come to this event. And of course, a big THANK YOU to La Machine company’s operators and special team that helped bring this indescribable opportunity to life.
Social Media Intern