We were only stopping in Ottawa for a few hours, for a driving break and something to eat. We got there around half four – that funny, in-between meals time – and soon discovered that Ribfest was happening in the city. Talk about your good timing.
Sparks Street, a pedestrianised area, was filled with vendors selling pulled pork, chicken and, of course, ribs. It was filled with smoke, and bells clanging every time someone dropped a buck in the tips jar, and rock music. It was filled with people in office wear, eating ribs by the score and trying not to get barbecue sauce on their white shirts. It was filled with the shouts of the chefs in their mobile catering vans, and displays of awards, and children gawking at the sights. It was filled, right to the rooftops, with the smell of perfectly charred-not-burnt meat.
Incidentally, don’t you think that ‘pedestrianised’ sounds like there’s been a hostile takeover by the carless masses?
Almost every business on the street got involved.
We took this second sign at its word, and bought ourselves some lunch/dinner (and grabbed a stack of napkins) before settling down on the patio for a couple of beers.
The food was glorious, the beers refreshing, the weather dry and hot. We could not have picked a better time of year to visit Canada’s capital. It made us happy.