Still, the Ottawa 2017 bureau pulled off a yearlong bash with remarkably few problems.
A surprising addition to 2017’s list of newsmakers was Hector-Louis Langevin.
More difficult issues remain, though, including how history should treat the legacy of Macdonald himself and how practically to improve life on reserves, in the North and for off-reserve Indigenous people.
The Quebecer was a vocal federalist at the time of Confederation and a close ally of Sir John A. He was also an architect of the residential schools that took Indigenous children from their parents in the name of civilizing them.
The schools destroyed families and broke cultural links, and subjected victims to state-supported neglect, violence and sexual abuse.
Some of the “budtenders” — the frontline clerks who worked at the shops — have pleaded guilty to charges, while others are challenging the charges in trials.
Adam Picard’s odyssey through Canada’s legal system was front and centre this past year, and he’s spending the end of 2017 back in custody.
Two gigantic mechanical animals — Long Ma, a dragon-horse, and Kumo, a giant spider — roamed the downtown in the final days of July, happily stunning locals who couldn’t believe the city agreed to close roads in the name of performance art.
But Canada 150 was bigger than even those beasties. 31, 2016 with the lighting of the Ottawa 2017 cauldron, and what followed felt refreshingly un-Ottawa: Red Bull events that brought a Crashed Ice contest to the Rideau Canal locks beside the Chateau Laurier in March and rallycross races to the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in June; the shutdown of an interprovincial bridge for a picnic; a light show in an under-construction downtown LRT station; dinners high above the Rink of Dreams, dangling from a crane; Guns ‘N’ Roses slashing through TD Place stadium; a 1,000-person open-air dinner on Wellington Street in front of the Parliament Buildings; the after-dark sound and light show at Chaudière Falls; and the international celebrations of culture at the Aberdeen Pavilion and Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park.
Picard has been charged with murder in the 2012 death of 28-year-old Fouad Nayel — again.
He had walked away from this same charge, seemingly a free man, in 2016 as a result of the Supreme Court of Canada’s R vs. Picard was the second accused person in Canada to have charges wiped out for unreasonable delay as a result of the ruling.
In doing so, Picard became, for many, the controversial face of the courts’ struggle to meet new timelines for trials — a struggle that continues to make news as an overcrowded system tries to meet the new litmus test for judicial expediency.