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Contest winner travels to Ottawa for Canada’s biggest party ever

Carol and Barron McKay and Diane Krahn at the Canada 150 festivities in Ottawa.
Courtesy of Barron McKay

It was the biggest party of the year, and Barron McKay of Cache Creek, B.C., was the lucky winner of Legion Magazine’s contest to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in the nation’s capital. Sponsored by Carlson Wagonlit Travel, the four-day visit included round-trip airfare and three-night accommodation in the heart of downtown Ottawa.

Accompanying McKay on the trip was his wife, Carol, and sister-in-law Diane. After arriving in Ottawa on June 30, they started with a tour of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. McKay, a self-proclaimed aviation buff, was eager to see the museum’s display on the Avro Arrow.

Canada Day in the capital proved to be as exciting as promised. Rain threatened to disrupt the celebrations, but the first-time visitors refused to let it keep them from joining the crowds.

“The rain put a damper on everything but our spirits,” said McKay. “We more or less did a Gene Kelly number and danced in the rain.”

They spent most of the day in the Byward Market, and McKay remarked that he was “blown away” by everyone’s national pride and friendliness. True Canadian spirit was evident everywhere, he said, from a grandfather in a wheelchair dancing with his grandson on his knee to how considerate everyone was for those who had trouble navigating the crowd. The day ended in their hotel room with a perfect view of the fireworks—which lasted 20 minutes and 17 seconds.

The city made its mark on McKay and his family. So much so, said McKay, “that Diane wants to go back to Ottawa for a month…because we had so much fun.”



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