News / Ottawa

Retired OC Transpo Route 2 bus immortalized on T-shirts

Artist Andrew King tapped into transit nostalgia on Saturday with commemorative giveaway.

Artist Andrew King created a limited edition run of T-shirts with his original art depicting an old-style OC Transpo bus.

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Artist Andrew King created a limited edition run of T-shirts with his original art depicting an old-style OC Transpo bus.

Several OC Transpo route numbers were retired Sunday, but the No. 2 will live on after being immortalized on T-shirts by local artist Andrew King.

King's grey t-shirts depict a an old-style red-and-white bus with the words “I lived through the number 2.”

On Saturday, King — with of OC Transpo’s approval — boarded a 2 bus with 70 shirts to give away to loyal riders of “The Deuce,” which is now the 11.

“Word got out and people were chasing that bus, it was like an Amazing Race kind of thing,” King said. “It was really fun.”

“Ottawa has a nostalgic nerve to it. It’s these little things that people love. They latch onto it, and they love the No. 2. They came out to get the shirt because they wanted a piece of that nostalgia.”

Bus chasers including a woman who no longer rides the 2 but had strong memories. King also met up with a teenage bus enthusiast with autism who shared an encyclopedic knowledge of OC Transpo vehicle models and engines.

King said many people who were following along on social media would hop on, pick up a shirt and hop off. Others were unaware of what was going on but were quick to share their stories of the long-running east-west route.

“Lots of cool stories, lots of neat people. The very diehard No. 2 bus riders came out in full force,” he said.

Despite its new number, the route, which runs from the Rideau Centre to Bayshore, will remain the same. But larger buses will run on some weekend trips.

King said that he draws a lot of inspiration in Ottawa nostalgia and quirks.

Last year he attempted a similar giveaway on Sparks Street, with a limited edition Ottawa 2017 shirt, but was thwarted by the bureaucracy of the local BIA, which kicked him out of the area.

“As you know, Ottawa is wrapped in red tape,” he said. “This year I wanted to do something like that again, but I decided I’ll go through the proper channels. OC Transpo were supportive from the start, so that was great, it all worked out.”

“It was just a silly thing, that was fun, it brought smiles to people’s faces and it was like two hours out of my life and $200 and it made a lot of people happy,” he said.

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