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Video: Massive mechanical beasts from La Machine descend on Ottawa

The dragon-horse and spider will be battling it out on downtown streets next week, but Metro got a sneak-peak Wednesday.

Kumo, the spider, is part of the La Machine street theatre project in the city as part of the Ottawa 2017 events.

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ALEX ABDELWAHAB/ METRO

Kumo, the spider, is part of the La Machine street theatre project in the city as part of the Ottawa 2017 events.

We don’t know exactly where they’ll pop up, but the giant creatures from French theatre company La Machine will awaken in downtown Ottawa starting July 27.

“We want citizens to become children again, all members of the Ottawa population and visitors. We want them to experience this with their children’s eyes,” Guy Laflamme, executive director of Ottawa 2017, said at a news conference Wednesday.  

So far, we do know that Kumo, the giant spider, will first appear near the National Gallery of Canada around 8 p.m. next Thursday

La Machine is making its North American debut from July 27 to 30 on the streets of downtown Ottawa. The show, created by a French theatre production company, is called "The Spirit of the Dragon-Horse, The Stolen Wings."

It features Long Ma, who has the body of a horse and the head of a dragon, stands 12 metres tall, and can breathe fire, and Kumo, a spider who is about 20 metres long when fully outstretched. The two creatures have an Ottawa backstory for the show.  

“We found out that as we were excavating the tunnel in the LRT, workers saw some giant spider webs, then scientists did a bit of research and found some fossil arachnid eggs and they also found some bones from a prehistoric species of dinosaur that seems to be associated with a dragon,” Laflamme said.

It appears that long ago, Kumo stole something from Long Ma and now Long Ma wants it back.

Part of the appeal of La Machine, is that spectators are able to get very close to the creatures. There will be no barriers cordoning off the viewing area, instead a group of people will form a security blockade known as “la patate” that will make sure people are not under foot when the machines move.

“That will be in place for this, and like I say, it’s tried and proven throughout the world, by the producers. From a policing perspective, we will have police officers in that inner cordon, certainly and we will have a high visibility police presence in and around to try to keep the public safe,” Ottawa Police Insp. Murray Knowles said.

However, there will be rolling closures for vehicles as they move around downtown.

Laflamme said this “crazy, massive production” will generate tourism impact for the city and to give it a bigger international profile.

“It will generate visuals that will be broadcast around the world and it will show that Ottawa can be gutsy and edgy,” he said.

Impacts on traffic:

City of Ottawa

City of Ottawa

City of Ottawa

City of Ottawa

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