Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Ferrari Red

Photos such as these, recently discovered after missing for more than ten years, will never be taken again. 

It was June 7, 2003 and in celebration of Italian Week, numerous Ferrari clubs, including those from Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa, assembled in Ottawa, comprising the largest display of these iconic Italian cars most will ever see. 

I do not recall how many cars there were but it had to be between 75 and 100. Hard to tell as the predominant colour was red and a rather racy yellow, and yes, after awhile, it was hard to tell them apart.

To this day, people talk about the excitement of this event the likes of which Ottawa has not seen since a dedicated coterie of car buffs pulled off an absolute coup of "don't ask, don't tell, just do it!"

What was fabulous about this day were the crowds of people standing five, six, up to ten deep behind metal barricades which separated them but a foot or two from the cars.

Vehicles were staged in a large government parking lot, row upon row of Ferrari and a handful of exotic sports racing cars. And then there were actual open wheel racing cars.

The main street running through Ottawa's Little Italy, Preston Street, was closed for roughly half a quarter mile in both directions. Cars were dispatched in ten second intervals and paraded past the excited cheering people.  What was astounding is this excitement caught on and the drivers sped up, and by the hairpin turn at the end of the route, there was some power down-shifting.

In retrospect, organizers are relieved that everything went smoothly and everyone had fun. The potential for disaster was there at every turn and could have affected scores of people.
Yes, we were lucky.
The year after, rules and regulations took precedence and, need I say, it was just another car show, just another parade and, well, boring.