February 15, 2011
When friends heard that my wife and I were going to split a weekend between California and Ontario, a lot of people thought we were nuts. But it really wasn’t that bad. Sure, it was sunny and hot when we left LA, and it was cold and snowing when we eventually landed in Ottawa, but when we woke up on Saturday morning, it was just as sunny and gorgeous as LA, just with a 30 degree temperature plunge.
Ottawa was alive and festive in the -6 degree sunshine, everyone enjoying the Winterlude Festival and skating the Rideau Canal, back dropped by the stunning Canadian parliament buildings.
The reason we were in Ottawa was to attend the wedding of CBC colleague Alan Neal (host of All in a Day, the regional Ottawa afternoon show) and singer-songwriter and ballerina Jill Zmud. The ceremony was at the National Arts Centre of Canada, which was a trip, since the last time I set foot in that building was in 1992 when my old band The Smugglers won a YTV Achievement Award (Alan Thicke was the host, Right Said Fred and the Crash Test Dummies performed, and the Pursuit of Happiness gave us the trophy and several thousand bucks).
Alan and Jill’s wedding was lovely, featuring live music by Rolf Klausener (the Acorn), Oh Susanna, and Kellylee Evans. Other musicians in attendance included Andrew Vincent, Chris Page, and Dave Draves, as well as many other CBC folks, such as our dear friend Amanda Putz and her husband Tim. (It was especially heartwarming to see singer Andrew Vincent and his producer Dave Draves dance with each other to “Bahamas”, one of Vincent’s own songs that Draves produced!)
One of the ‘threads’ of the wedding was Alan and Jill’s love of television, so they challenged each of the tables at the reception to stand up and sing a television theme song if we wanted to see them kiss. I’m pretty sure our table Gleeked it top shelf, with a “FUSE” of the themes to Diff’rent Strokes (I know every word off by heart so I took lead on that) and The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air (I’ve never seen that show ever so I didn’t have a clue how that went so I just hip-hop danced) then we brought it back around to the Diff’rent Strokes chorus. Pretty acapella awesome.
Early the next morning, my wife and I rode the rails southbound to the snowy fields of Prince Edward County for a book event at a fantastic bookstore in Picton called Books and Company. Lots of great folks from far and near decided to spend their Sunday afternoon with us, including Jill’s parents, Toronto author Sarah Selecky, people from as far away as New Zealand and Newfoundland and… Belleville, and our good friend Virginia Clark, director of the amazing Wolfe Island Music Festival.
Thanks to all who showed us a wonderful time in Los Angeles, Ottawa, and Picton, and congratulations to the Arcade Fire for EARNING the Grammy for Best Album! (Possibly also with the good luck charms of poutine?!)