The inauguration of Barack Obama as the United States' 44th president was no small event, and the attendance--estimated to be upwards of one million people, and possibly as high as two million--reflects that. It's interesting to note that, according to InsideNoVA.com, many attendants to the inauguration ceremony took public transit to get to the historic event:
The Associated Press, through photographs and past crowd estimates, guessed that a million people descended on Washington for the inauguration of Barack Obama.President Obama is likely close to, if not equally, as popular in Canada as he is in the United States. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Leader of the Opposition Michael Ignatieff, and Governor General were all quick to congratulate Obama during his first official day as president. And Canada seems to be popular with Obama, as he's announced that his first foreign visit as president will be to the national capital of Canada, Ottawa. And, according to a CBC report quoting Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, that presidential visit is likely to be relatively soon:
More than 930,000 of them got there using public transportation.
But with public transit nonexistent thanks to a 43-day-long (and counting) transit strike that seems no closer to resolution than ever, and warnings that it will take anywhere from three to six months for full service even when the issues are resolved and the transit system back in place, you have to wonder how the City of Ottawa will handle Canadians--and quite possible Americans from the Northeastern United States--flocking in to see the newest President of the United States of America.
Lawrence Cannon said despite the choice of George W. Bush to visit Mexico in his first official state visit, a historical precedent from John F. Kennedy onward suggests presidential visits to Canada have "always been quite close" to the inauguration date.
"The visits to Canada have been very closely aligned with the beginning of the mandate of the new president, so I think that the presumption that it will be sooner rather than later is bang on," Cannon said in an interview from Ottawa.
Obama has already pledged his first official trip abroad will be to Ottawa. Cannon said he did not have a confirmed date for the new president's visit, but officials from both sides of the border have been in touch.
"We expect that over the course of the next couple of days …we'll get a better sense of how this is going to work out," he said. "But we're pleased that he's coming to Canada first and foremost."