Mexican culture holds a special place in my heart, from my earliest days exploring Ottawa for the first time.
No, I wasn’t lost - just lucky. Doors Open Ottawa assigned me to volunteer at one of the event’s star attractions, the Mexican ambassador’s residence. I spent the weekend guiding visitors through the tour (and, if I’m being honest, sneaking off to watch the dancing demonstrations and sample some of the delicious refreshments. It was hard to resist!) No wonder it was such a popular spot. Meanwhile, my new circle of volunteer friends at the National Gallery was meeting for regular happy hour festivities at the now-closed Byward Market restaurant Azteca and they invited me to come along. It was my first real introduction to the flavors of Mexico (aside from the trays that came out from the ambassador’s kitchen!) and I was enthralled. Who knew that salsa wasn’t always bright red and found in a jar?
And now, with a little help from the Mexico Tourism Board, I’m about to have the opportunity to discover so much more at the upcoming Experience Mexico celebration.
We can’t wait to take in as much as possible. Here’s some of the fantastic events we’re looking forward to the most:
- The pinata making workshop: Admittedly this is for children but I’m sure we could sneak a place at the table too. We had the opportunity to see some amazing pinata bashing at the Fiesta London celebration in London, Ontario - these gorgeous works of art are woven with magic and it will be fun to make our own.
- An incredible special performance by Cirque du Soleil (inspired by Luzia, A Walking Dream of Mexico). Have you ever seen a Cirque performance? We had the pleasure of seeing Ka in Las Vegas and it was one of the most phenomenal travel experiences we’ve ever had. I can’t imagine how amazing it’s going to be to see them again. This is our weekend must-see.
- A cooking class (and maybe some samples? A girl can hope!) with Chef Patricia Vélez. Maybe I’ll be able to recreate some of those lost Azteca flavors for myself. Oh, and there’s also a tequila tasting event. This is tremendously important, you know, for cultural purposes… the actual tequila itself is secondary of course. Who believes me?
- A once-in-a-lifetime concert opportunity to see Morganna Love (who’s coming in from San Miguel de Allende!) perform for the exhibition.
- A chance to glimpse some of Mexico’s renowned beauty with a lecture on "Migration and Sanctuary of the Monarch Butterfly" by Georgina O'Farril. It might just barely be spring in Ottawa but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your own dose of Mexican sunshine!
And did I mention that this incredible schedule of events is entirely free? This is one of the things I love best about Ottawa. The city is wonderfully diverse and there are so many accessible events to celebrate our shared heritage and many communities. There’s such a proud tradition of hospitality and celebration here - one that I experienced first hand as a volunteer as an Ottawa newcomer- and I can’t wait to be a part of with “Experience Mexico”. Will I see you there?
Thank you to the Mexican Tourism Board for partnering with me on this post. All research, writing, and opinions are my own.