I had never seen such a mixture on Canada Day.
There were protesters chanting “Freedom” with their fists raised while waving Canadian flags. And the others, the small families, just as patriotic in their white and red dresses.
One of the first is the anger of the protesters. In the others, the relaxed atmosphere of the vacationer.
The similarity of the uniforms was as striking as the difference in their respective moods.
Leaving aside those mindsets and perhaps the anti-Trudeau/vaccine/sanitary placards, it would have been difficult to tell the protesters apart from the rest.
We celebrate freedom however we can or however we want.
In the face of this strange spectacle, which seemed to overwhelm her, a young immigrant woman who has lived in Toronto for two years said to me: “I see two groups of people who, in their own way, love their country just as much.”
If it just could be that easy.
Which brings us to Pierre Poilievre, who wholeheartedly supports the so-called “Freedom Convoy”.
Playing in Maxime Bernier’s flowerbeds could help him win the race for leadership of the Conservative Party.
It went very well for him. His lead seems unassailable.
But in the compact crowd of tens of thousands, the convoy’s rebels are only a small minority.
And her ailments have not aged very well as health measures fly by.
Her call for freedom sounded all the more wrong in the happily assembled crowd.
On this Canada Day in Ottawa we could see the strength but also the limitations of the echo chamber formed by the “complosphere”.
Maxime Bernier has no realistic intention of assuming power, he told me this weekend on the fringes of the celebrations.
It is quite different with Pierre Poilievre.
Now they both drink partly from the same well.
It is this attitude that caused conservative family tenors like Brian Mulroney to no longer identify with it.
Like many ordinary Canadian patriots, they recognized neither the demands nor the anger of the convoy.