In the past, sporting events were a big attraction to people staying in town over the long weekend. In Ottawa South, the swimming beach at the end of Brighton Avenue was a favourite place to be. Here’s an excerpt from the Ottawa Evening Citizen on August 2, 1923:
Brighton Beach Sports on the Water–Ottawa South Residents Staging Aquatic Program on Civic Holiday
Ottawa South Residents are enthused over the coming Civic Holiday Regatta, which is expected to be the best yet staged by the association. Besides a list of events larger than previous years, with aquatic events and comedic stunts, the most spectacular event of the day will be the Venetian Night on the Water, together with a civic band concert by the Ottawa Silver Band; also a water polo match.
A special attraction has been arranged by Miss Gwen Osborne in the form of tableaux on water craft, with special lighting effects. This feature will be worth going a long distance to see and all is entirely free to the public of Ottawa. A large entry is expected in the different events.
On July 24, 1925 the Ottawa Citizen reported plans for that year’s festivities:
The Brighton Beach Aquatic Club is also busy making arrangements for the annual regatta on Civic Holiday Monday August 3rd. A splendid program of swimming and boating events is being drawn up, which will commence about ten o’clock in the morning and continue until six in the evening. An orchestra has been engaged and a good program of music and dancing will be provided for the evening part of the entertainment. It is also proposed to have a water carnival in the evening and many have already promised to enter their boats.
Certainly in the 1920s the annual regatta was a much anticipated event. In 1928, the Ottawa Citizen reported a crowd of about 2,500 people at Brighton Beach watched various events taking place in or on the water on the Civic Holiday. It’ll probably be a wee bit less crowded down at the Brighton Avenue Park this year…