Obama stops to shop in Ottawa's Byward Market
After meeting with the prime minister, U.S. President Barack Obama made a quick stop in Ottawa's Byward Market Thursday where he bought a beaver tail, picked up some cookies from a French bakery and looked for a snow globe to bring back to the White House.
Those who work at the BeaverTail hut in the Byward Market told CTV Ottawa one of Obama's security personnel came up to the hut and asked if one of the employees could serve the president an Obama Tail, a winter treat designed specifically to honour the American president.
Employee Jessica Milien, who was selected because she's a big Obama fan, served Obama his dessert and explained that the Obama Tail is dressed with the classic beaver tail cinnamon and sugar flavour, topped with maple flavoured eyes and a Nutella 'O' for 'Obama.'
"This is the most exciting day of my life," Milean told CTV Ottawa Thursday afternoon.
"We started talking and he was such a down to earth guy, it didn't even feel like I was talking to the president of the United States."
That sentiment was shared by employees who work at Le Moulin de Provence, a local French bakery where the president picked up maple leaf shaped cookies for his daughters, free of charge.
"He walked right in front of us and we asked him if we could have a picture with him, and he said yes. And he shook our hands and he was saying how nice it was to meet us," said employee Isabelle Corriveau. "It was a total surprise."
Earlier in the day, Obama also took a moment to greet about 1,000 onlookers who gathered on the snowy lawn of Parliament Hill to catch a glimpse of the famed American president.
The brief wave from Obama, who was joined by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, was a moment many had been waiting for since early Thursday morning.
"We're so tired, we haven't slept," said Stephanie Scott, a Toronto resident who arrived on the Hill at 4:30 a.m.
Residents from across the country were also joined by some Americans who made the trip to Canada just to see the U.S. president.
"Why do you think I'm here -- it's because I couldn't go (to the inauguration in Washington). I missed him one place, so I'm catching him on the other side," said Rita Bruney of Brooklyn.
Obama's Air Force One jet touched down at the Ottawa International Airport shortly before 10:30 a.m., where he was greeted on the tarmac by Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean and Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon.
After a short meeting with the Governor General, Obama's motorcade made its way to Parliament Hill, whizzing past thousands of well-wishers who lined the Airport Parkway.
As the president approached the Hill in his bulletproof limo, snipers stood on the rooftops and hung out of helicopters that circled above.
Police presence in many parts of the capital remained strong throughout the day to ensure the president had a safe visit.
Although Obama was scheduled to return to Washington at about 4:30 p.m., his plane didn't take off until about an hour later.