The starting goalkeeper of the top-ranked women’s soccer team in the world thinks Ottawa is a ‘very friendly place’ and Canadians in general are ‘all so cool.’ That was Nadine Angerer of Germany’s national team reaction when hundreds of fans greeted the former FIFA women’s soccer player of the year and her teammates at Ottawa’s Macdonald-Cartier International Airport on May 31.
Team Germany began its journey towards a third FIFA Women’s World Cup title in the nation’s capital at the new 24,000-seat TD Place facility located within Lansdowne Park along the Rideau Canal. An exuberant crowd jammed the stands with flags, hats and jerseys for Germany’s opening two games, a 10-0 victory over Côte d’Ivoire on June 7 and 1-1 draw with Norway on June 11. In between, visitors had an opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of Ottawa.
Visitors like Ingo Witt and his wife, Sigrid, from Frankfurt. The married couple previously spent time in Montreal and Winnipeg before arriving in Ottawa and cheering on Die Nationalelf (The National Eleven). “We’ve been to other Canadian places, but Ottawa is the nicest city we’ve seen so far,” said Ingo Witt, who proudly sported a large Cat in the Hat style of headgear adorning the red, black and gold of the German flag. “It’s an incredibly clean city with a lot of nice shops. We’ve seen lots of people getting around on bikes so we may rent some one day. There’s a lot of high culture, too, like your (National) Arts Centre.”
Jorg Ziptel from Dusseldorf appreciated the cooperative nature of Ottawans. “People here help you when you need to know something,” said Ziptel, who said he prefers to walk everywhere. “That’s something that stands out for me. I’ve also enjoyed the scenery. The view of the Rideau Canal (locks) from the bridge is very beautiful. Very pure.” Jennifer Trest from Stuttgart enjoyed strolling through the CF Rideau Centre in the downtown core. “There were lots of selections at the big shopping centre, like Nordstrom’s and that chocolate place (Purdy’s Chocolatier) by the food court. I got lost a few times because it’s very big, but it’s so clean.” Trest also wandered around the vendor booths and arts and crafts shops at the Byward Market before sampling the famous beavertail (fried dough pastry). “Delicious,” she smiled when asked how she liked the popular treat. “There wasn’t anybody in line when I got there, but after I bought mine I turned around and there was about 10 people standing there. Good timing for me.”
Dawn McCallum from Kamloops, BC, flew into Ottawa as part of a vacation package where she is visiting various Canadian cities hosting the World Cup. “I had to choose between a boat tour, a bus tour or a walking tour and I chose the walking one because it was better exercise,” said McCallum, who proudly displayed her white German national team shirt. “Our guide took us around the Parliament Buildings, the Rideau Canal and some other interesting places. “I live in Canada, but I had never been to the Parliament Buildings before. Ottawa is very, very beautiful. It’s a really neat city.”
McCallum, a self-proclaimed ‘HUGE soccer fan,’ thinks Canada hosting this year’s women’s World Cup has spurred national media coverage and fan awareness to an unprecedented level. “Germans support their soccer teams in a big, big way and Canadian women’s soccer has been on the rise since their Olympic bronze medal in 2012 so it’s great to see people in Ottawa and Canada and all parts of the world come alive to celebrate this wonderful global game,” said McCallum. “We’re embracing it with a passion.”