This is a view from Plaza Bridge of the Crashed Ice course on the 3rd of March, a few hours before the first evening's events were due to start. The course was ready at this point.
A few hours later, I approached to attend the event on what turned out to be a bitterly cold night. Today and tomorrow we have a look at it, including some video tomorrow. The Chateau Laurier was well lit up as I came along from Parliament Hill. Below, there was already a large crowd on site- more than twenty thousand people attended the event on each of the two nights. Large video screens were strategically placed to give one a view of the races, with cameras rigged to overhead lines that followed the action. While the crowds were there, things seemed fluid with people moving about; I had no problem finding spots for photography while I was there.
It helped that I was able to actually pass under the course- a staircase walkway was added into the scaffolding in at least one spot, granting access to both sides of the course. I paused to photographed the underside. The water you see is the water running naturally at the base of the Canal locks this time of year. If I was in this precise spot in the summer, I'd be over my head in water.
The skaters themselves were engaged in two different runs- group runs of four skaters in heats to mark their speeds down the course, as well as solo runs down the course with marks from judges for technique. They ended up appearing as blurs with the camera setting I was using, reaching speeds of seventy kilometres an hour at times. I say this as a rock climber: you have to be bonkers to do this.