Montreal is a wonderful city and the Canadian Grand Prix was a blast, despite the best efforts of the venue managers to ruin the whole thing. Sure, it sounds fun: hold a race on an island in the middle of a river just miles from downtown. Think Alcatraz and you'll have a sense of how accessible it is. And if you want to get close to the action in Formula One, go to Indianapolis instead. There, you can get closer, get to the track faster, and generally experience fewer hassles. I was shocked by the poor crowd control, the inefficient transit, and -most of all- the structure of the venue, designed to keep general admission ticket holders from seeing anything at all. (L. to R.: the old city as seen from the long bridge on the walk off the island; spectators' flags fly above the grandstands; venue map. Click for larger.)
We were not general admission ticket holders. We had nice seats at the start/finish line, across from the pits, a concession to my brother whose life goal is someday to yell so loudly at the pits that Juan Pablo Montoya turns and waves right to him. Because the front straight is a lousy place to take shots of the cars, I spent a lot of time walking around the grounds. I found only one or two places where the fences are not shrouded. Even there, the number of fences and the terrain itself made photography difficult. Unable to get the car shots I wanted, I decided to turn my attention to the crowds. (L. to R.: random car on the inner grounds; random spectator in the stands; the eventenual race winner in his car on qualification day. Click for larger.)
A cosmopolitan friend of mine warned me that Montreal is full of beautiful women and assured me that the F1 race would be teeming with them. Not so. By and large, the people at the CGP looked like people at Talladega for the Trailer Park 500. It was very strange, because the city was full of beautiful people. They just weren't at the track. (L. to R.: random fat guy spectator; random ugly guy spectator; random pink-hatted spectator, an exception that helped prove the rule. Click for larger.)
They were on Saint Catherine Street. And so were their wheels: Rolls-Royce [model], Bentley, Lamborghini (I've never seen so many in one day), and Ferraris including Maranello, 360, 308, 328. There were Porsches galore and a perfect Fiat Topolino. Gorgeous women. Handsome men. (L. to R.: one of the 22 lovely Austin Healeys provided for the drivers' parade; random pit girl; random tattooed spectator. Click for larger.)
I'll put some photos albums together, but I've peppered this post with some samples of everything. Where are the photos of the F1 cars? Good question. You'll have to ask the venue organizers, who put up canvas or planted trees everywhere someone might get a photo. Or just ask Bernie. I'll bet he had a hand in keeping the photos all under good rights-management. So he can sell them.