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Oprah in Ottawa: A Re-Cap

When I heard that Oprah was coming to Ottawa, I just knew I had to get a ticket. Like people who still buy tickets to the Rollings Stones playing live, for me, Oprah is more about nostalgia and a deep respect for what she has accomplished in her life more than any kind of present-day fandom.

She kicked off The Oprah Show in 1986, the same year I started high school. Despite it being a daytime show, I managed to see many episodes during my five years of high school (remember, there used to be a grade 13?). I’m not sure how though because I never, ever skipped class (*cough*cough*).

Oprah circa 1987

Oprah circa 1987

And just as I knew I needed to get my hands on a ticket, I knew that my bestie Jacqueline would need to come with me. (She never skipped class either. Pinkie swear.)

Jacqueline and Julie


The floor level seats were selling at up to $500 a piece! Jacqueline and I, however, revved up the mini-van and headed out to the show with our $150 tickets.

As we started to get near the stadium, the mini-vans full of women were all around us. We pulled in and finally found a parking space (all those stereotypes of women not being able to park or reverse their cars were unfortunately true on this night).

As we walked towards the stadium, we were greeted by a very strange sight indeed. People wearing white coveralls with large red splotches on their crotches were walking around and holding signs.

Protesters Outside of Oprah Show in Ottawa

According to these protesters, Oprah using a face cream made from human foreskins. I’d tell you more, but I’m way too afraid to google that one. But whatever she uses, it was working. Because Oprah looked FABULOUS!

Photo: Scott Parker , The Ottawa Citizen

Photo: Scott Parker , The Ottawa Citizen

Here is what the view looked like from where we were sitting. The place was packed! I may have seen four men in total. Maybe three, actually.

As the show began, I had no clue what to expect. I had literally just gone online as soon as the box office opened and picked up two tickets, without even reading anything about the event. Would she look back on some of her best Oprah Show episodes? Or better yet, would she give us all a car each as a prize for showing up?

Uh, no. None of the above. Oprah came out and spoke to us. She had a very basic powerpoint presentation to accompany her talk, but other than that there were no special effects. She shared some life lessons that she had learned along her journey so far, and then wove inspirational teachings alongside her personal stories.

Naturally, her personal stories were fascinating. Hearing how a woman raised in a cabin by her grandmother with no running water and no electricity had become one of the most influential women of my generation couldn’t help but be fascinating.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening. Although I can certainly understand why some people would choose not to go, I’m glad that I did. She’s no longer “my thing,” but she certainly was a regular part of my daily life for a while. Especially during my two maternity leaves. I watched her show Every. Single. Day.

As we headed back to the mini-van, Jacqueline and I shared our favourite part of the evening with each other. For me, it was Oprah’s humour. She can really tell a story and she is so funny! And I love a good laugh more than anything.

For Jacqueline, it was a poem that Oprah shared with the audience. I think this was an inspirational part of the evening for many people, so I will share it in full with you here. It it titled Love after Love and authored by Derek Walcott. It is about taking the time to nurture yourself.

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.


  1. Sarah McCormack says:

    I’m still not quite sure WHY I didn’t go. I think it was because of the venue. it didn’t seem intimate enough for me. i figured I’d be watching the big screen the whole night.. and why both paying $$$ for that!

    BUT, the day arrived and i felt sad not to be there. left out. i should have gone, because it was probably a once in a lifetime opportunity.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. your comment in the parking lot was a personal favorite Tweet :)

  2. Sounds like an amazing evening. I’d love to see her for the same reasons you mentioned – she’s come so far and there’s so much to learn from her. Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. I would love to have gone! The woman inspires.

  4. Rambling Momma says:

    ohhhh so jealous, would love to go to one of her shows.

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