Friday, January 8, 2016

Past POIs - Winterlude [Ottawa, Ontario, Canada]

Winterlude (Bal de Neige in French) is an event that takes place in Ottawa and Gatineau which started in 1979 and draws in over a million visits is one not to miss if you are in the area.

Poster from Winterlude 2014.
The event lasts three weeks and usually ends on Family Day in February (which is the third Monday of February). There isn't a lot to do during the week, so skating in the rinks or along the Rideau Canal is nice, however, all the action happens during the weekends.

Ice sculptures from Winterlude 2014.
Three primary areas make up the event, the Rideau Canal for skating, Jacques-Cartier Park which is in Gatineau (it is just across the river, so it isn't as far as it may sound), becomes the Snowflake Kingdom is an area for kids and adults alike who want to experience tube slides, snow slides or a chance to meet the Ice Hog Family, the mascots of Winterlude. Last but not least is Confederation Park which becomes Crystal Garden where ice carvers come from all around the world to compete in a ice carving competition.

Me in front of one of the snow slides from Winterlude 2014.
As a bonus, here are some other activities that you might experience while there, see the Annual Bed Race, yes, that's right, bed race, where people modify beds and race them on the Rideau Canal. You can try Kicksleds, which you can do alone or with a child sitting up front, imagine a chair but on skis. Or you can check out the snow sculptures in the ByWard Market among other things.

Me at km 1.0 on the Rideau Canal.
There are plenty of activities here for everyone and best of all, it is FREE! Yup, no need to pay for admission and you can go whenever you like (although some things take place are certain times, to check the website or the brochure for details). There are some things that require payment but when we went in 2014, we didn't pay for anything besides hot chocolate and beavertails.

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Come back next Friday for another Past Point of Interest!