Confederation Park and Other Winterlude Locations

Another Winterlude location just minutes away is the American Express Snowbowl, a stage located right in front of the Government Conference Centre. This year’s lineup includes Tom Cochrane and Red Rider, Mes Aïeux, Jully Black, Doba Caracol, Daniel Lanois and many more.

On our way back from Darcy McGee’s on Saturday evening we walked down to Confederation Park and on to the American Express Snowbowl and caught a bit of a live concert. The stage was set against the National Conference Centre and was beautifully illuminated in orange, pink and purple shades and the crowd was enjoying the live music.

The Rideau Canal Skateway is another official Winterlude location. This past weekend I had a chance to experience the Canal myself, and on a beautiful crisp winter day, it was an exhiliariting experience to glide almost weightlessly across the frozen expanse of the 7.8 km long Rideau Canal, indeed the world’s largest natural ice skating surface, according to the Guiness Book of World Records.

The Rideau Canal Skateway itself hosts a variety of activities: you can get a taste of Aboriginal culture, traditions and cuisine at the Pig Island Aboriginal Village. The Canadian Tire JumpStart Activity Centre at Fifth Avenue allows children to test their hockey skills and they can also try out the Jumpai trampoline system. Union Station at Rideau Street provides a 1920s ambience: the history of the railway yards on the banks of the Rideau River is recounted on displays and interpretive panels.

This past Saturday, the 26th Annual Bed Race on Dow’s Lake combined athleticism, ingenous engineering and fundraising for a great day of charity and hilarity.

Another opportunity for fundraising is coming up on February 19, 2006, when Canadian Tire invities you to participate in the Great Skate from 11 am to 3 pm on the Rideau Canal Skateway on Fifth Avenue. Proceeds will go to Canadian Tire JumpStart, a charitable program created by the Canadian Tire Foundation for Families that helps kids in financial need participate in organized sports and recreation.

On the other side of the Ottawa River in Hull, Quebec, is Jacques-Cartier Park, official location of Snowflake Kingdom and another official Winterlude site. It offers the Ice Hogs Winter Sports Adventure, individual slides of different slopes which will provide fun to the whole family.

Northern Place is a snow shelter and presents the enchanting world of Aboriginal cultures with aboriginal shows and traditional demonstrations. The Ice Hog Amphitheatre is home to the Ice Hog’s Walkabout, and in case you didn’t know, the Ice Hogs are Winterlude’s official mascots. Children can get a hug from one of their favourite mascots – Mama, Papa, Noumi and Nouma. The Snowflake Kingdom also presents “Expérience Maneige”, an opportunity for 5 to 8 year old children to go downhill skiing.

And a restaurant festival preceeds Winterlude. This year Taste of Winterlude was held from January 20 to February 2, 2006, where many popular restaurants in Ottawa-Gatineau served up their specialties in affordable prix-fix menu format. We missed the restaurant festival, but good food was not lacking during our past 2 days in Ottawa. Our enjoyable dinners at Fat Tuesdays and Darcy McGee’s gave us a sample of some of the culinary treats on offer in Ottawa.

Winterlude offers a wide variety of activities, and fortunately this past weekend we had a chance to participate in just a few. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hope to come back to Ottawa for another festival, maybe even the famous Tulip Festival this coming May…….

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