It seems most places around the country are experiencing colder temperatures than average. That is the case for Syracuse this year, and we have tons of snow in our front lawn and icicles almost as tall as I am. While I would rather be on a beach enjoying the sun and warm weather, I have learned you need to embrace winter to survive. It makes life a lot more fun if we go with the flow. Last weekend we went downhill skiing in Vermont, and this weekend we headed up north to Canada to go to Ottawa and experience their “Winterlude” winter festival.
All I can say is they know how to do winter in Ottawa. Beware… all of the photos were taken with our phones, so the quality is not the best. This festival is packed with people of all ages, and it seemed as if every hour was filled with something. Friday and Saturday nights there was a dance party in the snow, and it was a blast. It was the first time ever that I have been to a dance party with a DJ and people out and about in negative temperatures. It is amazing how moving will warm you right up.
The big attractions at the festival are the ice sculptures, and they were stunning. We went early to check them out and are so glad we did because by the afternoon and evening there was a waiting line to get to see them up close.
The Jack Frost ice sculpture was one of our favorites, and we were just amazed with the details. It would have been really fun to see the artist create these sculptures.
Here is an ice skater, and it was just as beautiful.
This one was a representation of Canadian sports.
This sculpture was hard to photograph, but we were so impressed with the lattice work in the ice. We couldn’t believe it was still standing. At night the sculptures had some colored lights on them, and they were just as impressive.
The ice rope is unreal in this sculpture.
This one was outside and not protected, but they made ice barriers to block off the sculpture.
The main reason we wanted to go to Ottawa to experience Winterlude was skating on the Rideau Canal. This canal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in the winter the canal freezes and you can skate away. During the winter some people commute to work by skating down the canal. The section that is open for skating is a little over seven kilometers, which is about four miles. During Winterlude, beverage and food stands are set up along the canal. We stopped to get some hot apple cider and warmed up by one of the fires they had set up.
This was where we started, and we were able to rent skates for our adventure.
Here I am wearing the ice skates. The first five minutes I thought I would be lucky to make it 0.5km. After a few minutes I got the hang of ice skating, and we were off. I am happy to report we did the whole seven km and enjoyed every minute of it.
Skating the canal was a huge highlight, and I was amazed to see little children flying by me on their ice skates. You could rent a small red sleigh to push while you skated behind. It was popular for parents if the children needed a break.
After skating we had our hot chocolates in hand and explored more things. We were laughing so hard at this activity they set up for the kids. They had lots of children shovels and children got to shovel out a car. At one point there were eight children shoveling to get the car out. I guess it is a good lesson in life if you live in Ottawa.
This picture is how to make maple taffy sticks. They had condensed maple syrup and poured it into the snow trough. Then they put a stick in the syrup and moved it around the snow. We tried one of these tasty treats and the people in the booth were shocked we had never had one before. I guess it is a staple for the festival.
While they had ice sculptures, they also had a few snow sculptures which were huge.
The last thing we did which was a blast were the snow slides. They had some where you rode an inner tube, other single slides, and group slides. It was a blast! If you are close to Ottawa, I highly recommend attending this Winterlude winter festival. It was a great way to have so much fun and embrace these cold temperatures and snow. Remember to dress to be in subzero temperatures all day.
Do you have a favorite winter activity?