Win­ter­lude

In many cities across North Amer­ica, win­ter is a time when peo­ple stay in­doors, but not so in Ottawa. Win­ter­lude is the city’s an­nual homage to all things ice and snow. This year, it runs from Jan­uary 29 to Fe­bru­ary 15.

Where Ottawa - - Contents - BY AMY ALLEN

Ottawa’s an­nual win­ter party floods the canal, the world’s long­est skaing rink, with rev­ellers, ice carvers daz­zle with their crys­taline cre­ations, and kids race down slides at Canada’s largest snow park.

RIDEAU CANAL SKATE­WAY

A UNESCO World Her­itage Site and a Na­tional His­toric Site of Canada, the Rideau Canal turns into the world’s largest skat­ing rink when tem­per­a­tures drop. Each year, hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple skate its 7.8 kilo­me­tres, from Dow’s Lake in the south end of the city to the Macken­zie King Bridge in the north. Chalets and stove fires along the route of­fer the op­por­tu­nity to warm up, while BeaverTails pas­tries and hot choco­late keep skaters fu­eled. Skates can be rented at sev­eral lo­ca­tions along the Canal.

Top Events:

• The Win­ter­lude Triathlon on Jan­uary 30 chal­lenges ath­letes to com­pete in an 8km skate, an 8km ski, and a 5km run. Think you’ve got what it takes? Sign up at win­ter­lude­triathlon.ca. • Am­a­teur hockey teams play four on four at The Great Cana­dian Beaver Cup Pond Hockey Clas­sic from Fe­bru­ary 12 to 14 at Dow’s Lake. • Fifty teams of rac­ers dec­o­rate them­selves and a bed, then ca­reen down the Canal in the an­nual Ac­cora Vil­lage Bed

Race on Fe­bru­ary 6.

CRYS­TAL GAR­DEN

Dozens of sparkling ice sculp­tures, carved by masters from around the world, stand proudly on dis­play at Con­fed­er­a­tion Park. You can watch those artists at work dur­ing the 29th an­nual In­ter­na­tional Ice-Carv­ing Com­pe­ti­tion, which takes place over open­ing week­end, Jan­uary 29 to 31. The fin­ished prod­ucts re­main on dis­play un­til the end of the fes­ti­val. Af­ter night­fall, the sculp­tures take on a mag­i­cal life of their own when they’re back­lit by multi-coloured lights.

Top Events:

• The Win­ter­lude Open­ing

Cer­e­mony, which in­cludes DJs, a mas­sive dance party, roam­ing buskers, and maple taffy, takes place on Jan­uary 29.

• Flora and Fauna, a se­ries of light art in­stal­la­tions in­spired by Cana­dian na­ture, il­lu­mi­nate the night for the du­ra­tion of the fes­ti­val.

SNOWFLAKE KING­DOM

North Amer­ica’s largest snow play­ground awaits the whole fam­ily at Jac­ques-Cartier Park dur­ing Win­ter­lude. The kids (and the young at heart) can speed down the park’s 20 snow slides and check out snow sculp­tures themed af­ter Canada’s North. Kick­sled­ding, ski­ing lessons for kids, play struc­tures, and mazes are all part of the Snowflake King­dom’s charm.

Above and left: Ice sculp­tures at Con­fed­er­a­tion Park Below: Skat­ing on the Rideau Canal

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