Canada: Celebrating Winter in the Capital

The great White North came to accept and celebrate the cold long ago.  Hockey is one of its well known traditions, with outdoor winter rinks scattered around communities like basketball courts in the US. Each of the cities also has its own traditions as well.  Last week was the opening of Winterlude in Ottawa. Although Emily wasn’t able to make it, my parents and I joined Heather and John in celebrating the winter festivities.

Photo by Ana Gherasim

The celebration opened with fire — lots and lots of fireworks.  From the Quebec side of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, we watched fireworks cascade, whistle, and explode above and below Parliament.  It was thirty minutes of choreographed pyrotechnics that convinced us to come back again and again (with a camera too).  At one point, a bridge that spans the river had a stream of fire rolling off its side and onto the ice below.  It was a spectacular display Ana Gherasim captured wonderfully last year.

The next day we got out on the ice of the Rideau Canal.  It is the world’s largest outdoor skating rink with little huts every 500 meters or so for the ‘Canal Season.’  It would be a great way to commute to work downtown if you lived along the canal.  On this (relatively) warm day, it was just below freezing. We saw children learning to skate, hockey players swiftly rushing by, and couples out on dates – everyone seemed to agree that it was a great way to spend a Saturday.  We made our way 5 kilometers to the beginning of the canal and the heart of Winterlude where ice artists were putting their final touches on their ice sculptures (actually, ‘carving’ away shards of ice with noisy chain saws).  This isn’t an art form we see very often in the US capital.

Now that the skating and work was out of the way, it was time to relax and enjoy some of the food and other things Heather and John had discovered in the city.  I had a wonderful time sharing their new home, and I look forward to visiting again with Emily.  I just hope the photos below of snow and ice won’t scare her.  She’s tough, though, as she did survive the sub-zero temperatures we encountered in Quebec a year earlier.



~ by Rob Page III on February 15, 2011.

3 Responses to “Canada: Celebrating Winter in the Capital”

  1. I absolutely love this one (!!!

    They’re all great though!

    • Thank you. I had a great time up there. That ice display was about 10 blocks of ice with the cut-outs lined up perfectly to look through to a friend at the other end.

  2. […] he keeps up the scoring pace.  Here is an impersonator on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa during Winterlude. A common jersey on the Rideau Canal – Ottawa, ON … February 5, 2011 … Photo by Rob Page III […]

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