Do the ‘Lude – Action for all ages at Winterlude ‘14

Is it marked on your calendar yet? Winterlude 2014 starts January 31 and it glides right through Family Day, February 17. How fun is that? Grab your snow pants, gather up your kith and kin and go! The three Winterlude weekends, January 31 through February 2, February 7 through 9 and February 14 through 17, are full of way cool (okay, ice-cold) activities and special events. In fact, many venues are open every day.

At Confederation Park, ice carvers from all over the world will be creating amazing artworks from blocks of ice. Don’t miss the dazzling show at night, when coloured lights illuminate the sculptures and the downtown park is aglow. It’s sensational.

At the Snowflake Kingdom in Gatineau’s Jacques-Cartier Park, you can whiz down the super slides, meet the Ice Hog family, Winterlude’s lovable and very huggable mascots, and take part in all sorts of challenging adventures. There are attractions and offerings for all ages at the biggest snow playground on the continent.

On the Rideau Canal Skateway, highlights include the Winterlude Triathlon February 1. One of the oldest Winterlude activities, it’s a unique contest that involves skating eight kilometres on the canal, cross-country skiing five kilometres and running five kilometres. Some people do the whole distance, while others sign up as part of relay teams. See www. winterludetriathlon.ca for details.

And why not put together a team for the annual Accora Village Bed Race that takes place on Dows Lake February 1? Funds raised through this event support the Kiwanis Read-a-thon and other Kiwanis Club of Ottawa’s programs, as well as the Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation.

It starts with registration at 11 a.m., followed by the Parade of Beds at 12:30 and races from 1 to 2:30 p.m. During the parade, judges select the best decorated bed, and then there are heats of five beds racing through a course on the ice.

The 2014 Beaver Cup Pond Hockey Championship is slated for February 7 to 9 at Dows Lake on the canal. A huge hit with male and female players and hockey fans of all ages, the annual pondarama is fast paced and fun to watch, especially since there are no goalies. To enter a team, see thebigbeaver.wix.com.

At the skateway, you can also rent skates and sleighs, get your skates sharpened, warm up by a fire, sip on a hot chocolate and tuck into a beavertail or another tasty snack.

It’s Winterlude City, Baby

But the delectable treats and the action aren’t restricted to the official venues. Each winter, Ottawa and Gatineau become Winterlude City, with special culinary and community events all over the place, from the west end to downtown to the Shenkman Arts Centre, where Fête Frissons is taking place February 8 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. A pancake breakfast, live theatre, pottery arts, music and dance are part of the fun in the east end.

East to west, north to south, Ontario to Quebec, there is fun to be had in Winterlude City. It’s all one amazing winter place. See www.pch.gc.ca for details.

Photos courtesy of Canadian Heritage

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