Winterlude, For The Family-Outing Win!

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by Stephen Johnson

Attending Winterlude has become an annual tradition for our family. We were particularly excited for this year’s edition as extra activities have been planned in honour of the Canada 150 celebration.

We decided to start our Winterlude visit at the Snowflake Kingdom at Jacques Cartier Park in Gatineau. Our first order of business was to try out the dog-sledding demonstration. I am always amazed at the strength of a team of sled dogs. We did a circuit around the course and were soon done. It was a great introduction to dog-sledding and I would love to go for a longer trip later this winter.    

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After the dog-sledding, a giant inflatable beaver caught our attention. It was the display area for Parks Canada. We picked up our 2017 free discovery pass which gives you access to visit any Parks Canada facility for free in 2017. We also rested by a wood fire that gave us a welcome reprieve from the cold.

One thing I love about attending Winterlude in Gatineau is they incorporate French Canadian culture into the celebrations. We saw a female duo doing traditional French Canadian dancing to a techno version of a traditional French Canadian song.  The blend of old school and modern worked perfectly to create something new.   

If you attend Snowflake Kingdom, it is almost obligatory to try one of the slides. Lineups can sometimes be long but move quickly. My son David and I decided to try individual ice slides. We raced at the same time. I think David won, but just by a hair.

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My wife Sandy wanted to get a few photos with the snow sculptures, so we did our best pose.   

We wrapped up the day with another almost obligatory activity at Winterlude – eating Beavertails! We ordered two chocolate Beavertails and a hot chocolate as the perfect accompaniment. A good portion of the chocolate ended up on David’s mouth but that is part of the fun.   

We had a wonderful time at the Snowflake Kingdom and we’re planning to take in the festivities at City Hall and Confederation Park next weekend. Winterlude runs from February 3 to 20.

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