Looking toward downtown Ottawa, towers of Chateau Laurier in background. Two figures with backpacks are Sarah Harris and Ellen Rocco. (Photo: Kate Harris)
The Great Pyramid of Giza (by the way, the only remaining “wonder” from the original list) and the Great Wall of China (from a list compiled more than a millennium after the original list) are certainly great–but you can’t ice skate on them! On the other hand, visit the Rideau Canal during Ottawa’s annual Winterlude and you can skate for 7.8 kilometers, turn around and do 4.8 miles back to your starting point.
Last Saturday, our underwriting director Sandy Demarest loaded two buses with NCPR listeners and off we went to spend the day in Ottawa–skating, admiring the ice sculptures, visiting museums, and eating in a variety of restaurants. [SIDEBAR: On the bus up to Ottawa I asked Sandy what she planned to do and she gave me details about lunch and dinner plans. "Anything in between?" Pause. "Work up an appetite for dinner."]
So here are pictures I collected from some of the staff and others who spent the day with us in Ottawa. It’s not too late: Winterlude is up and running until mid-February. Well worth a visit.
One of our buses loading up in Canton in front of the station. (Photo: Bob Sauter)
Sarah Harris, NCPR Champlain Valley reporter, on the bus. (Photo: Kate Harris)
Our Canadian friends welcome the buses to Ottawa: Hank Hoffman (holding the sign) and Marian Hoffman (in pick coat). Staff on the trip: Sarah Harris (in blue jacket), Todd Moe (rear), Julie Grant, Rown Grant (in white hat), Ellen Rocco, Jackie Sauter, Steve Sauter, Bob Sauter and trip organizer Sandy Demarest. (Photo: Dave Demarest)
Okay, let ‘s get on the ice!
(Photo: Kate Harris)
Aviva Gold (executive director of GardenShare) and daughter Keillor test the ice. Nice going, Keillor! (Photo: Julie Grant)
Kate Harris, smiling in spite of a couple of tumbles (I fell more times than she did). (Photo: Sarah Harris)
Sarah Harris and Ellen Rocco–it was cold. (Photo: Kate Harris)
Jackie Sauter demonstrates the other key activity on the Rideau Canal: consuming beaver tails. (Photo: Bob Sauter)
Most of us walked around the city after skating. My little group headed over to the Museum of Civilization, just across the river in Gatineau. Adjacent to the Museum is Jacques Cartier Park which is set up with all kinds of winter playground activities for kids.
Steve Kilger, Aviva Gold, Keillor Dilger and Rowan Grant pose in front of the snow slide in Jacques Cartier Park. (Photo: Julie Grant)
I did a different kind of slide on the icy walk up to the Jacques Cartier statue. That’s me on my bottom–under the light dusting of snow, glare ice on the hill. Sarah Harris gleefully took this photo of her boss on her bottom. Just to my left, Ann Sibley of the SLU development department, and Kate Harris, Sarah’s mom. (Photo: Sarah Harris)
Great view of the “other side” of Parliament buildings from the bridge to Gatineau. Sarah and Ellen, again. Still pretty cold. (Photo: Kate Harris)
Another “must see” at Winterlude is the ice sculpture display, centered in Confederation Park in downtown Ottawa, just a couple of blocks from the canal. Here’s a sampling of photos we took, with special emphasis on the sculptors still working on pieces to be displayed during the next few weeks:
Bison in ice. (Photo: Sandy Demarest)
Seahorses in ice, as evening lights come on. (Photo: Ellen Rocco)
In the carving tent. (Photo: Bob Sauter)
(Photo: Bob Sauter)
- Chain saw sculpting. (Photo: Ellen Rocco)
These people are working under a tent in the evening light, basically outside. Note palettes in foreground–these are used to move completed sculptures to display areas in park and on the canal. (Photo: Ellen Rocco)
Note the ball of ice being shaped by the sculptor. This gives you a sense of the tent space the sculptors set up in. (Photo: Ellen Rocco)
This year, Canada invited South Korea to be a “featured” guest at the festival. Here’s a sampling of some of the special displays constructed by the South Koreans:
Jackie Sauter in the Korean “tunnel,” with Steve Sauter in right corner. (Photo: Bob Sauter)
In the evening, sculptures (not ice) in the South Korean display came alive in lights. (Photo: Todd Moe)
Another from the South Korean display. (Photo: Todd Moe)
Confederation Park contains other special displays like these two Todd visited:
A demonstration of the “old” way of cooking down maple sap into syrup. (Photo: Todd Moe)
Of course, Todd found shelter from the cold in a “lavvu,” a Norwegian (Sami) tent, complete with tiny trolls and Norwegian folk. (Photo: Todd Moe)
We skated, we walked, we visited a museum, we strolled through Confederation Park and then, hooray, we found our way to an Irish pub for food and drink. My “dates” for the day: Joe Adriano, Sarah Harris, Ann Sibley and Kate Harris. (Photo: Ellen Rocco)
Hank Hoffman (of our Canadian welcome committee) and Ellen Rocco, back at the beginning of the day. What a day! (Photo: David Demarest)
We’ re planning more day trips in the coming year…ideas? In Canada? In Vermont or New York? A Triple A ballgame in Syracuse? Montreal botanical gardens? Tulip festival in Ottawa? Burlington excursion? Let us know.
Tags: canada, ottawa, rideau canal, winterlude