Our weekend at Winterlude was the perfect getaway to beat the February blues. After a jam packed day one, we decided to take a relaxing stroll through the charming city of Ottawa, Canada. Ottawa is a walking city and it is easy to navigate. With the temperature being above normal for this time of the year, it was the perfect day to take in the sites.
A lot of the action at Winterlude takes place at the Crystal Garden.
There are ice sculptures on display and artists working on their latest masterpiece. They run workshops and kids can take a stab at carving themselves. The display here is interactive and a whole lot of fun.
Food stalls are set up outside and I said to myself “Only in Canada will people sit on a picnic table to enjoy a meal in the middle of winter” I love it! We ordered our staple food of the event, the ever popular Beaver Tail. Yes, Canadians eat Beaver Tails! But it's not what you think. They may be in the shape of a beaver's tail, but this is a warm and delicious doughy treat. There's no meat in this desert, it's deep fried sweet bread covered in cinnammon and sugar. It's is soooo delicious.
After indulging in the mega calorie treat and vowing to start our diet on Monday, we walked over to ByWard Market where we did some window shopping and people watching. What I loved were all the fun hats on sale. Our guide in Antarctica had the cutest grover hat and these were on sale here. I love hats!
It was then coffee time. Nothing better than enjoying coffee on a sunny winter's day. Ottawa is a happening place this time of year and it is so much fun to walk around and people watch. It is even more fun to sit down and take a break. The Canal may have been closed for skating, but that didn't stop us from having a great time. We strolled the markets, took in the atmosphere sat at cafés and enjoyed each others company.
Lunch ended up on the shores of the Rideau Canal at Le Café. We definitely need to start our diet next week because for now, we enjoyed a decadent meal of buttery scallops in cream sause with fava beans, mouth watering sushi, grilled steak salad and green tea infused salmon. We loved the Internationally infused dishes and once again, our server was awesome.
There are so many events going on during Winterfest that it is difficult to choose what to do. It is the perfect family event and we saw moms and dads hauling their giddy kids around from attraction to attraction.
If you have little ones, you don't have to worry about walking too much as the city has supplied a Sno-Bus to shuttle everyone between events spread out all over the city. It's an amazing perk to the festival.
We stopped by the national gallery where the magnificent screening of “The Clock” was showing. As movie buffs this is right up our alley. The Clock is as a 24-hour film that weaves together snippets of films throughout the history of cinema. I have no idea how he managed to find these movies and sort out their close ups of clocks to run in real time. It is almost impossible to explain so you will just have to watch this snippet we found on youtube
The National Gallery is one of the best art museums in the country, but naturally Dave only wanted to photograph the spider out front. It took us 1 hour to get a shot and Dave got an amazing shot that he isn't putting up until this afternoon for his Photo of the Day. Come on back at 2:00 to see his work.
We walked around the city taking photographs all afternoon and no trip to Ottawa would be complete without a stop at our parliament buildings. This is where the Canadian government works and I find it as grand and beautiful as any government building or palace in Europe. They really are very impressive.
And no trip to Winterlude would be complete without the amazing ice sculptures on display for all to see. This is a serious competition and here is the winner everyone.
We've put up a photo story of the rest of the art sculptures and you can judge for yourself if this one deserved the top prize. Unfortunately because of the warm weather, all of the sculptures lost a bit of their detail, but they are all very impressive no matter what!
Winterlude is an annual event that happens every year from around Feb 3 -20. Most activities are free and most are held on the weekends. Most of the action takes place on the Rideau Canal which is normally open for skating on the worlds largest ice rink as well as varios sites around the capital like Confederation Park, The National Gallery and across the river in the city of Gatineau. Snowflake Kingdom in downtown Gatineau is a winter playground for the kids. To find out more about Winterlude, visit the Ottawa tourism website.