It is with great pleasure to announce that Dave and I have been chosen as American Express Ambassadors for 2013. We’ve been working with the great people at AMEX for nearly two years and are so excited to become brand ambassadors to showcase all the benefits that American Express Cardmembers receive with their membership.

winterlude in Ottawa with American Express

Dave and Deb are American Express Ambassadors

Our First Assignment as American Express Ambassadors

Naturally our first assignment was to experience Canada’s best winter party. Winterlude takes place annually in our nation’s capital and American Express has been a proud sponsor for the past eight seasons!  We were sent to Ottawa for three fun filled days to sample the Amex Delights Winterlude package. Amex Delights is one of the many perks that American Express Cardmembers are offered throughout the year. It is an online program providing special offers and experiences for American Express Cardmembers. The Winterlude package offers a two-night stay at the Fairmont Château Laurier and tickets to the incredible opening night gala dinner and fashion show.

See what’s new at Amex Delights today.  I saw a spa package, the perfect occasion to beat the winter blues.

Fairmont Chateaur Laurier Ottawa

The Fairmont Chateau Laurier

The American Express Plaza Premium Lounge

Our trip started early at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport where we breezed through security with our American Express Cloud 10 Pass and relaxed in comfort at the American Express Plaza Premium Lounge. We’ve been in a lot of lounges around the world and the Plaza Premium lounge ranks up there as one of the best. It’s quieter than other airport lounges and has a much better spread of nibblies, not to mention the free wifi that is always a must for any business traveller. Platinum cardmembers receive annual access to 600 lounges all around the planet.

American Express Airport Lounge winterlude-american-express-101

The Fashion Show

Feeling like movie stars, we waltzed into the Ottawa Convention centre for our pre dinner cocktails of sparking wine while we showed off our new duds bought specially for the event. Being full time travelers’ makes for a sparse wardrobe, so whenever we have the opportunity, we love to dress up.

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Once the reception wound down, it was up the escalators to the dining room where we had premium seats right beside the runway. While we enjoyed the fine cuisine by Chef Marc Lepine we were treated to a fashion show featuring Lucian Matis’ 2012-2013 Black Label Collection. As avid watchers of America’s next top model, we scanned the models faces to see if they took Tyra’s advice to be ‘fierce’ while they strutted the runway.

fashion show winterlude canada

Yes, indeed, they owned the floor!

dinner and fashion at winterlude in ottawa

One of many delicious dishes of our 5 course meal

We thought that we were sitting at a table filled with media since our seats were so good, but as we got to know our dining companions over Black trumpet mushroom-crusted beef strip loin with black garlic mayo (sounds delicious doesn’t it?) we found out that they were all American Express cardmembers who had booked the event themselves!

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Dave loves his front row seat!

Skating on the Rideau Canal at Winterlude

The weekend wasn’t all glamour and glitz though, the highlight of attending Winterlude is to be able to skate on the Rideau Canal, the world’s longest skating rink. The weather turned cold just in time and at 2:00 pm on Friday, they opened the entire canal for everyone’s enjoyment. It was just in time for Winterlude to kick off.

Skating on the Rideau Canal at Winterlude

We rented our skates right on the canal and took off down the 7.8 km stretch of ice. The American Express lounge can be found at kilometre marker 3.2 and we took full advantage of the free hot chocolate, photo booth and wooden benches under the covered tent to protect us from the cold.

american express lounge at winterlude

You can instantly share your photos from the American Express Photo Booth!

Ottawa was a chilly -15? Celsius and taking a break from the cold is always welcome. American Express truly understands what it’s like to enjoy the great outdoors. Canadians are a hearty bunch, but we love our hot chocolate breaks too.

winterlude-american-express-10 american express lounge winterlude

While we were at the lounge, we had to take part in the Canadian tradition of indulging on a Beaver Tail. Part of the Amex Delights package gives cardmembers a free voucher for this tasty treat and it gave us the energy to continue on for a couple more hours.

Beaver Tails Canada

Sharing a Beaver Tail together

Oh to skate on the Rideau Canal, it’s many a Canadian’s dream and after decades of wanting to do it ourselves, we finally had the chance!

Winterlude Ice Sculptures

There was plenty more ice to enjoy though as we later took a stroll through the Crystal Garden at Confederation Park to watch the ice sculpture artists at work. They are truly a talented bunch and to see the craftsmanship that goes into their work is astounding. How does one turn giant blocks of ice into intricate works of art?

ice sculptures winterlude

International Artists compete in the Ice Sculpture Competition

After an afternoon of food and fun, we walked the short distance back to the Fairmont Chateau Laurier where we enjoyed the coziness of the historic building dating back to 1912. We’ve been to Ottawa on several occasions and have always taken a stroll through this legendary building that has seen the likes of Princess Diana, Ronald Reagan and Benny Goodman grace it’s hallways. Now it was our turn to stay at this grand palace adorned with Tiffany stained glass windows.

Ottawa from the Rideau Canada

Fairmont Chateau Laurier looks over the Rideau Canal

The weekend felt like a fairy tale. We love exploring Canada and nothing is more Canadian than attending an outdoor festival while staying in one of our most historic hotels located directly on the canal facing our beautiful parliament buildings.

Winterlude runs to February 18th and you still have plenty of time to take a drive to Ottawa and enjoy all things Canada. With dozens of displays, grand outdoor performances and the Snowflake Kingdom, the biggest snow playground on the continent there’s something to do for the entire family at Winterlude.

Big thanks to American Express Canada for allowing us to experience Winterlude and we look forward to bringing you more exclusive experiences throughout 2013. Follow American Express Canada on Facebook for more updates and exciting offers.

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28 Comments

  1. Jennifer

    Congratulations on being the new AMEX brand ambassadors! It looks like you had a fantastic time at Winterlude. This is definitely a festival I’d love to attend. And Deb, you were HOT at the fashion show! I swear you get younger with each new travel experience.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Jennifer, we are so happy to be working with AMEX again. Ha, and thank you for the compliment. I do believe that travel keeps you young. When life is exciting, it’s so easy to stay young at heart. Nice clothes help too ;-)

  2. Marlene

    I’ve always wanted to skate on the Canal in Ottawa. Looks like it’s a lot of fun, Although -15 sounds a little too cold for me!

    1. debndave Post author

      It was quite chilly, but if you dress for it you’re fine. What I love about Canada is that we dress for the winter and get out there and enjoy it. Plus there are a lot of warm up stations and outdoor fires going around the city. Plus, coffee shops and restaurants where you can duck in to warm up your toes.

  3. Teresa

    Congratulations on being the new Ambassadors. Looks like you had a great time. It’s cool that Canada celebrates the cold and enjoys the outdoors during the winter. You don’t look cold at all!

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Teresa, we are very excited. And we just put on a brave face, we were cold! But as long as you keep moving, it was no problem. Luckily there are a lot of warm up areas on the canal if your toes get too cold.

  4. Dennis Merril

    Hey how does the Beaver Tail taste really. I have never tried it even once in my life but I would if I knew what it would taste like. I remember trying the Conches at Venetian Turks and Caicos. They tasted good too. Oh and congratulations on becoming the brand ambassadors of the American Express.

    1. debndave Post author

      Hi Dennis, the beaver tail is actually a dessert and it tastes a bit like a Krispy Kream donut. It’s deep fried dough dipped in sugar. Yum! Eat it while it’s hot. Conches are yummy too, but completely different. I think that we Canadians have made everyone think that we’re really eating Beavers. Nope, we don’t eat them, we just like to pretend that we do :-) Thank you for the congratualions too, we’re very excited.

      1. Dennis Merril

        Hahaahhahahah! Sorry for thinking like that. But, yeah honestly I did think that it was an actual Beaver’s tail but hey I would definitely like to try one. I hope I make it to one such winterlude delights soon. :-)

      2. debndave Post author

        Don’t worry Dennis, many people think it’s an actual beaver tail. I sort of let the cat out of the bag, I think a lot of Canadians like to lead people on and let them think we actually eat beaver. You are not alone :-)

    1. debndave Post author

      Awesome Peter, we’re big fans of being Canadian too! That’s why we love showing off our country. We’ve got some pretty cool things going on and I love that we celebrate winter.

  5. Teresa Roberts

    When I lived in Maine, driving across the border of Quebec was a cinch. We loved going to Quebec City, no matter the season. Such a magnificent city. Montreal is my second choice. Gotta cross that border soon again. Love what our northern neighbor has to offer.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thank you Salika Jay! We love dressing up every once in a while. Maybe now as American Express Ambassadors, we’ll get to do it more often in 2013.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thank you, we’re very excited. Beaver Tails taste a bit like Krispy Cream Donuts. They’re better when they’re warm too, so you want to eat them right away. You can have them with chocolate, strawberries, whipped cream. All sorts of ways, but we like them best dipped with sugar. Yum!

    1. debndave Post author

      Have a great time and make sure you stop by the AMEX booth when you skate on the canal. You can tweet, facebook and email your photos out right after you have them taken. it’s so much fun! And you can keep going back for more again and again!

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Lisa, we are so excited! You have done amazing things as an Ambassador so far and we are thrilled to be joining you. I hope to go on an adventure with you too!

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