by Shahinur Islam
Watch the Winterlude or more specifically the Ice Sculptures Video at a glance. The festival celebrates winter in Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec every year since 1979.
Confederation Park, also known as Crystal Garden, is the site where the ice sculpture competition is held. The site has an ice lounge hosting musical concerts and different activities with a large skating area.
The event lasts for three weekends, usually the first three weekends in February.
The mascot of the festival is Ice Hog Family who tours to Canada’s Capital Region every winter to celebrate Winterlude. The family consists of Mama and Papa Ice Hog and their children, Noumi and Nouma. They give hugs and play in the snow.
Here there is Rideau Canal Skateway, which is the world’s largest skating rink with ice going as far as 7.8 kilometres. This is also the largest snow playground in North America.
If you ever visit Ottawa or Gatineau area in winter, but anyhow skip the festival area, you will deprive yourself of those adventurous, thrilling, and fun-filled activities. In fact, there are so many things to see and do in these snow-covered season!
If you are fortunate enough to visit the area that time, then get ready by taking your skates or renting a pair when you arrive here to glide along the Rideau Canal Skateway. If you do not know skating, then you can at least learn it. If you do not want to, then just enjoy a classic ice hockey tournament. There are also costumed teams race decorated beds across the frozen ice.
However, Winterlude often is affected by mild weather owing to the unpredictable weather conditions here, as proper freezing requires -10 degrees Celsius. But most of the events are usually not hampered other than premature melting of ice and snow sculptures.
Here is a video covering ice-sculpture competition part of Winterlude. Click and enjoy!