We drove into Ottawa Friday afternoon and checked into the Residence Inn Ottawa Downtown. The location was perfect, a two block jaunt to Winterlude, Ottawa’s annual winter festival, three blocks to Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest skating rink, and four blocks to Parliament Hill.
We checked in, donned our winter gear, and walked to Confederation Park for the Winterlude Kick-Off party. We saw an ice polar bear, a giant ‘150’, and an ice castle. The kids wanted to play in the castle, but there were others taking pictures so we kept walking.
We stumbled upon a giant ice sculpture contest. Teams of artists were hoisting, drilling, flamethrowing, and chainsawing huge blocks of ice. The sculptures looked to be about 10 feet tall. As the carving was just beginning, most sculptures looked like raw ice blocks. In front of each sculpture was a placard with the artists’ names, their home country, and a picture of what their finished sculpture would look like. Z loved the last sculpture, an ice block that would be a train.
We crossed from the ice sculptures to Rideau Canal. We had the baby in the stroller and had left our skates in the van, and so decided to walk out onto the canal. The kids ran on the ice, we saw Parliament Hill, and too many skaters came too close to the baby. We went back to the hotel for dinner.
There’s a full Tim Horton’s at the Residence Inn. We changed into indoor clothes and Kris twisted our arms and forced us to eat doughnuts in our room for dinner; delicious.
We went back out to Winterlude. The kids looked longingly at the ice castle again. We saw the artists working diligently on their sculptures, but they still just looked like blocks of ice. We went across the street to City Hall to see the 2017 torch in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. Exhausted, we went back to the hotel. Kids asleep by 7:45. Parents by 9:30.