Ottawa is my home. And yet, for most of my life, I thought that Winterlude only took place on the Rideau Canal — you skate, you look at snow sculptures, you have hot chocolate and a Beavertail! These are very fond memories and stand as some of my favourite things to do during this winter carnival.
Over a number of years though, there is somewhere else that has edged its way to the top of our Winterlude-heart. It’s Snowflake Kingdom.
Each year, just over the bridge in Jacques Cartier Park, this Kingdom truly delights the kids. There’s a lot to take in and enjoy, but I won’t lie to you … what they want is to go down the ice slides — over! and over! and over again!
And frankly, I don’t blame them! We go down the slides with them too and it is so much fun!
We do the slides, then walk around and take in some of other attractions, then do the slides once more before heading home. Of these attractions, the snow tubing is a grand ol’ time for those who like the speed. And for those who don’t, we always enjoy the First Nations exhibits, which includes singing, chanting, and drums around the campfire.
- Dress yourself as warmly as you dress your child. Yes, that means wearing snowpants! Trust me, you will be happier if you do.
- You can pack a lunch/snacks and a thermos of hot chocolate. When you arrive, head straight to the warming hut. In there, you’ll find cubbys where you can store a backpack while you slide. Also inside are some vendors and tons of picnic benches to eat at.
- If you have a young toddler with you, know that parking is not exactly close by. So you”ll need a sling, stroller, sled or other kind of transport to make the trek more quickly.
- And last but not least, there are no indoor toilets. There are porta potties (which are surprisingly far more pleasant in cold winter conditions than summer conditions!), if you need to go. But definitely don’t give the kids a big ol’ drink in the car on your way there!
Winterlude is ending really soon! This is your last weekend (including tomorrow’s provincial “Family Day” holiday) to enjoy it! You can catch all the details you need on what’s on and how to get there on the Winterlude website. It’s a blast!