WinterLude Carnival Ottawa Reviews
WinterLude Feb 19, 2010
We had visited Ottawa from February 12 until the 15th for the long weekend and attended a wedding.
We had the opportunity to enjoy attractions at the WinterLude Carnival that takes place in Ottawa Ontario and Gatineau Quebec for aproximately 3 - 4 weeks every winter. We spent an afternoon skating on the Rideau Canal, the worlds largest outdoor skating rink which is 7 km long. Later that same day we viewed amazing ice sculptures, warmed by a fire and ate beaver tails ( fried dough with cinnamon and sugar). Music played the entire afternoon and into the night.
We also hopped on over to Gatineau Quebec and slid down tall ice slides in just our ski pants. Some of the kids had to slide down on their backs if they weren't wearing ski pants as they stuck to the ice trying to slide in jeans.
In Gatineau they had enormous snow sculptures, one for each province. The people's choice favored a detailed large sculpture about 20 feet high of a pair of skates. I can't remember if it was Ontario or Quebec that made this sculpture but it doesn't matter as all provinces and territories did an amazing job.
In the evening an outdoor movie played in Gatineau on a wall of snow. We didn't stay for that as our French is pretty rusty.
We spent one day at a couple of indoor attractions. The Currency Museum was a great learning experience which everyone in our group enjoyed. They had coins dating back to the birth of Christ and maybe earlier. We thought that the very old coins from more than a thousand years ago were replicas but later found out that they were not, otherwise I would have specifically noted the dates. We were informed that anything that was a replica would have stated so beside the coin. We also learned that in Canada, banks issued their own notes until about 1935 when The Bank OF Canada took over. We saw unusual denominations of paper money such as $1.25, 3,4,6,7,8, and 9 dollar bills. Pictures on some notes were that of the General Manager of the Bank or CEO.
We went to the Parliament buildings but all of the tickets for the English tour were gone by 10 am as it was a holiday weekend, though, we were able to go up to the peace tower so we did witness some of the amazing architecture.
The National Art Gallery of Canada was an attraction we all enjoyed as well. We viewed paintings form centuries past and witnessed works from many great artists. We were surprised to see a piece I had heard about but did not know to be displayed at that particular gallery. This painting is called The Voice of Fire and was completed in 1967 by Barnett Newman. It was sold back in 1989 to the gallery for 1.8 million dollars. Canadians were outraged as tax payer money was used and many thought their children could paint the same picture. The painting stands over 5 metres tall and 2.4 metres wide and is of 3 vertical stripes. Blue on each side and red in the middle. It was the biggest art scandal in Canada.
Over all we had a great weekend and plan to return to enjoy many attractions that we missed.
What is great about this trip is that all of the outdoor WinterLude activities were free along with many indoor attractions. We were very surprised that even the currency museum was without cost. Some museums do cost to get in but a package is very reasonably priced at 9 museums for $35.00. A family pass can be purchased for $75.00 which is an even better value.
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