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Jacques-Cartier Park

WINTERLUDE Family Day: Snowflake Kingdom at Jacques-Cartier Park

BY KIMBERLEY JOHNSON

A rowdy reveler at Jacques-Cartier Park during Winterlude. (Photo: Kimberley Johnson)

The last weekend of Winterlude is a few days away. And in case you haven’t already experienced it, we recommend heading over the border into Gatineau, QC for a wildly fun time at Jacques-Cartier Park.

Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier is an absolute winter wonderland for kids — of all ages — and one of the best ways to spend an afternoon this family day weekend.

So, what can you expect? Well, once you cross the Alexandra Bridge and make your way into Jacques-Cartier Park you’ll find snow. Not just regular, ordinary, kick-it-around snow. But, rather, amazing, “you built that?!” snow constructions.

Snow slides. Snow mazes. Snow statues.

A snow statute towers over two Snowflake Kingdom goers at Jacques-Cartier Park. (Photo: Kimberley Johnson)

And snow’s rougher, tougher cousin Ice also makes an appearance in Jacques-Cartier Park. Perhaps the biggest draw is the big Iceberg slide. It’s so long that your whole family can head down together! And there are tube slides for a faster, slipperier ride downhill.

One area that you must check out this family day weekend: the Native exhibit. It features drumming music and a tent for kids to climb into and experience it up close.

Now that you’re all jazzed up and ready to take the family to Snowflake Kingdom this weekend, we have a few handy tips to help you along the way.

  • You’ll need some transportation for this one, as it is on the other side of the bridge. You can drive, but, really, that is a major planning headache since there isn’t a ton of parking there. Take advantage of the FREE Sno-Bus. It picks you up from, and takes you to, all of the major Winterlude sites. Again, this is free!
  • There aren’t many spots to stash your stuff, so only bring the essentials.
  • This is pretty straightforward, but we saw a few people who didn’t get the memo so we’re going to lay it out: dress warmly and come to play! You’ll need snow pants, mitts, and a hat to get the most out of your time there.
  • All that said, Winterlude certainly knows what a family needs! There are lots of food choices (we saw many eating a Canadian favourite: poutine!) and a warm rest area with picnic tables.

    Cost: Free entry!

    What next? Get one last view of the ice sculptures in Confederation Park. The Sno-Bus will take you there!

    Hot Date: Canada Day

    Ottawa has a reputation for hosting the best Canada Day party in the country, and this year’s celebrations do nothing to dispel those sentiments. Check out free performances by Feist, Simple Plan and Roch Voisine (to name a few); look to the skies over Jacques Cartier Park to see the SkyHawks perform a daring parachute demo; learn the ropes (literally) with a lasso demonstration at Major’s Hill Park, get up close and personal with the Grey Cup in Jacques Cartier Park; or just wander around downtown and revel in the high-energy atmosphere. As usual, the day’s festivities are capped off with a spectacular fireworks display at night.

    Canada Day fireworks on Parliament Hill. Photo: NCC

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    Friday

    Chris Botti plays the Ottawa Jazz Fest on Friday.

    Catch Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Chris Botti perform with the NAC Orchestra, as the TD Canada Trust Ottawa International Jazz Festival comes to a close this weekend. Botti, who has sold more than three million records worldwide, has performed with iconic artists such as Frank Sinatra, Sting, Andrea Bocelli, and many more.

    The Unisong Canadian Choir Festival has featured over 5000 singers and 191 groups throughout its 16-year run. Presented by the Arts Bureau for the Continent, Unisong brings choristers together from across Canada during the five-day event.

    Nine artists will showcase contemporary pieces in “Local Flora,” an exhibit opening this weekend at SAW Gallery. The artists, all of whom are from the Ottawa and Outaouais region, will display works in painting, photography, sculpture and video-based installation that explore how nature is interpreted through artistic expression.

    Saturday

    Escapade Music Festival promises to be bigger, better, and louder than ever. The two-day lineup includes live performances across three stages by artists Avicii, Eric Prydz, Afrojack, Alesso, Sander van Doorn, and many more. Partygoers will enjoy the weekend-long show at the new venue at Ottawa Stadium. (more…)