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Winterlude

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for Feb. 18 to 20

Friday, February 18

The Cecilia String Quartet performs "The Snow Queen." Photo credit: Melissa Sung.

As part of the Ottawa Chamber Music Society’s winter series, take your little ones to a performance of the Hans Christian Anderson classic The Snow Queen. This fairytale sees a young girl rescue her best friend from the icy monarch, and is set to an original score by Canadian composer Patrick Cardy (performed by the award-winning Cecilia String Quartet). Praised for its thoughtful story and captivating choreography, it’s touted as suitable for ages five to 95. Enjoy either a Friday evening performance or one of three afternoon sets on Saturday.

Today is the start of Kindness Week (Feb. 18 to 25). Now in its fourth year, this city-wide initiative encourages community members to make a conscious effort to show some love to to their fellow people and recognizes those who engage in everyday acts of kindness. There are activities and events taking place throughout the week, which include “Kindness Cupcakes” in the ByWard Market, a blood drive, musical performances, “Grandparents’ Night” at the movies, and plenty of other feel-good fun. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: Valentine’s Day Edition

Friday, February 11

Jim Bryson and The Weakerthans perform Feb. 11 at Capital Music Hall. Photo credit: Kelp Records.

Canadian indie legends The Weakerthans teamed up with local hero Jim Bryson to record The Falcon Lake Incident last year, and are taking the album on the road. Playing Bryson’s hometown after weeks of touring, catch this amazing collaboration at the Capital Music Hall this Friday with your valentine. Have dinner in the bustling Byward Market or on Elgin Street. End the night with a glass of wine at Must in the Market.

For any gentlemen looking for last minute bling for their lady friends, Disegno Fine Jewellery is hosting a “Men’s Night” from 4 to 8 p.m. to offer a wee bit of guidance. This evening of shopping includes beer and chips, a hockey puck with every purchase, and of course, a sweet selection of beautiful baubles (RSVP required, 613-482-1614).

Saturday, February 12

The outdoor baths at Le Nordik are amazing in winter. Photo credit: Le Nordik.

Take a romantic getaway for two this weekend with an intimate spa session. Both the chic Holtz Spa downtown and Gatineau’s Le Nordik nature spa offer relaxing, romantic packages for couples. Enjoy the Chocolate Delights package at Holtz or take an energizing dip in the Nordik baths.

For a cost effective Valentine’s date, take in Winterlude with a romantic skate on the canal – there are plenty of places to rent skates if you don’t have a pair. Warm up with a BeaverTail or hot apple cider as you walk through the ice sculptures in Confederation Park with your sweetheart.

It’s the last weekend for the Great Canadian Theatre Company’s acclaimed Strawberries in January. Curl up next to your sweetheart and enjoy the fizzy romantic comedy of four singletons trying to find love in the dead of a Montreal winter. Have dinner at the ultra trendy Wellington Gastropub or delight in a vegetarian meal at The Table for a romantic night, enjoying the best the up-and-coming Hintonburg neighbourhood has to offer.

Sunday, February 13

Enjoy a sexy evening out at Kinki Asian-Fusion Restaurant.

Dinner and a movie could be a boring date, but not if you’re watching one of the most endearing love stories to hit the silver screen. Amélie, the mad-cap story of a Parisian girl finding love for those around her, is playing Sunday to Tuesday at the Bytowne Cinema in the heart of Ottawa. Mix it up and grab dinner somewhere fashionable like Ottawa’s Asian fusion favourite, Kinki.

If you like dancing, swing by the Canada Aviation and Space Museum Sunday afternoon for a ton of big band favourites. The “Con Amore” concert will feature the Grey Jazz Big Band and roses will be handed out to the first hundred women wearing red. It’s free with museum admission, so take in the museum’s collection of aviation artefacts while you’re there.

Monday, February 14

Instead of chocolates and flowers, buy the one you love a personalized sonnet, performed on bended knee. On Valentine’s Day, you can send a costumed actor from A Company of Fools to deliver a Shakespearean poem to your sweetie’s work or home, along with a small bag of sweets.

Winterlude: For Foodies and Families and Everyone In Between

It doesn’t get better than this annual outdoor festival that brings the city to life. Taking place from Feb. 4 to 21, these are just a few highlights from the jam-packed, fun-filled celebration that offers something for everyone.

After dusk is the perfect time to go skating on the Rideau Canal. Photo credit: Ottawa Tourism.

FOR COUPLES
There’s nothing more romantic than taking a moonlit skate with your loved one. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or just starting out, it’s all about good old-fashioned fun on the Rideau Canal Skateway. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is 7.8 kilometres long, making it the largest naturally frozen skating rink in the world. Bring your own skates or rent a pair at the locations at Mackenzie King Bridge, Fifth Avenue, or Dows Lake Pavilion. After you’ve finished gliding arm-in-arm up and down the skateway, be sure to warm up with a steaming cup of hot chocolate and a delicious Canadian treat, the BeaverTail, as you enjoy the pretty winter scenery.

FOR FOODIES
Ottawa’s exciting food scene takes centre stage during Taste of Winterlude. Until Feb. 21, some of the capital’s best restaurants are offering exclusive fine dining experiences, wine pairings, and other culinary delights. Try the “Great White North Beer Dinner and Tasting” on Feb. 8 and enjoy a four-course dinner paired with — what else — premium Canadian beers. There is also the “Savour Ottawa Walkabout Winter Feast” on Feb. 8, during which guests will travel from restaurant to restaurant for a food and wine pairing. A chocolate-making seminar and “Winter Fare & Flair” dinner and fashion show are also on the menu. Activities range from free to $300.

An ice sculpture from the Roger's Crystal Garden. Photo credit: NCC/CCN.

FOR ARTISTS
Artists and art lovers alike will fall in love with the Rogers Crystal Garden, where blocks of ice are transformed into masterpieces. Take a stroll through this winter wonderland where the theme is “Harmony by Contrast.” From Feb. 4 to 6, teams from Canada, Holland, China, and other countries will compete to see who can design the best ice sculpture. There will also be a One-Block Challenge on Feb. 4, to be completed in two hours or less using a single piece of ice, and an Ice Carving Championship on Feb. 12, where pro carvers go head to head in an “ice-off.” Afterwards, these majestic structures remain on display in Confederation Park until the end of Winterlude.

FOR ATHLETES
Sporty types can get their fill of all things athletic during Winterlude. For those who adore the cold, the Winterman on Feb. 20 is a must. This day of exciting outdoor races kicks off at the Canadian War Museum and includes full and half marathons, marathon relays, and 3, 5, and 10K runs. On Feb. 5, don’t miss the Winterlude Triathlon that’s taking place, with stretches of skating, skiing, and running, or the annual (and hilarious) Bedzzz Race that sees teams face off using a bed on wheels as their vehicle of choice.

Kids have a blast on the slides in the Sunlife Snowflake Kingdom. Photo credit: NCC/CCN.

FOR FAMILIES
Hold on to your hats at the Sunlife Snowflake Kingdom! Kids (and those who are kids at heart) will have a blast shooting down more than 20 snow slides in this frozen playground, located in Jacques-Cartier Park. Check out the brand new winter obstacle course and other games like kite-flying races, snow soccer, and extreme wall climbing. You can even try your hand, or rather your feet, at kicksledding, a much-loved Scandinavian activity. Be sure to wear snow pants so you can spend as much time as possible in this icy paradise.

For a complete line-up of events, locations, and other detailed information, check out www.winterlude.gc.ca or contact the Capital Infocentre at 613-239-5000.