Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A World Of Ice

And as promised in my last blog, today I'll be showing you around Ottawa and Gatineau, which will be marking the third and final weekend of Winterlude coming up. The annual celebration of the winter season is the national capital's way of revelling in the very best season of the year or finding a way of putting up with winter, depending on your point of view. It's a time of ice hogs, beavertails, skating on the Rideau Canal, ice scupltures, and having fun. And it always starts out with opening fireworks....

I've been busy the last two weekends getting out and about, taking pictures. For myself, I'm still a bit of a dinosaur using film (yes, I know, I know). So I've gleaned some media and other sites for some images of the festivities this year, for your consideration. Enjoy!

The ice carving is one aspect of Winterlude that I find fascinating. Carvers come from all over the world, setting to work on gorgeous sculptures in Confederation Park in Ottawa. They start out, often enough, with the one hour competition, working a single block of ice into a sculpture. After that, they set to work on the bigger works. Among their tools: chain saws, sanders, chisels, hammers, saws, and even flame throwers. The end products are stunning.

Confederation Park is nestled away downtown, and most of the sculptures are housed beneath the shelters you see below. This keeps them out of the direct sun and the wind, both of which can wreck havoc with sculptures. At night, the sculptures are lit up with coloured lights, which gives them a completely different feel.

2012 is the Diamond Jubilee for the Queen, and this large sculpture was created in tribute.

I always like the attention to detail carvers put into their work....

The horseman himself reminds me of one of the Rohan, from the Lord of the Rings tales....

This last sculpture was done this past weekend, after the competitions. It's in commemoration of the Canadian military mission to Bosnia in the 90s.

There's plenty of things going on throughout the three weekends. The triathlon takes place on and around the Rideau Canal, and as you can see below, it attracts a lot of participants.

And the public packs the Canal regularly for skating. This shot is beneath the Laurier Street Bridge downtown. It's a bridge I've always liked the look of, and it gets busy on the weekends during Winterlude.

Back across the Ottawa River on the Gatineau side, Jacques Cartier Park is ground zero for a children's playground for Winterlude. Mascots called the ice hogs regularly circulate there.

And there are a series of large snow and ice slides built up in the park as well. This one, oddly enough, is one of the smaller of the bunch, and believe me... going down the slope is a whole lot of fun.

There are also snow sculptures set up at the park, some carved into the slide mountains, others freestanding...

Winterlude. It's an experience, and one that I love (obviously!) Here in the Ottawa Valley, it's our way to prove we can get ourselves through another winter. Or, for those of us who adore and worship that lovely word, a way to celebrate it. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some quarters to toss into a cuss jar for daring to mention such wonderful words like winter...


  1. The thought of snow and ice makes me wince in pain...but these photos are truly beautiful!

  2. Beautiful photographs, entertaining post and my first introduction to Winterlude. Thank you

  3. We've only been once and it was amazing!

  4. I guess you like your Martinis on the rocks! Beautiful post William, thanks for sharing it with those of us whose idea of snow and ice might be looking for Chunky Monkey in the freezer.

    If I lived there I would be out and about too...
    A request if you can, please take a full photo of Laurier Street Bridge sometime, it looked speculator.

    Keep warm.

    cheers, parsnip

  6. I agree with Norma. It is so beautiful to look at, but must be hell to live in.
    Thanks for sharing.
    New follower here!


  7. That looks like a fun time- ice skating, ice and snow sculptures, glorious sunshine, nice cold temperature...

    Cool post, William.

  8. I was fortunate enough to be in Ottawa in February a few years ago and got to see the ice sculptures. Unfortunately it hadn't been cold long enough so the canal wasn't open yet for skating. I was plenty impressed, though, when my morning wake-up call informed me it was -30C outside...

  9. Winter isn't my favourite season, but since I choose to live in Canada I try to find ways to enjoy it. Winterlude is definitely on my list of places to visit and I am sure would make me dislike the season less. So long as there's good food and drink - I am good! :)

  10. The ice sculptures are beautiful and the snow slides look fun. Too bad you have to freeze to death to enjoy them.

  11. @Parsnip: at some point, I think a bridges of the region blog is definitely in order! I'll keep it in mind!

  12. Film? I'm sorry, what's that? ;) Actually some really great photographers like using film. You should get a scanner printer so you can upload your own pics every now and then.
    Well those pics are beautiful. That looks like a lot of fun!!

  13. Yay! Winterlude! You're making me miss Ottawa. Thanks for the look at this fabulous festival.

  14. These are some of my favorite post from your blog William. I'm always staggered by the creativity of these folks. Just gorgeous stuff!

  15. THis is so awesome. I've gotta bring the fam to this next year. We are so snow deprived here in FLA. :(

  16. Thanks for sharing these photos with us. What a "cool" way to celebrate. I love ice sculptures, but I've never seen snow sculptures. Awesome.


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