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Sunday, 5 February 2017

Winterelude - Revisited!

Winterelude - Revisited! 
(February 4th, 2017)

Sometimes, it's remarkable how things work out!

We're really enjoying our repeat house/pet sit here, in Manotick, loving the wonderful pets who have 'hired' us to look after them, and full of gratitude to the owners, Diane and Stephen for their trust in us and their awesome friendship. 

Yesterday, we decided to nip into Ottawa to take in some of the fun of this year's Winterlude festival. On our way into town, we suddenly realized that, as fate would have it, we were doing exactly the same thing - two years ago to the day! 

At that time, we just visited the ice sculptures near the Rideau Canal. Here's the a reminder of that day (if you feel like taking a gander at it!). Winterlude, 2015

This time around, we crossed the Ottawa River into the Gatineau region and made our way to the Jacques Cartier Park. I had been attracted to the snow-maze that had been advertised, and was dying to try it out for myself. Mark - ever so patient and understanding, as normal - agreed that it could be a lot of fun. 

Upon our arrival, we noticed, very quickly, that the Snowflake Kingdom was designed for children - but that didn't put us off. After all, we are kids at heart! (A little bit of internet research would have told us that - but, then, we may have missed the fun!)

We were delighted to see how well attended the event was, with families in a festive mood, smiling, laughing, and just enjoying the activities as well as each other. It was soon evident that this joyful spirit was spilling over and being shared with everyone - as the various greetings and mini-conversations we had was very warming to the heart. 

This year, the annual event of Winterlude is one of the first of many to mark the 150th year of the Confederation of Canada (1867-2017) - and winter is one of the things, as Canadians, that we do best! (I say that in spite of some of our Snowbird friends who escape to the warmth of the south!)

There were some awesome snow sculptures to be seen, representing some of the well-known traditions of Canadians - including the making of maple syrup. (Our wonderful friends in Vermont - please take note!!!  😉)

When Mark saw the first set of slides, he just couldn't resist! 'Take a picture of me!' could be heard as he scuttled speedily to towards the entrance. This was so reminiscent of our time in Kingston, two years ago, to the exact date, tomorrow! (Is there a pattern emerging, here?)

There were other, larger slides, but the line-up was rather long... it was for the tubing!

When we finally located the maze, it was only about 4 feet high, very small, and with several exits, so we went through it, just for fun. After all, a bucket list is a bucket list! 

Unfortunately, we'd just missed our chance at the zipline that had been set up; but that didn't stop us from enjoying the delight of those who had just made it in time. 

Mark was thrilled to come across this permanent sculpture of one of his heroes from the Montreal Canadiens Hockey Team: Maurice 'the Rocket' Richard

All this fun was with the backdrop of the Parliament Buildings (seen behind the bridge) - one of the finest pieces of architecture in the country. 

Although the sun seemed to be shy of showing its face, we had a great time, and would recommend the whole Winterlude festival to anyone who happens to be in the Ottawa area, or who may be visiting. 

Winterlude 2017 will run from February 3 to 20. Consult the calendar of events.

(Here's a tip if you ever get lost in a large maze - such as the one in Hampton Court, near London, U.K.  - if you ever get lost in a maze, just extend your hand to the wall on one side, keep your hand in one place and follow wherever that wall takes you. Eventually, you'll reach the exit - or maybe the entrance).

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