Winterlude

From Academic Kids

Winterlude is an annual festival in Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec that celebrates winter. It is built around the Rideau Canal, which is cleared to become the world's longest skating rink for the time of the festival.

Missing image
Winterlude_ice_sculpture_museum.jpg
Ice sculpture museum carved out of snow at the annual Winterlude

Other noted sites are the snow and ice sculptures, musical concerts, and the famous bed race. Jacques Cartier Park in Gatineau is turned into a massive snow park with slides and structures for children.

The traditional food for Winterlude is called the "beaver tail", a pastry made from fried dough. Winterlude is run by Canada's National Capital Commission and was started in 1979. The event is one of Ottawa's most important tourist draws, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

In February 2003, a controversy erupted about the length of the skating rink. As a result, the National Capital Commission plans to file with the Guinness Book of Records.

The event lasts for three weekends, usually the first three weekends in February. Very few events take place from Monday to Thursday in between weekends 1 and 2, and weekends 2 and 3. This means that the skating rink is much less crowded and that the ice stays in a near pristine condition for much of the day, with only a thousand or so skaters sharing it instead of the greater numbers during the weekend. The skate changing shacks and food catering kiosks scattered along the length of the skateway, at the same level as the ice, are open day long during the week.

Winterlude is also the name of a Bob Dylan song on the Dylan album New Morning.

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