Early February was unusually warm this year – at least by Ottawa standards. But that all changed last week.
Then yesterday the wind died down and it warmed up to -19C, which is getting close to zero F. In the sunshine, it felt positively balmy. And yes, that is how you know it has been cold. So of course we went skating.
In February Ottawa has a winter festival, called Winterlude. The festival centers around the canal which runs through the center of the city. In the summer it’s used by pleasure boats. In the winter it freezes and it is opened for skating. Every night it’s cleaned and flooded to keep the ice smooth-ish. When the temperature drops, the crowds thin out noticeably, which is why it is so open in this picture. But if you have this many people at -19C you can imagine how crowded it would be if it was warmer.
The canal starts at the Chateau Laurier, a hotel in the city center that looks rather like – you guessed it – a chateau.
Of course, skating on the canal would not be the authentic experience if you didn’t stop for Beavertails. No, not real beaver tails, but they are about the right shape, and a very tasty pastry with cinnamon sugar. You cannot go wrong.
We went late in the afternoon, so we were treated to a beautiful sunset with the sky on fire.
The reflection from the setting sun made this jet look like it actually was on fire. Fortunately it wasn’t.
I’ll close with a couple shots of the sky and the lights along the canal. The crowds don’t really start to thin out until 9 or 10 at night.
You should visit if you ever have the chance. But dress warmly.