Winter Interlude

Here’s a confession: Until yesterday, I’d never been to Winterlude.

Everyone in Ottawa just gasped, thinking, “Why don’t you just pack it in and move to Toronto?”

Everyone outside Ottawa just went, “Winter what now?”

It’s a big party, celebrating winter, or thumbing its nose at winter, or something. There are displays and concerts and skating on the canal, when it isn’t too cold, or too warm, or too windy, or too rainy. Motto: “Winterlude: Attempting to outwit winter weather, with limited success.”

This weekend was a four-day weekend for the kids — they had a P.D. day on Friday and then Family Day on Monday. On Thursday at pickup time, almost every other mom I talked to asked me if we were “going to Winterlude.” And every time, I did not get it. What is there to do there? Skate outside, where the ice is bumpy and the kids will complain until my ears bleed? Drive for a half hour, fight for another half hour to find parking, just to spend five minutes looking at ice sculptures, if you can find them?

I don’t get it.

But all the other mommies were doing it, and I am nothing if not weak in the face of peer pressure. So we checked it out online, and it seems there was a park where there were slides made out of ice, and giant bear mascots to meet, or something. So we thought we’d spend Family Day having a grand old time, frolicking in the snowy playland that is Ottawa.

Oh, the best laid schemes of mice and men.

I don’t know what was up with our kids yesterday, but after a whole week at DisneyWorld without a single meltdown, they did not seem to be able to make it through fifteen minutes at Winterlude without whining, crying, whimpering, or all three at once. It was too cold (even though we were very well dressed and it was only minus two outside). It was too snowy. They were too tired to walk. They were too cold to sit. They were too hungry to eat. They were too hungry to wait in line for food.

They wanted to slide but the line was too long. They wanted to ski but the wait was too frustrating.

They did not believe us when we told them that BeaverTails were good, and refused to try them. Jesus, children, it’s not like it’s PIE OR ANYTHING.


And thus we came home.

I can’t remember a less fun, less productive outing in recent memory.

And thus, Winterlude, I must give you a giant red X. WINTERLUDE FAIL.

Today, the kids are back at school, and when I go and pick them up I’m sure they are going to be all, “How come we didn’t get to stay at Winterlude? Johnny said he went on the slides 20 times! And Kate said she had a BeaverTail and it was the best thing ever! Why are you such crappy parents?”

Why indeed, children, why indeed.

7 thoughts on “Winter Interlude

  1. Oh dear. I’ve never been to Winterlude either, nor have I had a beavertail. I did go skating on the canal once just so i could say I’d done it. It was fun. Oh, and I accidentally went to the tulip festival once, too.

  2. I SO hear you. Not that we don’t go, because jesus I’m a wuss and I can’t stand the thought that someone might say “so did you go to Winterlude? NO? What’s the matter with you, have you no city spirit? Have you no desire to celebrate winter, or celebrate winter being closer to being over or…something?” Anyway, I’d say your kids are just too little, especially to go at peak time on Family Day. The problem with events like this is, they look great, and it’s great to see people out being all community-spirited and bundled up and saying f*** you winter, but I HATE CROWDS. We took the kids down for a couple hours yesterday — quick tour of ice sculptures, then Angus and Matt did a 2k skate while Eve and I got beaver tails and hot chocolate and saved a little bit to share when the boys got back. A very little bit. The traffic was horrid. I’ll participate wholeheartedly in all Ottawa festivals when they can teleport us in.

  3. famethrowa

    “I can’t remember a less fun, less productive outing in recent memory.”

    What about dinner at the Rainforest Cafe? 🙂

  4. i love winterlude, especially the people watching. and i love watching babies getting tugged along in toboggans, with that look on their faces like it is totally normal to get dragged along a stretch of ice, with their little heads behind really sharp blades of sometimes not-so-good skaters.

  5. who are all these people living in ottawa that have never been to winterlude? heck, i did winterlude even before i moved here!

    i wouldn’t have gone during the day on monday if someone paid me to do it. we went at supper time again and it was pretty busy, but nothing like i imagine it was during the day. you need to live in the city and go for a quick hour at the right time. then you and the kids will see what all the fun is about.

    the jellybean wouldn’t touch the beaver tail either. that meant i didn’t have to share it. yeah!

    so, did the kids come back from school yesterday giving you crap?

  6. Oh, Lynn. You have given me a glimps into my future. I fully expect my children will be exactly like YOUR children on a bad day. It is karmic revenge. Also: I hate Winterlude.


    I did send an email to this effect, but I wonder if it got lost in the shuffle, so here it is public record — thank you for nominating my blog! I have no idea how such things work, but I am pink-eared to even HAVE readers like you. Muchas, MOOOOCHAS thank you.

  7. I heard from friends that it was really busy last weekend. I have never been either, unless you count eating a Beavertail on the canal. Which I don’t since it is at the corner of our street so that’s like going to Starbucks.
    I hope it meant more Beavertails for you!

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