Winterlude 2012: More partners, more to discover

Events & Entertainment • Posted by OttawaStart on December 14, 2011

The National Capital Commission (NCC) today unveiled the line-up of events for the 34th edition of Winterlude and the 42nd season of the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest skating rink.

The Capital’s winter celebration, will be held from February 3 to 20, 2012, and feature an array of memorable activities where the outdoors, winter sports, Canada’s diverse cultures, winter traditions and culinary arts will be at the forefront.
“For the 34th edition of Winterlude, more partners than ever have come together to offer residents and visitors the opportunity to rekindle their appreciation of Canadian winter traditions, our diversity and our artistic and scientific achievements,” explains Marie Lemay, NCC Chief Executive Officer. “The iconic Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest skating rink, will be at the heart of the Capital Region’s winter celebration”.
Ms. Lemay was accompanied by Jim Watson, Mayor of the City of Ottawa; Marc Bureau, Mayor of Ville de Gatineau; and Wendy Hall, Vice-President of Account Development, Global Corporate Payments with American Express, at a news conference held today at the Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa.
Over three weekends of Winterlude, the NCC will mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Coast Guard, and give a nod to the upcoming 2012 JUNO Week and the 41st Annual JUNO Awards to be held in Canada’s Capital, March 26 - April 1.
American Express® Winterlude Opening, Canadian Museum of Civilization, February 3rd
The celebration begins. Outdoors and indoors, visitors will experience warmth and revelry as Winterlude presents Fire and Lights from 1812 to 2012: Forging the Canadian Spirit.
Events will include historical characters and drummers, storytelling around cozy firepits, IMAX presentations ($), a spectacular musical fireworks display and an outdoor DJ dance party. In the Grand Hall, Lynn Crawford, chef and owner of Ruby Watchco in Toronto, and celebrity chef on the Food Network’s “Pitchin’ In” and “Restaurant Makeover” will create a gourmet dinner with high-quality Canadian products served in a lively and sociable atmosphere for Taste of Winterlude ticket holders. Visitors can take advantage of free admission to the museum from 5 pm to 11 pm.
“Creating memorable experiences is something we value deeply at American Express, which is why we are delighted to be the official partner of Winterlude and the Rideau Canal Skateway for the seventh consecutive year,” said Wendy Hall, Vice-President of Account Development, Global Corporate Payments with American Express. “Longstanding and strong partnerships, like this, allow us to bring great celebrations like Winterlude to American Express® Cardmembers, our employees in Canada’s Capital Region and to all Canadians.”
Programming Partners
This year, more than 50 programming partners, from Ottawa and Gatineau’s private and public sectors, have come together to offer visitors a wide-range of indoor and outdoor activities aimed at animating the Capital like never before.  The NCC wishes to extend its appreciation to its programming partners for truly making Winterlude the Capital’s winter celebration.
Activities are anchored in the four Winterlude programming pillars: Arts & Culture; Outdoor, Sports and Recreation; Science & Technology; and Culinary.
Official Winterlude Sites
Winterlude activities will take place on the Rideau Canal Skateway, at Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park, and at Rogers Crystal Garden in Confederation Park. 
Rideau Canal Skateway
This winter marks the 42nd season of skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The world's largest skating rink will host many Winterlude activities, so sharpen your skates for a unique outdoor experience.
    • “Portraits on the Ice” presented by Library and Archives returns to mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 featuring portraits of British officers, First Nations allies, and French-and English-speaking militia and colonists.
    • 29th Annual Winterlude Triathlon, 32nd Annual Accora Village Bed Race and the 4th Annual Beaver Cup Pond Hockey Festival.
    • State Farm Zone at Concord featuring the Skate Safe program and contests every weekend of Winterlude.
As part of the NCC’s youth initiatives, Dows Gallery, is an outdoor space on the Rideau Canal Skateway where youth can express themselves through art. This winter’s exhibit, Eco Art will feature photographic artwork with an environmental theme. The photos were submitted by young Canadians as part of a cross-Canada contest. In January and February 2012, Eco Art will display 40 works of art, in large scale format, to hundreds of thousands of skaters on the Rideau Canal Skateway, as well as to virtual visitors in an online gallery.
Rogers Crystal Garden in Confederation Park
Visitors to Rogers Crystal Garden will be able to admire masterpieces and witness a fusion of art and ice. At night, special lighting will turn the ice-carving masterpieces into a breathtaking sight.
During the first weekend of activities, professional ice carvers from around the world will participate in the 25th Rogers International Ice-Carving Competition, under the theme of “Northern Passion”. Canadians across the country can visit the Winterlude website to view photos of the ice-carving masterpieces, and then vote for their favourite sculpture for a chance to win a round-trip flight for two to any scheduled WestJet destination in Canada, or their choice from a selection of electronic devices offered by Rogers.
The NCC will again host a number of activities, workshops and demonstrations at Confederation Park that showcase cultural and artistic diversity: BlizzArt, an outdoor gallery will feature public art that expresses the social, cultural and environmental views of Canadian artists; the Royal Norwegian Embassy will invite visitors to discover, from an authentic Sami Lavvu, the customs of Norway; and visitors can also explore Yukon through the talents of artists from that territory.
As part of a longstanding relationship with Veterans Affairs Canada, a majestic ice sculpture will commemorate the 20th anniversary of Canadian military service in the Balkans and to pay tribute to the brave Canadians who lost their lives during the mission.
In the evening, visitors can admire the magnificent ice sculptures and dance to the exciting rhythms of the best DJs in the region with the Sub-Zero Music Series at Rogers Crystal Globe, a giant inflatable bubble.
Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park
On this official site, the NCC and the Ville de Gatineau create the biggest snow playground on the continent.  Jacques-Cartier Park is a place to celebrate the pleasures of a Canadian winter with activities inspired by Canada’s past and our winter traditions.
Visitors will be able to enjoy this winter wonderland setting in the company of Winterlude’s favourite mascots, the Ice Hog family. Visitors can be part of the adventure and ride the gigantic snow slides, challenge themselves through the historical A-maze-ing Fort Wellington snow maze, Dance It Up at the Snowflake Stage, play in the Kiddie Zone, and test their skills at the Canadian Forces Winter Obstacle Course.
Through interpretation, demonstrations and games, Parks Canada will re-create the way of life of our ancestors in 1812. Maison Charron will be transformed into barracks from the war of 1812;  
Celebrating their 50th anniversary, the Canadian Coast Guard will be at Snowflake Kingdom to demonstrate a day in the life of a Coast Guard employee through exciting activities and a unique display of water safety equipment.
In collaboration with the Government of Yukon, Snowflake Kingdom is pleased to welcome talented artists and snow sculptors and much more during the first weekend of Winterlude.
Ontario Family Day — Winterlude celebrations continue on main sites for Ontario Family Day, Monday, February 20th.
Taste of Winterlude
Earlier this month, the NCC and American Express announced the menu for the seventh edition of Taste of Winterlude. This signature program will offer more unique culinary “experiences” than ever before. The popular food events highlight Canadian products and celebrate the creativity and talent of some of Canada’s top chefs, sommeliers, and winemakers. It’s the perfect opportunity to warm up to Winterlude, to gather up some first-rate company and savour the long winter nights in Canada’s Capital Region.
Environmental protection
For the first time ever, both Winterlude 2012 and the Rideau Canal Skateway will be carbon neutral. In 2012, the carbon footprint will be calculated for both programs by collecting fuel, energy and waste data from NCC staff, contractors and program artists. The carbon footprint will then be offset through the purchase of high quality, reliable carbon credits. Other carbon neutral NCC signature programs include Canada Day and Christmas Lights Across Canada.
For more information about Winterlude and the Rideau Canal Skateway, the public can contact the NCC at 613-239-5000, 613-239-5090 (TTY), 1-800-465-1867 (toll-free) or 1-866-661-3530 (toll-free TTY), or visit the website at For information about access to Winterlude’s sites and the Rideau Canal Skateway for people with limited mobility, the public is invited to contact the NCC.
The NCC is proud to present Winterlude and the Rideau Canal Skateway, with the support of the following sponsors and partners: American Express®, Ville de Gatineau, Government of Yukon, Veterans Affairs Canada, City of Ottawa, Canadian Heritage, Parks Canada, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Canadian Coast Guard, Royal Norwegian Embassy, National Defence and the Canadian Forces, Société de transport de l’Outaouais, OC Transpo, Rogers Wireless, WestJet Airlines, OLG - Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Subway Restaurants, Enbridge Gas Distribution, Giant Tiger, State Farm and many others, including support of the Region’s hospitality industry. Special thanks go to the hundreds of volunteers who contribute their time, talent and energy during the Capital’s winter celebration.
The NCC also wishes to thank the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport for its contribution to the Winterlude marketing campaign.

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