It’s amazing the lengths to which some people will go for free Norwegian “vaffels” and warm “solbær” toddy.
In the past, cross-country skiers and Norway enthusiasts had to ski several kilometres to the Huron Shelter in the Gatineau Hills to partake in the annual Norway Day festivities, which include free Norwegian-style waffles and hot blackcurrent toddies.
This year, however, Norway Day moved to Gatineau Park’s Relais Plein Air to provide easier access.
“For the bribery of a waffle, it’s amazing how far the kids will ski,” said Mike Leach, whose family and two others have attended Norway Day since it started in 2002. The three families have six young children.
“We would all get together as families and everyone skied together — all the kids go and the adults go,” Lori Meyers said. “We’ve met the ambassador a few times, which is fantastic and any cross-country skier dreams of someday skiing in Norway.”
“And the waffles are amazing,” Leach said. “You think better of Norway for sure. Waffles go a long way for world harmony, I think.”
Norwegian Ambassador Tor Berntin Næss said the new location made it easier for more people to attend. Even when the event took place at Huron Shelter they still had about 1,500 visitors.
“We’ll see what happens. Maybe next year we’ll be back at Huron,” he said. “We’re just trying to do something popular. Skiing is very popular in Norway and it’s popular here.”
This year, Johann Olav Koss, the four-time Norwegian Olympic gold medalist in speedskating, joined the ambassador to greet guests in the park, and represent his charity, Right to Play, which he operates out of Toronto.
“The Norwegian government and the Canadian Government are big supporters of Right to Play,” he said. “This is the prefect chance to thank them and be part of this to celebrate a winter festival in Ottawa and raise some money for Right to Play.”