Cold comes just in time for Winterlude

After a week of unseasonably warm and rainy weather, the cold came just in time to save the second weekend of Winterlude.

 

After a week of unseasonably warm and rainy weather, the cold came just in time to save the second weekend of Winterlude.

 

The National Capital Commission had closed both the Rideau Canal Skateway and Jacques Cartier Park to the public during the week, but were able to partially reopen both by 1 p.m. Sunday.

 

And by this morning, the Skateway was fully open.

 

NCC spokeswoman Julie Rocheleau called it an "amazing weekend.

"There were a lot of people out both days."

Although the NCC doesn't give out attendance numbers until the end of the three-week festival, Rocheleau said Friday's Jim Cuddy concert attracted 6,000 people to the Snowbowl and the Roch Voisine concert Saturday brought in 9,000 people. More than 650,000 attend Winterlude annually.

Despite the warm week, the sites were in good shape, Rocheleau said. "We've been doing this for 31 years and we've learned to expect the unexpected."

At Jacques Cartier Park, the artists for the weekend's snow-sculpting competition didn't have it easy, as they had less time to work. But there were lineups for the snow slides by the time the park reopened Saturday afternoon, Rocheleau said.

And the NCC's ice safety committee was to attend the Skateway at 6 a.m. Monday to test the ice and ensure that it would be safe, reopening the entire length of the canal by 7 a.m.

Toronto resident Marnie Hillman, who visited Confederation Park with her family yesterday, said she was thrilled they were able to go skating.

"We were planning this trip for a while, and we were starting to get worried when we heard from friends that the canal was closed because of the thaw," she said. "But it's cold again, and I never thought I'd say this, but that makes us really happy."

Visitor Amanda Lee said the weather was near perfect — little snow on the ground, so it was easy to walk, yet cold enough so that the ice sculptures didn't melt.

Held Monday at Dow's Lake, the Great Canadian Beaver Pond Hockey Championship was also a huge success, Rocheleau said.

 
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