Winterlude a festival of learning

<p>Winterlude’s a cold-weather festival, but it will start its 30th edition with an act meant to heat up a winter’s night.</p>


K-OS to open three-week party



Tracey Tong/metro ottawa


Felix Saint-Denis, artistic director of L’echo d’un peuple, uses an ice map of Canada to show National Capital Commission CEO Marie Lemay where Winterlude’s entertainers are coming from across Canada this year.

Winterlude’s a cold-weather festival, but it will start its 30th edition with an act meant to heat up a winter’s night.

Running Feb. 1 to 17, Winterlude will open with a performance by Toronto hip-hop star K-OS at the Snowbowl, National Capital Commission officials said yesterday in announcing the lineup for this year’s event, which is expected to attract 650,000 people over three full weekends.

But while they’re having fun, the NCC said Winterlude events are also intended to help Canadians learn how winter shaped them, according to Guy Laflamme, vice-president of national programming for the NCC.

“People can have fun while learning about traditions,” he said.

Winterlude will include ice sculptures and the International Ice Carving Competition at Confederation Park.

At Gatineau’s Jacques Cartier Park, the Snowflake Kingdom — which includes giant snow slides and a snow labyrinth — will also host the National Snow Sculpture Competition.

Other events include the 25th Winterlude triathlon, a free pancake breakfast, the Northern Lights trade show at the Ottawa Congress Centre, a bed race, a Peruvian carnival at the Museum of Civilization and the Canadian Ski Marathon.

And of course, there will be skating on the frozen Rideau Canal. The NCC almost guarantees it.

Although the area is dealing with unseasonably warm temperatures, Laflamme said he’s optimistic that the skateway will open in time for Winterlude.

This week, NCC staff tested the ice at between 25 to 30 centimetres thick. Over the next few days, staff will be flooding the ice surface to help the freezing along.

Mayor Larry O’Brien remembers when Winterlude began 30 years ago as “a small party at Dow’s Lake.” Years later, Winterlude is a part of Ottawa’s fabric, he said.

The visitors that Winterlude brings in will benefit many businesses, including hotels, restaurants and taxis, said O’Brien. But more importantly, it livens up Ottawa for two weeks in winter.

The event means a $151-million economic impact for Ontario and Quebec, said Lemay.

“We’re talking about a lot of money. But it also gives an opportunity to residents and visitors to visit and learn about the capital.”

Musical notes

  • Along with K-OS, the musical entertainment includes Quebecois folk musicians La Bottine Souriante; country, rock and blues band The Road Hammers; Quebec artist Florent Vollant; Vancouver-based singer Kinnie Starr; Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq Gillis; east-coast rockers the Joel Plaskett Emergency and April Wine.

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