In the nation’s capital, they’re one of the signs that winter has arrived.
Braving the cold at Jacques-Cartier Park, the Ice Hog family helped the National Capital Commission announce plans for the 32th edition of Winterlude Monday.
To be held from Feb. 5 to 21, 2010, the annual festival will see lots of changes, including the replacement of the American Express Snowbowl stage with outdoor events that have appeal for the whole family, said NCC vice-president of the capital experience, communications and marketing Guy Laflamme.
“We are planning special events on other sites, the details of which will be disclosed…in early January,” Laflamme said. “Winterlude draws large crowds and outdoor enthusiasts and families have been telling us to focus our resources on family oriented and outdoor events which enable them to experience the Canadian winter while learning more about Canada’s diversity.”
The NCC has periodically made changes to Winterlude to ensure offerings remain relevant to residents and visitors, he said.
The next edition of Winterlude has three official sites – the Sun Life Snowflake Kingdom in Jacques-Cartier Park, the Rogers Crystal Garden at Confederation Park and the Rideau Canal Skateway, which will be celebrating its 40th skating season in 2010.
“I was thrilled… to see a crew on the canal starting to do some measurements in terms of the ice thickness,” said Laflamme. Although there are “no indications” the canal will be open for skating before Christmas, it is right on schedule, he said. “The weather is really on our side.”
In the next edition of Winterlude, the NCC will also be measuring the event’s carbon footprint and encouraging visitors to take the snow bus in preparation to transition to a carbon neutral Winterlude in 2012. The fact that the Snowbowl was “generating a significant carbon footprint” was one of the reasons the NCC is replacing it with new programming.
But while there are changes, the popular snow sculptures and ice carvings, among “a whole list of family activities,” will remain the pillar of Winterlude’s programming, Laflamme said.
The NCC unveils the official program and entertainment lineup in the new year.