and destinations are so kid-friendly and fun that you are
duty-bound to tell other parents and grandparents about it.
That's how I feel about Winterlude which is celebrated the
first three weekends of February in Ottawa, Canada.
my granddaughter, Lotus and I celebrated her 7th birthday
on a weekend excursion to Canada's capital city. Each day
was jam-packed with activities and we both weren't bored for
a single minute. For those considering going -- I thought
it would be helpful to list where we stayed, what we did,
where we ate and what we wore to keep warm. One thing is definite;
we're going again this year. Perhaps we'll see you there?
is the perfect class...
travelled by VIA
Rail Canada between Toronto and Ottawa. Since it
was a birthday gift I chose the added convenience of
priority boarding, a delicious meal and beverages included
in the price of a business class train ticket. The service
we received was absolutely perfect but Lotus seemed
to be the only child in the upgraded car and she would
rather have had a grilled cheese sandwich than the excellent
adult meal that was served to me. Grandma's mistake.
This year we'll bring a picnic basket of kiddie snacks
and travel economy so that my granddaughter can have
the fun of interacting with all the other kids on board.
in Ottawa is cold but not so cold you can't enjoy yourself
outside. The trick is to be prepared with the proper
clothes. Lotus wore a down two-piece snowsuit with hood.
I packed a long down-filled coat with hood and silk
longjohns to wear under my jeans. We both had warm hats,
winter boots, socks, an extra sweatshirt and two pairs
of mittens incase one pair was misplaced. I packed a
few plastic bags (like the ones you put fruit into at
the grocery). We wore those tied over our socks in case
snow got into our boots and made them wet. With that
simple list we were perfectly dressed.
great hotel location...
stayed at the Lord
Elgin Hotel smack dab in the midst of all the Winterlude
fun (we walked to most places and took the shuttle bus
for about $2-$3 per day to areas a bit farther away).
that it was Lotus's birthday the hotel manager left
a little Lord Elgin Teddy Bear in the room to greet
us. You can be sure he now has my granddaughter's loyalty
the location of our hotel room as we were situated just
opposite the wonderful ice sculpture garden in Confederation
Park. On two occasions Lotus had the fun of interacting
with all the Winterlude characters that roamed the park
and together we tested the throne made out of solid
ice. Brrrrr (thank goodness for those longjohns)! At
night the park was lit by hundreds of tiny colored lights
making it a magical sight from our hotel room window.
Hard Rock Cafe really rocks...
our first night in Ottawa we chose the family-friendly
Rock Cafe for Lotus' birthday celebration. Granddaughter
dined on a huge hamburger and fries while grandma opted
for an excellent salmon steak served with decadent garlic
masked potatoes. Lotus really enjoyed her food but she
'loved ' the enormous birthday sundae delivered to our
table by the Hard Rock Cafe singing staff. Oh my goodness,
what a feast for both of us. Of course we couldn't finish
that huge treat even though we tried our very best.
Lotus talked about that free giant ice cream sundae
on the canal...
Pack your ice skates
(or rent them when you get there) and join the throngs
of people having great fun on The Rideau Canal Skateway.
At almost five miles long it's the world's largest skating
rink and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We didn't have
skates with us but we still walked the canal, people
watching and enjoying the Winterlude booths that lined
the sides of the rink. Lotus laughed as some moms skated
by pushing babies in strollers while one dad pushed
his kids and a big dog in a rented sleigh. It was pure
winter family fun.