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Ottawa's Winterlude is a Fun, Family Affair


Don't miss the children's museum...

Not all our activities were outdoors. One morning Lotus met a young friend and together they toured The Children's Museum, part of the larger Museum of Civilization, another very interesting spot for primary grade kiddies. As a former grade school teacher I heartily recommend this museum. Each child receives a passport at the entrance and they set out on a worldwide journey visiting and learning about fabulous people and places. Our little girls popped into Japan to learn about haiku, rode a pretend camel through the desert and strolled through an international market bazaar set in the center of the museum. What I thought would be a one hour visit turned into more than two, and Lotus left still wanting more.


Afternoon tea at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier...

Next came every little girl's dream. We were invited to the posh Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel for 'Princess Afternoon Tea' in Zoe's Lounge. This was the perfect opportunity for both grandma and granddaughter to enjoy some very real pampering. The decor is chic, the staff most attentive, and the scones, sandwiches, fruit salad and desserts served to us were mouth watering. We waited expectantly as the tea expert made her way around the room pushing a cart laden with countless varieties to choose from. It was no surprise that seven-year old Lotus chose 'Pink Bubble Gum Tea' which she drank very carefully from very fancy china. The treats were endless. When our plates or cups were empty, they were quickly refilled and Lotus stared wide-eyed at each and every new pastry and chocolate chip cookie offered to us. As you might expect late afternoon tea simply merged with dinner that evening.


Browse the Byward Market...

No trip to Ottawa is complete without a browse in and around Byword, one of Canada's oldest and largest markets. Within four square city blocks, this is your one-stop shop for all things Canadian. Don't fret if you’ve lost your gloves, hats or scarves. There are hundreds here for sale. Looking for anything from key chains to T-shirts to bookmarks with a mighty moose on it? This is the place. There's toffee apples, candy floss and more sugared beaver tails (deep-fried donut dough shaped to look like a beaver's tail) than you can imagine. There are fashionable shawls for mom and warm boots for dad. There are cafes, specialty food shops and art galleries. Aisles and spaces between booths are very tight so a trip to the market means playful jostling with folks that are as happy as you are to be experiencing this Ottawa institution. Be sure to try it.


Our bottoms were our sleds at Jacques Cartier Park...

Finally, one full afternoon in Ottawa was spent outdoors at Jacques Cartier Park. This was truly the highlight of our visit. On our bottoms and in fat rubber tubes we slid down long, bumpy hills of ice. There were dog sled rides, demonstrations by the Canadian Forces, hot chocolate, even more ice sculptures and slides, plus lots and lots of photo opportunities around the wintry site. By the time we finally were done ("Please, grandma just one more time') we were too pooped to do anything else. We ordered a pizza supper in our hotel room, watched a bit of TV and we both went to bed very, very early.

Best part of all? Winterlude needn't cost you a fortune. There are no fees to enter Jacques Cartier Park, Confederation Park or the Rideau Canal. You can slide down hills to your hearts content, skate on the canal for as long as you like and visit with the playful Winterlude characters that are happy to pose for photos with anybody who asks.


Obama, One Degree of Separation in Ottawa, Canada

For more information on Canada, click here

Female-Friendly Travel Canada



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