Beat the winter blues – Surviving the Capital winter in style
Salt stained jackets and practical good-grip boots take over our lives in these, the very coldest of the winter months. Intermittent slush and glacial temperatures challenge both sense of style and fun. Hibernating through March is, in my estimation, a legitimate proposition when temperatures drop to minus double-digits.
While applauding all lovers of winter, let’s be clear that I’m not one. If you too share a dread of the cold here are options to keep the chill in check and ensure winter doesn’t freeze your fun. No need to buck up and embrace the cold, instead bundle up and kick winter’s arse. Whether it’s staying in or going out here are an array of entertaining activities at our fingertips and ain’t no Jack Frost going to tell us what to do.
There is absolutely heaps to do for the winter enthusiast but you don’t need to be an expert nor spend hours taking part. Simply dress warm and give these outdoor options a 15 minute go then it’s straight over to your favourite coffee “ahem” bar which is sure to lift "spirits”.
Discovery Pass – Parks Canada – For Canada’s 150th anniversary Parks Canada is offering free 2017 passes. The Discover Pass provides FREE access to ALL of Canada’s national parks so order yours today and reap the enjoyment throughout 2017. The Gatineau park has excellent cross country and snowshoe trails but just imagine all the beach and hiking fun you can have once summer rolls around!
Speaking of cross-country and snowshoe, you needn’t leave Ottawa to give these sports a go. The excellent Sir John A. MacDonald Parkway path locally known as the SJAM Winter trail is the perfect in-city trail; groomed and close to a plethora of restaurants and retail along Wellington West. Councillor Tobi Nussbaum of the Rideau-Rockcliffe ward has been eyeing up the SJAM to assess whether the City can create a similar path along the Rideau River and to this we say “right on!”
Take winter for a ride on your toboggan – grab a sled and hit the slopes of a local park with friends. No kid required and laughter is guaranteed.
Ottawa is overflowing with skating rinks, including that long one on the Canal, so lace up and give it a go. If, like me you are somewhat challenged on blades I recommend the outdoor rink at City Hall where coloured lights create a clubbing vibe and the rink at Lansdowne which is surrounded by a great selection of après-skate options!
From February 2-20 Winterlude rolls in to town as the headline event of the Ottawa’s winter calendar. Beavertails, ice sculptures, ice dragon-boating and a multitude of snow activities at Jacques Cartier Park take over the city. Be sure to be part of this event and stay on the lookout for the many neighbourhood winter carnivals dotted around the city which kick off in January with sleigh-rides, maple syrup and parties to keep the chill at bay.
Coffee shops new and old provide the perfect vantage point from which to enjoy the wintery scenery while remaining wrapped in warmth. Grab a coffee, tea or cocoa in the Byward Market and watch the snow fall. Favourite people watching spots include Planet Coffee and Sash Gelato Café or shelter away from the inclement weather in the cozy surrounds of the stylish and hip Origin Coffee House – the Manic Monday special gets you a shot of liquor in your favourite brew for only 3$.
Make a day of retail therapy with lunch in the beautifully renovated Rideau Centre. Window shop your way from Simons to Nordstrom then grab a seat at the outward-facing bar of Bazille for bubbles or lunch while observing consumers flex their shopping muscles.
Hurrah! Christmas didn’t signal the end of those delightful pop-up markets. Showstoppers is back in the impeccably renovated All Saint’s Church. Organized by Ladies Who Lunch if the pre-holiday market was anything to go by this event will be a blast. Great products, food offerings and a bar were set up last time. Jan 28 & 29 Showstoppers Winter Shopping Extravaganza at All Saints (317 Chapel St in Sandy Hill) Saturday noon-7 and Sunday noon-5.
The Ottawa Lansdowne Farmers Market operates year round open every Sunday 10AM to 3PM and keep an eye out for the frequent pop-up events at Beechwood’s St Charles Market on the New Edinburgh-Vanier border.
Get your Culture on! Ottawa is jam-packed to overflowing with live performances. As always the NAC has a wide range of theatre, dance and music through-out the frosty months but there are a myriad of other options too. So don’t overlook the outstanding independent programming at The Gladstone - including The Peptides and The Ghomeshi Effect this January - at the GCTC and the Shenkman Arts Centre for a start!
Check out the #Fringe20 encores for exceptionally well-priced quality theatre. The cold-month revival of some of the most successful shows from the summer fringes is always a winner and all money goes to the actual performers. Check out the Fringe website to see what’s on and to purchase tickets.
The 6th Annual Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival rolls in to town from February 9th-12th where you can stay warm with some quality programming at the stunning new La Nouvelle Scene.
Looking for something different? Try the Second Annual Poor Chefs Competition February 23rd at Ottawa City Hall. Watch top chefs whip up a meal on a budget of only 3.15$ plus food bank donations. Ottawa City Hall, 25$ includes appetizers and a drink ticket. All proceeds to Operation Go Home so feel great about a fun night on the town!